Current Research Activity (2021)


I have published 40 papers and four major “data-dumps” (Earth Chemistry Library publications) since “retiring” to emeritus status eleven years ago, and have shipped more than 1100 rock samples and associated data to curated science collections. The samples are from remote islands in Fiji, eastern Indonesia, and the Marianas, from Holocene eruptions throughout Japan, and from the sea floor of the Izu arc south of Tokyo, Japan, and the Endeavour segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge collected by dredging, diving, and drilling. Most are now at the Smithsonian and the University of Rhode Island, and several hundred more will go to the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.


I no longer maintain labs and or accept graduate students and post-docs, but I have co-supervised nine of them in other universities and four countries since retirement. For the first time in >50 years, I have no active field projects.


I hope to write more papers. Two are about my career-long efforts to understand the geological evolution of the world’s best-exposed new “continent”, Fiji. One deals with new data for its shoshonitic to tholeiitic Pliocene basalts that accompanied the end of subduction and separation of Fiji from Vanuatu. The other will tie together all of my and others’ work to summarize the punctuated history of how new continental crust forms in an ocean.


Another priority is a final paper about the Endeavour segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge where I was part of decades of work with MBARI assets to create high resolution bathymetric maps, collect well-located samples by submersible, and analyze and date the volcanic rocks. The result is one of the best known segments of any ocean ridge. Although a wide variety of MORB basalt types were erupted there within a few thousand years and a few km of one another, individual mappable units record largely closed magmatic systems with simple liquid lines of descent. Mixing in axial magma chambers did not dilute evidence of mantle heterogeneity.


Other future publications will depend on opportunity and co-authors but their topics may include the nature and sources of “Indian-type” mantle enrichments in SW Pacific backarc basins, and the role of lithospheric mantle in the Southern Volcanic Zone in Chile. Of course I remain interested in the wide variety of phenomena that I have studied throughout my career, but now mostly follow as a consultant or interested on-looker.