Photo of University Hall

View Profile Page

Faculty/Staff Login:

Stefanie Brachfeld

Chairperson and Director of the Doctoral Program in Environmental Management, Earth and Environmental Studies

Center for Environmental & Life Sciences 220C
BS, University of Rochester
MS, California Institute of Technology
PhD, University of Minnesota
Download vCard


Dr. Brachfeld is Professor and Chair of Earth and Environmental Studies, and Director of the PhD program in Environmental Management. She is also an adjunct scientist at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, and formerly served as Graduate Program Coordinator for the Master of Science in Geoscience program. Her teaching activities span Montclair State University’s General Education Program, Honors Program, and bachelors, masters, and doctoral level courses in Earth and Environmental Studies. These include Introductory Marine Science, Advanced Marine Geology, Honors Seminar in Science, Earth Systems Science, X-ray Microanalysis, and Research Project I & II in Environmental Management.

Dr. Brachfeld has participated in 10 marine geology and geophysics expeditions to Antarctica, the Arctic Ocean, and North Atlantic Ocean, several of which included Montclair State University undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Brachfeld’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Ocean Drilling Program, and Antarctic Drilling Program.

Dr. Brachfeld is particularly interested in helping students and early career scientists locate level-appropriate research grant programs, and serves as a Resource Faculty Member for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Please see her links section for pointers to student scholarships, student research grants, graduate and postdoctoral research fellowships and websites listing job opportunities in geoscience.

B.S. Geology, University of Rochester, NY 1990
M.S. Geology, California Institute of Technology, CA 1992
Ph.D., Geophysics, University of Minnesota, MN, 1999

Professor and Chair, Earth and Environmental Studies, Montclair State University, 9/13-
Director, PhD Program in Environmental Management, Montclair State University, 7/15-
Associate Professor, Earth and Environmental Studies, Montclair State University, 9/07-8/13
Assistant Professor, Earth and Environmental Studies, Montclair State University, 9/03-8/07
Research Associate, Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University, 2002-2003
Byrd Postdoctoral Fellow, Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University, 2001-2002
Postdoctoral scientist and adjunct instructor, Geology and Geophysics, University of Minnesota, 1999-2000

§ indicates a student author

§Reilly, B.R., §Natter, C., and Brachfeld, S.A., 2016. Holocene glacial activity in Barilari Bay, west Antarctic Peninsula, tracked by magnetic mineral assemblages: Linking ice, ocean, and atmosphere, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 17, doi:10.1002/2016GC006627.

§Hodson, T.O, Powell, R.D., Brachfeld, S.A., Tulaczyk, S., Scherer, R.P., and the WISSARD Science Team, 2016. Physical processes in Subglacial Lake Whillans, West Antarctica: inferences from sediment cores, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 444, pp. 56–63.

Lavoie, C., Domack E., Heirman, K., Naudts, L., Brachfelds, S., 2016. Jaegyu Knoll, Antarctic Sound (Antarctic Peninsula), In: Dowdeswell, J.A., Canals, M., Jakobsson, M., Todd, B.J, Dowdeswell, E.K., and Hogan, K.A. (eds), Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms: Modern, Quaternary and Ancient. Geological Society, London, Memoirs, The Geological Society of London, pp. 996-998.

Brachfeld, S., §Shah, D., §First, E., Hammer, J., Bowles, J., 2015. Influence of redox conditions on the intensity of Mars crustal magnetic anomalies, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 50(10), 1703–1717.

Cowan, E.A., §Gaspari, D.P., Brachfeld, S.A., and Seramur, K.C., 2015. Characterization of Coal Ash released in the TVA Kingston Spill to Facilitate Ash Detection in the River System Using Magnetic Susceptibility, Fuel, 159, 308-314.

Brachfeld, S., §Cuomo, D., §Tatsumi-Petrochilos, Bowles, J., Hammer, J., and §Shah, D., 2014, Contribution of Basaltic Intrusions to the Intensity and Stability of Mars Crustal Magnetic Anomalies, Geophysical Research Letters, 41(22), 7997-8005, doi: 10.1002/2014GL062032.

