People Directory : Forrest Horton

Forrest Horton

Forrest Horton

Assistant Scientist

Geology & Geophysics

Office Phone: +1 508 289 2776

» Personal Site

WHOI Mailing Address:

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

266 Woods Hole Rd.

MS# 08

Woods Hole, MA 02543-1050


Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology. Helium systematics in ocean island basalt olivine. Supervisor Ken Farley.

Ph.D. in Geological Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2015. Himalaya gneiss dome formation, focused radiogenic heating in southern Madagascar, and fertilization of the Neoproterozoic ocean by mantle-derived phosphorus. Doctoral advisor Bradley Hacker.

M.S. in Geology, San Francisco State University, 2011. Geochronology of the Zanskar Himalaya. Masters advisor Mary Leech.

B.A., Bowdoin College. Geology Major and Environmental Studies Coordinate Major, 2008. Undergraduate advisor Rachel Beane.

University of Montana. Field geology coursework, 2007.

University of Otago, New Zealand. Study abroad, 2006.

Research Interests

Noble gas geochemistry of Earth's mantle. Noble gases in ocean island basalts (OIB) provide valuable insight about the early degassing, mixing, and stratification of the mantle. I use X-ray computed tomography and laser ablation techniques to investigate noble gas systematics at the single-crystal scale. I am especially interested in how and why helium is (de)coupled from other volatile elements in magmatic systems.

Ultrahigh-temperature metamorphism. Heating of continental crust to >900° C (referred to as ultrahigh-temperature metamorphism, UHTM) triggers a variety of processes—devolatilization, melting, differentiation, and focused mechanical weakening—that have important effects on the evolution of continents. I study the contributions of radiogenic heating, shear heating, and magmatic heat advection in the Himalayan orogen and the Pan-African orogen exposed in Madagascar.

Feedbacks between Earth's geochemical and biological cycles. For much of Earth’s history, phosphorus and trace metals may have been biolimiting nutrients in the oceans, impeding nitrogen fixation, primary production, and evolutionary developments. I am interested in how volcanic fluxes of these biolimiting nutrients may have influenced biologic processes throughout Earth's past.

Research Statement

I study mantle geochemistry and high-temperature processes in the continental crust by integrating isotope geochemistry, geochronology, numerical modeling techniques, and fieldwork.