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Arthur D. Storke Memorial Professor
Earth and Environmental Sciences
211 Comer
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
(845) 365-8728
(845) 365-8155



Fields of interest: CO2 capture and storage via in situ mineral carbonation in peridotite and basalt; melting and reactive melt transport in the Earth's mantle and lower crust; igneous processes in forming the Earth's crust; density instabilities, ductile deformation and evolution of the lower crust; subduction zone geotherms; and the mechanisms for intermediate depth earthquakes.
Recently, I have added mineral carbonation and hydration in peridotite and mafic rocks to my research program. This is a reactive transport problem, very similar to the work I've done on reactive transport of melt in the upper mantle and lower crust, there are fantastic field areas where active, ongoing mineral carbonation and hydration can be observed, and the physical mechanisms that control key processes are not well understood. We are focusing on understanding processes in natural systems, particularly “reaction driven cracking”, with relevance to engineered geological capture and storage of CO2, stimulation of geothermal reservoirs, in situ mining, and extraction of hydrocarbon resources from tight formations.
For decades, my primary research interest has been in the genesis and evolution of the Earth's crust in the ocean basins, in arcs, and in continents. I approach this topic from the perspective that reactions between melt and rock during transport through the upper mantle are as important as melting, mixing, and crystal fractionation processes in producing different crustal bulk compositions in different tectonic settings. I’ve been fascinated by the stark compositional difference between oceanic and continental crust, and in my research I have gravitated toward end-member examples of magmatic processes: oceanic spreading ridges, and subduction-related volcanic arcs such as the Aleutians where the composition of average lavas and exposed plutonic rocks closely resembles continental crust.  In an ongoing effort, I've tried to develop a general theory that explains how reactive melt transport varies along different geothermal gradients, with, 1. mineral dissolution and focusing of flow into high permeability channels in hot, upwelling mantle, 2. diffuse flow where there is a low melt flux into conductively cooled, shallow mantle, and, 3. hydrofracture where high melt flux and crystallization due to cooling clog porosity, leading to ponding of magma and increasing melt pressure. I’ve also become very interested in gravitational instabilities that can remove dense lithologies from the base of the crust, and transport buoyant subducted sediments and felsic igneous rocks from subduction zones back into the crust, and I hope to pursue investigations of metasediments in lower crustal granulite terrains: how do they get down there?
In studying layered intrusions and lower oceanic crust, I’ve tried to understand a few of the many possible mechanisms for forming both compositional and modal layering in gabbros, via injection of layer parallel sills, and via sudden changes in pressure that can modify the assemblage of minerals precipitating from a cooling magma. This research led to general ideas about formation of oceanic crust, via a “sheeted sills” mechanism in which the lower crust crystallizes from many small sills, injected at depths throughout the crust. This end-member process stands in contrast to the “gabbro glacier” hypothesis, in which all oceanic plutonic rocks crystallize in a single, shallow melt lens and undergo ductile flow downward and outward to “fill” the lower crust. A related issue is the mode of cooling of the oceanic lower crust; via conduction with limited, diffuse fluid flow, or via rapid, focused hydrothermal convection. Trying to quantify and constrain these hypotheses, and to determine which processes predominate in different tectonic settings, has motivated a lot of research over the past 15 years.
I've been very fortunate to work with a large number of tolerant geophysicists (Jack Whitehead, Einat Aharonov, Steve Holbrook, Marc Spiegelman, Greg Hirth, Jun Korenaga, Matthew Jull, and others) who have led me into the world of geodynamics. I am grateful to them all, particularly Greg Hirth, with whom I have been able to pursue interdisciplinary studies.
Finally, not that long ago, I was a founding partner of Dihedral Exploration, mineral exploration consultants specializing in field work requiring technical climbing skills. Searching for ore deposits took me to British Columbia, Alaska and Greenland. I've recently started teaching a new course, Earth Resources for Sustainable Development, which covers some of that field, as well as energy resources, water, soil and fertilizer. I’ve been writing general articles and giving public presentations on this topic


