Recent Alumni and Senior Theses

This page contains a repository for senior papers in the Yale Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, since 2009.  Titles link to downloadable PDF files.  Papers from 2007 and earlier years are stored in hardcopy in the Yale geology library.  Please consult the Orbis online catalog of the Yale library, under the series call number QE1 Y34.

Abbreviations for the five “tracks” of the EPS major: AOC = Atmosphere, Ocean, and Climate; Env = Environmental and Energy Geoscience; Geol = Geology and Natural Resources (BA); Paleo = Paleontology and Geobiology; Solid = Solid Earth Science.


Sophie Lai (BS Env, double major with Economics), The Carbonation of Serpentinites in the Orange-Milford Belt, Connecticut, USA (Jay Ague, adviser)

William Lawrence (BS Solid„ double major with Chemistry), Raman Spectroscopy of Carbonaceous Material: Peak Metamorphic Temperatures of Matrix Surrounding High-Grade Blocks in the Franciscan Complex (Mark Brandon, adviser)

Selena Martinez (BS Paleo), I Need [Morpho]Space: Determining the Affinity of Fossil Xantusiid Jaws with Implications for Post-KPg Squamate Diversity (Roxanne Armfield, adviser)

Tasman Rosenfeld (BS Paleo), Stable Oxygen Isotopes from Skeletal Carbonates as a Proxy for Habitat in Extant and Extinct Testudines (Jacques Gauthier, Jordan Wostbrock, advisers)

William Strauch (BS Solid), Nuclear Fusion: A Primer (Jay Ague, adviser)

Alex Waller (BS Paleo), Predicting the Role of Enhanced Rock Weathering Relative to Future Carbon Emissions for the Great Barrier Reef (Noah Planavsky, adviser)

Sherry Xu (BS Env, double major with Environmental Studies), Exploring the Controls on Marine Habitat Availability and Ecosystem Function through Time with Idealized Model Worlds (Pincelli Hull, adviser)

Raymond Zhao (BS Env), Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Panel Identification and Fault Detection Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): A Case Study of a 0.5 MW PV System (Xuhui Lee, adviser)


Colin Baciocco (BS AOC), The Impact of Improved Surface Boundaary Conditions on Titan’s Climate Patterns (Juan Lora, adviser)

Chiara Chung-Halpern (BS Solid), Reconnaissance Paleomagnetism of the Northern Rehoboth Basement Inlier, Namibia (David Evans, adviser)

Vuong Mai (BS Physics & Geosciences), Paleomagnetic Regional Survey of Late Magmatic and Sedimentary Rocks of the Southern Rehoboth Basement Inlier (David Evans, adviser)

Patrick Perry (BS Paleo), Lithological and Taxonomic Bias for Silicification in Devonian New York (Derek Briggs, adviser)

Emery Wallace (BS Paleo), Hypothesis for the Evolution of Flight in Chiroptera by Comparison to Aves (Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, adviser)

Mary Yap (BS AOC), Understanding the Influence of Topography on Titan’s Asymmetric Lake Distribution (Juan Lora, adviser)


Nadia Grisaru (BS), Thesis: Applying the Re-Os Isotope System to a Survey of Cratonic Bedrock in Northeastern Canada (Alan Rooney, adviser)

Lindsay Hogan (BS AOC), Thesis: Air-Sea Fluxes in the Western Tropical Atlantic (Ronald Smith, adviser)

Arianna Lord (BS Paleo), Thesis: Snout Scale Development in Alligator Mississippiensis and the Ancestral Condition of Keratinized Structures in the Reptilian Face (Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, adviser)

Sofia Menemenlis (BS AOC, double major with Global Affairs), Thesis: Extreme Precipitation and Atmospheric Rivers in a Model of Pliocene Climate (Juan Lora, adviser)

Daniel Monteagudo (BS AOC), Thesis: Satellite-based Permafrost Mapping and Climate Trend Analysis in Northern North America  (Ronald Smith, adviser)

Katrina White (BS, double major with Economics), Thesis: Macroalgae and sediments as records of seawater ​187Os/​188​Os  composition in the Long Island Sound (Alan Rooney, adviser)


Emily Chu (BS Solid, double major with Engineering Science-Mechanical). Essay: The Relationship of Seismic Hazard and Building Codes in Supercities (Maureen Long, adviser)

Christoph Funke (BS AOC, double major with Applied Mathematics). Thesis: Computing Pressure Fields Over Laboratory Water Waves using Particle Image Velocimetry Data (Mary-Louise Timmermans, adviser)

