Lauren Harrison

PhD Geological Sciences

EOS-Main 305
(604) 822-3764

Statistical analysis of Hawaiian geochemical data can robustly resolve geochemical heterogeneities in time and space during Hawaiian mantle plume activity. This provides an important constraint to evaluate the current understanding of oceanic island basalt chemistry and how that may be related to geophysically-imaged lower mantle structures such as the Pacific LLSVP (large low-shear velocity province) underneath Hawaii. I have also been using Pacific Ocean ferromanganese crusts to trace sources of Pb to the Pacific Ocean over time and investigate paleo-ocean chemistry over the last ~50 million years. The use of LA-ICP-MS allows for high-temporal resolution of geochemical trends in these crusts. 

My recently completed PhD research was on the radiogenic isotopic signature and petrology of Northwestern Hawaiian Ridge basalts. The Northwestern Hawaiian Ridge is the ~2800 kilometer long track of seamounts, small islands, and atolls erupted from the Hawaiian mantle plume between the Hawaiian Islands and the bend in the Hawaiian-Emperor hotspot track spanning roughly 40 million years. The use of high precision isotopes such as Pb, Hf, Nd, and Sr as well as trace elements allows us to explore the geochemical evolution of the Hawaiian mantle plume over a significant period of its activity when major changes took place in magmatic flux, Pacific Plate orientation and motion, and volcanic propagation rate. 

My previous research is on the petrology and mantle geochemistry of Hawaiian lavas, specifically the lithium isotopic signatures of lavas spanning the entire Hawaiian island chain. Li isotopes offer the possibility of a different perspective on the origin of mantle sources to Hawaiian volcanism because it is a stable isotope fractionated in specific geologic environments (i.e. low temperature, aqueous system such as subduction zones). Tracing this "signature" in oceanic island basalts such as Hawaii provides insight about the recycling of crustal materials into the mantle. I have also investigated the Paleoproterozoic Albany Granite pluton in southeastern Wyoming for U-Pb geochronology, geochemical signature, petrology, and structure in relation to the Cheyenne Belt, a major crustal suture between the Wyoming Craton and younger terrains.

Sessional Lecturer, University of British Columbia, 2016

Team-taught third year level undergraduate EOSC 333 Isotopic and Elemental Geochemistry. Duties included preparing and giving lectures, overseeing teaching assistants and labs, writing and giving exams, assigning final projects, holding office hours and answering student questions, and coordinating field trips.

Teaching Assistant, University of British Columbia, 2011-2016

Duties include leading lab, marking course materials and exams, invigilating, assisting with field trips and lecture activities, driving company vehicles, holding office hours and responding to student emails, exam writing and reviewing, photocopying, setting up and taking down labs, and course development. Courses TA-ed include EOSC 220 Introductory Mineralogy (5 years), EOSC 333 Isotopic and Elemental Geochemistry (3 years), EOSC 110 The Solid Earth: A Dynamic Planet (1 year), EOSC 223 Field Techniques (1 year).

Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative Teaching Assistant, University of British Columbia, 2012

Designed lecture activities for EOSC 333 Isotopic and Elemental Geochemistry and prepared materials for use in class to make geochemistry more accessible, hands-on, and transmutable. Re-designed EOSC 333 Isotopic and Elemental Geochemistry the labs including re-evaluating what material is indispensable to the learning goals of the course.


Ph.D. Geosciences – 2011-2017, University of British Columbia, Defended Sept. 29, 2017

Thesis: Isotopic and Chemical Heterogeneity of the Hawaiian Mantle Plume: Evaluating Mantle Geodynamics and Characterization of the Loa Geochemical Trend

  • Used stable and radiogenic isotopes (Li, Pb, Hf, Nd, Sr), trace and major elements to study the long-term (~47 Ma) evolution of the Hawaiian mantle plume. Prepared and analyzed all of my own samples.
  • Advisor: Dr. Dominique Weis GPA: 4.00

B.Sc. Geology – 2010, University of Wyoming  

Senior Thesis: Petrology, Petrochemistry, and Geochronology of the Albany Granite, Southeastern Wyoming

  • Minored in Chemistry and Honors  
  • Advisor: Dr. Arthur Snoke GPA: 3.92, cum laude, awarded 1 in 20 outstanding graduates in the college of Arts & Sciences

Analytical Experience

- Clean lab preparation of samples, MC-ICP-MS analysis of Pb-Hf-Nd-Li, HR-ICP-MS analysis of trace elements, TIMS analysis of Sr, data processing and quality control (Pacific Center for Isotopic and Geochemical Research, UBC). 

- Preparation of pressed pellet and fused glass bead samples for XRF major element analysis, XRF analysis of major elements, U-Pb TIMS dating of zircon, mineral separation for U-Pb zircon dating, petrographic microscopy, geological field mapping, and rock slab etching and staining for modal analysis (University of Wyoming). 

- Toxicity testing (LD 50) of Ga, In, and Te to Ceriodaphnia dubia (USGS Science Center, Menlo Park, CA). 


- GSA 2017 Travel Grant

- Mineralogical Association of Canada 2016 Travel Grant

- Outstanding Student Paper Award (OSPA), AGU Fall Meeting 2015, Oral Talk

- GSA 2015 Lipman Research Award  

- 2015 Geological Society of America Student Research Grant 

-Dept. of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science Most Exciting Research award at 2014 graduate student poster competition.

-Scientist on Schmidt Oceanographic Institute's Research Vessel Falkor collecting multibeam, gravity, and magnetic data of Hawaiian Ridge seamounts, 2014.

-UBC Doctoral Four Year Fellowship, 2012-2016

-2012 IODP Travel Grant

-UBC International Partial Tuition Scholarship 2011-present

-U. of Wyoming Faculty of Arts & Science's Top 20 Outstanding Graduates Award, 2011

-Three time winner of the EPSCoR Undergraduate Research Fellowship (UW)

-Invited guest speaker at the Wyoming Petroleum Club, 2010 and at the Cheyenne Mineral & Gem Club, 2010

-2008-2009 Recipient of the Cheyenne Mineral & Gem Club Scholarship

-Hathaway Merit Honors Cont. Scholarship and Trustee's Pride Hathaway Scholarships, 2007-2009 (UW)

-Presidential Scholarship, 2006-2007, upgraded to Trustee's Scholarship, 2007-2008 (UW)

-Anne Lowe Memorial Geology Scholarship, 2009, 2010 and S.H. Knight Geology Scholarship, 2010 (UW)