ben holtzman

lamont associate research professor
lamont doherty earth observatory
columbia university
61 rt. 9W
palisades, new york, 10964

email:  benh (at)
office:  845 365 8382

Research in Geophysics
(see below)

Seismic Sound Lab
Seismic Sound Lab (Vimeo)

Scientific Illustrations


My research is some mixture of experimental and theoretical rock mechanics, seismology and geodynamics. Through field work, experiments and theory, I worked for a long time on the coupling of melt migration and deformation and the influences of melt on the mechanical properties of rocks in the deep Earth. Although my current projects are mostly theoretical, I always have a eye to experiments and natural observations.
Currently, my research has two related fronts:
(1) Building computational tools for the quantitative interpretation of seismic velocities and attenuation measured in the upper mantle, towards building more detailed images of the structure of plate boundaries and the upper mantle. Such images provide an observational basis for understanding the general mechanisms for heat extraction from the Earth. This work involves multiple collaborations focused on natural settings including the Colorado Plateau and the East African Rift.
(2) Development of constitutive models to describe the evolution of microstructure and mechanical properties in the Earth. This work involves multiple collaborations with experimentalists and physicists, towards the tight iteration between theory and the analysis of experimental data.

Another aspect of my work is developing methods for simultaneous visual and auditory representation of natural data, with a long focus on what earthquakes and seismic data tell us about the internal workings of the Earth.

Peer-reviewed Papers (up to date as of June, 2016):

[24] M. Roy, S. Gold, A. Johnson, R. Orozco, B. K. Holtzman, J. Gaherty. “Macroscopic coupling of deformation and melt migration at continental interiors, with applications to the Colorado Plateau”, in press Journal of Geophysical Research , April, 2016

[23] B. K. Holtzman. “Questions on the existence, persistence and mechanical effects of a very small melt fraction in the asthenosphere”, Geophysics, Geochemistry, and Geosystems , doi: 10.1002/2015GC006102, January, 2016.

[22] A. Pat\'e, L. Boschi, J-L. Le Carrou, B. K. Holtzman. “Categorization of seismic sources by auditory display: a blind test”, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies: 85, 57-67, (2016).

[21] M. Pec, B. K. Holtzman, M.E. Zimmerman, D.L. Kohlstedt. “Reaction infiltration instabilities in experiments on partially molten mantle rocks” Geology: G36611-1, 2015

[20] Abers, G. A., K. M. Fischer, G. Hirth, D. A. Wiens, T. Plank, B. K. Holtzman, C. McCarthy, and E. Gazel, "Reconciling mantle attenuation- temperature relationships from seismology, petrology, and laboratory measurements", Geochemistry, Geophysics, and Geosystems, 15, doi:10.1002/2014GC005444, 2014

[19] C. Bellis and B. K. Holtzman. “Sensitivity of seismic measurements to frequency-dependent attenuation and upper mantle structure: an initial approach”, Journal of Geophysical Research, Solid Earth, 119, 5497-5517, doi:10.1002/2013JB010831, 2014

[18] B. K. Holtzman, J. Candler, M. Turk and D. Peter, “Seismic Sound Lab: Sights, Sounds and Perception of the Earth as an Acoustic Space”, Sound, Music, and Motion, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 8905, pp 161-174, 2014

[17] B. K. Holtzman, D. S. H. King and D. L. Kohlstedt, “Effects of stress-driven segregation on the viscosity of rocks”, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 359–360, 184–193, Nov. 2012

[16] D. S. H. King, B.K. Holtzman and D. L. Kohlstedt, ``An experimental investigation of the interactions between reaction-driven and stress-driven melt segregation: 2. Disaggregation at high melt fraction'', article 2011GC003685, Geophysics, Geochemistry, and Geosystems vol. 12, Q12020, 12 pp., doi:10.1029/2011GC003685, Dec. 2011.
PDF from AGU

[15] D. S. H. King, B.K. Holtzman and D. L. Kohlstedt, ``An experimental investigation of the interactions between reaction-driven and stress-driven melt segregation: 2. Application to mantle melt extraction'', article 2011GC003684, Geophysics, Geochemistry, and Geosystems vol. 12, Q12019, 16 pp., doi:10.1029/2011GC003684, Dec. 2011.
PDF from AGU

[14] B.K. Holtzman and J.-M. Kendall, ``Organized Melt, Seismic Anisotropy, and Plate Boundary Lubrication'', article 2010GC003296, Geophysics, Geochemistry, and Geosystems 11, Q0AB06, doi:10.1029/ 2010GC003296, Dec. 2010.
PDF from AGU

[11,12,13] Takei, Y. and B. Holtzman. Viscous constitutive relations of solid-liquid composites in terms of grain boundary contiguity, 1, 2 & 3. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2009
A summary

[10] Kohlstedt, D.L. and B. Holtzman. Shearing Melt Out of the Earth: An Experimentalist's Perspective on the Influence of Deformation on Melt Extraction. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 2009. 37:561-593

[9] R. A. Parsons, F. Nimmo, J.W. Hustoft, B. K. Holtzman, D.L. Kohlstedt. “An experimental and numerical study of surface tension-driven melt flow”, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 267 (30) 548-557, March 2008.

[8] B.K. Holtzman and D. L. Kohlstedt. "Stress-driven Melt Segregation and Strain Partitioning in Partially Molten Rocks: Effects of Stress and Strain" Journal of Petrology 48: 2379-2406. 2007
pdf from J.Pet.

[7] Katz, R. F., M. Spiegelman, and B. Holtzman, (2006) The dynamics of melt and shear localization in partially molten aggregates, Nature , 442, 676--679, doi:10.1038/nature05039.

[6] B.K. Holtzman, D.L. Kohlstedt, J.Phipps Morgan. Viscous Energy Dissipation and Strain Partitioning in Partially Molten Rocks. Journal of Petrology , doi:10.1093/petrology/egi065, 2005
pdf from J.Petrology

[5] J.Phipps Morgan and B.K. Holtzman. Melt transport and deformation of partially molten viscoelastic rocks: the Vug Wave. G^3 (Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems) V. 6, No. 8, 2005

[4] B.K. Holtzman, D.L. Kohlstedt, M.E. Zimmerman, F. Heidelbach, T. Hiraga, and J. Hustoft. Melt segregation and strain partitioning: Implications for seismic anisotropy and mantle flow, Science 301 , p. 1227-1230, August 29, 2003

[3] B. K. Holtzman, M. E. Zimmerman, N. J. Groebner, S. B. Ginsberg, and D. L. Kohlstedt. Stress-driven melt segregation in partially molten rocks. G^3 (Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems), vol. 4, no. 5, May, 2003

[2] B. K. Holtzman. “Gauging stress from deformed chromite pods in the Oman ophiolite.” in Ophiolites and Oceanic Crust, Eds. Y. Dilek, E. Moores, and A. Nicolas, Geological Society of America Special Paper 80, p. 149-160, 2001.

[1] A. Nicolas, F. Boudier, in collaboration with M. Misseri, J.L. Bouchez, S. Crambert, G.Ceuleneer, I. Reuber, K. Benn, C. MacLeod, F. Quatreveaux., E. Gnos, B.Ildefonse, D. Jousselin, K. Michibayashi, L. Gerbert-Gaillard, and B. K. Holtzman. “Oman and UAE Ophiolite Structural Maps 1, 2, 3,” Marine Geophysical Researches, 21(3-4), 2001.