Dr Michael Clifton Rowe

BSc Hon (Washington State University), PhD (Oregon State University)

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Senior Lecturer

Research | Current

Many of my previous and ongoing research projects revolve around the use of silicate melt inclusions to understanding magmatic processes (magma generation and evolution), often focusing on the analysis of halogens (Cl, and F) and sulfur. In particular I have an ongoing interest in understanding the significance of variations in sulfur speciation in magmas and how it relates to changes in magmatic oxidation states (and whether we can use this to say anything about mantle oxidation states). My current research interests, can be categorized into three different subtopics: 1) application of X-ray diffraction to planetary and terrestrial volcanology, 2) cause and effect of spatial-temporal variations in mantle metasomatism and the transfer of elements from the mantle to crust, and 3) behaviour of ore and volatile metals (As, Sb, Mo, Cu, Li, W, Tl) in shallow magmas and their relation to hydrothermal and economic deposits.

I have ongoing international research projects in the Rio Grande Rift (USA), the Cascades volcanic arc (USA), Hawaii (USA), Santorini (Greece), and the Auckland volcanic field and Taupo volcanic zone (New Zealand), in addition to a number of smaller projects that I am always looking for students to fill.

In addition to petrography, I primarily utilize in situ geochemical techniques specializing in electron microprobe analysis (EMPA), laser ablation (LA) ICP-MS, and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) to measure changes in mineral and glass chemistry to track geologic processes.  As an analytical geochemist in the Earth Sciences my research involves developing new techniques and approaches to solving a range of interesting problems in the Earth Sciences.  Beyond the Earth Sciences I am interested in applying geochemical techniques and tools to other fields, with collaborations in physics and engineering.

Teaching | Current

I currently lecture in a number of courses from 1st year to postgraduate.

Earth Science 103 (Planetary Geology, Minerals, Igneous Rocks)

Earth Science 203 (Optical Mineralogy)

Earth Science 304 (Igneous Petrology/Geochemistry)

Earth Science 720 (Geochemistry of our World)

In addition to these taught courses I contribute to our field teaching programme in both the 2nd and 3rd year levels.

Postgraduate supervision

Current students:

Elaine Smid (PhD): Geochemical proxies for magmatic processes from source to eruption. (Co-supervised with Jan Lindsay)

Jie Wu (PhD): Evolution of Magma Systems in Development of a Long-lived Caldera-producing Volcanic Field (Co-supervised with Shane Cronin)

Alex Iveson (PhD Washington State University): Experimental determination of volatile and ore element behavior within intermediate-silicic magma chambers.

Edgar Zorn (MSc): Stability of lava domes from groundmass crystallinity: the Mt. Taranaki summit dome.

Yuan Jiang (MSc): Geochemistry of the Te Kopia goethermal region and the effects of acid overprinting. (Co-supervised with Kathy Campbell)


Past Students:

Christine Guarino (MSc 2016): Phytoremediation of Cu and Zn-rich mine soils using Helianthus annuus and Medicago sativa.

David Rhode (MSc 2016): Spatial change in lava flow properties & an estimate of lava flow rheology: Case studies from the Auckland Volcanic Field.

Julius John Dimabayao (MSc 2016): Stable Isotope Systematics of fluids and epidotes in Bacon-Manito Geothermal Field, Philippines: Indicators of fluid origin and evolution.

Brooke Norling (MSc 2015): Volatile behavior and trace metal transport through a linked volcanic and geothermal system at Mount Edgecumbe (Putauaki) and the Kawerau Geothermal Field, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

Baby Santos (MSc 2014): Hydrothermal alteration and fluid-rock interaction studies of the Bacon-Manito Geothermal Field, Philippines

Tim Hampel (MSc 2012_WSU): Tracking volatile movement via fluid mobile trace elments and trace metals in amphibole and amphibole-hosted melt inclusions from the 2004-2008 Mount St. Helens eruption.

Alex Salting (BSc Hon 2015): Geochemical comparison of Chatham Island basalt road aggregate.

Jordan Widodo (BSc Hon 2015): Geochemical variations in the Huntly quarry sandstone.

Jenna Sharpe (BSc Hon 2014): Changes in amphibole geochemistry at Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand.



School of Environment X-ray Centre Academic Advisor

Areas of expertise

Geochemistry, Igneous Petrology

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • McGee, L. E., Brahm, R., Rowe, M. C., Handley, H. K., Morgado, E., Lara, L. E., ... Valdivia, P. (2017). A geochemical approach to distinguishing competing tectono-magmatic processes preserved in small eruptive centres. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 172 (6).10.1007/s00410-017-1360-2
  • Norling, B., Rowe, M. C., Chambefort, I., Tepley, F. J., & Morrow, S. (2016). Volatile behavior and trace metal transport in the magmatic–geothermal system at Pūtauaki (Mt. Edgecumbe), New Zealand. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 318, 27-44. 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2016.02.010
  • Schmidt, M. E., Schrader, C. M., Crumpler, L. S., Rowe, M. C., Wolff, J. A., & Boroughs, S. P. (2016). Megacrystic pyroxene basalts sample deep crustal gabbroic cumulates beneath the Mount Taylor volcanic field, New Mexico. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 316, 1-11. 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2016.02.020
  • Iveson, A. A., Webster, J. D., Rowe, M. C., & Neill, O. K. (2016). Magmatic–hydrothermal fluids and volatile metals in the Spirit Lake pluton and Margaret Cu–Mo porphyry system, SW Washington, USA. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 171 (3).10.1007/s00410-015-1224-6
  • Hatfield, A. K., Nielsen, R. L., Kent, A. J. R., Rowe, M. C., & Duncan, R. A. (2015). Snow Peak, Oregon: Latest Miocene low-K tholeiite volcanism in the Cascadia forearc. Lithos, 239, 86-96. 10.1016/j.lithos.2015.10.009
  • Ellis, B. S., Cordonnier, B., Rowe, M. C., Szymanowski, D., Bachmann, O., & Andrews, G. D. M. (2015). Groundmass crystallisation and cooling rates of lava-like ignimbrites: the Grey’s Landing ignimbrite, southern Idaho, USA. Bulletin of Volcanology, 77 (10).10.1007/s00445-015-0972-5
  • Rowe, M. C., Lassiter, J. C., & Goff, K. (2015). Basalt volatile fluctuations during continental rifting: An example from the Rio Grande Rift, USA. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 16 (5), 1254-1273. 10.1002/2014GC005649
  • Rowe, M. C., Thornber, C. R., & Orr, T. R. (2015). Primitive Components, Crustal Assimilation, and Magmatic Degassing During the Early 2008 Kilauea Summit Eruptive Activity. In R. Carey, V. Cayol, M. Poland, D. Weis (Eds.) (pp. 439-455). JOHN WILEY & SONS INC.


Contact details

Alternative contact

Extension number: 86682

Primary location

SCIENCE CENTRE 301 - Bldg 301
Level 4, Room 438
New Zealand

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