B.A., Clark University; M.A., George Washington University; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Science Center 266D
Associate Professor of Geosciences
Researches mechanisms and time scales of plutonic construction; connections between magma chambers, plutons, and volcanic centers in space and time; tectonic assembly of North America; and U-Pb geochronology.
In the broadest sense, I am interested in the processes that shaped the evolution and architecture of continents. I extract evidence for these processes from rocks through field observations and laboratory analyses, particularly U-Pb geochronology (a method for measuring the age of minerals). With age information I focus on the timescale over and/or rate at which crustal processes operated in the past. During my career, I have investigated magmatism associated with the breakup of continents about 700 million years ago (northern Virginia), volcanism associated with the formation of the Atlantic Ocean basin about 220 million years ago (New Jersey), deformation, metamorphism and magmatism associated with the growth of North America between 1,800 and 1,600 million years ago (Grand Canyon, Arizona) and, most recently, magmatic processes that operate in the plumbing systems beneath ancient volcanoes during the collision of tectonic plates (Maine and California).
I teach traditional geological topics in nontraditional ways. For most courses, I employ a ‘studio-style’ class format in which ‘lecture’ and ‘lab’ components are seamlessly integrated into a series of exercises and discussions designed for students to discover important concepts. I also emphasize a multidisciplinary approach to designing courses and presenting material. These approaches help students not only learn key material, but they also actively develop and practice fundamental learning, problem-solving and communication skills. My studio-style courses include a first-year seminar on plate tectonics (Global Significance of Plate Tectonics), 200-level courses on plate tectonics/structural geology (Tectonics and Structural Geology) and mineralogy/petrology/geochemistry (Earth Materials), and a 300-level course on petrology, structural geology, geochemistry and tectonics (Evolution of the Lithopshere). In addition to my classroom teaching, I offer students opportunities to learn geology in the field in locations such as the Northeastern and Western United States, New Zealand and Hawaii.
Favorite pastimes include engaging in family life with my wife, two sons and dog, a life that involves hiking, exploring the coast of Maine from a sea kayak, cooking, traveling, photographing our travels, and watching my sons play soccer. I also play soccer in a well-organized local pick-up ‘league’, I am a life-long fan of the New York Yankees, and I passionately follow European and International soccer.