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215 746-0090
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Office Location: 
160 Hayden Hall

David L. Goldsby

Associate Professor


  • Ph.D. (1997) Geophysics, University of Minnesota
  • M.S.  (1990) Geophysics, Indiana University
  • B.S.  (1987) Geology, Eastern Illinois University

Research Interests

My overall research interest is in mineral and rock physics, with an emphasis on the rheological behavior of Earth and planetary materials. I am an experimental geophysicist who applies theories and methods of materials science to understand geophysical processes at large scales. Experiments are conducted at high confining pressure and at ambient pressure, at high temperatures in the case of materials like olivine and at cryogenic emperatures in the case of ice and other cryomaterials. One particular focus of my research has been grain size-sensitive flow of materials, a creep behavior which involves grain boundary sliding. This flow behavior dominates at lower stresses than for dislocation creep, and therefore can control the rheological behavior of materials in low-deviatoric-stress natural environments, such as in glaciers and icy satellites, as well as in the interiors of the Earth and other planets.

Selected Publications

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 in olivine reconcile predictions of lithospheric strength, submitted to Science

Behn, M., Goldsby, D.L. and Hirth, J.G., Grain size evolution in ice sheets, in preparation for submission to Journal of Glaciology

Goldsby, D.L., Tullis, T.E. and Okazaki, K., Dynamic fault weakening due to thermal pressurization of pore fluids: Experimental constraints, in preparation for submission to Science

Qi, C., Goldsby, D.L. and Prior, D.J., The transition from grain boundary migration to lattice rotation CPOs with increasing stress in experimentally deformed ice, submitted, Earth and Planetary Science Letters

Elmi, C., Chen, J., Goldsby, D.L. and Gieré, R., Mineralogical and compositional features of rock fulgurites: a record of lightning effects on granite, in review, American Mineralogist

Klein, F., Goldsby, D.L., Lin, J. and Andreani, M., Soapstone lubricates the San Andreas Fault, in review, Geology

Tian, K., Gosvami, N.N., Goldsby, D.L., Carpick, R.W., Liu, Y. and Szlufarska, I., Load and time dependence of interfacial chemical bond-induced friction at the nanoscale, in review, Physical Review Letters

Caswell, T. E., Cooper, R.F. and Goldsby, D.L., The constant-hardness creep compliance of polycrystalline ice, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 6261–6268, doi:10.1002/2015GL064666, 2015.

Prior, D.J., Lilly, K., Seidemann, M., Vaughan, M., Becroft, L., Easingwood, R., Diebold, S., Obbard, R., Daghlian, C., Baker, I., Caswell, T., Golding, N., Goldsby, D.L., Durham, W.B., Piazolo, S. and Wilson, C.J.L., Making EBSD of ice routine, accepted, J. Microscopy, 237-256, 2015.

Beeler, N.M., Tullis, T.E., Junger, J., Kilgore, B., and Goldsby, D.L., Laboratory constraints on earthquake recurrence interval, J. Geophys. Res., 119, 8770-8791, 2014.   

Passelegue, F.X., Goldsby, D.L., and Fabbri, O, The influence of ambient fault temperature on flash-heating phenomena, Geophys. Res. Lett., DOI: 10.1002/2013GL058374, 2014.

Prior, D.J., Diebold, S., Obbard, R., Daghlian, C., Goldsby, D.L., Durham, W.B., and Baker, I., Insight into the phase transformations between ice Ih and ice II from electron backscatter diffraction data, Scripta Materialia 66, 69-72, 2012.

Goldsby, D.L. and Tullis, T.E., Flash heating leads to low frictional strength of crustal rocks at earthquake slip rates, Science, 334, 216-218, 2011.

Li, Q., Tullis, T.E., Goldsby, D.L. and Carpick, R.W., Frictional ageing from interfacial bonding and the origins of rate and state friction, Nature, 480, 233-236 doi:10.1038/nature10589, 2011.

Kohli, A.H., Goldsby, D.L. Hirth, J.G. and Tullis, T.E., Flash weakening of serpentinite at near-seismic slip rates, J. Geophys. Res.,  116, 18 pp., doi:10.1029/2010JB007833, 2011.

Durham, W. B., Prieto-Ballesteros, O., Goldsby, D.L. and Kargel, J., Rheological and thermal properties of icy materials, Space Sci. Rev., 153, 273-298, doi: 10.1007/s11214-009-9619-1, 2010.

Goldsby, D.L., Superplastic flow of ice relevant to glacier and ice sheet mechanics, in Glaciology and Earth's Changing Environment, edited by P. Knight, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, 527 pp., 2006.

Goldsby, D.L., A. Rar, G.M. Pharr, and T.E. Tullis, Nanoindention creep of quartz, with implications for rate and state-variable friction laws relevant to earthquake mechanics, J. Mater. Res., 19, 357-365, 2004.

DiToro, G., Goldsby, D.L., and Tullis, T.E., Friction falls toward zero at seismic slip rates, Nature, 427, 436-439, 2004.

Goldsby, D.L., and T.E. Tullis, Low frictional strength of quartz rocks at subseismic slip rates, Geophys. Res. Lett., 29, 1844, doi:10.1029/2002GL015240, 2002.

Goldsby, D.L. and D.L. Kohlstedt, Superplastic deformation of ice: Experimental observations, J. Geophys. Res., 106, 11017-11030, 2001.

Peltier, W.R., Goldsby, D.L., Kohlstedt, D.L., and Tarasov, L., Ice-age ice-sheet rheology: constraints from the Last Glacial Maximum form of the Laurentide ice sheet, Annals Glaciol., 30, 163-176, 2000.

Courses Taught

GEOL318 - Glaciology

GEOL453 - Introduction to Physical Hydrology

GEOL420 - Introduction to Solid Earth Geophysics

GEOL750 - Papers We Love - Great Topics in Earth Science


American Geophysical Union

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