Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Earth Sciences Division Staff: Nicholas Pester

Nicholas Pester

Nicholas Pester

Postdoctoral Fellow

Geochemistry Department



Phone: 510-486-6983

Fax: 510-486-5686


Biographical Summary

Nick Pester received a Ph.D. in Earth Science from the University of Minnesota in 2012. His research involves experimental and field investigations pertaining to the geochemistry of hydrothermal reactions. Specific studies currently include: the chemical evolution of deep-sea hydrothermal vent fluids and the impacts on associated biota, the abiotic synthesis and stability of organic compounds, potential reservoir effects related to geological carbon sequestration or carbon capture and storage, the effect of high salinity fluids on subsurface reactions, and the effects of fluid chemistry on sub-critical crack growth in deforming materials.

Research Experience

Experimental Research

  • High-temperature/pressure fluid-mineral and fluid-fluid phase equilibria relevant to natural hydrothermal systems
  • Experimental design and use of hydrothermal reaction cells/techniques and high-temperature/pressure flow systems
  • Volatile gas equilibria and hydrocarbon formation in geothermal systems
  • Geochemical effects of carbon capture and storage processes
  • Stability of hydrocarbons and biomolecules in fluid-mineral systems
  • Chemical effects on subcritical crack growth in glass/minerals

Field Research – Oceanographic Expeditions

  • Cruise AT-11-27 (R/V Atlantis, DSV Alvin) to the Galapagos Rift, 5/20 - 6/3, 2005
  • Cruise AT-11-31 (R/V Atlantis, DSV Alvin) to the Main Endeavour Field, Juan de Fuca Ridge, 8/15 - 9/2, 2005. Starboard scientist aboard Alvin dive 4142.
  • Cruise AT-15-28 (R/V Atlantis, DSV Alvin) to 9-13°N, East Pacific Rise, 12/30/07 - 1/13/08. Port scientist aboard Alvin dive 4392.
  • Cruise KNOX18RR (R/V Roger Revelle, ROV Jason II) to 26-37°N, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 7/9 - 8/18, 2008.

Analytical Skills

Gas Chromatography (GC), GC-MS, Hydrothermal Atomic Force Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy, ICP-OES, Ion Chromatography, ICP-MS, XRD, XAFS/XANES, Interferometry

Computational Skills

Proficient in geochemical modeling software (e.g. Geochemist’s Workbench, supcrt92) and the development of high-temperature/pressure thermodynamic databases, including incorporation of new experimental data to better model natural hydrothermal systems and interpret field data.


  • Bachelor of Arts, Geology, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN, 2000 (98 - 99 academic year at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
    (thesis advisor: William E. Seyfried, Jr.), 2012

Teaching Experience

  • Univ. of MN - Lab instructor for  Intro Geology 1001, Oceanography 1006 and Geochemical Principles 3303W (2005 - 2010)
  • Univ. of MN – T.A. and lecturer for Oceanography 1006 (2009 - 2012), and Geochemical Modeling (2008)
  • Univ. of MN - compiled and authored Oceanography 1006 lab manual (2007, still in use)

Research Fellowships

  • William Emmons Fellowship, Univ. of MN, 2007 - 08
  • Richard Clarence Dennis Graduate Fellowship, Univ. of MN,  2007 - 08
  • Kimball Forrest Fellowship, Univ. of MN,  2008 - 09
  • Goldschmidt Student Travel Grant, Geochemical Society, 2010, 2011 and 2012