Geology and Geophysics Department
email this pageEmail to a Friend font size: Change text to small (default) Change text to medium Change text to large
Enlarge image
Three years after damage from an electrical fire shut down the Northeast Ion Microprobe Facility, the ion microprobe was returned to WHOI after being completely rebuilt. It is now installed and operating under the direction of Nobu Shimizu, shown here with Susan Humphris. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, WHOI)
Related Links

» Geology and Geophysics Department

» Northeast National Ion Microprobe Facility


The core strength of the Geology and Geophysics (G&G) Department lies in studies of the geology and geophysics of ocean basins and margins, and the underlying dynamics of the mantle that keep the tectonic plates in motion; the geochemistry of Earth systems, from processes deep within the Earth to interactions between geology and biology; climate change and its relation to ocean circulation; and coastal processes, including climatic effects on coastal systems and extreme events, such as hurricanes.

In 2005, G&G scientists conducted fieldwork around the world, both on shore and at sea. Jian Lin served as a U.S. Chief Scientist and co-led two international cruises on the Chinese research vessel Dayang 1. During this first around-the-globe scientific expedition by a modern Chinese research ship, Jian and colleagues discovered new regions of strong hydrothermal plumes in the equatorial East Pacific and Southwest Indian Ocean, and recovered sediment cores to investigate the history of mega-earthquakes and tsunamis near Sumatra, Indonesia. Stan Hart, with MIT/WHOI Joint Program student Matt Jackson and others, explored Vailulu’u seamount, an underwater volcano off Samoa, and discovered a new 1,000-foot (300-meter) volcanic cone in its crater, as well as extensive hydrothermal activity. Joan Bernhard initiated a project with colleagues off the coast of California to examine the effects of ocean disposal of carbon dioxide on benthic foraminifera.

The G&G Department takes pride in having some of the best sampling and analytical facilities in the world. Jim Broda is leading the design and implementation of a system that will collect cores up to 150 feet (45 meters) long, thereby accessing sedimentary records back further in time. Sea trials are planned for early 2007. Furthermore, an extension to the core repository has been completed for increased sample storage, and for staging the long-coring system.

At the National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (NOSAMS) facility, which provides carbon 14 analyses to the ocean sciences research community, an extension was built to expand the sample preparation lab and house the new continuous-flow AMS system. In addition, after nine years as director of NOSAMS, John Hayes stepped down and was replaced by Bill Jenkins of the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department.

Five new members of the scientific staff were appointed. Chris German from the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, U.K. was hired as a senior scientist. His expertise is in the geology and geochemistry of seafloor hydrothermal systems and, as of January 2006, he will take over from Maurice Tivey who has served as Chief Scientist for Deep Submergence for the last year and a half. Two associate scientist appointments will strengthen our seismology group. Dan Lizarralde joined us from Georgia Institute of Technology. A 1997 graduate of the Joint Program, Dan is an active-source seismologist with research interests in continental margin structure, mantle dynamics, gas hydrates, and coastal hydrogeology. Juan Pablo Canales, a marine seismologist who studies ocean crustal structure, was appointed from the technical staff. Two assistant scientists were also appointed: Adam Soule is a volcanologist interested in the physics of lava flow emplacement, and Alison Shaw is a geochemist investigating the use of volatiles as geochemical tracers of cycling of material between the Earth’s crust and mantle.

—Susan Humphris, Department Chair

Copyright ©2006 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, All Rights Reserved.

Mail: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 266 Woods Hole Road, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA.
E-Contact:; press relations:, tel. (508) 457-2000

Home | Site Map | Contact