Opportunities may be available to join the Swanson-Hysell Group as a graduate student. Contact swanson-hysell@berkeley.edu if you are interested in exploring this possibility. 

Postdoctoral researchers:

Sarah Slotznick
Miller Postdoctoral Fellow
Email: sslotz@berkeley.edu

Sarah completed her PhD at Caltech in Spring 2016 focused on combining rock magnetic charecterization and novel textural observations to constrain ancient Precambrian environments. Her postdoctoral research is focused on developing data that can lend new constraints on both the environment and tectonics of the Proterozoic Earth.

Maggie Avery
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow
Email: msavery@berkeley.edu

Maggie completed her PhD at Scripps in Fall 2017 where she worked on paleomagnetism and geomagnetism projects including study of the asymmetry in the growth and decay of the geomagnetic dipole. She began an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship at Berkeley in December 2017, hosted by Profs. Swanson-Hysell and Buffett.

Graduate students:


Yuem Park
Email: yuempark@berkeley.edu

Yuem’s research is currently focused on developing new constraints on Neoproterozoic Earth history during the 100 million years leading up to the Sturtian global glaciation ca. 717 million years ago. His research involves: (1) study of the physical and chemical stratigraphy of the sedimentary rocks found in the Tambien Group of northern Ethiopia; and (2) study of the physical and magnetic stratigraphy of the sedimentary rocks found in the Banxi Group of South China.


Luke Fairchild
Email: lfairchild@berkeley.edu

Luke’s undergraduate thesis while a student at Carleton College was in the group and focused on the paleomagnetism of breccia dikes at the Slate Islands Impact Structure and the Midcontinent Rift which he used to constrain the timescale of impact crater development and obtain a high-quality estimate for the direction of the local geomagnetic field at the time of the impact. He is currently working on improving understanding of Mesoproterozoic paleogeography and plate motion through research on the North American Midcontinent Rift.

Undergraduate students:

Frances Meyer

Robert Sherwood

Sydney Holgado

Visiting Faculty:

Ben Weiss
Visiting Miller Professor (2014-2015)

Ben (Professor in EAPS at MIT) spent 2014-2015 in Berkeley as a Visiting Professor of the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science and was an active user of the UC Berkeley Paleomagnetism lab running samples of Jack Hills cobbles and a Martian meteorite.

Jerome Gattacceca
Visiting FBF Professor (2014)

Jerome (Directeur de recherche at CEREGE)  spent time in the lab in December 2014 supported by the France Berkeley Fund which supports scholarly exchange between UC Berkeley and research centers in France. Jerome utilized the low magnetic moment holder in the lab to measure small tektite samples collected from a South American strewn field.

Research Group Alums:


Kevin Gaastra (2014-2017)
Undergraduate Researcher

Kevin was involved in multiple projects involving technical computing within the group as well as analyzing samples from the Midcontinent Rift. He ran numerical simulations of impact crater development in order to develop constraints on the development of the Slate Islands impact structure and is a developer of paleomagnetic data analysis software as part of the PmagPy project (https://github.com/Caoimhinmg). He is currently a PhD student at Rice University.


Marissa Tremblay
Email: mtremblay@berkeley.edu

As a second project early in her PhD studies at Berkeley, Marissa worked on the record of Neoproterozoic global change from the Tambien Group of northern Ethiopia. In addition to developing stratigraphic field data, Marissa’s work on the project focused on developing a time-calibrated strontium isotope record to quantify and interpret rates of isotopic change in the time period leading up to the first Neoproterozoic glacial epoch. Marissa is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the  Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre breaking new ground in noble gas geochemistry

Courtney Sprain
Email: spra0111@berkeley.edu

In addition to her work at the Berkeley Geochronology Center with Paul Renne on late Cretaceous Earth history, Courtney worked on developing on the records of late Mesoproterozoic paleogeography and paleointensity from the North American Midcontinent Rift in the UC Berkeley Paleomagnetism Lab. This work led to some of the most robust paleointensity estimates currently available for the Proterozoic. Courtney is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Liverpool.


Taylor Kilian
Postdoctoral researcher
Email: taylor.kilian@gmail.com

Taylor worked on multiple projects in the lab related to Proterozoic paleogeography including new analyses of the Umkondo large igneous province sills from Botswana as well as paleomagnetic research on Neoproterozoic and Paleozoic stratigraphy of volcanics and sediments from the Zavkhan Terrane of Mongolia. Check out some of his GPlates animations constraining the relative positioning between the Laurentia and Kalahari cratons 1.1 billion years ago: http://www.swanson-hysell.org/research/umkondo-lip. He is now a data scientist based out of San Francisco.

Eliel Anttila (2015-2016)
Undergraduate Researcher

Eliel spent June and July of 2015 working with the research team in northern Ethiopia and wrote a senior thesis based on his research. His work focused on new mapping of the rocks of the Tambien Group within the Samre fold/thrust belt where he and the the research team discovered abundant new exposure of the Negash Diamictite which is interpreted to be associated with the ca. 720 Ma Sturtian glaciation. He is currently a PhD student at Harvard University.

Sonia Tikoo
Postdoctoral researcher (2013-2015)
Email: smtikoo@berkeley.edu

Sonia’s research at Berkeley focused on testing the shock remanent magnetization hypothesis in the Slate Islands Impact Structure with the goal of advancing scientific understanding of planetary magnetization processes. She is now an Assistant Professor of Planetary Sciences in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers University.

Gunnar Speth
Undergraduate Research Assistant and Post-undergraduate Researcher (2014-2015)

Gunnar worked with sample from the Slate Islands and the Keweenawan Midcontinent Rift. His work focused on mineral separation and paleomagnetic analyses. Gunnar left Berkeley to start graduate school at Western Washington University in Fall of 2015.