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Meet Colleen Dalton!

Professor Dalton arrives January 2014


I graduated with a Sc.B. in Geology/Physics/Math from Brown University in 2000. After working in environmental consulting for two years, I entered graduate school and received my Ph.D. from Harvard in 2007. I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (Columbia University) from 2007-2008 and became an assistant professor at Boston University in 2008. I will join the faculty in the Department of Geological Sciences at Brown in January 2014. 


The overarching goal of my research program is to determine three-dimensional variations in the temperature, composition, partial-melt content, and volatile abundance of Earth’s mantle. Together these properties exert strong control over the rate and scale of mantle convection, the evolution of the planet’s interior, and the plate motions at Earth’s surface. Examples of the scientific questions that motivate my research include: 

How are continents assembled, and what factors have allowed them to remain stable over billions of years?

What is the nature of the asthenosphere beneath the ocean basins, and what properties differentiate it from the lithosphere?

How variable are mantle temperature and composition beneath ocean basins, especially along mid-ocean ridges, and how does oceanic lithosphere evolve over time?

What are the properties of the mantle transition zone, and how does it influence the interaction between the upper and lower mantle?

I take two complementary approaches in addressing these questions. One, I use the amplitudes and traveltimes of seismic waves to image seismic-wave attenuation and velocity. Two, I persue the interpretation of seismic models together with constraints from other disciplines, including petrology, geochemistry, and mineral physics.

I have openings for graduate students. Please contact me if you are interested.