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Assistant Professor, Department of Earth Science, Rice University, January 2017 to present.

NSF EAR Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Maryland, College Park, February 2015 to December 2016.

Postdoctoral Scientist, University of Maryland, 10/2014-2/2015.
Supervisor: Wen-lu Zhu


Ph.D. in Geophysics, Texas A&M University, 2010-2014.
Microphysical controls on the strength and transport properties of fault zones
Advisors: Frederick Chester, Judith Chester

M.S. in Geology, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2007-2009.
An experimental study of mechanical and hydrologic controls on natural hydraulic fracture formation in sandstone and siltstone
Advisor: Laurel Goodwin

B.A. in Physics with Honors in Geology, Oberlin College, 2002-2006.
Transpression at Durmid Hill, CA: A record of deformation in the magnetic fabric of the Bishop Ash
Advisor: Steve Wojtal


Intern:  May 2013 – August 2013
ConocoPhillips Subsurface Technology Group, Structure and Geomechanics
Supervisor: Peter Hennings
The mechanical stratigraphy of the Eagle Ford Shale

Research Technician:  January 2010 – June 2010
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Supervisors: Peter Kelemen and Brian Evans
Experimental investigation of permeability evolution during reaction controlled cracking in peridotite


  • NSF Geophysics/Tectonics/Marine G&G (1945264), CAREER: Path Dependent Slip of the Shallow Subduction Megathrust, $601,711
  • NSF EAR-IF (1921517), Upgrade of a Triaxial Rock Deformation Apparatus to Measure the Rheology of Subduction Megathrusts, 2019-2020, $102,379.
  • NSF Geophysics (1759127), Controls of Pore Fluid Pressure on Fault Slip Weakening and Fracture Energy, 2018-2021, $264,839.
  • American Chemical Society PRF-DNI (59440), Frequency-Dependent Attenuation of Elastic Waves in Fault Zones, 2018-2020, $110,000.
  • NSF EAR-PF (1452339), An Experimental Study on the Role of Pore Fluid Pressure During Slow Slip in Subduction Zones, 2015-2017, $174,000.


  • Editor’s Citation for Excellence in Refereeing – JGR – Solid Earth, 2018, 2021
  • EarthScope Speaker Series 2015-2016.
  • John and Frances Handin Graduate Fellowship, Center for Tectonophysics, Texas A&M University, 2014.
  • Bailey Outstanding Student Paper Award, Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2012.
  • Outstanding Student Paper Award, Mineral and Rock Physics Focus Group, 2008 AGU fall meeting.


‡Rice Lab Postdoc, †Rice Lab Student, ^Rice lab data/visiting student

In Review and Revision

‡Condit, C., M. E. French, J. A. Hayles, L.Y. Yeung, and C. A. Lee, Fluid and stress state at the base of the subduction seismogenic zone (in revision).

French, M. E.W. Zhu, X. Xiaohui, B. Evans, D. J. Prior, Enhanced water weakening of the Solnhofen limestone at elevated temperature (in revision)


†Fliedner, C. and M.E. French (2021), Pore and mineral fabrics control the elastic wave velocities of metapelite with implications for subduction zone tomography, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 126, doi: 10.1029/2021JB022361.

French, M. E. and J. K. Morgan (2020), Pore fluid pressures and strength contrasts maintain frontal fault activity, northern Hikurangi margin, New Zealand, Geophys. Res. Lett., 47 (21), doi: 10.1029/2020GL089209.

‡Condit, C., V. E. Guevara, J. R. Delph, and M. E. French (2020), Slab dehydration in warm subduction zones at depths of episodic slip and tremor, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 552, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116601.

^Phillips, N., †B. Belzer, M. E. French, C. Rowe, and K. Ujiie (2020), Frictional Strengths of Subduction Thrust Rocks in the Region of Shallow Slow Earthquakes, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 125, doi: 10.1029/2019JB018888.

French, M. E. and ‡C. Condit (2019), Slip partitioning along an idealized subduction plate boundary at deep slow slip conditions, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 528, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2019.115828.

Xing, T., W. Zhu, M. E. French, and †B. Belzer (2019), Stabilizing Effect of High Pore Fluid Pressure on Slip Behaviors of Gouge-Bearing Faults, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 124, doi10.1029/2019JB018002.

French, M.E., G. Hirth, and K. Okazaki (2019), Fracture-induced pore fluid pressure weakening and dehydration in serpentinite, Tectonophysics, doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2019.228168.

