Megan Holycross

Assistant Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences


Megan Holycross joined Cornell’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in July 2020 as an assistant professor. Her research seeks to understand the processes that have differentiated the chemistry of Earth’s solid interior, mostly through laboratory experiments. Prior to joining Cornell, Megan was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow with appointments at the Smithsonian Institution and Yale University.

Research Focus

Megan uses controlled laboratory experiments to develop new geochemical tools to quantify the rates (time) and conditions (temperature, pressure, redox state) of magmatic and metamorphic processes. Areas of interest include “crystal clock” diffusion chronometry, trace element partitioning in subduction zone settings, and multi-valent element x-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy.


Osborne Z., Thomas J.B., Nachlas W., Baldwin S., Holycross M.E., Spear F., Watson E.B. (2019) An experimentally calibrated thermobarometric solubility model for titanium in coesite (TitaniC). Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 174: 34

Holycross M.E., Watson E.B. (2018) Trace element diffusion and kinetic fractionation in wet rhyolitic melt, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 232: 14-29

Holycross M.E., Watson E.B., Richter F., Villeneuve J. (2018) Diffusive fractionation of Li in wet, highly silicic melts, Geochemical Perspectives Letters 6: 39-42

Holycross M.E., Watson E.B. (2016) Diffusive fractionation of trace elements in basaltic melt, Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 171: 1-15

Watson E.B., Cherniak D.J., Holycross M.E. (2015) Diffusion of phosphorus in olivine and molten basalt, American Mineralogist 100: 2053-2065

Brandt D.S., Csonka J., Holycross M., McCoy V., Seitz M. (2012) In search of the Arthophycus parallelus tracemaker, Palaios 27: 116-121