Dr Michael Clifton Rowe

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

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Senior Lecturer

Research | Current


I earned my BSc (Honours, Washington State University) and PhD (Oregon State University) degrees in Geology with an emphasis in geochemistry and igneous petrology. My early research was focused on magma evolution (assimilation-fractionation-magma mixing) and the generation of basaltic magmas from fluid metasomatised mantle in subduction zones and continental rifts (with an emphasis on systematics of sulfur and chlorine).

Since arriving at the University of Auckland in 2013, my research has expanded more broadly into mineral geochemistry. I use geochemistry to track fluid interaction through geologic and environmental systems with collaborations across the Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Geography, and Engineering. My research spans from the mantle, to the environment, to planetary systems but is primarily in four (4) clusters; 1) metasomatic processes in the mantle; 2) volatile degassing/exsolution and crystallization relationships in magmatic systems; 3) mineral reactions in surface and near-surface environments; and 4) biological and biomineralogical reactions in environmental systems. My research focuses on in situ geochemical analysis of minerals utilizing a range of analytical techniques, with specialties in electron microprobe analysis (EMPA), laser ablation ICPMS, and X-ray diffraction (XRD) and additional experience in secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and Raman spectroscopy.

Teaching | Current

My primary teaching responsibilities include

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 at multiple levels.

Postgraduate supervision

Current (italic) and Recently Completed Research Topics/Students:

Metasomatic Processes in the Mantle

Distributing volatiles through melt channelization in Earth’s upper mantle (Funded by the UoA Faculty Research Development Fund)

Melt inclusion and He isotope insights to mantle heterogeneity and melting in the Auckland volcanic field in He isotope variability (E. Smid PhD- co-supervised with J. Lindsay)


Volatile Degassing/Exsolution and Crystallization Relationships in Magmatic Systems

Estimating Magma Ascent Rates in the Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand, Using Volatile Diffusion through Melt Embayments (Funded by the Earthquake Commission, Australian Synchrotron- ANSTO; E. Smid PhD)

The Magmatic-hydrothermal behaviour of trace and ore elements within intermediate-evolved igneous systems (A. Iveson PhD 2017- supervised with J. Wolff and J. Webster)

Using pyroclastic textures to understand dynamic eruption processes in the Auckland Volcanic Field (M. Ferguson MSc 2017)

Geochemistry and groundmass crystallinity controls on lava dome stability at Mount Taranaki, New Zealand (E. Zorn MSc 2016)

Volatile Behaviour and trace metal transport within the linked magmatic-geothermal system at Mt. Edgecumbe (Putauaki), New Zealand (B. Norling MSc 2014)

Determining the conditions at which volatiles and trace elements exsolve from the upper shallow crust: An analysis of tephra samples from Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand (B. Sharpe BScH 2014)

Tracking Volatile Movement Via Fluid Mobile Trace Elements and Trace Metals in Amphibole and Amphibole Hosted Melt Inclusions From the 2004-2008 Mount St. Helens Eruption (T. Hampel MSc 2012)


Mineral Reactions in Surface and Near-Surface Environments

The role of a high altitude active geothermal system in mobilizing metals through a Miocene epithermal deposit at Jarana hot springs- Puno-Peru (D. Pajuelo MSc)

Interaction of aluminium with silica in geo-fluids: Investigation of a proposed compositional control of natural waters and aluminosilicate equilibration reactions in aqueous systems (C. Newton MSc)

Weathering behaviour of road aggregate (A. Davidson MSc; E. Sangsefidi PhD (advisor with D. Wilson); Funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment to D. Wilson- UoA Engineering)

Statistical characterization of amorphous phases- a re-evaluation of terrestrial and martian materials using AMORPH (Y. Li BScH)

Structure and alteration in the Broken Hills District, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand (L. Carson, MSc 2018- co-supervised with J. Rowland)

Sedimentary Facies and Geochemistry of the Products of Alkali Chloride Spring Discharge and Hydrothermal Alteration at Te Kopia, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand (Y. Jiang MSc 2018- co-supervised with K. Campbell)

