Research Interests

I study geological processes involving fluids, including problems in physical volcanology, geodynamics, hydrogeology, and geomorphology. Though the range of topics may appear diverse, the common theme is an attempt to develop a better quantitative understanding of physical processes operating in the Earth. Depending on the nature of the problem, I have used some combination of theoretical, numerical and experimental approaches. Because we are trying to understand natural systems, integrating observations and field data (both of active processes and recorded in the geologic record) with theoretical and model results is also an essential component of my research.

Some recent questions we have been trying to answer:

Often the fluid mechanics that we need to understand has not yet been studied. Consequently, my research typically involves new contributions in applied mechanics. Recent contributions include studies of convection, the properties and dynamics of suspensions, flow and transport in porous materials, percolation theory, and high pressure mineral physics.

THREE examples of pictures illustrating our work are shown below.

1) Oblate crystals forming an interconnected network
(from the work of graduate student Martin Saar, published in Earth
and Planetary Science Letters in 2001)

2) Stretched bubble (about 100 microns long) in obsidian;
from its shape we can infer both the flow type and strain rate
(from the work of graduate student Alison Rust)

3) Stereonets illustrating the 3D orientation distribution of rod-shaped microlites at Obsidian Dome, CA
(from the work of Jon Castro, published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters in 2002)

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