Group Members

Current Members

Dr. W. Ashley Griffith

Associate Professor

PhD       2008     Stanford University
MS        2003     University of Massachusetts at Amherst
BS          1999     The College of William and Mary

Ashley is an Associate Professor in the School of Earth Sciences.  His research focuses on structural geology and geomechanics, with an emphasis on the behavior of fractures in the earth’s crust. Among other things, fractures in rock dominate subsurface fluid flow, control earthquake hazards, and exert a huge influence on ground control problems in mining and civil engineering applications.  Ashley is also the Field Camp Director and Faculty Undergraduate Adviser for the School of Earth Sciences at Ohio State. Ashley also serves on the Planning Committee for the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) for Earthquake Geology and serves on the steering committee of the Physical Properties of Earth Materials (PPEM). Before coming to Ohio State in 2017, he was an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Arlington. Ashley also worked as an assistant professor of Geology and Environmental Science at The University of Akron from 2010 through 2012. Prior to that, he served as an NSF postdoctoral scholar studying Earthquake Mechanics at Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia in Rome from 2008-09. He earned a Ph.D. in Geological and Environmental Science from Stanford University in 2008, an M.S. in Geosciences from the University of Massachusetts in 2003 and a B.S. in Geology from the College of William and Mary in 1999.

See Full CV


Michael Braunagel

PhD Student

PhD       expected 2022      Ohio State University
MS         2018                       Ohio State University
BS          2016                        SUNY Geneseo


Mike joined the group in 2016 after graduating from SUNY Geneseo.  He is currently completing his MS employing a new experimental method using a modified split Hopkinson Pressure Bar and finite difference models to study the effects of rapid stress oscillations on the dynamic strength and fragmentation behavior of granite.  He will begin his PhD at Ohio State in Fall 2018 and intends to study the mechanics of long runout landslides, using the newly discovered Markagunt Gravity Slide of South-Central Utah in collaboration with Bob Biek of the Utah Geological Survey and David Hacker at Kent State University.  Mike is also an EMT and volunteer Firefighter.

Zach Smith

MS Student

MS     expected Spring 2021  Ohio State University
BS     Spring 2019  Southern Utah University

Zach joined the group in 2019 after graduating from Southern Utah University with a bachelor’s degree in Geology and GIS. He is currently working on his MS, focusing on a modified Split Hopkinson Pressure Bar experiment that generates dynamic fragmentation induced by isotropic tension. Zach is also working on using uncrewed aerial vehicles for surveying volcanic stratigraphy of the Marysvale volcanic field in southwest Utah in order to understand the growth and collapse of volcanic edifices.

Caje Kindred

MS Student

MS    Expected Summer 2021  Ohio State University
BS     Autumn 2019  Ohio State University

Caje joined the team prior to Autumn 2018 as an undergraduate student studying the influence of mechanical stratigraphy on brittle deformation during exhumation as exhibited in Hendry’s Creek of the Northern Snake Range, Nevada.  As a graduate student, Caje is studying off-fault deformation along the San Jacinto Fault Zone in southern California, specifically as it informs us about past earthquake rupture directivity.

 Sam Schneider

Undergraduate Student

BS     Expected Autumn 2020  Ohio State University

Sam is an undergraduate Geophysics major, and joined the team in Autumn of 2019 after his summer Field Camp. As part of the group, he is building a comprehensive cross section of the Sevier Gravity Slide in Southwest Utah accompanied by geomechanical models of the slide initiation. Sam is also completing minors in both Mathematics and Environmental Sciences and deeply enjoys the great outdoors.

Past Members

  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Hamed O. Ghaffari, Spring 2015-2017
    • Currently: Postdoctoral Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Graduate – Ph.D. Student, Christopher Borjas, Fall 2014-2017
    • Currently: Petrophysicist at EOG Resources
  • Graduate – M.S. Student, Troy Barber, Spring 2015-2017
    • Currently: Geologist, Joint Resources Company, Fort Worth, TX
  • Graduate – M.S. Student, Rene St. Julien, Spring 2015-2018
    • Currently: TEKsystems, Irving, Texas
  • Graduate –M.S. Student, Ashley Stanton-Yonge, 2014-2016 (formally co-advised student at Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Santiago, Chile)
    • Currently: PhD Student at University College London
  • Graduate – M.S. Student, Jennifer Hatch (Beyer), graduated Spring 2015, PhD from UMass-Amherst, ’19
    • Currently: Physics Instructor at the Hotchkiss School
  • Graduate – M.S. Student, Ciel Elizalde, graduated Spring 2015
    • Currently: Project Manager at The Carel Corporation
  • Graduate – M.S. Student, Monica Barbery, graduated Spring 2015
    • Currently: PhD student at Texas A&M University
  • Graduate – M.S. Student, Patrick Newman, graduated Spring 2013
    • Currently: PhD student at Purdue University
  • Graduate – M.S. Student, James Becker, graduated Spring 2013