Alan Whittington

Alan Whittington
Chair
101 Geology (chair) / 202 Geology
573-884-7625

Current research topics include:

  • rheology and thermodynamics of liquids and multiphase magmas on Earth, other planets, and in circumstellar dust shells
  • volcanic eruptions: lava flow emplacement and effusive-explosive transitions
  • thermal properties of crustal rocks: lab measurements, thermal / strength profiles of the crust through time

I combine fieldwork, laboratory experiments and thermodynamic theory to explore a range of topics in igneous and metamorphic petrology, experimental petrology and volcanology. Research field areas to date include Antarctica, Brazil, Guatemala, Hawai'i, the western Himalaya, Ontario, Réunion and the Rocky Mountains.

My research facilities include:

  • Viscometry lab: we have both concentric cylinder and parallel plate viscometers to measure viscosity at high and low temperatures, from ~1 to 105 Pas and from ~108 to 1013 Pas, and a high temperature (1700°C) muffle furnace for sample synthesis
  • Calorimetry lab: we have two Differential Scanning Calorimeters (Netzsch DSC 404 Pegasus and Perkin Elmer DSC 8500), and we can measure heat capacity and enthalpies to 1500°C
Emphasis: 
Igneous and metamorphic petrology; volcanology
Research Focus: 

I measure the rheological and calorimetric measurements on lavas and rocks to better understand lithospheric heat transfer, magmatism and volcanic eruptions, on Earth and other planets

Courses Taught: 
  • GEOL 1400 Themes in Geology: Natural Disasters
  • GEOL 1400 Themes in Geology: The Geology of Minecraft
  • GEOL 2500 Regional Field Trip 
  • GEOL 4992 Field Camp (Teton-Yellowstone field trip)
  • ASTRON/GEOL/PHYSCS 4180/7180 Solar System Science
  • GEOL 8160 Advanced Igneous Petrology
  • GEOL 8750 Silicate Glasses, Liquids and Magmas