Faculty Research

The Geosciences Department has many opportunities for students to conduct research with faculty on their interests of choice.

Research projects are often presented in annual conferences such as the annual Wellesley College Ruhlman Conference .

Below you can see a list of faculty that offer research opportunities for students in their labs with their current research interests listed. Contact professors to learn more about the research opportunities they offer.

Interests Professor
  • Quantitative X-ray diffraction of complex mixtures
  • Hydrogeology of the Wellesley campus water supply

Joseph P. Smith, Daniel J. Brabander, James R. Besancon, Lewis C. Millholland, Michael J. Gregory, and Richard B. Coffin , Mineralogy, Bacterial Species Diversity, and Bioavailable Trace-element Loading on the Silt/Clay Fraction of Surficial Sands From Iraq and Kuwait 14th International Clay Conference, Castellaneta Marina, Italy, 2009.

Christopher H. Swartz, Nicole Keon Blute, Borhan Badruzzman, Ashraf Ali, Daniel Brabander, Jenny Jay, James Besancon, Shafiqul Islam, Harold F. Hemond, And Charles F. Harvey,  Mobility of arsenic in a Bangladesh aquifer: Inferences from geochemical profiles, leaching data, and mineralogical characterization Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 68, No. 22, pp. 4539-4557, 2004  

Besancon, J. R. and T. M. Spence (2004). Modal Petrology and Geostatistics of the Blue Hills Igneous Complex, Boston, Massachusetts, by Rietveld X-ray Diffraction: Multi-scalar Investigation of Volcanic and Intrusive relationships . Eos Trans. AGU Fall Meeting Supplement, Abstract V21B-0614, San Francisco, California, American Geophysical Union.


  • Environmental Geochemistry
  • Medical Geology

Lin C. G., Schaider L. A., Brabander D. J., Woolf A. D. (2010) Pediatric lead exposure from imported Indian spices and religious ceremonial powders . Pediatrics 125: (4) e828-e835. DOI: 10.1542/peds2009-1396.

Blute N. K., Jay J. A., Swartz C. H., Brabander D. J., Hemond H. F. (2009) Aqueous and solid phase arsenic speciation in the sediments of a contaminated wetland and riverbed . Applied Geochemistry 24: 346-358.

Heiger-Bernays W., Burns V., Diskin K., Pierotti D., Mercahnt-Borna K., McClean M., Brabander D., Hynes H. P. (2009) Characterization and low-cost solutions for soils contaminated by timbers in community gardens . International Journal of Soil, Sediment and Water 2: (3) Art.


  • Mechanisms and time scales of plutonic construction
  • Connection between magma chambers, plutons and volcanic centers
  • Tectonics

Hawkins, D.P. and Wiebe, R.A., in preparation, High precision U-Pb geochronology of the Silurian Vinalhaven Intrusive Complex, Maine: Implications for the construction and longevity of a subvolcanic silicic intrusion . To be submitted to Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology .

Wiebe, R.A., Wark, D.A., and Hawkins, D.P., 2007, Insights from quartz cathodoluminescence zoning into crystallization of the Vinalhaven granite, coastal Maine: Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology , v. 154, p. 439-453.

Wiebe, R.A., Jellinek, M., Markley, M.J., Hawkins, D.P., and Snyder, D., 2007, Steep schlieren and associated enclaves in the Vinalhaven granite, Maine: possible indicatorsfor granite rheology. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology (153/2) 121-138.



•  Magmatic chronology of SE New England

•  Neoproterozoic tectonics and paleogeography of northern Appalachian Avalon terranes

Thompson, M.D., 2014, U-Pb zircon geochronology of Roxbury Conglomerate, Boston Basin Massachusetts:  Tectono-stratigraphic implications for Avalonia in and beyone SE New England:  American Journal of Science, . 514, p. 1009-1040.

Thompson, M.D., Barr, S.M. and Grunow, A.M., 2012, Avalonian perspectives on Neoproterozoic paleogeography:  Evidence from Sm-Nd isotope geochemistry and detrital zircon geochronology in SE New England, USA:  Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 124, p. 517-531. 

Thompson, M.D., Ramezani, J., Barr, S.M., and Hermes, O.D., 2010, High precision U-Pb zircon dates for Ediacaran granitoid rocks in SE New England:  revised magmatic chronology and correlation with other Avalonian terranes in Tollo, R.P., Bartholomew, M.J., Hibbard, J.P. and Karabinos, P.M., eds., From Rodinia to Pangea:  the lithotectonic record of the Appalachian region:  Geological Society of America Memoir 206, p. 231-250.

Meg Thompson

Professor Emerita Thompson


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Department of Geosciences


Science Center
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481

David Hawkins
Department Chair
Rita Purcell
Department Administrator

Tel: 781.283.3151