Matej Pec studies the mechanical and microstructural response of rocks to various driving forces associated with plate tectonic movements and human activity. To this end, he performs high-pressure, high-temperature experiments in the laboratory and compares the results to natural observations and theoretical models. His work so far has focused on (1) elucidating the processes occurring at the base of the seismogenic layer where brittle and viscous deformation mechanisms act together to accommodate strain, (2) melt migration in partially molten rocks and the processes that lead to magma emplacement along mid-ocean ridges, and (3) quantifying the consequences of carbon mineralization on the mechanical and transport properties of storage rocks.
Matej has a B.Sc. in Geology and a M.Sc. in Structural Geology from the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. During his master studies, he spent a year at the Université Montpellier II in France as an ERASMUS scholar. He then pursued a Ph.D. in rock mechanics under the supervision of Prof. Renée Heilbronner and Prof. Holger Stünitz at the Universität Basel in Switzerland, where he graduated “summa cum laude” in 2012. After his Ph.D., he joined the laboratory of Prof. David L. Kohlstedt at the University of Minnesota as a postdoctoral researcher. In January 2017 he has joined the MIT EAPS faculty.