Nicholas C Schmerr

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Nicholas C Schmerr

  • SEISMOLOGIST
  • 301.614.5223
  • NASA/GSFC
  • Mail Code: 698
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: Science Collaborator
  • Research Interests

    Exploring the Deep Interiors of Planets

    My primary research interest is in deciphering the formation, dynamics, and evolution of planetary surfaces and interiors. This research requires knowledge across a wide variety of scientific disciplines, in particular geophysics, geodynamics, geology, geochemistry, tectonics, mineral physics, petrology, as well as astronomy and cosmochemistry. I am extremely interested in how the physical and chemical properties of rocks and minerals are related to the evolution and dynamics of planetary surfaces and interiors.  I use seismology to explore the relationship between deep internal structure and surface processes and tectonics. While the majority of my work has involved seismic imaging of the Earth and Moon's mantles, I am also interested in using seismology to detect compositional and thermal anomalies within other planetary interiors as constraints on their dynamical evolution. My research interests extend to the study of seismic wave propagation in rocky and icy bodies and the use of seismic arrays for detailed structural analysis of the deep Earth.

    More details are available on my personal webpage.

    Positions/Employment

    9/2010 - Present

    NASA Postdoctoral Position Fellow

    Oak Ridge Associated Universities, NASA-GSFC Code 698 Greenbelt, MD 20771
    7/2011 - Present

    Visiting Scientist

    Department of Geology, University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD
    9/2010 - Present

    Visiting Scientist

    Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington 5241 Broad Branch Rd. NW Washington, DC 20015
    9/2008 - 9/2010

    Department of Terrestrial Magnetism Postdoctoral Fellow

    Carnegie Institution of Washington, CIW-DTM 5241 Broad Branch Rd NW Washington, DC 20015
    9/2001 - 9/2008

    Graduate Research Assistant

    School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University Box 871404 Tempe, AZ

    Current Projects

    Planetary Seismology and Geophysics

    Imaging the depth, sharpness, and elastic properties of upper mantle discontinuities, including the 410-km, 520-km, 660-km, LAB and upper mantle interfaces.  

    Modeling of 3-D wave propagation in the Moon and Earth using high frequency synthetic wave propagation codes.

    Combining constraints from seismology, mineral physics, geomagnetism, and gravity to constrain the internal structure of the Moon.

    Planetary seismology and promotion of future missions to deploy seismic instrumentation on bodies throughout the Solar System.

    Field Work

     Field deployments of seismometers:

    • Northwestern Canada (CANOE, 2003-2005)

    • Arizona (COARSE, 2005-2007)

    • High Lava Plains of eastern Oregon (HLP Project, 2008-2010).

    Publications

    Refereed

    Schmerr, N. C. 2012. "The Gutenberg Discontinuity: Melt at the Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Boundary." Science, 335 (6075): 1480-1483 [DOI:10.1126/science.1215433]

    Long, M., C. Till, K. Druken, et al. R. Carlson, L. Wagner, M. Fouch, D. James, T. Grove, N. C. Schmerr, and C. Kincaid. 2012. "Mantle dynamics beneath the Pacific Northwest and the generation of voluminous back-arc volcanism." GEOCHEMISTRY GEOPHYSICS GEOSYSTEMS, 13 (Q0AN01): 22 [doi:10.1029/2012GC004189]

    Rychert, C., N. C. Schmerr, and N. Harmon. 2012. "The Pacific lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary: Seismic imaging and anisotropic constraints from SS waveforms." GEOCHEMISTRY GEOPHYSICS GEOSYSTEMS, 13 (Q0AK10): 18 [doi:10.1029/2012GC004194]

    Schmerr, N. C., and C. Thomas. 2011. "Subducted Lithosphere Beneath the Kuriles from Migration of PP Precursors." Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 311: 101-111.

    Schmerr, N. C., E. Garnero, and A. McNamara. 2010. "Deep mantle plumes and convective upwelling beneath the Pacific Ocean." Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 394: 153-151.

    Schmerr, N. C., and E. Garnero. 2007. "Upper mantle discontinuity topography from thermal and chemical heterogeneity." Science, 318 (5850): 623-626.