Cerys Holstege (BS Paleo). Thesis: Toward an Understanding of Phosphorus Cycling on Waterworlds (Noah Planavsky, adviser)

Seamus Houlihan (BS Solid, double major with Ecology and Evolutionary Biology). Thesis: Paleomagnetism of ca. 750 Ma Syenite Dykes of the Southern Congo Craton, Northern Namibia (David Evans, adviser)

Danya Levy (BS AOC). Thesis: Predicting Past and Future Variations in Global Mean Surface Temperature with a Simple Model (Alexey Fedorov, adviser)

Chenyu Ma (BS Env, double major with Environmental Studies). Thesis: A GIS-based Analysis on the Capacity and Feasibility of Pumped Hydropower Storage Facilities in Tibet (Michael Oristaglio, adviser)

Clara Ma (BS AOC, double major with Political Science). Thesis: Arctic Climate Change in Numerical Experiments with Abrupt CO2 Increase (Alexey Fedorov, adviser)


Ariege Besson (BS AOC, double major with Ethnicity, Race & Migration). Essay: Weighing Earth, Tracking Water: Hydrological Applications of Data from GRACE Satellites (Ronald Smith, adviser)

Theodore Kuhn (BS Solid). Thesis: Al-in-Hornblende Barometry of Southern New England Intrusions and Comparison with Metamorphic Bathograds (Jay Ague, adviser)

Holden Leslie-Bole (BS AOC, double major with Engineering Science-Mechanical). Thesis: Global Climate Impacts of the AMOC Slowdown Caused by Arctic Sea Ice Decline (Alexey Fedorov, adviser)

Martha Longley (BS Env). Thesis: Lithium as a Proxy for Silicate Weathering during the Southeast Asian Monsoon (Noah Planavsky, adviser)

Peter Mahony (BA Geol, double major with Economics). Thesis: Detrital Zircon Geochronology and Vitrinite Reflectance Analysis of the Cascadia Subduction Complex, Washington (Mark Brandon, adviser)

Sophie Ruehr (BS Env). Thesis: The Oasis Effect: Evaluating Intrinsic Biophysical Mechanism Theory and its Implications for Sustainable Water Management in Zhangye, Gansu, China (Xuhui Lee, adviser)

Madison Shankle (BS AOC, double major with Environmental Engineering). Thesis: Global Influences on the Indian Monsoon: Testing Existing Hypotheses with Climate Indices (Ronald Smith, adviser)


Juan Aragon, Thesis: SKS splitting and seismic anisotropy beneath the Mid-Atlantic Appalachians using data from the MAGIC FlexArray experiment (Maureen Long, adviser)

Derek Brown, Essay: Hydraulic Fracturing and its Impact on Renewable Energy Development (Michael Oristaglio, adviser)

Annie Bui, Thesis: The Feasibility of Implementing Carbon Capture and Storage at Yale (Michael Oristaglio, adviser)

Khalid Cannon, Essay: Reviewing Crude Oil Extraction Methods and Investigating Innovative Improvements (Jay Ague, adviser)

Adrienne Gau, Thesis: Structure and evolution of the unique pseudosuchian auricular region from the Late Triassic to the present (Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, adviser)

Lily Hahn, Thesis: Impact of Cloud Phase Composition on the Climate Response to Obliquity Forcing (Trude Storelvmo, adviser)

John McNamara, Thesis: A Fluid Dynamics Approach to Planetesimal Formation (David Bercovici, adviser)

Torren Peebles, Essay: Development of Hubbert’s Peak Oil Theory and Analysis of its Continued Validity for U.S. Crude Oil Production (Jay Ague, adviser)

Adam Sokol, Thesis: Aerosols, Ice Supersaturation, and Cirrus Clouds in the Southern Hemisphere: Comparison of Aircraft Observations with Two Global Climate Models (Trude Storelvmo, adviser)

Jordan Vargas, Essay: Mars: A Primer on Modern Research and the Martian Past (Jun Korenaga, adviser)


Chris Bowman, A High Resolution Stable Isotope Analysis of Middle Eocene Planktonic Foraminifera (Pincelli Hull, adviser)

Paige Breen, Creating an extensive, multi-species planktonic isotope record at an Eocene-Oligocene high latitude site (Pincelli Hull, adviser)

Luke Cartwright, Reversing the effects of the Patagonian ice sheet on the southern Andes (Mark Brandon, adviser)

