Christine McCarthy

My research explores the way that micro-features control macro-behavior. Defects in the structure of crystalline materials, such as impurities, dislocations, grain boundaries, and partial melt, all affect the way that seismic waves are damped in the mantle, for instance, or how tidal energy is turned into heat within an icy moon's outer shell. In order to better interpret seismic data and provide better constraints for goephysical modeling, I design experiments to isolate and scrutinize the underlying microphysics of defect-controlled processes such that resultant laboratory data can be scaled up to macroscopic settings. With material properties being the constant element, my work spans a variety of time and length scales and geologic contexts: from the deep earth, to the cryosphere, to the outer solar system.

Fields of Interest

Material response of Earth and Planetary materials via laboratory experiment


  • Ph.D. in Geological Science, Brown University, 05/2009
  • M.Sc. in Geological Science, Brown University, 05/2005
  • B.S. Geophysics, University of Oregon, 05/2003

Honors & Awards

  • NASA Early Career Fellow (2012)
  • LDEO Postdoctoral Fellow (2011)