Whether estimating sea level rise due to ice sheet melting or forecasting volcanic or tectonic unrest, the role of numerical simulations in our understanding of societally-relevant Earth system phenomena is fundamental. I use geophysical observations to validate the processes represented in these societally-relevant, physics-based models. Such models must reflect the real world; that is, they must be valid. Yet strict model validation is not as common as it ought to be. Validation is hard because it is interdisciplinary: it is the intersection of data and models and of observation and theory. My overarching goal –to consistently understand, observe, and model societally-relevant Earth system phenomena– is documented in the scientific publications, teaching resources, and software presented on this website.
Several themes and highlights of my research program include:
- I employ first-of-their kind models and new remote sensing and field strategies to understand ice shelf fracture and its relationship to marine ice sheet stability.
- I interrogate the validity of assumptions in ice sheet models and their glacier sliding laws using geophysical observations.
- I articulate a theory of hydraulic fracturing in volcanoes, glaciers, and reservoirs based in asymptotic analysis, observation, and fieldwork.
- I shape an understanding of landslide seismicity that may provide hazard early warning.
- I exploit geodesy, seismology, and rupture dynamical simulations to understand tectonic earthquake complexity and post-seismic response.
Collaborators: Rick Aster, Eric Dunham, Gareth Funning, Florent Gimbert, Dominik Gräff, Hilmar Gudmundsson, Niels Hovius, Dylan Mikesell, Brent Minchew, Christine McCarthy, Colin Meyer, Aurélien Mordret, Seth Olinger, Alan Rempel, Anne Schöpa, Catherine Walker, Fabian Walter, Doug Wiens, and Lucas Zoet.
My work is funded by: NASA, the National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs, and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University.