Cornelia Class

Lamont Associate Research Professor
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Earth and Environmental Sciences
439 Comer
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
(845) 365-8712
(845) 365-8155
Fields of interest: 
Solid Earth Geochemistry and Dynamics

As a student I became fascinated by the ability of geochemical tools to *look* into the otherwise inaccessible Earth's mantle and constrain its heterogeneity and temporal evolution as well as aspects of its convective regimes. Combined with the stunning beauty of volcanoes, which provide such *windows* into the Earth's interior, mantle geochemistry became my passion. In an attempt to understand the present and past geology of the mantle, I integrate a wide range of analytical techniques (major and trace elements, Sr-Nd-Pb-Hf-Os isotopic compositions and noble gases) to quantify geochemical processes wherever possible. My present research focuses on the following questions: (i) Constraints on the age and precursor materials of plume sources, (ii) Processes of plume-lithosphere interaction, identification of deep mantle plume components, and the composition of old oceanic lithospheric mantle, (iii) The significance of detached continental lithosphere in the source regions of oceanic basalts and processes of detachment, (iv) Processes of element transport from subducting slabs to the sub-arc mantle, (v) The subcontinental lithospheric mantle as a chemical layer and its role in volcanism, and (vi) The origin of primordial 3He in oceanic basalts and its implications for mantle dynamics. 

Some of my current projects include:

  • Dynamic and geochemical evolution of the lithospheric mantle beneath the Western Ross Sea, Antarctica. Cathleen Doherty's graduate research project.
  • The role of magmatism during early stage rifting - a multidisciplinary, multinational study in the southern part of the East African Rift. Gary Mesko's graduate research project.
  • Plate tectonic and geochemical evolution of the young Walvis Ridge and implications for African plate motion modeling, plume zonation and sources related to the African large low shear wave velocity province. Cruise website.
  • Evolution of the Galapagos mantle plume.
List of degrees from highest to lowest:
Ph.D. (Dr. rer. nat.)
Max-Planck Institute for Geochemistry Mainz and University of Karlsruhe, Germany
MA (Diplom Mineraloge)
University of Karlsruhe, Germany
Honors & Awards: 
Otto-Hahn-Medal of the Max-Planck-Society, Germany 6/22/1995
Lamont/DEES Student List: 
Selected Publications: 
Metasomatism of the Pan-African lithospheric mantle beneath the Damara Belt, Namibia, by the Tristan mantle plume: geochemical evidence from mantle xenoliths, le Roex, A. P.; Class, C. , Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, Volume 168, (2014), 10.1007/s00410-014-1046-y

Meter-scale Nd isotopic heterogeneity in pyroxenite-bearing Ligurian peridotites encompasses global-scale upper mantle variability, Borghini, G.; Rampone, E.; Zanetti, A.; Class, C.; Cipriani, A.; Hofmann, A.W.; Goldstein, S.L. , Geology, Volume 41, p.1055-1058, (2013), 10.1130/g34438.1

How double volcanic chains sample geochemical anomalies from the lowermost mantle , Farnetani, C. G.; Hofmann, A. W.; Class, C. , Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 359-360, p.240-247, (2012), 10.1016/j.epsl.2012.09.057

Hotspot trails in the South Atlantic hospot controlled by plume and plate tectonic processes, O'Connor, J.M.; Jokat, W.; le Roex, A.P.; Class, C.; Wijbrans, J.R.; Ke├čling, S.; Kuiper, K.F.; Nebel, O. , Nature Geoscience, Volume 5, p.735-738, (2012), 10.1038/NGEO1583

South Atlantic DUPAL anomaly - Dynamic and compositional evidence against a recent shallow origin, Class, C.; le Roex, A. P. , Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 305, p.92-102, (2011)

Osmium isotopes in Grande Comore lavas: constraints on EM-type mantle components, Class, C; Goldstein, S L; Shirey, S B , Earth and Planetary Letters, Volume 284, p.219-227, (2009)

Ce anomalies in Gough Island lavas - Trace element characteristics of a recycled sediment component, Class, C.; le Roex, A. P. , Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Jan 30, Volume 265, Issue 3-4, p.475-486, (2008), DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2007.10.030

Continental material in the shallow oceanic mantle - How does it get there?, Class, C.; le Roex, A. P. , Geology, Mar, Volume 34, Issue 3, p.129-132, (2006), Doi 10.1103/G21943.1

Evolution of helium isotopes in the Earth's mantle, Class, C.; Goldstein, S. L. , Nature, Aug 25, Volume 436, Issue 7054, p.1107-1112, (2005), Doi 10.1038/Nature03930

Distinguishing melt and fluid subduction components in Umnak volcanics, Aleutian Arc, Class, C.; Miller, D. M.; Goldstein, S. L.; Langmuir, C. H. , Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, Volume 1, Issue 6, (2000), 10.1029/1999GC000010

Plume-lithosphere interactions in the ocean basins: constraints from the source mineralogy, Class, C.; Goldstein, S. L. , Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Aug, Volume 150, Issue 3-4, p.245-260, (1997)