French, M.E. and J. S. Chester (2018), Localized slip and associated fluidized structures record seismic slip in clay-rich fault gouge, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, doi: 10.1029/2018JB016053.

French, M. E. and W. Zhu (2017), Slow fault propagation in serpentinite under conditions of high pore fluid pressure, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 473, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2017.06.009.

French, M. E.W. Zhu, and J. Banker (2016), Fault slip controlled by stress path and fluid pressurization rateGeophys. Res. Lett.4343304339, doi:10.1002/2016GL068893.

French, M. E., F. M. Chester, J. S. Chester, and J. E. Wilson (2016), Stress-dependent transport properties of fractured arkosic sandstone, Geofluids, doi: 10.1111/gfl.12174.

French, M. E.F. M. Chester and J. S. Chester  (2015), Micromechanisms of creep in clay-rich gouge from the Central Deforming Zone of the San Andreas Fault,  J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth120:827849. doi: 10.1002/2014JB011496.

Coble, C. G, M. E. French, F. M. Chester, J. S. Chester, H. Kitajima (2014), In situ frictional properties of San Andreas Fault gouge at SAFOD, Geophys. J. Int.199 (2)doi:10.1093/gji/ggu306.

French, M. E., H. Kitajima, J. S. Chester, F. M. Chester, and T. Hirose (2014), Displacement and dynamic weakening processes in smectite-rich gouge from the Central Deforming Zone of the San Andreas Fault, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth119, doi:10.1002/2013JB010757.

French, M. E., D. F. Boutt, and L. B. Goodwin (2012), Sample dilation and fracture in response to high pore fluid pressure and strain rate in quartz-rich sandstone and siltstone, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth117, doi:10.1029/2011JB008707.


Huntington, K.W., and Klepeis, K.A., with 66 community contributors (2018), Challenges and opportunities for research in tectonics: Understanding deformation and the processes that link Earth systems, from geologic time to human time. A community vision document submitted to the U.S. National Science Foundation. University of Washington, 84 pp.,

McGuire, J., and Plank, T. , with 16 writing committee members (2017), The SZ4D Initiative, Understanding the Processes that Underlie Subduction Zone Hazards in 4D, A vision document submitted to the National Science Foundation, 63 pp.,


  • Steering committee member (2017 – present) and Co-leader of Faulting and Earthquake Cycles Working Group (2021-present), SZ4D Initiative
  • Steering committee member, Physical Properties of Earth Materials (2018 – present)
  • Associate editor, Geophysical Research Letters (2017-2021)
  • Planning committee member, NSF funded workshop on experimental needs in subduction zone research (2018)
  • Writing committee member, Subduction Zone Observatory workshop report to NSF (2016-2017)
  • Contributor, Future of Tectonics whitepaper to NSF (2017)
  • Funding agency panelist (4 total): NSF, USGS
  • Reviewer: EPSL, GRL, JGR, JSG, Terra Nova, NSF, ACS-PRF


  • USGS Earthquake Science Center, 19, May 2021
  • University of Louisiana, Lafayette, 12 March, 2021
  • WHOI, 14, October, 2020
  • Houston Geological Society, 8, April, 2019
  • University of Houston: Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Seminar, 6, April, 2018.
  • Cooperative Institute for Dynamic Earth Research (CIDER), Berkeley, 18, July, 2017
  • Gordon Conference on Rock Deformation, 25, August, 2016
  • University of Pennsylvania: Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences Seminar, 15 Apr., 2016
  • Brown University: Geophysics Lunch Bunch Seminar, 22 Mar., 2016
  • University of Minnesota: Department of Earth Sciences Seminar, 10 Mar., 2016
  • West Virginia University: Department of Geology and Geography Seminar, 8 Mar., 2016
  • Rice University: Department of Earth Science Seminar, 11 Feb., 2016
  • University of Colorado: Department of Geological Sciences Seminar, 3 Feb., 2016
  • University of Michigan: Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences Seminar, 20 Nov., 2015
  • Oberlin College: Department of Geology Seminar, 6 Oct., 2015
  • Marshall University: Department of Geology Seminar, 12 Nov., 2015
  • Marshall University: General Audience Seminar, 12 Nov., 2015
  • University of Maryland: Department of Geology Seminar, 11 Sept., 2015
  • Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris: Geophysics Seminar, 3 June 2014
  • University of Wisconsin: Department of Geoscience Seminar, 26 Nov. 2013
  • University of Wisconsin: Department of Civil Engineering Seminar, 25 Nov. 2013