Volcanic eruptions have caused climate and environmental change throughout Earth’s history. Large igneous province (LIP) eruptions are the largest volcanic eruptions in Earth’s history and are frequently associated with mass extinctions, ocean anoxic events, and global warming. In the modern environment, individual volcanic eruptions have various effects including global cooling.
My research has three main themes: 1) Understanding the mechanisms (e.g., CO2 and other gas emissions) by which LIPs affect the environment and developing geochemical proxies to quantify these emissions through the geological record, such as mercury and sulfur concentration and isotopic composition. 2) Using paleoenvironmental proxy records such as carbon and oxygen isotope records from the geological past to investigate the environmental response to volcanic eruptions and gas emissions. 3) Understanding gas emissions processes in modern volcanic systems and the environmental and climate effects of volcanic eruptions within the last few thousand years. My work involves work on both sedimentary rocks as paleoenvironmental archives and igneous rocks which are products of the LIPs and other volcanoes.
Topics focusing on the geologic past:
- The end-Cretaceous mass extinction and climate change: disentangling the effects of the Chicxulub impact versus Deccan Traps LIP volcanism, and comparison with the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum and relationship with North Atlantic Igneous Province and early Eocene hyperthermals
- Do Large Igneous Provinces always cause major environmental change? Focusing on the Cenozoic (including Columbia River Basalts and others)
- The early Jurassic: understanding oceanic anoxic events and climate change and their complex relationship with LIPs (Karoo/Ferrar LIP, Central Atlantic Magmatic Province)
- Proxy development for Hg: understanding the mercury cycle over geological timescales, with and without LIP volcanism
Topics focusing on the modern environment (and recent past):
- Volcanic sulfur and carbon emissions: isotopic composition and effects of hydrothermal systems
- Climate response to volcanic eruptions within the last few thousand years
- Mercury emissions of modern volcanic systems and within glacial/interglacial timescales
- Mercury biogeochemical cycling in the modern environment, including as an anthropogenic pollutant