Rebesco, M., Domack, E., Zgur, F., Lavoie, C., Leventer, A., Brachfeld, S., Willmott, V., Halverson, G., Truffer, M., Scambos, T., Smith, J., Petit, E., 2014, Boundary Condition of Grounding Line Systems Beneath Larsen B Ice Shelf, Antarctica, Prior to Collapse, Science, 345, no. 6202, 1354-1358, doi 10.1126/science.1256697.

§Christ, A. J., §Talaia-Murray, M., §Elking, N., Domack, E.W., Leventer, A., Lavoie, C., Brachfeld, S., Yoon, K.C., Gilbert, R., Yeong, S.M., Petrushak, S., Wellner, J., and LARISSA Group, 2014, Late Holocene glacial advance and ice shelf grown in Barilari Bay, Graham Land, west Antarctic Peninsula, Geological Society of America Bulletin, 126, doi: 10.1130/B31035.1.

Pierce, E., Hemming, S.R., Williams, T., van de Flierdt, T., Thomson, S.N., Reiners, P.W., Gehrels, G.E., Brachfeld, S. A., Goldstein, S.L., 2014, A comparison of detrital U-Pb zircon, 40Ar/39Ar hornblende, and 40Ar/39Ar biotite ages in marine sediments off East Antarctica: implications for the geology of subglacial terrains and provenance studies, Earth Science Reviews138, 156–178.

Brachfeld, S., §Pinzon, J., §Darley, J., Sagnotti, L., Kuhn, G., Florindo, F., Wilson, G., Ohneiser, C., Monien, D., Joseph, L., 2013. Iron oxide tracers of ice sheet extent and sediment provenance in the ANDRILL AND-1B drill core, Ross Sea, Antarctica, Global and Planetary Change, 110, 420–433.

Ortiz, J., Nof, D., Polyak, L., St-Onge, G., §Lisé-Pronovost, L., Naidu, S., Darby, D., Brachfeld, S., 2012. Late Quaternary flow through the Bering Strait has been forced by Southern Ocean winds, Journal of Physical Oceanography, 42 (11), pp. 2014-2029.

Wilson, G.S., Levy, R.H., Naish, T.R., Powell, R.D., Florindo, F., §Ohneiser, C., Sagnotti, L., Winter, D.M., Cody, R., Henrys, S., Ross, J., Krissek, L., Niessen, F., Pompillio, M., Scherer, R., Alloway, B.V., Barrett, P.J., Brachfeld, S., Browne, G., Carter, L., Cowan, E., Crampton, J., DeConto, R.M., Dunbar, G., Dunbar, N., Dunbar, R., von Eynatten, H., Gebhardt, C., Giorgetti, G., Graham, I., Hannah, M., Hansaraj, D., Harwood, D.M., Hinnov, L., Jarrard, R.D., Joseph, L., Kominz, M., Kuhn, G., Kyle, P., Läufer, A., McIntosh, W.C., McKay, R., Maffioli, P., Magens, D., Millan, C., §Monien, D., Morin, R., Paulsen, T., Persico, D., Pollard, D., Raine, J.I., §Riesselman, C., Sandroni, S., Schmitt, D., Sjunneskog, C., Strong, C.P., Talarico, F., Taviani, M., Villa, G., Vogel, S., Wilch, T., Williams, T., Wilson, T.J., Wise, S., 2012. Neogene tectonic and climatic evolution of the Western Ross Sea, Antarctica - Chronology of events from the AND-1B drill hole, Global and Planetary Change, 96-97, pp. 189-203.

Bowles, J.A., §Tatsumi-Petrochilos, L., Hammer, J.E., and Brachfeld S.A., 2012. Multi-component cubic oxide exsolution in synthetic basalts: temperature dependence and implications for magnetic properties, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 117, B03202,doi:10.1029/2011JB008867.

