My current research is aimed at answering the fundamental question: how does continental crust form?

As the only long-term record of Earth history, the continental crust literally forms the foundation of our understanding of modern geoscience. Therefore, understanding the processes that govern the formation of continental crust is tantamount to advancing human understanding of the Earth system and our place within it. Because continental crust is a mixture of almost every known geological material, investigation into its formation requires a broad understanding of geologic processes. My research integrates geochronology, thermochronology, structural geology, igneous and metamorphic petrology, and geochemistry to determine the processes responsible for the generation of continental crust, and the tectonic environments in which they operate. Thus far, my research has employed two distinct methodological approaches linked by an interest in the Proterozoic tectonic evolution of the southwestern United States.

1. A “Top-Down” and “Bottom-Up” Perspective on Crust Formation