Hi, I'm

Dr. Kara Brugman

Experimental Petrologist

More About Me
About Kara

Paid to make rocks, shoot ion beams at rocks, and go to amazing places to sledgehammer rocks.

Profile Picture

I am interested in magma genesis and volatile solubility on exoplanets, Earth, and solar system bodies, the timescales of events in magmatic systems, geothermometry, volcano science and hazards, high-silica magmatic systems, and how our planet's volcanologic and petrologic mechanisms can be used to understand those on other planets and moons.


  • Name: Karalee K. Brugman
  • Hometown: Rural Township (seriously), IL
  • Interests: Food, board games, cute things, caves, sci-fi, & other assorted nerdery
  • Favorite Hikes: Brown's Peak (Four Peaks), AZ Angel's Landing, Zion N.P. Elephant Canyon to Druid Arch, Canyonlands N.P. Picacho Peak, AZ Havasupai, Grand Canyon N.P.
  • The Best Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, IMO

Composition [wt%]

  • 20%
  • 25%
  • 10%
    Bouldering chalk
  • 15%
    Cat videos
  • 30%
    Star Trek
Research & Education

CV At A Glance

My current research projects use experimental petrology to study exoplanet magmas and use diffusion chronometry to examine timescales of effusive eruptions at Yellowstone.


Exoplanet partial melting experiments


End-Loaded Piston-Cylinder, EPMA

Experimental determination of crust compositions and anhydrous solidi of rocky planets orbiting other stars.

Part of ASU-NExSS

Yellowstone diffusion chronometry



Development of a new diffusion chronometry method to compare pre-eruptive timescales from Fe-rich clinopyroxene to timescales from other minerals. This project examines the last events recorded by minerals in the Scaup Lake flow, a Yellowstone post-caldera rhyolite.

Cpx-liquid geothermometer


Cold-Seal Pressure Vessel, EPMA

Development of a new clinopyroxene-liquid geothermometer specifically calibrated for the low-Al, high-Fe clinopyroxene found in high-silica igneous systems.

Brugman, K.K., and Till, C.B. (2019) A low-aluminum clinopyroxene-liquid geothermometer for high-silica magmatic systems. American Mineralogist, 104, 996–1004, 10.2138/am-2019-6842.


Ph.D.: Geological Sciences

April 2020

Arizona State University, Tempe

Dissertation: Timescales and Characteristics of Magma Generation in Earth and Exoplanets

B.Sc: Geological Sciences, minor in Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences

May 2014

University of Colorado, Boulder

Honors thesis: Understanding the History of Arabia Terra, Mars Through Crater-Based Tests


Read My Research

Journal Articles

  1. Brugman, K.K., Phillips, M.G., Till, C.B. (in review) Experimental Determination of Mantle Solidi and Melt Compositions for Two Likely Rocky Exoplanet Compositions. JGR: Planets.
  2. Brugman, K.K. and Till, C.B. (2019) A Low-Aluminum Clinopyroxene-Liquid Geothermometer for High-Silica Magmatic Systems. American Mineralogist, 104(7), 996–1004, 10.2138/am-2019-6842.
  3. Till, C.B., M.E. Pritchard, C.A. Miller, K.K. Brugman, J. Ryan-Davis, 2018. Super-volcanic Investigations. Nature Geoscience, 11(4), 10.1038/s41561-018-0100-1.
  4. Hynek, B.M., T.M. McCollum, E.C. Marcucci, K.K. Brugman, K.L. Rogers, 2013. Assessment of environmental controls on acid-sulfate alteration at active volcanoes in Nicaragua: Applications to relic hydrothermal systems on Mars, Journal of Geophysical Research—Planets, Special Issue: Early Mars, 118, 2083–2104, 10.1002/jgre.20140.

White Papers

  1. Kohler, E., C. He, S.H. Shim, K.K. Brugman, A.C. Johnson, P.C. Vergeli, M.A. Thomson, H. Graham, M.S. Gudipati, B. Fleury, B.L. Henderson (2020) The Importance of Prioritizing Exoplanet Experimental Facilities, Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023–2032, arXiv:2007.13924.
  2. Marley, M.S., S. Harman, H.B. Hammel, P.K. Byrne, J. Fortney, A. Accomazzi, S.E. Moran, M.J.Way, J.L. Christiansen, N.R., Izenberg,T. Holt, S. Vahidinia, E. Kohler, K.K. Brugman (2020) Enabling Effective Exoplanet/Planetary Collaborative Science, Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023–2032, arXiv:2007.10549.

