Dr. Michael S. Steckler

Lamont Research Professor, Marine and Polar Geophysics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), Columbia Climate School

Affiliated with: Undergraduate Special Concentration and Major in Sustainable Development

208 Oceanography
61 Route 9W
PO Box 1000
Palisades, NY 10964


I am a geophysicist who works mainly on sedimentary systems with projects related both to tectonics and earthquakes, and to sea level and stratigraphy. A particular interest is vertical motions of the Earth’s surface and their preservation in the sedimentary record. My main field area is currently Bangladesh where I work both on the heavily-sedimented IndoBurma subduction zone (IBSZ), including the earthquake hazard, and on deltaic processes in the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta (GBD), including sea level rise, land subsidence, sedimentation and river avulsions. I have worked in Bangladesh, and adjacent parts of India and Myanmar, for 20 years, taking part in and leading a number of field campaigns. I am also currently working on tectonics in Western Turkey, and on fresh and salty groundwater in both Bangladesh and offshore New Jersey.


Jul 12, 2024

A Collaborative Approach To Comprehending Glacial Retreat

Researchers at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Pontificia Universidad Católica in Chile have spent years collaborating to better understand the fluctuations of the Patagonian Ice Sheet and its societal impacts.

Jul 12, 2024

Amid a Sweltering Summer, a New Study Finds Street Trees Thrive in NYC

New research demonstrates trees grow fastest in the neighborhoods that need them the most.

Jul 11, 2024

From ‘Asthma Alley’ to Green Spaces: A Field Trip with South Bronx Unite

MPA-ESP students learned about the complex environmental justice issues at play in the South Bronx, and how community groups are advocating for change.


Only select projects listed below
Name Start Date End Date
Collaborative Research The North Anatolian Fault system in the Marmara Sea, Turkey Insights from the Quaternary evolution of a multi-stranded transform 2/15/13 1/31/15
Collaborative Research: Subduction below Extreme Sedimentation – A multidisciplinary transect from the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta to the IndoBurma Backarc 9/1/17 8/31/22
Collaborative Research: The North Anatolian Fault in the Marmara Sea, Turkey: The Growth of Continental Transform 9/1/09 12/31/12
Collaborative Research: The North Anatolian Fault system in the Marmara Sea, Turkey - Insights from the Plio-Quaternary evolution of a multi-stranded transform 10/1/15 9/30/19
Collaborative Research: Uplift and Faulting at the Transition from Subduction to Collision - A Field and Modeling Study of the Calabrian Arc 8/1/06 9/30/14
Collision of the Burma Arc Accretionary Prism and Foldbelt with the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta in Bangladesh 2/1/07 3/31/13
Forward and Inverse Modeling the Neogene Evolution of the NJ Continental Margin Based on Results from IODP EXP 313 4/23/10 10/3/12
Life on a Tectonically Active Delta: Convergence of Earth Science and Geohazard Research in Bangladesh with Education and Capacity Building 6/1/10 8/31/18
Long Term Monitoring, Research and Analysis of Bangladesh Coastal Zone (Sustainable Polders Adapted to Coastal Dynamics) Under Coastal Embankment Improvement Project 11/1/18 5/1/21
Research Opportunities In Space And Earth Sciences 2010 (ROSES-2010) 2/7/12 2/28/17
Seasonal COSEE: Environmental Stress and Human Migration in Two Developing Coastal Nations: A Comparison of Co-evolving Natural and Human Landscapes in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka 6/1/11 9/30/17
Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of the Ganges Brahmaputra Delta: Field-Validated, Multi-Sensor Analysis of Interannual Flooding and Channel Movement 7/18/12 6/16/18
Tectonics in the Western Anatolian Extensional Province from sequence stratigraphic modeling of multichannel seismic data in the Gulf of Kusadasi 3/15/16 2/28/22
Collaborative Research: RAPID: Submarine Record of Disastrous Earthquakes at a Strain Partitioned Transpressional Boundary: Haiti 2010 and 2021 11/1/21 11/30/22
GNSS and InSAR Surface Deformation Constraints on a 3-D Geodetic Model of the Indo-Burma Subduction Zone 2/23/23 2/22/26


Most Cited Papers (>300 citations)

Steckler, M.S., and A.B. Watts, Subsidence of the Atlantic-type Continental Margin off New York, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 41, 1-13, 1978.

van Geen, A., Y. Zheng, R. Versteeg, M. Stute, A. Horneman, R. Dhar, M. Steckler, A. Gelman, C. Small, H. Ahsan, J. Graziano, I. Hussein, and K. M. Ahmed. Spatial Variability of Arsenic in 6000 Contiguous Tube Wells of Araihazar, Bangladesh, Water Resources Res. 39, 1140, 2003.

Watts, A.B., G.D. Karner, and M.S. Steckler, Lithospheric Flexure and the evolution of sedimentary basins, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. London  A, 305, 249-281, 1982.Bodine, J.H., M.S. Steckler and A.B. Watts, Observations of Flexure and the Rheology of the Oceanic Lithosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 86, 3695-3707, 1981.

