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Karen M. Fischer

Geological Sciences
Phone: +1 401 863 1360
Phone 2: +1 401 863 3338

The overall goal of my research is to more clearly image the structure of the Earth's crust and mantle using seismic waves in order to better understand dynamic processes inside the Earth. Our recent work has focused on two topics: the continental lithosphere and its interactions with the deeper mantle, and mantle flow and melting processes in subduction zones. These studies blend analysis of observed seismic body and surface waves - often gathered through temporary field deployments of seismic stations - with numerical modeling of mantle processes and prediction of theoretical waveforms.


I graduated with a BS in geology and geophysics from Yale in 1983 and received my PhD in geophysics from MIT in 1989. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (Columbia University), I joined the faculty in the Department of Geological Sciences at Brown in the fall of 1990. I was a Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence from 2004 to 2007.


Fellow of the American Geophysical Union
Karen T. Romer Prize for Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring, Brown University, 2009
Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence, Brown University, 2004-2007


American Geophysical Union
Seismological Society of America


GEOL 0160: First Year Seminar: Living Within the Landscape
GEOL 1650: Earthquake Seismology
GEOL 0220: Physical Processes in Geology
GEOL 2650: Advanced Seismology

Current Graduate Students:
Emily Hopper
Julia MacDougall

Recent Former Graduate Students:
David Abt, Ph.D. '09
Matthew Fouch, Ph.D. '99
Heather Ford, Ph.D. '13
Aibing Li, Ph.D. '01
Catherine Rychert, Ph.D. '06
Mariela Salas, Sc.M. '09
Xiaoping Yang, Ph.D. '95

Funded Research

Professor Fischer's research is funded by the National Science Foundation through the EarthScope, CSEDI, MARGINS and Geophysics programs.

Web Links

Curriculum Vitae

Download Karen M. Fischer's Curriculum Vitae in PDF Format