Matthew Prichard

Matthew Pritchard

Director of Graduate Studies for Geological Science
Professor and Director, Institute for the Study of the Continents (INSTOC)
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences


Matt Pritchard is a geophysicist who measures changes in the shape of the Earth and develops models of the myriad processes that cause these changes including: earthquakes, volcanoes, groundwater, landslides, and glaciers. Prior to arriving at Cornell in 2005, Pritchard was a Harry Hess Postdoctoral Scholar at Princeton University, a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology, and an undergraduate student at the University of Chicago.

Research Interests

Geophysics, glaciology, geodesy, tectonics, and volcanology; Optical and radar satellite remote sensing, subsurface energy systems.

Teaching Interests

Global geophysics, active tectonics, planetary surfaces and geophysics, remote sensing, glaciers, lunar geology, and subsurface energy systems.

Selected Publications

  • Durkin W. J. IV, S. Kachuck, and M. E. Pritchard (2019) The importance of the inelastic and elastic structure of the crust in constraining glacial density, mass change, and isostatic adjustment from geodetic observations in southeast Alaska, Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth, 124, 1106-1119, doi: 10.1029/2018jb016399.
  • Pritchard, M. E., T. A. Mather, S. R. McNutt, F. J. Delgado, and K. Reath (2019)  Thoughts on the criteria to determine the origin of volcanic unrest as magmatic or non-magmatic, Philosophical Transactions A of the Royal Society, A377:2018008, doi: 10.1098/rsta.2018.0008. 
  • Reath, K., M. Pritchard, M. Poland, F. Delgado, S. Carn, D. Coppola, B Andrews, S. K. Ebmeier, E. Rumpf, S. Henderson, S. Baker, P. Lundgren, R. Wright, J. Biggs, T. Lopez, C. Wauthier, S. Moruzzi, A. Alcott, R. Wessels, J. Griswold, S. Ogburn, S. Loughlin, F. Meyer, G. Vaughan, and M. Bagnardi (2019) Thermal, deformation, and degassing remote sensing time series (A.D. 2000-2017) at the 47 most active volcanoes in Latin America: Implications for Volcanic Systems, Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth, 124.
  • Willis, M. J., W. Zheng, W. J. Durkin IV, M. E. Pritchard, J. M. Ramage, J. A. Dowdeswell, T. J. Benham, R. P. Bassford, L. A. Stearns, A. F. Glazovsky, Y. Y. Macheret, C. C. Porter (2018)  Massive destabilization of an Arctic ice cap, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 502, p. 146-155.
  • Pritchard, M. E., and S.-H. Yun (2018) Satellite radar imaging and its application to natural hazards, Natural Hazards: Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Landslides, edited by R. S. Singh and D. Bartlett, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, p. 95-114.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • President-Elect for Geodesy Section (American Geophysical Union) 2020
  • Faculty Fellow in Community Engaged Learning (Cornell Office of Engagement Initiatives) 2019
  • Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor (University of Bristol) 2019
  • Geodesy Section Award (American Geophysical Union) 2015
  • Kavli Fellow and speaker at the Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium (Kavli Foundation) 2015
  • Editor's Citation for Excellence in Refereeing (American Geophysical Union) 2013
  • National Earthscope Speaker (Earthscope National Office) 2012
  • Alumni Distinguished Leadership Award (Illinois Math & Science Academy) 2011


  • BA (Physics), University of Chicago, 1997
  • MS (Geophysics), California Institute of Engineering, 2000
  • Ph D (Geophysics & Seismology), California Institute of Technology, 2003


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