Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Columbia Earth Institute

Center for Nonlinear Earth Systems

a research group dedicated to the study of non-linear dynamics in natural earth systems

History | Research Projects | Events | People | Publications


The Center for Nonlinear Earth Systems was formed as a unit of the Columbia Earth Institute in early March, 1997. Initiated with start-up funds provided by the Vice-Provost's office, the center brings together a diverse group of researchers with a commonality of interests in things non-linear. The initial group comprising CNES is primarily located at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, but future plans include expanding the membership more broadly within the Columbia community and collaboration with researchers in nearby universities, both of which are happening now at a limited scale. Along with this expansion, we expect also that the range of topics being explored within the Center will also increase.

Current Research Projects

Dynamics of Granular Media

Fluid flow in reactive media

Brittle Deformation

Formation of Geomorphic Features

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Symposium on Localization Phenomena
and Dynamics of Brittle and Granular Media

A symposium was hosted by CNES at Columbia from Aug. 6-9, 1997. It is intended as the first of a biannual series in which the subject areas change each time. A meeting report has been submitted for publication in EOS, Transactions of the American Geophysical meeting. Also available is an Extended Abstracts Volume, edited by J. Contreras.

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Affiliated Personnel


Christopher H. Scholz, Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Head of CNES
Complexity in brittle and granular deformation.

Marc Spiegelman, Adjunct Assoc. Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Fluid flow in reactive media: magma systems.

Jeffrey Weissel, Senior Res. Assoc., L-DEO
Fractal development of landscapes.

David Sparks, Assoc. Res. Sci, L-DEO
Fluid flow in magmatic systems. Granular dynamics.

Bruce Shaw, Storke-Doherty Lecturer, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Earthquake and fault dynamics, landform development models.

Einat Aharonov, L-DEO Postdoctoral Fellow
Fluid flow in reactive media: hydrothermal and magma systems. Granular dynamics.


Chrysanthe Spyropoulos, PhD candidate, Applied Physics
Modeling the development of fault populations.

Anu Gupta, PhD candidate, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Fault interactions in fault populations.

Eric Tenthoray, PhD candidate, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Diagenesis and deformation under hydrothermal conditions.

Lindsay McDevit, undergraduate, Physics
Landslide dynamics.

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Aharonov, E., and M. Speigelman, P. Keleman, Three-dimensional flow and reaction in porous media: Implications for the Earth's mantle and sedimentary basins, J. Geophys. Res. 102, 14821-833, 1997.

Modelquakes in two dimensional wave equation, J. Geophys. Res. 102, in press, 1997.

Tenthorey, E., Scholz, C.H., Leger, A., and Aharonov, E., Precipitation sealing and diagenesis, 1. Experimental Results, subm., J. Geophys. Res. 1997.

Aharonov, E., Tenthorey, E., and Scholz, C.H., Precipitation sealing and diagenesis, 1. Modelling and theory, subm., J. Geophys. Res. 1997.

Gupta, A., and Scholz, C., Validity of elastic models in predicting fault displacement fields, subm., J. Geophys. Res. 1997.

Barnouin-Jha, K., E. M. Parmentier and D. W. Sparks, The contribution of buoyant mantle upwelling and melt generation to crustal production at oceanic spreading centers, J. of Geophys. Res., 102, 11,979-989, 1997.

Magde, L., D. W. Sparks, and R. S. Detrick, The relationship between buoyant mantle flow models and the mantle Bouguer anomaly patterns along the MAR from 33 N to 35 30' N, Earth and Planet. Sci. Lett., 148, 59-68, 1997.

Magde, L., and D. W. Sparks, Three-dimensional mantle upwelling, melt generation and migration beneath segmented slow spreading centers, J. of Geophys. Res., 102, 20,571-583, 1997.

Presentations and abstracts:

Sparks, D. W., E. Aharonov, C. Scholz, The development of fault zone features during shear, from discrete numerical models, EOS Trans. Amer. Geophys. 76, (Poster presented at AGU Spring Meeting, and at NATO Advanced Study Institue on the Physics of Dry Granular Media), 1997.

Spyropoulos, C., C. Scholz, and B. Shaw, A model for the growth of a population of cracks, Fall meeting, AGU, 1997.

Tenthorey, E., Precipitation sealing and diagenesis, Fall meeting, Geol. Soc. Am. , 1997.

Scholz, C.H., Fault scaling laws and populations, Symposium on localization and dynamics of brittle and granular media, Columbia Univ., Aug. 6-9, 1997.

Bruce Shaw, Jeff Weissel, Einat Aharonov, and Dave Sparks also made presentations at the same venue.

Symposium Volume

Symposium on Localization and Dynamics of Brittle and Granular Media, Columbia Univ., Aug. 6-9, 1997, Extended Abstracts Volume, edited by J. Contreras.

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