Martha Cosgrove, A Paleoelevation History of the Southern Patagonian Andes from Hydrated Volcanic Glass (Mark Brandon, adviser)

Eric Fein, SKS and SKKS Splitting Beneath Alaska: Evidence for Anisotropy in the Lower Mantle (Maureen Long, adviser)

Matthew Goldklang, Carbonate Clumped Isotope Thermometry of Bulk Planktonic Foraminifera (Mark Pagani and Pincelli Hull, advisers)

Sara Kahanamoku-Snelling, Sizing up community structure: exploring latitudinal gradients in Eastern Pacific Patellogastropoda (Mollusca, Gastropoda) body size with high-throughput morphometric imaging (Pincelli Hull, adviser)

Parker LIautaud, Isotopic Composition of Near-Surface Snow Across Antarctica (Ronald Smith, adviser)

Samantha Lichtin, Variance in Orca Basin compound-specific GDGT δ13C: Implications for source, sink, and paleoclimate interpretations (Mark Pagani and Pincelli Hull, advisers)

Ivette López , Seismic anisotropy beneath the northeastern United States: An investigation of SKS splitting at long-running seismic stations (Maureen Long, adviser)

Tess Maggio, Old and new climate proxies with foraminifera: Providing geochemical evidence for porosity as a proxy for metabolism, and investigating the validity of I/Ca as a new redox proxy (Pincelli Hull, adviser)

Maya Midzik, Monitoring harmful algal blooms in Lake Champlain with MODIS and Landsat 8 OLI remote sensing data (Ronald Smith, adviser)

Viktor Nesheim, Mineral Carbon Sequestration and Theoretical Constraints on CO2 Removal (David Bercovici, adviser)

Astrid Pacini, The relationship of water isotopes to orographic precipitation and regional climate (Mark Brandon, adviser)

Gabriel Roy Liguori, An analysis on the influence of a horizontal axis wind turbine on the ambient electric field (Ronald Smith, adviser)

Jane Smyth, Responses of the hydrological cycle to solar forcings (Trude Storelvmo, adviser)

Christine Tsai, Cloud Thermodynamic Phase in the Radiation Budget and its Determination Using Remote Sensing Technology (Ronald Smith, adviser)

Rain Tsong, Re-examination of Li isotopic ratios as a weathering proxy: a core-top calibration (Trude Storelvmo, adviser)

Olivia Walker, Refining the Paleomagnetism of the Congo Craton, Northern Namibia (David Evans, adviser)

XinXin Xu, Paleomagnetism of Mesoproterozoic Lavas in the Barby Formation of the Sinclair region, southern Namibia  (David Evans, adviser)


George Adesanya,  Essay: Fugitive methane: The promise and pitfalls of the shale gas revolution (Michael Oristaglio, adviser)

Christian Brown, Thesis: Exploring the evolution of oxygen on the early Earth: Constraining the Great Oxidation Event through the utilization of uranium isotopes (Noah Planavsky, adviser)

Leah Campbell, Essay: Complex seismic anisotropy beneath Germany from *KS shear wave splitting and anisotropic receiver function analysis (Maureen Long, adviser)

Marjorie Hirs,  Essay: Experimental studies in melting pyroxenite (Kanani Lee, adviser)

Tierney Larson, Thesis: Mesoproterozoic paleomagnetism of the southern Congo Craton (David Evans, adviser)

Maggie Lynn,  Essay: Mercury: from source to sink, considerations for fish consumption advisories in the State of Connecticut (Gaboury Benoit, adviser)

Johanna Press, Thesis: Remote monitoring of suspended solids in the San Francisco Bay estuary (Ronald Smith, adviser)

Philippa Stoddard, Thesis: Light carbon stable isotopes in aragonite veins, Lopez Island, WA: Evidence for deep life? (Mark Brandon, adviser)

XinXin Xu, Essay: Seismic anisotropy in the lower mantle underneath North America from SKS-SKKS splitting discrepancies (Maureen Long, adviser)


Max Andersen (BS Env, double major with Environmental Engineering).  Essay: Paleotempestology: Exploring methods to develop tropical storm records in response to theoretical interactions between changing climates and hurricane intensity (Mark Pagani, adviser)

Stella Cao (BS Env).  Essay: Natural gas flare reduction: Case studies in Russia, Nigeria, and the United States (Michael Oristaglio and Brian Skinner, advisers)