Bodine, J.H., M.S. Steckler and A.B. Watts, Observations of Flexure and the Rheology of the Oceanic Lithosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 86, 3695-3707, 198

Buck, W.R., F. Martinez, M.S. Steckler and J.R. Cochran, Thermal consequences of extension: pure and simple, Tectonics, 7, 213-234, 1988.

Watts, A.B. and M.S. Steckler, Subsidence and Eustasy at the Continental Margin of Eastern North America, Maurice Ewing Series, 3, 218-234, 1979.

Watts, A.B., J.H. Bodine and M.S. Steckler, Observations of Flexure and the State of Stress in the Oceanic Lithosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 85, 6369-6376, 1980.

Auerbach, L., Goodbred, S., Mondal, D., Wilson, C., Ahmed, K.R., Roy, K., Steckler, M., Gilligan, J., Ackerly, B. In the Balance: Natural v. Embanked Landscapes in the Ganges-Brahmaputra Tidal Delta Plain, Nature Climate Change. 5, 153-157, doi: 10.1038/nclimate2472, 2015.

Recent Publications

Steckler, M.S., Stein, S., S.H. Akhter, L. Seeber, The wicked problem of earthquake hazard in developing countries, EOS, 99, doi: 10.1029/2018EO093625, 2018.

Grall, C., M.S. Steckler, J.L. Pickering, S. Goodbred, R. Sincavage, C. Paola, S.H Akhter, V. Spiess. A base-level stratigraphic approach to determining Holocene subsidence of the Ganges–Meghna–Brahmaputra Delta plain. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 499, 23–36, 10.1016/j.epsl.2018.07.008, 2018.

Mondal, D., C.M. McHugh, R.M. Mortlock, M.S. Steckler, S. Mustaque, Microatolls document the 1762 and prior earthquakes along the southeast coast of Bangladesh, Tectonophysics, 745, 196–213, 10.1016/j.tecto.2018.07.020, 2018.

Betka, P.M., L. Seeber, S. Thomson, M.S. Steckler, R. Sincavage, C. Zoramthara, Slip partitioning above a shallow, weak décollement beneath the Indo-Burman accretionary prism, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 503, 17–28, 10.1016/j.epsl.2018.09.003, 2018. 

Grimaud, J.-L., C. Grall, S. Goodbred, M.S. Steckler, R. Sincavage, C. Paola, J.L. Pickering, N. Seeber, M. S. Hossain,. Late Quaternary sediment partitioning related to deep structure in the Garo-Rajmahal Gap, northwest Bengal Basin, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 32, 1242–1260. https://doi.org/10.1111/bre.12425, 2020.

Chamberlain, E.L., S.L. Goodbred, R. Hale, M.S. Steckler, J. Wallinga, C. Wilson, Integrating geochronologic and instrumental approaches across the Bengal Basin, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 45, 56-74., https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4687, 2020.

Sincavage,R., P.M. Betka, S.N. Thomson, L. Seeber, M.S. Steckler, C. Zoramthara, Neogene shallow marine and fluvial sediment dispersal, burial, and exhumation in the ancestral Brahmaputra delta: Indo-Burman Ranges, India, Journal of Sedimentary Research, 90, 1–20, doi: 10.2110/jsr.2020.60, 2020.

Betka, P.M, S.N. Thomson, R. Sincavage, C. Zoramthara, C. Lalremruatfela, K.A. Lang, M.S. Steckler, D. Bezbaruah, P. Borgohain, L. Seeber, Provenance Shifts During Neogene Brahmaputra Delta Progradation Tied to Coupled Climate and Tectonic Change in the Eastern Himalaya, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 22, e2021GC010026. doi: 10.1029/2021GC010026, 2021.

Steckler, M.S., B. Oryan, C.A. Wilsan, C. Grall, S.L. Nooner, D.R. Mondal, S.H. Akhter, S. DeWolf, S.L. Goodbred, Synthesis of the Distribution of Subsidence of the Lower Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, Bangladesh, Earth-Science Reviews, 224, 103887, doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2021.103887, 2022.

Okay Gunaydin, S., C.C. Sorlien, M.-H. Cormier, B. Barın, L. Seeber, M.S. Steckler, G. Çifci, D. Dondurur, H. Kurt, H.M. Küçük, O. Atgın, Ö. Özel, Post-500 ka and Holocene Activity on Distributed Faults of the North Anatolian Fault System Along the Southern Shelf of Marmara Sea, Turkey, Tectonophysics, 840, 229547, doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2022.229547, 2022.

Zumberge, M.A., S. Xie, F.K. Wyatt, M.S. Steckler, G. Li, W. Hatfield, D. Elliott, T.H. Dixon, J.G. Bridgeman, E.L. Chamberlain, M. Allison , T.E. Törnqvist, Novel Integration of Geodetic and Geologic Methods for High-Resolution Monitoring of Subsidence in the Mississippi Delta, Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface, 127, e2022JF006718, doi: 10.1029/.2022JF006718, 2022.