List of degrees from highest to lowest:
University of Washington
Master of Science
University of Washington
Bachelor of Arts

Lamont Projects:

Referenced in the Following News Items:

Featured in the Following Videos:

Selected Publications:

Ambient weathering of magnesium oxide for CO2 removal from air (CDR) McQueen, N.; Kelemen, P.; Dipple, G.; Renforth, P.; Wilcox, J. Nature Communications (2020)
Engineered carbon mineralization in ultramafic rocks for CO2 removal from air Kelemen, P.B.; McQueen, N.; Wilcox, J.; Renforth, P.; Dipple, G.; Paukert-Vankeuren, A. Chem. Geol. (invited) (2020)
Proceedings of the Oman Drilling Project: College Station, TX (International Ocean Discovery Program) Kelemen, P.B.; Matter, J.M.; Teagle, D.A.H.; Coggon, J.A.; and the Oman Drilling Science Team doi:10.14379/Oman.ph1-2.proc.2020, and specific chapters therein (2020)
Phase field modeling of reaction driven cracking: Determining conditions for extensive olivine serpentinization Evans, O.; Spiegelman, M.W.; Kelemen, P.B. J. Geophys. Res., 125, e2019JB018614 (2020)
An overview of the status and challenges of CO2 storage in minerals and geological formations Kelemen, P.; Benson, S.M.; Pilorgé, H.; Psarras, P.; Wilcox, J. Frontiers in Climate Volume: 1 (2019)
Oxygen fugacity at the base of the Talkeetna arc, Alaska Bucholz, C.E.; Kelemen, P.B. Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. Volume: 174 (2019)
Near-solidus melts of MORB + 4 wt% H2O at 0.8 - 2.8 GPa applied to issues of subduction magmatism and continent formation Sisson, T.W.; Kelemen, P.B. Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. Volume: 173 p.: 23 (2018)
Potential for offsetting diamond mine carbon emissions through mineral carbonation of processed kimberlite: an assessment of De Beers mine sites in South Africa and Canada Mervine, E.M.; Wilson, S.A.; Power, I.M.; Dipple, G.M.; Turvey, C.C.; Hamilton, J.L.; Vanderzee, S.; Raudsepp, M.; Southam, C.; Matter, J.M.; Kelemen, P.B.; Steinfenhofer, J.; Miya, Z.; Souhtam, G. Mineralogy & Petrology Volume: 112 p.: 755-765 (2018)
In situ carbon mineralization in ultramafic rocks: Natural processes and possible engineered methods Kelemen, P.B., 32 others, and the Oman Drilling Project Phase 1 Scientific Party Energy Procedia Volume: 146 p.: 92-102 (2018)
A poroelastic model of serpentinization: Exploring the interplay between rheology, surface energy, reaction and fluid flow Evans, O.; Spiegelman, M.W.; Kelemen, P,B J. Geophys. Res. Volume: 123 p.: 8653–8675 (2018)
O isotopes in western Aleutian seafloor lavas: Implications for the source of fluids and trace element character of arc volcanic rocks Yogodzinski, G.M.; Kelemen, P.B.; Hoernle,K.; Brown, S.T.; Bindeman, I.; Vervoort, J.D.; Sims, K.W.W.; Portnyagin, M.; Werner, R. Sr. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. Volume: 475 p.: 169-180 (2017)
Geological and geochemical controls on subsurface microbial life in the Samail Ophiolite, Oman Rempfert, K.R.; Miller, H.M.; Bompard, N.; Nothaft, D.; Matter, J.M.; Kelemen, P.; Fierer, N.; Templeton, A.S. Templeton Frontiers in Microbiology Volume: 8 (2017)
Low temperature hydrogen production during experimental hydration of partially-serpentinized dunite Miller, H.M.; Mayhew, L.E.; Ellison, E.T.; Kelemen, P.; Kubo, M.; Templeton, A.S. Volume: 209 p.: 161-183 (2017)
