News flash, my book!

A Pictorial Guide to Metamorphic Rocks in the Field. CRC Press, London, 310 p.

News flash, corrupted web pages!

The server from which these web pages come is clipping all instances of certain segments of code. That makes some web pages difficult to figure out, and some functions have been lost. I've had help to develop work-arounds as best we can for the short term. We'll all have to live with the remaining problems for a while (unless some of you have some good fix-it suggestions). The web pages will soon be moved to a new server, and will be reformatted under Wordpress. Eventually, everything should look better. I got my best guy on it.


I have been in the Union College Geology Department since 1985, having hired at the time the department was restarted after a 1967-1985 hiatus. I did a two-plus year stint as chairman, was four years Director of the Environmental Studies Program at Union College, and then did another 6 year stint as Chair. Though trained principally in metamorphic petrology and igneous geochemistry, my work has diversified somewhat in this small college, liberal arts setting. Ancillary research interests have included the geochemistry of natural waters and dinosaur coprolites. I also enjoy making illustrations, and yet more illustrations.


At various intervals I teach the four courses listed below, and linked to the left. I am interested in teaching geologic science, but also about the nature of science, the use of science in public policy, and science literacy of the general public. Here is a short list of books and other resources that I think are interesting.

Geochemistry: Not a standard overview of geochemistry, but emphasizing practical practice and application of geochemistry to understanding geologic problems. The course is divided up into four blocks, each of which is devoted to a limited geochemical topic: element and isotope abundances, radiometric dating, crystal/liquid trace element partitioning in magmas, and the chemistry of natural surface water. For each block, students do some combination of sample collection and preparation, analysis samples by ICP-MS, ion chormatography, and other methods, reviewing the data, and writing mathematical models using spreadsheets, and reading some of the modern geochemical literature. Students get practice working with and analyzing samples, working with mathematical models, and writing.

Mineralogy: This is partly a classic mineralogy course, covering mineral form, symmetry, internal structure, mineral identification, crystal chemistry, X-ray diffraction, and mineral optics. Weekly labs are hands-on, and include an X-ray diffraction projects and a scanning electron microscope lab. Homework exercises mostly involve basic mineral calculations including density, unit cell volume, and crystal chemistry, and special guided readings from the American Mineralogist. The lab final exam is handed out the first day of class: a box of 65 numbered minerals that the students identify by the end of the term. This exercise motivates students to learn and use all of the available identification techniques.

Petrology: This course covers the mineralogy, chemistry, and origin of igneous and metamorphic rocks. It is designed to give a modern perspective of the materials, conditions, and processes that combine to produce the variety of igneous and metamorphic rocks that we see at the Earth's surface. Homework emphasis is on basic petrologic calculations, plotting data, and reading modern petrologic papers from the journal Geology. Labs emphasize work on thin section and hand sample suites from a variety of igneous and metamorphic terranes. This course also has three one-day field trips to various sites in New York and western New England.

Physical Geology: An introduction to geological materials, geologic structures, and geologic processes. It is an overview of what the Earth is made of and how geologic processes change the landscape, climate, and rocks, over time. The course has weekly labs that emphasize collection and interpretation of geologic data in the field. The object is to interpret the geology as professional geologists might, in the context of regional geologic history.

Other things of possible interest

Analytical equipment: We have a large variety of analytical and sample prep equipment, listed to the left and also here.

Virtual field trips: Listed to the left and also here.

Vita with some publication links.