University of Bristol | UK

Chris Hawkesworth was born in Khartoum, he was an undergraduate at Trinity College Dublin, and a D.Phil student at Oxford working with Ron Oxburgh on the tectonic and thermal evolution of the Austrian Alps. He uses isotopes and trace elements to study natural processes including those involved in the generation of magmas, the formation and evolution of the continental crust, the development of base metal deposits and environmental changes throughout time. He is particularly interested in constraining rates of natural processes from the geological record. He has used zircons as an archive of when and how the continental crust was generated, and argued that the peaks of ages that characterise the continental record reflect the preferential preservation of rocks formed in the collision phase of super-continent formation, rather than pulses of magmatic activity and crustal growth.  Granite whole rock samples have been shown to contain magmatic zircons with a range of Hf isotope ratios, indicating that they are mixtures of minerals that crystallised from magmas of different compositions. He has argued that the composition of new crust continental was mafic until ~3Ga, and that plate tectonics became the dominant setting in which new continental crust was generated from about that time.

Chris Hawkesworth currently holds Emeritus positions at the Universities of Bristol and St Andrews. Previously he was Deputy Principal and Vice-Principal for Research, and Wardlaw Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of St Andrews (2009–2014), and before St Andrews he was Professor of Earth Sciences at Bristol and the Open Universities. He has received a number awards, and held editorial positions including those for Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Geology and Science. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Geochemical Society and the American Geophysical Union.


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