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John Higgins - About Me


John Higgins, a geochemist, received his PhD from Harvard University in 2009 and came to the Department of Geosciences as a Harry Hess Postdoctoral Fellow, joining the faculty in 2012.

Higgins’ research interests are the global carbon cycle and the processes that stabilize Earth’s climate and control the chemistry of its atmosphere and oceans on geologic timescales. His group approaches these topics using laboratory experiments, analytical measurements of stable and radiogenic isotope ratios, and numerical models of ocean and atmosphere chemistry. Current research questions include:

1) How has the chemistry of sea salt changed over the last 65 million years? What does this tell us about the global carbon cycle and variations in Earth’s climate on geologic timescales?

2) How does Earth’s CO2 thermostat operate? What is the role of clay formation (both terrestrial and marine)?

3) What controls the isotopic and elemental geochemistry of sedimentary carbonates through time?   How is this related to changes in the oxidation state of Earth’s atmosphere and ocean and the evolution of complex life?

Research in Higgins’ group offers opportunities for both field and lab work with an emphasis on the quantitative interpretation of results.   Past areas of field work have included Namibia, Svalbard, and Antarctica.  


The Higgins lab is currently accepting graduate students. Interested in joining the lab and the Department of Geosciences? Please contact Prof. Higgins.