The Geophysics faculty are concerned with the broad range of physical processes affecting the solid Earth, from the core, mantle, and crust to the cryosphere, and carry out related studies of Mercury, Mars, and Earth's moon. We focus on understanding plate-tectonic processes in marine and terrestrial settings, determining the structure of the Earth's interior, and understanding earthquake and volcano dynamics. We study mechanisms for ice, magma, and sediment transport and for the exchange of mass between the solid Earth and its fluid envelope, and we work to understand interactions of large-scale surface deformation with the oceans and atmosphere. We are also concerned with the quantitative study of natural hazards and associated risks, hydrocarbon exploration and extraction, and explosion and earthquake monitoring for the verification of nuclear test-ban treaties. Our research draws on a variety of approaches, including seismology; geodesy; remote sensing; volcanology; physical glaciology; rock mechanics; and geophysical fluid dynamics. We emphasize the integration of data-analysis and modeling approaches, and many faculty maintain active field programs and engage in the development of geophysical instrumentation. The Geophysics faculty contribute expertise to inform decision-making at the local, national and international levels.

Geophysics Courses





Marc W. Spiegelman
Personal Information
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Seismology Geology and Tectonophysics
Contact Information
108K Seismology
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
(845) 704-2323


(845) 365-8150

Fields of interest: 

Dynamic fluid flow, from magma migration theory to sedimentary basins and groundwater hydrology.

My early enthusiasm for earth sciences was fed by a steady diet of outdoor activities and PBS documentaries. While it rapidly became clear that I would not be the next Jacques Cousteau, I found that I could combine my tastes for backpacking and physics as a geology/geophysics major. As a Harvard undergraduate, I constructed physical models of mountain-building processes between stints as a U.S. Forest Service ranger, then moved to Cambridge, England, where I conducted my Ph.D. research on magma migration in the mantle.

At Lamont, I have been extending magma migration theory into a more general one that describes the interactions between solids and fluids in the earth. Magma migration provides an important link between large-scale mantle convection and petrology/geochemistry and my research seeks to close the gap between these two disciplines. This work also lends new insights into other fluid-flow problems, current research is attempting to extend this theory to investigate dynamic fluid flow in sedimentary basins and groundwater hydrology. My work is primarily computational and my students, colleagues and I are implementing new techniques and technologies to take advantage of parallel computing. With a quantitative basis for fluid-flow research, we hope to integrate this theory with Lamont's strong observational programs in petrology, basin dynamics and groundwater tracer studies.

Bachelor of Arts