Peter B. Kelemen

Columbia University


Primary Section: 15, Geology
Secondary Section: 16, Geophysics
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2014)

Biosketch

Peter Kelemen is Arthur D. Storke Professor and Chair of the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences at Columbia University (2014-2017). Kelemen was a founding partner of Dihedral Exploration (1980-1992), consultants specializing in exploration for mineral deposits in steep terrain, with contracts in Canada, Alaska and Greenland. Research and climbing have taken him to Peru, India, Oman, the Aleutian Islands, 7,500 meters above sea level in Pakistan, and 5,500 meters below sea level via submersibles along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Like a disproportionate number of geoscientists including his Columbia colleagues Terry Plank and Marc Spiegelman, Peter was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, where our fathers worked for the DuPont company. Peter attended the Tatnall School and Wilmington Friends School, received his AB from Dartmouth College in 1980, and his PhD from the University of Washington in 1987. Starting as a postdoc, he spent 16 years at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution before moving to Columbia’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory in 2004.

Research Interests

Peter combines geochemical and geophysical techniques to study Earth processes. His most recent research includes geologic capture and storage of CO2 (CCS) via mineral carbonation, the subduction zone carbon cycle, and reaction-driven cracking processes in natural and engineered settings, with application to CCS, geothermal power generation, hydrocarbon extraction, and in situ mining. In addition, he is working on reactive transport of melt and fluids in the Earth’s upper mantle and crust, genesis and evolution of oceanic and continental crust, subduction zone processes, and viscous mechanisms for earthquake initiation in the mantle and beneath glaciers. He teaches a popular course on “Earth Resources for Sustainable Development” at Columbia, as well as courses and seminars on petrology, geochemistry, and geodynamics.

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