Volcanoes have fascinated Alexander Sehlke since his childhood. He started studying Geosciences at the Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany in 2005. In 2011, Alexander began his doctoral studies at the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Missouri – Columbia, and received his PhD in 2015. He studied the rheological evolution of terrestrial and planetary basalts during cooling and crystallization, experimentally. His studies on lava flow emplacement and the mechanism of the development of diverse lava surface morphologies were complemented by field investigations on both active and inactive lava flows erupted on the big island of Hawaii, Guatemala and Costa Rica. Field work included sample collection and measurements of the geometry of channelized sections within lava flows and different type of surface morphologies (e.g., pahoehoe, transitional, `a`a). Alexander has taught undergraduate students in the field and the classroom as a teaching assistant in Mineralogy and course instructor during his time at the University of Missouri.
Alexander started his NASA post-doctoral fellowship at NASA Ames in February 2016, and focuses on the lavas erupted at the Craters of the Moon, Idaho. He is particularly interested in the thermo-physical properties of the rocks, and how these properties change within a lava flow that ultimately leads to different flow morphologies, and how these morphologies and rock properties appear in and can be linked to remote sense-based studies. With a combination of these investigations, Alexander aims to contribute to a safer and more successful robotic and human surface exploration on other planetary bodies in the solar system.