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.  

Heather Savage

Research Professor

Lamont researcher Heather Savage combines rock friction experiments and field studies to investigate multiple aspects of earthquake and fault mechanics. Her current topics of interest include fault strength during earthquakes and earthquake triggering/induced seismicity.  
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.  

Rob Skarbek

Postdoctoral Researcher

Postdoc 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. Currently he is conducting experiments on reaction driven cracking in relation to the formation of serpentinite.  

Hannah Rabinowitz

Graduate Student

Hannah studies coseismic shear heating as a way of understanding the energy release of earthquakes and she studies the frictional behavior of sediments as a control on seismic character of subduction zones. She is currently developing an alkenone proxy for fault heating to understand the seismic history of the Japan Trench as recorded in an ocean drill core recovered after the 2011 M9.1 Tohoku-oki earthquake.  

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 a low temperature cryostat.  

Armando Domingos


Columbia Senior Armando Domingos is characterizing the partial melt microstructure of ice + ammonia, which has application to icy satellites like Enceladus.  


Research Alumni

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.

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.