    Schmerr, N. C., and E. Garnero. 2006. "Investigation of upper mantle discontinuity structure beneath the central Pacific using SS precursors." Journal of Geophysical Research, [doi:10.1029/2005JB004197]

    Kargel, J., R. Carlson, A. Davies, et al. B. Fegley, A. Gillespie, R. Greeley, R. Howell, K. Jessup, L. Kamp, L. Keszthelyi, R. Lopes, T. MacIntyre, F. Marchis, A. McEwen, M. Milazzo, J. Perry, J. Radebaugh, L. Schaefer, N. C. Schmerr, D. Smythe, J. Spencer, D. Williams, J. Zhang, and M. Zolotov. 2003. "Extreme Volcanism on Io: Latest Insights at the End of Galileo Era." EOS Transactions, 84: 318.

    Professional Service

    2011                  Executive Secretary NASA LASER Panel Review

    2009-present   Section representative for Study of Earth’s Deep Interior on the American Geophysical                                             Union Fall Meeting Program Committee

    2007-present   Reviewer for GRL, GGG, EPSL, GJI, BSSA, J. Pet, NSF, NASA

    2005                  Organized the Deep Earth Exploration People seminar series, Arizona State University.

    Awards

    2008            American Geophysical Union Outstanding Student Paper Award

    2006-2007 Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation Fellowship

    2003-2007 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

    2001-2003 University Graduate Scholarship, Arizona State University

    1999-2000 Teacher Assistantship Award (twice awarded), Beloit College

    1997-2001 Beloit College Presidential Scholarship

    Teaching Experience

    2010            Student Advisor: Carnegie Summer Scholars Program, Carnegie Inst. of Washington 

    2002            Teaching Assistant: Geodynamics, Arizona State University. 

    2001-2002  Laboratory Instructor: Introductory Geology Laboratory, Arizona State University. 

    2000            Teaching Assistant: Paleontology, Beloit College. 

    1999            Teaching Assistant: Historical Geology, Beloit College. 

    1999            Teaching Assistant: Introductory Astronomy, Beloit College. 

    1998-2001 Tutor: Geology, Beloit College. 

    1998-2001 Astronomy Tour Guide: Thompson Observatory, Beloit College.

    Talks, Presentations and Posters

     For an up to date list of my abstracts and presentations, please visit my personal webpage.

    1 / 2012

    Publications

    Refereed

    Schmerr, N. C. 2012. "The Gutenberg Discontinuity: Melt at the Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Boundary." Science 335 (6075): 1480-1483 [DOI:10.1126/science.1215433]

    Long, M., C. Till, K. Druken, et al. R. Carlson, L. Wagner, M. Fouch, D. James, T. Grove, N. C. Schmerr, and C. Kincaid. 2012. "Mantle dynamics beneath the Pacific Northwest and the generation of voluminous back-arc volcanism." GEOCHEMISTRY GEOPHYSICS GEOSYSTEMS 13 (Q0AN01): 22 [doi:10.1029/2012GC004189]

    Rychert, C., N. C. Schmerr, and N. Harmon. 2012. "The Pacific lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary: Seismic imaging and anisotropic constraints from SS waveforms." GEOCHEMISTRY GEOPHYSICS GEOSYSTEMS 13 (Q0AK10): 18 [doi:10.1029/2012GC004194]

    Schmerr, N. C., and C. Thomas. 2011. "Subducted Lithosphere Beneath the Kuriles from Migration of PP Precursors." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 311 101-111

    Schmerr, N. C., E. Garnero, and A. McNamara. 2010. "Deep mantle plumes and convective upwelling beneath the Pacific Ocean." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 394 153-151

    Schmerr, N. C., and E. Garnero. 2007. "Upper mantle discontinuity topography from thermal and chemical heterogeneity." Science 318 (5850): 623-626

    Schmerr, N. C., and E. Garnero. 2006. "Investigation of upper mantle discontinuity structure beneath the central Pacific using SS precursors." Journal of Geophysical Research [doi:10.1029/2005JB004197]

    Kargel, J., R. Carlson, A. Davies, et al. B. Fegley, A. Gillespie, R. Greeley, R. Howell, K. Jessup, L. Kamp, L. Keszthelyi, R. Lopes, T. MacIntyre, F. Marchis, A. McEwen, M. Milazzo, J. Perry, J. Radebaugh, L. Schaefer, N. C. Schmerr, D. Smythe, J. Spencer, D. Williams, J. Zhang, and M. Zolotov. 2003. "Extreme Volcanism on Io: Latest Insights at the End of Galileo Era." EOS Transactions 84 318

                                                                                                                                                                                            
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