Synchronous formation of the metamorphic sole and igneous crust of the Semail ophiolite: New constraints on the tectonic evolution during ophiolite formation from high-precision U-Pb zircon geochronology Rioux, M.; Garber, J.; Bauer, A.; Bowring, S.; Searle, M.; Kelemen, P.; Hacker, B. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett Volume: 451 p.: 185-195 (2016)
Modern water/rock reactions in Oman hyperalkaline peridotite aquifers and implications for microbial habitability Miller, H.M.; Matter, J.M.; Kelemen, P.; Ellison, E.T.; Conrad, M.; Fierer, N.; Templeton, A.S. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta Volume: 179 p.: 217-241 (2016)
Formation of lower continental crust by relamination of buoyant arc lavas and plutons (Review Article), Kelemen, P.B.; Behn, M.D. Nature Geoscience Volume: 9 p.: 197-205 (2016)
The seismic mid-lithosphere discontinuity Selway, K; Ford, H; Kelemen, P. Earth and Planetary Science Letters Volume: 414 p.: 45-57 (2015)
Distinctly different parental magmas for calc-alkaline plutons and tholeiitic lavas in the central and eastern Aleutian arc Cai, Yue; Rioux, Matthew; Kelemen, Peter B.; Goldstein, Steven L.; Bolge, Louise; Kylander-Clark, Andrew R. C. Earth and Planetary Science Letters Volume: 431 (2015) 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.07.058
The role of subducted basalt in the source of island arc magmas: Evidence from seafloor lavas of the western Aleutians, Yogodzinski, G.M.; Kelemen, P.B.; Vervoort, J.D.; Portnyagin, M.; Sims, K.; Hoernle, K.; Jicha, B.; Hauff, F.; Werner, R. J. Petrol. Volume: 56 p.: 441-492 (2015)
Constraints on the accretion of the gabbroic lower oceanic crust from plagioclase lattice preferred orientations in the Samail ophiolite VanTongeren, J.; Hirth, G.; Kelemen, P.B. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. Volume: 427 p.: 249-261 (2015)
Re-evaluating carbon fluxes in subduction zones: What goes down, mostly comes up Kelemen, P.B.; Manning, C.E. Proc. National Acad. Science Volume: 112 p.: E3997-E4006 (2015)
Role of arc processes in the formation of continental crust Jagoutz, O.; Kelemen, P.B Ann Rev Earth Planet Sci. Volume: 43 p.: 363–404 (2015)
Continental lower crust Hacker, B.R., Kelemen, P.B.; and Behn, M.D. Ann Rev Earth Planet Sci Volume: 43 p.: 167–205 (2015)
The youngest continents Gazel, E.; Hayes, J.; Hoernle, K.; Kelemen, P.; Everson, E.; Holbrook, W.S.; Hauff, F.; van den Bogaard, P.; Vance, E.A.; Chu, S.; Carr, M.J.; Yogodzinski, G.M Nature Geoscience Volume: 8 p.: 321-327 (2015)
Carbonation rates of peridotite in the Samail Ophiolite, Sultanate of Oman constrained through 14C dating and stable isotopes Mervine, E.M.; Humphris, S.E.; Sims, K.W.W.; Kelemen, P.B.; Jenkins, W.J. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta Volume: 126 p.: 371-397 (2014)
Chemical and morphological changes during olivine carbonation for CO2 storage in the presence of NaCl and NaHCO3 Gadikota, G.; Matter, J.; Kelemen, P.B.; Park, A-H.A. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics Volume: 16 p.: 4679-4693, (2014)
Constraints on the composition of the Aleutian arc lower crust from VP/VS Shillington, D.J., Van Avendonk, H.J.A.; Behn, M.D., Kelemen, P.B.; Jagoutz, O. Geophysical Research Letters Volume: 40 p.: 2579–2584 (2013) 10.1002/grl.50375
