Individual websites: Current Researchers  
Ben Holtzman

Research Professor

Lamont researcher Ben Holtzman offers his expertise on all things melt and microstructure related. His research resides at the intersection of rock physics, seismology, and geodynamics.  

Christine McCarthy

Research Professor 


Lamont researcher Christine McCarthy studies how material behavior (flow, fracture, friction) at various spacial and temporal scales influence microstructure, and vice versa. She is currently measuring effects of tidal forcing on both glacier flow rates and frictional heating of icy satellites.  
Jacob Tielke

Lab Manager

Jacob studies the feedbacks between deformation processes and the transport/reaction kinetics in Earth and planetary bodies. He is currently gearing up the lab for carbon mineralization experiments as a form of CO2 mitigation.   

Rob Skarbek

Associate Research Scientist

Rob Skarbek has a broad interest in geomechanical problems, including accretionary wedge behavior, fluid-flow and frictional controls on aseismic slip, and tidal modulation of glacier flow. He is currently the PI on an NSF project to study densification of firn.  

Seth Saltiel 

Postdoctoral Fellow

Seth is performing laboratory experiments to measure the dependence of ice-on-till friction as a function of temperature, till composition, basal pore pressure, and time-dependent forcing. The results should elucidate certain aspects of glacial sliding.   

Genevieve Coffey

Graduate Student

Genevieve uses biomarkers as indicators for coseismic slip along faults since biomarkers can record changes in temperature and thereby constrain frictional heating. She is currently applying this method to samples from SAFOD, from Muddy Mountain Thrust in Nevada, and a couple of faults from the northern Apennines.  

Ted Koczynski

Research Engineer

Longtime lab technician, Ted Koczynski keeps everything running smoothly in the rock mechanics lab and is spearheading the rehabilitation of old machinery and the electronic and hydraulic design of the new ice rig.  

Michael Nielson

Research Assistant

After completing his senior thesis on the microstructural evolution of polycrystalline ice samples, Michael Nielson stayed on to help with friction experiments and to design and fabricate all of our low temperature technologies.  

Maheenuz Zaman

Graduate Student

Mahi is studying the influence of partial melt (ice + ammonia) on friction and stability of faults on icy satellites like Enceladus. In particular, he is exploring frictional heating as a potential pathway for surface oxidants, which may shed light on habitability of these worlds.  


Research Alumni

Heather Savage uses experiments and field work to study many aspects of earthquake and fault mechanics including induced seismicity and fault heating. She is now a faculty member at U.C. Santa Cruz.

Hannah Rabinowitz studied coseismic shearheating as a way of understanding the energy release of earthquakes. She is now a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program.

Armando Domingos did his senior thesis on partial melt microstructures applicable to icy satellites and earned his MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley.

Sarah Lambart split her time between rock mechanics and geochemistry as a postdoc to study reaction-driven cracking and permeability changes during carbonation of peridotite.

Ben Robinson worked both on ice fabrication (as an undergraduate) and then on reaction-driven cracking.

NSF-EAR Postdoc fellow Nicholas van der Elst used observational seismology and laboratory friction experiments to learn about earthquakes and fault mechanics and now works for the USGS.

Columbia undergrad (2013) and research assistant Caitlin Dieck conducted a research project on induced seismicity in the regions around wastewater injection locations.

Columbia undergrad (2013) and research assistant Rachel Sheppard examined shear heating on faults by extracting organic molecules from sedimentary fault rock and analyzing it in a mass spectrometer.

German University of Bochum Postdoc Mandy Duda visited the lab to run cyclic loading experiments under confining pressure using the triaxial apparatus.