§Pierce, E., Williams, T., van der Flierdt, T., Hemming, S., Goldstein, S., Brachfeld, S., 2011. Characterizing the sediment provenance of East Antarctica's weak underbelly: the Aurora and Wilkes sub-glacial basins, Paleoceanography,v. 26(4), doi:10.1029/2011PA002127.

Bowles, J.A., Hammer, J.E., and Brachfeld, S., 2009. Magnetic and Petrologic Characterization of Synthetic Martian Basalts and Implications for the Surface Magnetization of Mars, Journal of Geophysical Research, Planets, 114, No. E10, E10003, 10.1029/2009JE003378.

Brachfeld, S., §Barletta, F., St-Onge, G., Darby, D.,Ortiz, J., 2009. Impact of diagenesis on the environmental magnetic record from a Holocene sedimentary sequence from the Chukchi-Alaskan margin, Arctic Ocean, Global and Planetary Change, 68, 100-114.

§Lisé-Pronovost, A., St-Onge, G., Brachfeld, S., Barletta, F., Darby, D., 2009. Paleomagnetic constraints on the Holocene stratigraphy of the Arctic Alaskan margin, Global and Planetary Change, 68, 85-99.

Bentley, M.J., Hodgson, D.A., Smith, J.A., O’Cofaigh, C., Domack, E.W., Larter, R.D., Roberts, S.J., Brachfeld, S., Leventer, A., Hjort, C., Hillenbrand, C-D., Evans, J., 2009. Mechanisms of Holocene palaeoenvironmental change in the Antarctic Peninsula region. The Holocene, 19(1), 51-69.

Cronin, T.M., Manley, P.L., Brachfeld, S., Manley, T.O., Willard, D.A., Guilbault, J.-P. , Rayburn, J.A., Thunell, R., Berke, M., 2008. Impacts of post-glacial lake drainage events and revised chronology of the Champlain Sea episode 13-9 ka. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 262(1-2), 46-60.

Brachfeld, S., 2006, High-field magnetic susceptibility (χHF) as a proxy of biogenic sedimentation along the Antarctic Peninsula, Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 156, 274–282.

Brachfeld, S., Hammer, J., 2006, Rock-magnetic and remanence properties of synthetic Fe-rich basalts: Implications for Mars crustal anomalies, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 248, 599–617.


MRI: Acquisition of an Inductively Coupled Plasma- Mass Spectrometry (ICP MS) for elemental concentration and speciation analysis at Montclair State University, X. Li (PI) with co-PIs S. Brachfeld, Y. Deng, S. Passchier, and D. Sakar, $168,245, National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation Program, 09/01/5-08/31/17.

Collaborative Research: Deglacial ice dynamics in the Weddell Sea embayment using sediment provenance, National Science Foundation Antarctic Earth Sciences Program (with collaborators from Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, Imperial College, London, British Antarctic Survey, and the Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany)

Static and shock pressure treatment of synthetic Mars basalts: Implications for understanding the evolution of crustal magnetic anomalies, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Mars Fundamental Research Program (with collaborators from the University of Hawaii and Manoa, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Harvard University).

Acquisition of a spinner magnetometer and ancillary paleomagnetic equipment at Montclair State University, National Science Foundation Earth Sciences Instrumentation and Facilities Program.

Enhancing Holocene Ice Sheet and Ice Shelf Geochronology using Geomagnetic Paleointensity Variations, National Science Foundations Antarctic Earth Sciences.

Collaborative Research in IPY: Abrupt Environmental Change in the Larsen Ice Shelf System, a Multidisciplinary Approach, Cryosphere & Oceans, Marine and Quaternary Geosciences, & Marine Ecosystems, National Science Foundation Antarctic Integrated System Science Program (with collaborators from 16 universities and research institutes in the U.S., Belgium, Canada, UK, and South Korea)

Acquisition of a Scanning Electron Microscope at Montclair State University, National Science Foundation, Major Research Instrumentation, Earth Sciences Division.

