Michael Manga

Research Expertise and Interest

hydrogeology, fluid mechanics, geomorphology, earth & planetary science, geological processes involving fluids, including problems in physical volcanology, geodynamics, dynamics of suspensions, flow & transport in porous materials, percolation theory

Research Description

Michael Manga is the Gary and Donna Freedman Chair in Undergraduate Education, Gary and Donna Freedman Chair in Undergraduate Education; Garniss H. Curtis Endowed Chair in Earth and Planetary Science and a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science. His current research interests focusses human-induced earthquakes, the behavior of geysers, water on Mars, and volcano science.  

He received his B.S. in geophysics from McGill University in 1990, his M.S. in engineering sciences from Harvard University in 1992, and as his Ph.D in Earth and Planetary Science also from Harvard University in 1994.


In the News

Reawakened geyser does not foretell Yellowstone volcanic eruptions

When Yellowstone National Park’s Steamboat Geyser reawakened in 2018 after three and a half years of dormancy, some speculated that it was a harbinger of possible explosive volcanic eruptions within the surrounding geyser basin. A new study by geoscientists who study geysers throws cold water on that idea, finding few indications of underground magma movement that would be a prerequisite to an eruption. The geysers sit just outside the nation’s largest and most dynamic volcanic caldera, but no major eruptions have occurred in the past 70,000 years.

Five Berkeley faculty members elected fellows of the AAAS

Five Berkeley faculty members have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honor bestowed upon the society’s members by their peers. The five are among 443 members awarded the honor because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Founded in 1848, the AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of Science and five other journals.

Did Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Trigger Largest Lava Flows on Earth?

The asteroid that slammed into the ocean off Mexico 66 million years ago and killed off the dinosaurs probably rang the Earth like a bell, triggering volcanic eruptions around the globe, according to a team of UC Berkeley geophysicists. The impact may have re-ignited the eruptions at the Deccan Traps, initiating the largest lava flows on Earth.

Strongest evidence to date links exploration well to Lusi mud volcano

New data provide the strongest evidence to date that the world's biggest mud volcano, which killed 13 people in 2006 and so far has displaced 30,000 people in East Java, Indonesia, was not caused by an earthquake, according to an international scientific team that includes researchers from Durham University and the UC Berkeley.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
January 6, 2021
Laura Geggel
A geyser hiding under Yellowstone National Park recently reawakened. But don't worry: That doesn't mean the supervolcano beneath the park will erupt soon, a new study finds. "Hydrothermal explosions — basically hot water exploding because it comes into contact with hot rock — are one of the biggest hazards in Yellowstone," study senior author Michael Manga, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a statement. "The reason that they are problematic is that they are very hard to predict; it is not clear if there are any precursors that would allow you to provide warning." For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News. Stories on this topic have appeared in several sources, including Forbes,Fox News, the Billings Gazette, the Idaho Statesman, NPR and SciTech Daily.
December 10, 2019
Stephanie Mlot
Wrinkles, or "tiger stripes," on Saturn's moon Enceladus have intrigued astronomers since they were first noticed by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in 2005. Now a team of researchers that includes earth and planetary science professor Michael Manga has determined that they are tectonic fractures and ridges, and that jets of water and vapor flush in and out of the cracks, pulled by the tidal effects of Saturn's gravity. Lead author Doug Hemingway, who conducted this study as a Miller Fellow at Berkeley but is now at the Carnegie Institution for Science, says: "What makes them especially interesting is that they are continually erupting with water ice, even as we speak. ... No other icy planets or moons have anything quite like them. ... Since it is thanks to these fissures that we have been able to sample and study Enceladus' subsurface ocean, which is beloved by astrobiologists, we thought it was important to understand the forces that formed and sustained them. ... Our modeling of the physical effects experienced by the moon's icy shell points to a potentially unique sequence of events and processes that could allow for these distinctive stripes to exist." Stories on this topic appeared in dozens of sources around the world, including CNET.
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