I have been a Senior Lecturer in the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences (formerly Department of Earth Sciences) since 2011, and a Lecturer from 2000-2011. Prior to that, I held a NERC Research Fellowship at the Open University (1997-2000), working on highly deformed and metamorphosed rocks at the western end of the Himalaya, in northern Pakistan. Since then, my research has focused mainly on orogenic processes in the Himalaya and Tibet, with brief excursions to the Alps, Australia, southern Spain and India. In the meantime, my Himalayan research has migrated gradually eastwards, through north-west India and southern Tibet to Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. I've co-supervised a number of PhD students in that time, working on deep subduction and element cycling in the Alps, isotopic fingerprinting of tectonic units in the Himalaya, channel flow and crustal melting in the Himalaya, kimberlites and lamproites of southern India, and ground ice hazards in Iceland.
From Jan 2008 to Dec 2009 I held a COLMSCT Teaching Fellowship entitled: yOU-Map: Delivering spatial geological data digitally to a distance-learning community. This project aimed to deliver innovative teaching of spatial geological data in a digital context to a distance-learning community of students, primarily focusing on the rewrite of the second-level Geology course (S260, being replaced by S276). You can read about that project here.
In 2011, I started a project hosted by eSTEeM at the OU entitled "Geospatial technologies in distance modules in Science", with Sarah Davies. This project is evaluating the impact of geospatial distance materials created during yOU-Map on OU students and tutors. Read a description of the project here. I was also involved in a project creating an immersive, 3-D learning environment for a virtual field trip (VFT), funded by the Wolfson Foundation, as part of the Openscience Laboratory, which was launched in July 2013. I am now pursuing 2 separate projects evaluating this VFT (Virtual Skiddaw) with OU students and schools, and scoping the potential for expanding the virtual field trip platform as a national 'library' of VFTs.
I have a keen interest in outreach activities, in particular coordinating, designing and running visits to local primary schools that give children hands-on experience of rocks, minerals and fossils, and to talk about what geologists do.
I have also worked on BBC projects, including 'Nature of Britain', pursuing an interest in wildlife that occupies much of my leisure time.
Metamorphic Petrology, Structural Geology, Isotope Geochemistry, GIS/digital mapping, Resources.
OU modules I have worked on:
Chair of Higher Education Network of the Geological Society 2013- (Treasurer 2011-2014)
President of the Open University Geological Society (2014-2016)
Geological Society Education Committee 2013-2016
Geological Society Joint Higher Education Committee 2017-
Higher Education Coordinator of the Earth Science Teachers' Association 2013-
NERC Isotope Geoscience Laboratories (Nick Roberts)
Daden Ltd (developers in Birmingham with expertise in virtual worlds)
Universidad de Salamanca (Alicia López Carmona, Gabriel Gutiérrez Alonso)
|Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR)||Centre||Faculty of Science|
|Isotope Geochemistry & Earth Systems Group||Group||Faculty of Science|
|Role||Start date||End date||Funding source|
|Lead||01/Oct/2016||31/Mar/2020||NERC - British Geological Survey (BGS)|
Major mountain belts are contortions of the Earth’s crust, ravaged by gravity. Rocks buried in these zones soften, stretch and melt, with drastic consequences for their mechanical strength. Just a few percent of partial melt can dramatically weaken the continental crust1 and rapidly change the evolution of the mountain belt. In the Himalaya, research on granites has mainly focused on conspicuous, pale bodies of Miocene-aged granites (leucogranites). These magmas formed when fertile rocks were rapidly exhumed from the mid-crust, decompressed and melted. However, these melts were a symptom of that dramatic exhumation, not its cause. Clues to what triggered that exhumation in the Himalayan core must lie in earlier events. Sporadic evidence for earlier melting has been recognised along the entire Himalayan chain from Pakistan to Bhutan2. These cryptic, deformed kyanite-bearing leucogranites and partly-molten gneisses (migmatites) crystallized during Paleogene prograde burial and heating. However, such evidence is commonly overlooked among rocks with textures heavily reworked during Neogene mountain-building. Understanding Paleogene crustal melting in these youthful mountains is therefore key for establishing the tipping point at which crustal thickening was overtaken by exhumation3. Moreover the spatial distribution of such melting will help fingerprint the underlying tectonic mechanism that drove the tectonic extrusion (critical taper, wedge tectonics or channel flow). This project aims to interrogate field relations and mineral assemblages to define melt reactions during heating in the crystalline core of the Himalaya. Results from the project will yield insights into viscosity changes in both the Paleogene Himalaya and older collisional orogens, providing critical constraints on thermomechanical models that attempt to explain how all mountain belts evolve.
|Role||Start date||End date||Funding source|
|Co-investigator||01/Oct/2015||31/Mar/2019||NERC - British Geological Survey (BGS)|
Crust-mantle exchange in orogenic lower crust: the record in high temperature eclogites project. PhD studentship was awarded to Eleni Wood.
In addition to teaching on Open University modules our academics are engaged in ground breaking research that benefits individuals and society.
Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.Request prospectus