* invited # talk

Conference Abstracts

  1. #Brugman, K.K., Phillips, M.G., and Till, C.B. (2020). Exoplanet Crust Compositions as Determined by Petrological Experiments. Exoplanets in Our Backyard, Houston, TX.
  2. Brugman, K.K., Phillips, M.G., and Till, C.B., 2019. Experimental Determination of Rocky Exoplanet Crust Compositions. EOS AGU Fall Meeting Abstract, San Francisco, CA.
  3. #Brugman, K.K. and Till, C.B., 2019. New clinopyroxene-liquid geothermometer indicates a broad crystallization interval for low-Al clinopyroxene in high-silica magmatic systems. GSA Annual Meeting abstract 337075, Phoenix, AZ.
  4. *# Brugman, K.K., Phillips, M.G., and Till, C.B., 2019. Stars to Planets: Experimental Determination of Exoplanet Mantle Solidi and Crust Compositions. Goldschmidt, Barcelona, Spain.
  5. Brugman, K.K., C.B. Till, 2018.Clinopyroxene-Liquid Thermometry Hints at Cold Storage for High-Silica Systems. IAVCEI Commission on Collapse Calderas: VII International Workshop on Collapse Calderas, Toba Caldera, Sumatra, Indonesia.
  6. Brugman, K.K., C.B. Till, 2018. A Revised Low-Al Clinopyroxene-Liquid Geothermometer for High-Silica Igneous Systems. EOS AGU Chapman: Merging Geophysical, Petrochronologic, and Modeling Perspectives of Large Silicic Magma Systems, Abstract P-28, Quinamávida, Maule Region, Chile.
  7. *#Brugman, K.K., C.B. Till, 2017. Taking Yellowstone's Temperature: A New Clinopyroxene Geothermometer to Improve Timescales of Pre-Eruptive Events. EOS AGU Fall Meeting Abstract U13B-03, New Orleans, LA.
  8. Brugman, K.K., C.B. Till, 2017. A Revised Clinopyroxene-Liquid Geothermometer for Silicic Igneous Systems with Applications to Diffusion Chronometry of the Scaup Lake Rhyolite, Yellowstone Caldera, WY. EOS AGU Fall Meeting Abstract V11C-0365, New Orleans, LA.
  9. Brugman, K.K., C.B. Till, 2017. Investigation of the Applicability of Clinopyroxene Geothermometers to Silicic Igneous Systems. IAVCEI Scientific Assembly Abstract ME43C-044, Portland, OR.
  10. #Brugman, K.K., C.B. Till, M. Bose, 2016. Clinopyroxene Diffusion Chronometry of the Scaup Lake Rhyolite, Yellowstone Caldera, WY. EOS AGU Fall Meeting Abstract V13F-02, San Francisco, CA. Recipient of an AGU Outstanding Student Paper Award
  11. Brugman, K.K., C.B. Till, M. Bose and R. Hervig, 2015. Development of Clinopyroxene as an Igneous Geospeedometer Using NanoSIMS. EOS AGU Fall Meeting Abstract V31B-3030, San Francisco, CA.
  12. Brugman, K.K., B.M. Hynek, S.J. Robbins, 2015. Crater-based tests unlock the mystery of the origin and evolution of Arabia Terra, Mars. Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, The Woodlands, TX.

Media & Outreach

During quarantine/CoronaTimes/The Wrong Timeline I've been continuing my experimental work, including some drop-quench experiments conducted in our vertical furnace.
| Watch slow-motion videos |

I recorded a lab tour video for ASU SESE's new students, since they can't visit labs in person
| Visit the EPIC lab |

I talked about my exoplanet experiments and 'Star Trek: Picard' on the
'Strange New Worlds' science and Trek podcast
| Listen to Episode 89: Strange New Melts |

Where in the world is Kara?

Recent & Upcoming Events

  • December 2020: Geoclub Talk — Caltech
  • November 2020: Exoplanet Seminar — NASA Goddard
  • October 2020: Socially distanced manuscript submission celebration — Big Bend Ranch State Park, TX and Carlsbad Caverns N.P. & White Sands N.P, NM
  • July 2020: Exoplanet Presentation Lounge — Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
  • April 2020: Ph.D. defense — Tempe, AZ
  • March 2020: The Wave — Coyote Buttes, AZ
  • February 2020: Exoplanets in Our Backyard — Houston, TX


Projects in Progress


Lab Assistants Trained


Awards Received


Ideas That Went Nowhere


Cups of Tea


Hours Worked

I'd Love To Hear From You!


Earth & Planets Laboratory (EPL)
Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington, D.C.

Email Me

kara [dot] brugman [at] gmail [dot] com
kbrugman [at] carnegiescience [dot] edu