Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology

The Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology Group at the University of California, Davis has a wide range of research interests and active research projects. We have a common interest in the petrology of mafic and ultramafic rocks, fluid-rock interactions, and the application of petrology to regional and global scale geologic problems. There is an unusual degree of cooperation among structural geologists and petrologists in our department.

Research programs are currently active in the California Coast Ranges, USA; the Northern Sierra Nevada, USA; Mono Basin, California, USA; Alaska, USA; Hawaii, USA; Argentina; Cyprus; Greenland; Iceland.

In addition, our faculty maintain an active interest in analytical, experimental, theoretical and geochronological studies.

Our research is supported by a Cameca SX-100 electron microprobe, three stable isotope mass spectrometers (for H,C,O, and S) two quadrapole ICP-MS (one with laser ablation capabilities), one multicollector ICP-MS, fluid inclusion heating/freezing microscope and stage, and high pressure and temperature experimental laboratories.


Kari Cooper portrait

Kari M. Cooper
Igneous and Metamorphic PetrologyGeochemistry
office: 3127 Earth and Physical Sciences
phone: (530) 754-8826
email: kmcooper@ucdavis.edu

Kari Cooper. Isotope and trace-element geochemistry of volcanic rocks; timescales of magma residence and differentiation; origin and distribution of geochemical heterogeneities within the mantle; timing and geochemical record of hydrothermal alteration of oceanic crust.

Chip Lesher portrait

Charles E. Lesher
Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology; GeochemistryNEAT
office: 1127 Earth and Physical Sciences
phone: (530) 752-9779
email: celesher@ucdavis.edu

Charles E. Lesher. Experimental igneous petrology and geochemistry; phase equilibria and kinetics of silicate systems at elevated pressure and temperature; mantle and crustal properties. Recent projects include (a) Laboratory: low to high pressure phase equilibria studies of basaltic systems; trace element partitioning; chemical and self diffusion studies of silicate melts; solution properties of silicate liquids from thermal diffusion. (b) Field: magmatic evolution of the North Atlantic Ocean basin and the evolution of the Iceland hot spot; petrologic studies of early Tertiary volcanic and plutonic rocks of East Greenland.

Robert Zierenberg portrait

Robert A. Zierenberg
Geochemistry; Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology; Earth-Surface Processes
office: 3125 Earth and Physical Sciences
phone: (530) 752-1863
email: razierenberg@ucdavis.edu

Robert Zierenberg. Aqueous geochemistry; stable isotope geochemistry; economic geology. Research has focused on water/rock interaction in active and ancient hydrothermal systems, including the “black smokers” on the mid-ocean ridges. Recent work includes investigation of seafloor hydro-thermal systems on sediment-covered portions of the northern Juan de Fuca Ridge and southern Gorda Ridge during Leg 169 of the Ocean Drilling Program. Ancient analogs of seafloor hydrothermal systems investigated include the Turner-Albright massive sulfide deposit in the Josephine Ophiolite, OR, and the Red Dog Pb-Zn-Ag deposit in the Brooks Range, Alaska. Additional research interests include the environmental effects of mining and the geochemical and biological cycling of sulfur.

Scientists & Academic Federation Members

Peter Thy portrait

Peter Thy
Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology, NEAT
office: 1105 Earth and Physical Sciences
phone: (530) 752-1802
email: pthy@ucdavis.edu

Peter Thy. Project Scientist. Petrology of basaltic volcanic and plutonic rocks from Norway, Iceland, and Cyprus; experimental phase relations and mineralogy; evolution of basaltic magma during continental rifting and ocean formation. Current research includes gabbroic intrusions and plateau basalts of the North Atlantic province (Skaergaard intrusion, East Greenland, Iceland). Ocean gabbros and crustal formation (Indian Ocean). Ophiolites (Cyprus and Turkey). Formation of ash and slag in biomass-fueled power plants.

Faculty Emeriti

Peter Schiffman portrait

Peter Schiffman
GeochemistryIgneous and Metamorphic PetrologyNEAT
office: 1133 Earth and Physical Sciences
phone: (530) 752-3669
email: pschiffman@ucdavis.edu

Research Associates

Sarah LambartI'm an experimental petrologist. My primary research is focused on the understanding of mantle melting and basalt genesis processes. This part of my research is articulated on the role of mantle heterogeneities and magma-rock interactions in the genesis of basalt. I discuss this topic via an experimental approach coupled to thermodynamical modeling. I also work on fluid-rock interactions to constrain the conditions for witch reactive-cracking can occur. Reaction-driven cracking could be important in geological capture and storage of CO2 as it is essential for in situ mineral carbonation methods to maintain or enhance permeability and reactive surface area.

Ian MacGregor. Research interests focus on understanding mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry of upper mantle using field and experimental approaches. Recent research includes development of geothermometers and geobarometers for mantle samples in the spinel peridotite stability field. Currently working in science education as science consultant to National Science Resources Center, Smithsonian Institution on development of K-12 science curricula.

Robert A. Wiebe. Research focuses on the growth of granitic, mafic and composite intrusive bodies with an emphasis on understanding the plutonic record of magma chamber processes including interactions between coexisting mafic and granitic magmas.