Provost's Research Award, 2017
College of Science and Mathematics Faculty Research Award, Montclair State University, 2011
Herman and Margaret Sokol Faculty Fellow, 2010
Elected to Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, 2007
Montclair State University Distinguished Scholar, 2006
National Science Foundation Early Career Award, 2004

Richard James, Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Management
J. Mitchell Clay, MS candidate in Earth and Environmental Science
Shane Nicols-O'Neill, BS candidate in Earth and Environmental Science

Joanna Carlsen, M.A. in Teaching, 2005, now Physician's Assistant
Michael Cacciapuoti, B.S. in Geoscience, 2006, now Earth Science educator in NJ
Gina Quiñones, M.A. in Environmental Studies 2006, now Environmental Scientist at ARCADIS
Juliana Pinzon, B.S. in Biology, 2008, now practicing Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Douglas Sieradzki, M.S. in Geoscience, 2008
Luisa Bouhot, B.S. in Business Administration, 2009, now Logistics Clerk at MamaMia Produce, LLC
Dr. Cathleen (Dale) Doherty, M.S. in Geoscience, 2009, now posdoctoral research associate at Columbia University
Kenneth Kacperowski Jr, M.S. in Geoscience, 2009, now Staff Geologist at MACTEC
Dr. Daniel Hauptvogel, BS in Geoscience 2008, MS in Geoscience 2010, now Instructional Assistant Professor at University of Houston
David Cuomo, M.S. in Geoscience, 2010, now Geologist with the Louis Berger Group
Carl Natter, M.S. in Geoscience 2011, now Geologist at Tetra Tech
Brian Tate, M.A. 2011, now Field technician at Cardno ENTRIX
Tommy Clayton, B.S. in Geoscience, 2012, now Earth Science educator in NJ
Jesse Kolodin, M.S. in Geoscience 2012, now PhD student at Montclair State University
Leah Thiel, M.A. in Environmental Studies, 2013, now Environmental Scientist at Matrix New World Engineering
Brendan Reilly, M.S. in Geoscience 2013, now Ph.D. student at Oregon State University
Deepa Shah, M.S. in Geoscience, 2013, now Interpretation Associate at Liberty Science Center
Christopher Connallon, B.S. in Geoscience 2013, now Geologist at the Maryland Geological Survey
Diana Flores, B.S. and MS in Geoscience, 2013 and 2015, now GIS Technician at Randstad Engineering
Joseph Kowalski, M.A. in Environmental Studies, 2014, now Geologist at Tectonic Engineering & Surveying Consultants, P.C.
Rachel Perez Darley, M.S. in Geoscience, 2014, now instructor at William Patterson University
Molly Rosing, M.S. in Geoscience, 2014. Now Education/Outreach Coordinator at BASF
Kelly Searfoss, M.S. Geoscience, 2014. Now Science Educator in NJ
Elen Teo, M.S. in Sustainability Sciences, 2014. Now PhD Candidate at U.C. Santa Cruz
Natalie Romanoff, M.S. Geoscience, 2015, Now Compliance Officer with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
Jason Darley, B.A. in Geography, 2015, M.S. in Earth and Environmental Science 2017, Now Environmental Scientist at Tetra Tech.
Kathleen Ottens, B.S. in Geoscience, 2015
Michael Maresch, M.S. in Geoscience, 2015
David Sharpe, M.S. in Geoscience, 2015, now Geologist at GEI Consultants, Inc.
Ashley Cirone, M.S. in Earth and Environmental Science, 2017
Isamar Cortes, B.S. in Sustainability Science, 2017, now MS student at Montclair State University
Christina Verhagen, B.S. in Earth and Environmental Science, 2017, now PhD student at Rutgers University


Global climate change, paleoclimatology, marine geology and geophysics, paleomagnetism, environmental change in Antarctica and the Arctic Ocean, Earth systems science, planetary magnetism, geochemistry, and light and electron microscopy


Research Projects

Collaborative Research in IPY: Abrupt Environmental Change in the Larsen Ice Shelf System, Antarctic (LARISSA)

The goal of this collaborative project is to investigate the modern geology, glaciology, oceanography, and biology of the Larsen-B Ice Shelf system, and apply the modern system relationships to the interpretation of paleorecords (sediment cores and ice cores) of ice shelf behavior and stability. This project includes scientists and students from Montclair State University, Berkeley Geochronology Center at the University of California, Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, Colgate University, Duke University, Hamilton College, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, SCRIPPS Institute of Oceanography, Southern Illinois University, University of Alaska, University of Hawaii, University of Houston, and international collaborators from Ghent University, Belgium, the Korean Polar Research Institute, and Loughborough University, United Kingdom.