Reaction-driven cracking during retrograde metamorphism: Olivine hydration and carbonation Kelemen, P.B. and G. Hirth Earth and Planetary Science Letters Volume: 345–348 p.: p. 81 (2012)
Coexisting serpentine and quartz from carbonate-bearing serpentinized peridotite in the Samail Ophiolite, Oman Streit, E.; Kelemen, P.B.; Eiler, J. Mineralogy and Petrology Volume: 164 (2012)
Rapid crustal accretion and magma assimilation in the Oman-U.A.E. ophiolite: High precision U-Pb zircon geochronology of the gabbroic crust Rioux, M.; Bowring, S.; Kelemen, P.; Gordon, S.; Dudás, F.; Miller, R. J. Geophys. Res. Volume: 117 (2012) 10.1029/2012JB009273
Rhenium-osmium isotope systematics and platinum group element concentrations in oceanic crust Peucker-Ehrenbrink, B.; Hanghøj, K.; Atwood, T.; Kelemen, P.B. Geology Volume: 40 p.: 190-202 (2012)
Differentiation of the continental crust by relamination Hacker, B. R.; Kelemen, P. B.; Behn, M. D. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 06/02/2011 Volume: 307 p.: 15 (2011)
Rates and Mechanisms of Mineral Carbonation in Peridotite: Natural Processes and Recipes for Enhanced, in situ CO2 Capture and Storage Kelemen, P.B.; Matter, J.; Streit, E.E.; Rudge, J.F.; Curry, W.B.; Blusztajn, J. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences Volume: 39 p.: 93 (2011)
The case for reactive crystallization at mid-ocean ridges Collier, M. L.; Kelemen, P. B. Journal of Petrology (2010)
Investigation of the strength contrast at the Moho: A case study from the Oman Ophiolite Homburg, J.; Hirth, G.; Kelemen, P.B Geology Volume: 38 (2010)
Trapped melt in the Josephine peridotite: Implications for permeability and melt extraction in the upper mantle Sundberg, M,; Hirth, G.; Kelemen, P.B. Journal of Petrology Volume: 51 (2010)
A felsic end to Bushveld differentiation VanTongeren, J.; Mathez, E.; Kelemen, P.B. Journal of Petrology Volume: 51 (2010)
A simple model of reaction induced cracking applied to serpentinization and carbonation of peridotite Rudge, J.F.; Kelemen, P.B.; Spiegelman, M Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 2010 Volume: 291 p.: 215-227 (2010)
Permanent storage of carbon dioxide in geological reservoirs by mineral carbonation Matter, J M; Kelemen, P B Nature Geoscience Volume: 2 p.: 837-841 (2009)
The origin of the land under the sea Kelemen, P.B. Scientific American Volume: 300 p.: 52-57 (2009)
Cooling rates in the lower crust of the Oman ophiolite: Ca in olivine, revisited VanTongeren, J. A.; Kelemen, P. B.; Hanghoj, K. Earth and Planetary Science Letters Mar 1 Volume: 267 Issue: 1-2 p.: 69-82 (2008) DOI 10.1016/j.epsi.2007.11.034
In situ carbonation of peridotite for CO2 storage Kelemen, P. B.; Matter, J. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 11/2008 Volume: 105 Issue: 45 p.: 17295-17300 (2008)
In situ carbonation of peridotite for CO2 storage Kelemen, P. B.; Matter, J. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Nov 11 Volume: 105 Issue: 45 p.: 17295-17300 (2008) DOI 10.1073/pnas.0805794105
Evolution of olivine lattice preferred orientation during simple shear in the mantle Warren, J.M.; Hirth G.; P.B. Kelemen, P.B. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 2008 Volume: 272 p.: 501-512 (2008)