Wendy DeWolf (BS Env).  Thesis: Investigating the glacial and topographic history of the central Patagonian Andes using (U-Th)/He thermochronology (Mark Brandon, adviser)

Sarah Ditchek (BS AOC).  Thesis: A genesis potential index for Asian-Australian monsoon low pressure systems (William Boos, adviser)

Abigail Eurich (BS Env).  Thesis: Examining the boron isotope-pH proxy: the role of vital effects on d11B of Porites coral and implications for proxy use (Zhengrong Wang, adviser)

Emily Farr (BS Env).  Thesis:  Gas transfer velocities in small forested ponds: Toward an understanding of carbon cycling in small inland waters (Peter Raymond, adviser)

Frieda Fein (BS Env, double major with Political Science).  Thesis: Temperature dependence of phosphate content in Thermus thermophilus: Characterizing the source of temperature signatures recorded in dissolved phosphate oxygen isotope ratios (Ruth Blake, adviser).

Beata Fiszer (BS Env).  Thesis: Modeling the relationship between stable isotopes in precipitation and mountain elevation (Mark Brandon, adviser)

William Gearty (BS Paleo).  Thesis:  Resolving the relationships of the squamate tree of life: An assessment of new approaches and problems (Jacques Gauthier, adviser)

Allegra Gordon (BS Env).  Thesis: An analysis of satellite skin temperatures in the Beaufort Sea region in conjunction with in-situ air temperature measurements (Mary-Louise Timmermans, adviser)

Jenna Hessert (BS Solid, double major with Environmental Engineering).  Thesis: Paleomagnetic baked-contact tests in the Mesoproterozoic Sinclair region of Namibia (David Evans, adviser)

Ryan Laemel (BS Env).  Thesis: Late Cenozoic glacial erosion and relief change in Fjord Steffen and Cordon Los Nadis of the Patagonian Andes from apatite (U-Th)/He thermochronology (Mark Brandon, adviser)

Nicole Shibley (BS Physics).  Thesis:  The Arctic’s Atlantic water double-diffusive staircase: From the basin boundaries to the interior (Mary-Louise Timmermans, adviser).

Wells Thorne (BS Paleo, double major with Theater Studies).  Thesis: Paleoecology and preservation of faunal assemblages in phosphatic nodules from the Pennsylvanian Midcontinent (Derek Briggs, adviser)

Robert Young (BS Paleo).  Thesis: Laboratory testing of a substrate mechanism for decay inhibition and exceptional preservation (Derek Briggs, adviser)


Anthony Fragoso (BS Physics).  Thesis:  On the formation of icicles: Compositional supercooling and instabilities in a free boundary problem (John Wettlaufer, adviser)

Jennifer Kasbohm (BS Solid, double major with Humanities).  Thesis: A paleomagnetic reanalysis of the Auborus Formation, Namibia (David Evans, adviser)

Florence Loi (BS Solid).  Essay:  Asbestos: Yesterday’s insulator of public buildings, today’s threat to public health (Catherine Skinner, adviser)

Eli Mitchell-Larson (BS Env, double major with Environmental Studies).  Thesis: Temperature and salinity variability recorded by Cladocora caespitosa: a multi-proxy analysis of a shallow-water Mediterranean coral (Mark Pagani, adviser)

Benjamin Mullet (BS Physics).  Thesis: Markov chain Monte Carlo inversion for the rheology of olivine single crystals (Jun Korenaga, adviser)

Natalee Pei (BS Env, double major with East Asian Studies).  Essay:  The hydrologic issues associated with shale gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale (Brian Skinner, adviser)

Evan Sniderman (BS Solid, double major with Economics).  Thesis: Detrital zircon geochronology and provenance analysis of Scotland Group sediments, Barbados (Mark Brandon, adviser)

Alexandra Turrini (BS Physics).  Thesis: Analysis and modeling of aerosol effects on temperature change: Comparison of trends in radiation data to atmospheric models (Trude Storelvmo, adviser)

Ilya Uts (BS Physics).  Thesis: Effect of laser annealing of pressure gradients in a diamond anvil cell using common solid pressure media (Kanani Lee, adviser).

