Role of melting processes in the evolution of Planet Earth

-Life cycles of mantle plumes

-Evolution of intra-oceanic arcs and continental crust production

-Integration of petrology-geochemistry with seismic and geodynamic studies

-Volatiles in the mantle

Former Graduate Students

Current field locations:  Galapagos, Central America, Lesser Antilles, Aeolian Islands, Hawaii, Basin and Range, Virginia (CAMP, Rodinia, Eocene Volcanism)

William Whalen, Lisa Whalen, Jarek Trela, Denis Zamboni, Esther Schwarzenbach, Sarah Mazza, Lowel Moore, and Esteban Gazel with lab assistants Cashew and Macki

Planet Earth is a dynamic system in constant evolution. Most of the dynamics of our planet are controlled by Earth’s mantle. The mass transfer between Earth’s mantle, crust and atmosphere is controlled by the production of new oceanic crust in the spreading centers, the recycling of material into the mantle and the segregation of the continental crust at convergent margins. Additional mass transfer from deeper reservoirs are represented by isolated sources of magmatism and heat fed by deep mantle plumes.

My group research mantle melting processes, the development and evolution of different geochemical reservoirs of Planet Earth (especially the mantle and the crust), the deep geochemical cycles (from ocean crust production and subduction to the deep recycling) and mantle sources (peridotite vs. pyroxenite). My goal is to contribute to the understanding of how Planet Earth works internally and how this affect the surface. My approach to study these processes is from a geochemical perspective

Research Group

Lowell Moore- PhD. Student

B.S., Earth Sciences, James Madison University

MS. Geosciences Virginia Tech.

Research Project: Role of bubbles in the volatile degassing of melt inclusions. Volatile budgets on volcanic systems

William Whalen - PhD. Student

Bach. Geosciences Virginia Tech

Research Project:Volcanic arcs and continental crust production

Jarek Trela - PhD. Candidate

M.Sc. Geology Southern Illinois University (SIU),

Carbondale IL

Research Project: Evolution of the Galapagos Mantle


Graduate Students


Sarah Mazza - PhD

Research Project: Virginia Volcanoes “a window” into Eastern North America Mantle Processes/Intraplate volcanism

Now at: University of Munster, Postdoctoral Scientist

Denis Zamboni - Visiting PhD. Student

University of Naples Federico II

Research Project: Melt sources in the Aeolian Islands from B, Be, Li and olivine chemistry

Pilar Madrigal - PhD

Research Project: Geochemistry of Cretaceous Seaway Closure in Central America

Now at: University of Costa Rica, Assistant Professor

Lisa Whalen -MS

Research Project: Supercontinent break up cycles

Now at: Virginia Tech, PhD student