Dr. Einat Aharonov
Dept. of Environmental Science and Energy Research
Weizmann Institute of Science
76100 Rehovot, ISRAEL
Tel.: 972-8-9344228  
Fax: 972-8-9344124

Research interests:

I study the dynamics of the solid Earth. Especially I am interested in complex systems, where there are feedbacks, non-linearities, or an interesting interplay between the different scales on which physical and chemical processes occur. My research uses equations, computer modeling, and experiments to understand processes and then constrain them by using field work and other observations.

Some of my current research topics:

Flow and reaction in porous media: fluids (like lava or water), which can precipitate or dissolve minerals, change the rock through which they are flowing. Together with P. Kelemen (WHOI) and M. Spiegelman (LDEO), we have shown that the feedback between the fluid's chemical composition and the geometry of the matrix are important in understanding modes of melt extraction from the Earth's mantle and understanding formation of geological structures in sedimentary basins. We have suggested that "channels" of melt probably flow in the mantle (and this has been confirmed by field data) and discovered why and how some fractures in the crust quickly and repeatedly seal.

Diagenesis, Sealing and Pressure solution: Together with the rock mechanics group in LDEO (headed by C. Scholz) we have experimentally and theoretically studied the evolution of sedimentary rocks due to compaction, dissolution and precipitation, and the effects of these processes on permeability and porosity of these rocks. We have provided a chemical-physical model to explain the evolution of experimental samples. Currently we are using similar approaches to study pressure solution.

Granular dynamics: The behavior of a large collection of solid grains (such as a bucket of sand) is quite complex. Granular media sometimes display solid, other times liquid, behaviors. The lack of fundamental understanding of these behaviors hampers our understanding of many Earth systems, from Earthquakes to landslides and to eroding soils. In our study of granular media we use a discrete element computer model to study the complex dynamics that arise from simple interactions between a large number of grains. D. sparks (TAMU) and myself  use this model to simulate "fault gouge"- the crushed up granular region that forms in the heart of shearing geological fault zones. Such gouge zones are the place where Earthquakes nucleate and propagate, but their dynamics are poorly understood. We also use our model to study the dynamics of landslides. We have recently found and began to understand the phase transition that occurs between the solid and liquid-like aggregate behaviors.



Student opportunities

some useful links:

USGS earthquake research

 USGS info site

 useful granular  page