Thomas Winger (BS Solid).  Thesis: Pressure solution mass transfer of the Purgatory Conglomerate (Mark Brandon, adviser)

Cole Yeager (BS Env).  Thesis: Hawaiian Picrite Basalt (ML647-2B) reactivity with CO2-bearing solution on a microscale: Implications for carbon sequestration via mineral trapping (Zhengrong Wang, adviser)


Nicolas Casasanto (BA Geol).  Essay: Frack Attack: Weighing the debate over the hazards of shale gas production (Jay Ague, adviser)

Catherine Chamberlin (BS Chemistry).  Thesis: Using δD in Biological n-alkanes for Altimetry Purposes in New Zealand (Mark Pagani, adviser)

Lucila Dunnington (BS Solid).  Thesis: Mineral reactions during natural carbon sequestration in low-permeability rocks (Jay Ague, adviser)

Margaret McCall (BS AOC).  Thesis: Changes in the character of the Pacific Water in the Central Canada Basin from 2004-2012 (Mary-Louise Timmermans, adviser)

Daksha Rajagopalan (BS Physics).  Thesis: Characterizing fjord oceanography near tidewater glaciers Kronebreen and Kongsvegen, in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard (Mary-Louise Timmermans, adviser)

Joseph O’Rourke (BS Solid; double major with Physics and Astronomy).  Thesis: Thermal and chemical evolution of Venus and super-Venus planets (Jun Korenaga, adviser)

Rick Russotto (BS AOC).  Thesis: Microphysical Modeling of Cloud Droplet Activation over Dominica (Trude Storelvmo, adviser)


Alexandra Andrews (BS Solid).  Thesis: The effect of diffusion on P-T conditions inferred by cation-exchange thermobarometry (Zhengrong Wang, adviser)

Roxanne Carini (BS Applied Math).  Thesis: Crack formation in desiccated colloidal suspensions (John Wettlaufer, adviser)

Matthew Ramlow (BA Geol; double major with Environmental Studies).  Essay: Sources of error within stable isotope and carbonate dissolution measurements of early Paleocene hyperthermals (Mark Pagani, adviser)

Ariel Revan (BS Paleo).  Thesis: Reconstructing an icon: Historical significance of the Peabody’s mounted skeleton of Stegosaurus and the changes necessary to make it correct anatomically (Jacques Gauthier, adviser)

Jake Sayler (BS Paleo).  Thesis: A new species of baenid turtle from the Upper Cretaceous of North Dakota and a revised maximum parsimony phylogenetic analysis of Paracryptodira (Jacques Gauthier, adviser)

Natasha Vitek (BS Paleo).  Thesis: Giant fossil soft-shelled turtles of North America (Jacques Gauthier, adviser) Link to published version

Chelsea Willett (BS Solid).  Thesis: History of long-term glacial erosion in the Patagonian Andes (Mark Brandon, adviser)


Lee Christoffersen (BA Geol; double major with BS in Environmental Engineering).  Essay: A strategic metal for green technology: The geologic occurrence and global life cycle of lithium (Jay Ague, adviser)

Sarah Dewey (BS AOC).  Thesis: Observations of shear-driven mixing in Arctic winter high-wind events using ice-tethered profilers (Mary-Louise Timmermans, adviser)

Rebecca Jackson (BS Physics).  Thesis: Entrainment in turbulent gravity currents (John Wettlaufer, adviser)

Sophia Merrifield (BS Physics; double major with BS in Mechanical Engineering).  Essay: El Niño hindcast with a simple dynamical model (Alexey Fedorov, adviser)

Michele Trickey (BS Physics).  Thesis: Atmospheric physics in coastal Ecuador:  Establishing a daily rainfall cycle in a climatic transition zone (Ronald Smith, adviser)


Claire Bucholz (BS Solid).  Thesis: Fluid flow and Al transport during quartz-kyanite vein formation, Unst, Shetland Islands, Scotland (Jay Ague, adviser)  Link to published version

Andrew Delman (BS Solid).  Thesis: Erosion and overwash: Tracking and numerical modeling of coastal barrier evolution at Little Homer pond, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts (Jay Ague, adviser; with Andrew Ashton, WHOI)

Abigail Fraeman (BS Solid).  Thesis: The thermal evolution of Mars modulated by mantle melting (Jun Korenaga, adviser) Link to published version

Kimberly Lau (BS Paleo).  Thesis: Paleoecology and Paleobiogeography of the New York Appalachian Basin Eurypterids (Derek Briggs, adviser)

Ian Rose (BS Solid).  Thesis: Paleomagnetism of mafic dikes in the northern Pilbara craton, Western Australia (David Evans, adviser)

Nathaniel Wilson (BS Solid).  Thesis: Modeling Patagonian ice sheet extent during past glaciations (Mark Brandon, adviser)

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