An Experimental Study to Characterize changes in physical properties of basalts and basanites during reaction with carbonic acid (S. Kanakiya MSc 2016; co-supervised with L. Adam)

Vapour phase alteration and crystallization of the Whakamaru Ignimbrite, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand and Bishop Tuff, USA (Y. Heled BScH 2016)

Stable Isotope Systematics of Fluids and Epidotes in Bacon-Manito Geothermal Field, Philippines: Indicators of Fluid Origin and Evolution (J. Dimabayao MSc 2016)

Characterising the greywacke aggregate from the Huntly quarry: a geological perspective (J. Widodo BScH 2015)

Chatham Island Basalt Aggregate (A. Salting BScH 2015)

Thermometric Indicators of Fluid-Rock Interaction in the Bacon-Manito Geothermal Field, Philippines (B. Santos MSc 2014)


Biological and Biomineralogical Reactions in Environmental Systems

Optimizing Phytoremediation to Enhance Treatment Efficiency of Suspended Raingarden (K. Wai PhD- co-supervised with L. Padhye)

Dendrochemical evidence in Kauri of the Taupo 232 AD (M. Caffin MSc)

Application of 87Sr/86Sr to Kauri Trees in New Zealand to Determine Provenance of Archaeological Wood and to Detect Climate Signals (E. Mass MSc 2018- co-supervised with G. Boswijk)

Phytoremediation of Cu and Zn-rich mine soils using Helianthus annuus and Medicago sativa (C. Guarino MSc 2016- co-supervised with L. Schwendenmann)


General Petrology and Geochemistry

Evolution of Magma Systems in Development of a Long-lived Caldera-producing Volcanic Field (J. Wu PhD, joint supervised with S. Cronin)

Heart of Glass: Volatile release and petrogenesis of Columbia River flood basalt lavas through study of melt inclusions and glassy tephra (funding from the National Science Foundation to J. Wolff; K. Davis PhD- committee member)

Developing a spatio-temporal model for mass flow hazards at stratovolcanoes, Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand (G. Lerner PhD- advisor with S. Cronin)

Spatial Change in Lava Flow Properties & an Estimate of Lava Flow Rheology: Case Studies from the Auckland Volcanic Field (D. Rhode MSc 2017)

The Age and Origins of Ureilites (R. Arts MSc 2015; co-supervised with J. Baker)

Areas of expertise

Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology, Volcanology

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Chair of School of Environment Postgraduate Committee

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Zorn, E. U., Rowe, M. C., Cronin, S. J., Ryan, A. G., Kennedy, L. A., & Russell, J. K. (2018). Influence of porosity and groundmass crystallinity on dome rock strength: a case study from Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand. Bulletin of Volcanology, 80 (4).10.1007/s00445-018-1210-8
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Shane Cronin
  • Iveson, A. A., Webster, J. D., Rowe, M. C., & Neill, O. K. (2017). Major Element and Halogen (F, Cl) Mineral–Melt–Fluid Partitioning in Hydrous Rhyodacitic Melts at Shallow Crustal Conditions. Journal of Petrology, 58 (12), 2465-2492. 10.1093/petrology/egy011
  • Davis, K. N., Wolff, J. A., Rowe, M. C., & Neill, O. K. (2017). Sulfur release from main-phase Columbia River Basalt eruptions. Geology, 45 (11), 1043-1046. 10.1130/G39371.1
  • 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
  • Kanakiya, S., Adam, L., Esteban, L., Rowe, M. C., & Shane, P. (2017). Dissolution and secondary mineral precipitation in basalts due to reactions with carbonic acid. Journal of Geophysical Research10.1002/2017JB014019
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ludmila Adam, Shreya Jagdish Kanakiya, Phil Shane
  • Rowe, M. C., & Tepley, F. J. (2016). Origin and petrogenetic implications of anomalous olivine from a Cascade forearc basalt. American Mineralogist, 101 (8), 1807-1819. 10.2138/am-2016-5651
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/30805
  • 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, 316.10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2016.02.020


Contact details

Alternative contact

+64 9 923 6882

Primary office location

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

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