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Office Location: 
Hayden Hall 451

Christopher A. Thom

PhD Candidate


  • A.B. (2011-2014) with Research Distinction, Geochemistry, Washington University in St. Louis 
  • Ph.D Candidate (2014-present), Earth and Environmental Science (Geophysics focus), University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests

I am interested in the mechanics of earthquake nucleation as well as the general behavior of faults.  My current research uses atomic force microscopy, white light interferometry, and nanoindentation to examine the scale dependences of strength and roughness in exhumed faults to determine how stresses are distributed in a fault system.  

Selected Publications

Thom, C.A., Brodsky, E.E., Carpick, R.W., Pharr, G.M., Oliver, W.C., and Goldsby, D.L., Nanoscale roughness of natural fault surfaces controlled by scale-dependent yield strength. Geophysical Research Letters, 44, (2017). DOI: 10.1002/2017GL074663 

Kumamoto, K. M., Thom, C.A., Wallis, D., Hansen, L.N., Armstrong, D.E.J., Warren, J.M., Goldsby, D.L., and Wilkinson, A.J., Size effects resolve discrepancies in 40 years of work on olivine plasticity. Science Advances, 3, e1701338 (2017). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701338

Thom, C.A., Carpick, R.W., and Goldsby, D.L., Constraints on the physical mechanism of frictional aging of rocks from nanoindentation. (submitted).


  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • Geological Society of America (GSA)
  • Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC)
  • Advanced Photon Source (APS)

Department of Earth and Environmental Science / University of Pennsylvania, 251 Hayden Hall, 240 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6316