Laura Fattaruso


I’m a PhD candidate in the Geosciences Department at UMass Amherst working in the Geomechanics Research Group with Dr. Michele Cooke. In my research I use computer simulations of lab experiments to help deepen our understanding of how rocks break, with the larger goal of advancing our understanding of earthquake processes. I have also worked on crustal-scale models of the San Andreas fault, a geologic map of a quadrangle of Venus, and assorted work collecting and processing rock samples for paleomagnetic analysis. I am planning to defend my dissertation in Summer 2022.


I’m also passionate about science communication. I produced and hosted a podcast, Lab Talk with Laura, featuring interviews with scientists across disciplines and career stages with the help of local comics. I was a 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mass Media Fellow, doing science reporting at King 5 News in Seattle, WA. I also do freelance writing for Temblor Earthquake News.


Check out the work of the UMass Geomechanics Research Group.

My master’s work focused on the geometry of the San Andreas fault in California. Here I am demonstrating the dip of the fault in the Coachella Valley.

My conference presentations and journal publications are listed here.

Lab Talk with Laura

You can listen to 30+ episodes of interviews with scientists across a wide range of disciplines along with comedian co-hosts. Available in iTunes, Spotify, and most other podcast apps, or stream directly from Soundcloud.

Science Writing

Here are lists of my public-facing science writing at King 5 News and Temblor. Also check out updates about my adventures in geology and science communication on my blog.

Laura Fattaruso, MS
PhD Candidate – UMass Amherst Geosciences

Twitter: @labtalk_laura