I run a very small group. The problems on which I work are, however,  varied and span topics across Earth and planetary science.  Current themes in which I am interested include (please also see publications):

1) Why do the largest volcanic eruptions in the geological record have an equivocal expression in Earth’s record of climate change? How did the eruption dynamics governing the injection of a SO2-rich plume into the stratosphere during the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo ensure a large effect on global climate change? Why did the more powerful 2020 Hunga Tonga eruption through a shallow ocean produce virtually no effect? What if the climate effects of a massive Yellowstone-style eruption simply do not matter very much?

2)  Can the particle-scale microphysics governing the injection, spread and residence times of volcanic clouds provide critical clues to the ecological consequences of dissolving metal-particle-rich plumes produced during imminent deep-sea mining operations? Can we use the sensitive dependence of the dynamics, structure and longevity of volcanic clouds on vent source conditions to optimize the engineering of deep-sea mining operations to minimize ecological risks and impacts?  

3) To what extent can we use the structure, planform and morphometry of valley systems inferred from satellite and ground-based remote sensing data to constrain rigorously the history and cadence of glacial-interglacial cycles on Earth? What about the history of water and ice on ancient Mars? 

4) What are the “frequency response properties” of high-Arctic landscapes? How are their evolving  and varied responses in space and time to global warming and to unprecedented intensified summertime temperature variability manifest in the structure and evolution of landscapes, in the delivery of surface water, sediment, nutrients and pathogens into watersheds, and through consequence for at-risk Indigenous populations? How do we best characterize this response with satellite- and ground-based remote sensing studies? How do we incorporate Indigenous “Local Ecological Knowledge” (LEK) into this analysis and into the development of optimally-useful risk-assessment tools like “Apps”?

5) How does the intermittent assembly and breakup of supercontinents modulate Earth’s climate through transient effects on volcanism, mountain building, sea level change, weathering and the diversity of the biosphere?  What are consequences for Earth's atmosphere, ocean and biosphere and how are these effects expressed in proxy data? 


Student Opportunities: 

I look for graduate students with strong backgrounds in geology/volcanology/petrology/planetary science (with additional substantial coursework in math, physics and/or chemistry), astrophysics, physics or engineering, who love the challenge of independent research and who are fired up about working on problems in Earth and planetary science. I select for openly thoughtful, creative and challenging students who ask lots of questions and who like to play by their own rules.

I have no plans to accept new students. However, if you would like to argue your case, please email me.  Please include some discussion of the sorts of scientific questions/problems that you find interesting and why. I want to hear what you think. I want to hear also about what inspires you. If you have written papers or theses I would be keen to see them.  If you have other interests in addition to science I would like to hear about these as well.  If you have practical experience from working in a lab, a machine shop, a woodworking shop, on a construction site etc. or you just like to build things then please let me know. 


Postdoctoral Opportunities: 

Please email me. The tricky issue is always funding. Virtually all North American funding deadlines for proposals for postdoctoral fellowships in Canada are in September and October.