Research Interests

My interests have had the theme of thermal processes in Earth. Early work involved field geology in Venezuela, with laboratory work directed at understanding processes of regional metamorphism. Work in the eastern Alps of Europe and the Pyrenees made possible some of the earliest thermal modeling of crustal displacements. In parallel I collaborated in developing the first models for boundary layer convection in Earth's mantle, which was treated as a high Rayleigh and Prandtl number fluid, predicting both oceanic heat flow and topographic subsidence, and basalt generation by adiabatic decompression. Models were also developed for the thermal structure of descending lithospheric slabs and island arc areas. Thermal modeling was limited by the inadequacy of direct observations of crustal heat flow. A laboratory was therefore established to measure heat flow and radiogenic heat production, largely in Europe. A further constraint on radiogenic heating of the crust is provided by the isotopic composition of rare gases, particularly He. This led to recognition of a still unresolved paradox: an inconsistency between Earth's apparent rates of production of heat and He. In recent years I have been concerned with science policy and such issues as the management of radioactive wastes.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 15: Geology

Secondary Section

Section 16: Geophysics