Our first field season, cruise NBP10-01, took place during January-February 2010. Unusually thick sea ice prevented the Palmer from reaching the Larsen Ice Shelf system. We therefore shifted to back up plans. The Montclair State University group has focused its efforts on three of the back-up sites, Barilari Bay, Hugo Island Trough, and Jun Jaegyu Seamount. Barilari Bay and Hugo Island Trough provide an opportunity to examine the timing and rate of deglaciation across the western Antarctic Peninsula continental shelf. Barilari Bay is located immediately upwind of the Byrd Polar Research Center's ice core site on the Bruce Plateau, providing the opportunity to develop parallel records of atmospheric and oceanographic controls on Holocene events in the Antarctic, for example the early Holocene warmth that followed deglaciation, the middle Holocene climatic optimum, which is observed on both sides of the Peninsula, and examine whether or not a clear Little Ice Age signature exists in the Antarctica Peninsula region. Jun Jaegyu Seamount is a newly discovered seamount located in an area far from the nearest site of recent volcanic activity. MSU personnel examined the benthic organisms and geochemistry of basalts collected in a dredge samples. A second field season is planned for 2012, during which we will again attempt to access the Larsen-B embayment in order to study the long-term behavior of the Larsen Ice Shelf system and its evolution following the 2002 collapse. Please visit the LARISSA project website at

Static and shock pressure treatment of synthetic Mars basalts: Implications for understanding the evolution of crustal magnetic anomalies

This project investigates the origin and subsequent modification of strongly magnetized regions on Mars via collaboration between Montclair State University, Harvard University, the University of Hawaii, and the University of Minnesota. This works builds on previous studies in which basalts were synthesized using experimental parameters that bracket the range of potential chemical compositions, oxygen fugacity, and cooling histories expected for Martian lavas. The mineralogy, mineral textures, magnetic recording assemblage, and remanence carrying properties of the run products were characterized. We found that oxygen fugacity dominated over cooling rate in controlling magnetic properties (Brachfeld and Hammer, 2006; Bowles et al., 2009). Samples synthesized at QFM buffer conditions and moderate to high cooling rates optimized TRM acquisition, displaying stable-single-domain behavior, TRM intensities up to 40-200 A/m, and possessing moderate to high Curie temperatures that imply stable magnetizations at burial depths of several 10s of km in the Martian crust. Three new lines of inquiry will be added: 1. Inclusion of a basalt composition observed by the Mars Spirit Rover at the Gusev Crater site that is consistent with global elemental abundance data provided by the Gamma Ray Spectrometer aboard the Mars Odyssey orbiter. 2. Inclusion of sulfur in the starting materials for dynamic cooling experiments to assess the partitioning of iron into ferrimagnetic oxide and sulfide minerals and subsequent effects on rock magnetic properties. 3. Application of static pressure and shock pressure treatments to these experimental run products to assess the modification of a primary TRM by impact events.

Enhancing Holocene Ice Sheet and Ice Shelf Geochronology using Geomagnetic Paleointensity Variations

The goal of this project is to measure geomagnetic inclination, declination, and intensity of remanence in the Shallow Drilling Program (SHALDRIL) Maxwell Bay sediment core. This record, collected from the South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula, possess terrigenous silty-clay lithology and a calcite-based radiocarbon chronology, which is a rare combination for Antarctic margin sedimentary records. The Maxwell Bay site will be used to generate regional reference records of geomagnetic paleosecular variation (PSV) and relative paleointensity (RPI). These geomagnetic reference curves will be applied to tune and date other Holocene paleoclimate records in the Antarctic Peninsula region that lack suitable materials for dating.