Cathleen Doherty

Graduate Research Assistant
Earth and Environmental Sciences
427 Comer
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
(845) 365-8572
(845) 365-8155

I find it fascinating that a single rock has the ability to preserve geochemical imprints over billions of years, and with that it also preserves the history of Earth’s dynamic evolution. Radiogenic isotopes provide a means to access this information and shed light on the dynamic processes occurring beneath Earth’s surface. I am especially interested in using modern analytical techniques to measure Sr-Nd-Hf-Os-He isotopes and trace elements in peridotites, which record processes in Earth’s mantle.

My current research involves using a suite of analytical techniques to investigate the geochemical and dynamic evolution of the subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) beneath the West Antarctic Rift System. More specifically, I’m studying mantle xenoliths using the Re-Os isotope system to constrain ages of melt depletion and subsequent stabilization of the SCLM. Re-Os isotope data correlated with major element melt extraction indices allows us to better constrain and understand major melt depletion events recorded in the SCLM. Using this age information, we can map the lithospheric mantle boundaries across a rifted margin and test different models of rifting. The next step in this study is to use Sr-Nd-Hf-He isotopes and trace elements to investigate the role of the SCLM in the formation of regional volcanics, look for evidence of metasomatic re-enrichment after melt depletion, and determine the possibility of mantle plume activity. From this, I hope to gain a better understanding of the mantle’s role in continent formation, and how it records geochemical differentiation events in a tectonically complex region.

List of degrees from highest to lowest:
M.S. Geoscience
Montclair State University
B.S. Biology
Montclair State University
Honors & Awards: 
NSF GK-12 Graduate Teaching Fellow 2007-2009 (MSU)
NSF GK-12 Graduate Teaching Fellow 2012-present (CU)
Advisor List: