Metamorphic Processes and Tectonics:

Metamorphic rocks preserve records of important geodynamic processes operating at depths inaccessible to direct observation. Our research is centered on deciphering this record through the application of field-based thermobarometric and petrochronologic studies. We have particular interest in the governing processes and consequences of plate tectonic activity, particularly i) at subduction zones, to understand the seismicity, chemical cycling and mass-transfer between slab and mantle wedge, and ii) in the continental lower crust, to understand its assembly, its long-term stability, and the composition of Earth’s deep crust.

Early-Earth Geochemistry:

The generation of Earth's continental crust sets our planet apart from other bodies in the solar system.  A large portion of our research is aimed at answering key questions about when and how the continental crust was generated, and the implications for silicate planet evolution. The work we undertake involves field mapping, geochronology, petrology and advanced isotopic analyses to evaluate how the very ancient rocks left on Earth formed.  Our results are then integrated with geophysical models to infer the rates and mechanisms of global tectonic processes.

Analytical Technique Development:

  • Developing and refining small-volume laser-ablation sampling techniques to extract thermal history and kinetic information from single crystals.
  • Developing data reduction methods for trace-element analysis, with an emphasis on accessible schemes built into widely used software in the geologic community (e.g., Iolite/Python).
  • Obtaining and characterizing in-house standards for isotopic/trace-element analyses in a wide variety of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic phases.
  • Designing more precise mass spectrometers to improve understanding of crustal processes in deep time.