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: Kara 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 experiments


End-Loaded Piston-Cylinder, EPMA, NMR, FTIR, XRF

Partial melting and solubility experiments to determine crust compositions, anhydrous solidi, and volatile solubilities of rocky planets orbiting other stars.

Brugman, K., Phillips, M.G., Till, C.B. (2021) Experimental Determination of Mantle Solidi and Melt Compositions for Two Likely Rocky Exoplanet Compositions. JGR: Planets, 10.1029/2020JE006731.

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.A.: 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., Till, C.B., Bose, M. (in review) Mineral rims needn't record the same events: Diffusion chronometry using a growth-then-diffusion initial condition at Scaup Lake, Yellowstone. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology.
  2. Brugman, K., Phillips, M.G., Till, C.B. (2021) Experimental Determination of Mantle Solidi and Melt Compositions for Two Likely Rocky Exoplanet Compositions. JGR: Planets, 10.1029/2020JE006731.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Hynek, B.M., T.M. McCollum, E.C. Marcucci, 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. Izenberg N., R.T. Daly, K.E. Mandt, C.R. Richey, L.R. Ostrach, J.T. Keane, S.J. Robbins, R.N. Watkins, J.A. Cordova, L. Riesbeck, J.H. Roberts, I. Daubar, J. Scully, S. Howell, S. Hosseini, R. Pappalardo, M. Vidaurri, N. Zellner, S. Vance, M. Bose, M.W. Busch, L. Feaga, P.A. Yanamandra-Fisher, K.K. Brugman, G. Arney, E. Kohler, A.M. Tárano, J. Noviello, C. Ernst, M.M. Daswani, H. Hartnett (2021) Planetary and Astrobiology Blank Papers: Science White Papers Cancelled or Downscaled Due to Direct Impact of COVID-19 and National-scale Civil Action, Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023–2032 and Bulletin of the AAS 53(4), doi:10.3847/25c2cfeb.d2881794.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. (2021). Exoplanet Research at the Intersection of Geosciences and Astronomy. EOS AGU Fall Meeting Abstract 907377, New Orleans, LA.
  2. *#Brugman, K. K., Phillips, M. G., & Till, C. B. (2021). Using Experimental Petrology to Explore Exoplanet Melts and Solidi: Preliminary Implications for Habitability. Goldschmidt, Lyon, France.
  3. #Brugman, K.K., Phillips, M.G., and Till, C.B. (2021). Petrological Experiments On Rocky Exoplanet Compositions Reveal Clues To Habitability. Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, The Woodlands, TX.
  4. #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.
  5. 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.
  6. #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.
  7. *# 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. *#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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. #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
  14. 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.
  15. 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 2021: Conference Talk — AGU Fall Meeting
  • December 2021: GMPV Campfires — EGU
  • September 2021: Geocheminar — UCLA
  • July 2021: Conference Talk — Goldschmidt
  • June 2021: Institute of Geology, Mineralogy and Geophysics Colloquium — Ruhr-University of Bochum
  • June 2021: Department of Mineral Sciences Seminar — Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
  • April 2021: International Volcanology Seminar
  • March 2021: Geological Sciences Seminar — Stanford University
  • March 2021: Conference Talk — 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
  • February 2021: Geophysical Sciences Dept. Seminar — University of Chicago
  • December 2020: Geoclub Talk — Caltech
  • November 2020: Exoplanet Seminar — NASA Goddard


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