Marc W. Spiegelman

Arthur D. Storke Memorial Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Professor of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics; Chair, Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics

208 & 211 S.W. Mudd 
Mail Code 4701

Tel(212) 853-8738
Fax(212) 854-8257

Marc Spiegelman develops theoretical and computational tools to understand the dynamics and observable consequences of fluid flow in strongly deformable porous media. In particular, his group has been extending magma migration theory into a more general one that describes the interactions between solids and fluids in the earth.   Current application areas include the flow of magma and fluids in the deep earth, reactive cracking for geological carbon sequestration, and the general integration of computational thermodynamics and geodynamics.   He also has interests in the role of fluids in the earthquake process and deformation in water-ice systems.  

Research Interests

Advanced computation for multi-physics problems with applications to coupled fluid-solid mechanics in Earth Sciences (e.g. magma dynamics, carbon sequestration).

His computational research focuses on methods and software for more flexible exploration and solution of these and other multi-physics problems.  In particular, his group has developed the open-source software package, TerraFERMA, that leverages several advanced computational libraries (FEniCS/PETSc/Spud) into a flexible model building systems for transparent and reproducible finite element modeling of multi-physics problems.     

Spiegelman received a B.A. in Geology from Harvard University in 1985 and a PhD in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Cambridge in 1989.  He holds a joint appointment between the Departments of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics (APAM) and Earth and Environmental Sciences (DEES) where he is an Arthur D. Storke Memorial Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences.  He is also a member of the senior staff at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) and has multiple collaborations to integrate theoretical models with Lamont's strong observational and experimental programs in petrology, geochemistry, and mantle and cryosphere dynamics.


  • Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University 1997-2000
  • Associate Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University 1991-1997
  • Lamont Post-doctoral Fellow, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University 1989-91


  • Professor, DEES/APAM Columbia University, 2008
  • Associate Professor, DEES/APAM, Columbia University, 2000-2008
  • Storke-Doherty Lecturer, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 1997-1999


  • Society of Columbia Graduates' Great Teacher Award in Columbia College for the 2022/2023
  • Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU)  2022
  • Columbia Engineering Alumni Association's Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award 2020
  • SEAS Alumni Teaching Award 2004
  • SEAS Kim Award 2004
  • DEES Outstanding Teaching Award 1998 & 2002
  • Marshall Scholar 1985


  • Wilson, Cian R., Marc Spiegelman, and Peter E. van Keken. "TerraFERMA: The transparent finite element rapid model assembler for multiphysics problems in earth sciences." Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 18.2 (2017): 769-810.
  • May, Dave A., and Marc Spiegelman. "Computational Models of Rock Failure." EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts. Vol. 19. 2017.
  • Wilson, C.R., Spiegelman, M., van Keken, P.E., Hacker, B.R., 2014. Fluid flow in subduction zones: The role of solid rheology and compaction pressure. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 401, 261–274. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2014.05.052
  • Rudge, J., Bercovici, D., Spiegelman, M., 2011. Disequilibrium melting of a two phase multicomponent mantle. Geophysical J. International 184, 699–718. doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2010.04870.x
  • Simpson, G., Spiegelman, M., 2011. Solitary Wave Benchmarks in Magma Dynamics. J Sci Comput. doi:10.1007/s10915-011-9461-y
  • Spiegelman, M., 1993. Flow in deformable porous media. Part 1 Simple Analysis, Part II Numerical Analysis, Journal of Fluid Mechanics 247, 17–38. doi:10.1017/S0022112093000369