Matthew Hurtgen

Matthew Hurtgen

Director Graduate Studies
Email: matt at
Location: Tech F392/F393

Ph.D. Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University
M.S. Geosciences, University of Missouri
B.S. Geosciences, State University of New York
B.A. Political Science, University of Rochester

Curriculum Vitae | Research Website


My research group seeks to better understand how the fundamental coupled components of the Earth system—the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and solid Earth—interact to regulate the chemical composition of the ocean-atmosphere system and how this has changed over the past ~1 billion years.  We focus on the complex set of couplings and feedbacks that link the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, sulfur, phosphorus, nitrogen, iron, and oxygen.  My research is driven by three questions:

  1. When did oxygen concentrations in the ocean-atmosphere system rise to near modern values, and how and why have these levels varied through the past one billion years?
  2. How do variations in oxygen levels in the past relate to extreme climate change (e.g.,glaciation) and the evolution and diversification of macroscopic organisms?
  3. How have past changes in ocean chemistry affected the way in which the Earth systemoperates to regulate the global carbon and oxygen cycles?

To answer these questions, we study modern and ancient sedimentary systems, integrate field observations with a variety of geochemical tools, and combine these efforts with simple geochemical models.


EARTH 105: Climate Catastrophes in Earth History
EARTH 203: Earth Systems History
EARTH 312: Stable Isotope Geochemistry
EARTH 330: Sedimentary Geology
EARTH 331: Field Problems in Sedimentary Geology
EARTH 440: Advanced Topics in Geochemistry

Selected Publications

Halverson G.P., Wade B.P., Hurtgen M.T., Barovich K.M. (2010) Neoproterozoic chemostratigraphy. Precambrian Research, v. 182, p. 337-350.

Jones D.S., Maloof A.C., Hurtgen M.T., Rainbird R.H., Schrag D.P. (2010) Regional and global chemostratigraphic correlation of the Early Neoproterozoic! Shaler Supergroup, Victoria Island, Northwestern Canada. Precambrian Research, v. 181, p. 43-63.

Swanson-Hysell N.L., Rose C.V., Calmet C.C., Halverson G.P., Hurtgen M.T., Maloof A.C. (2010) Cryogenian glaciation and the onset of carbon-isotope decoupling. Science, v. 328, p. 608-611.

*Adams D.D., Hurtgen M.T., Sageman B.B. (2010) Volcanic triggering of a! biogeochemical cascade during Oceanic Anoxic Event 2. Nature Geoscience, v. 3,! p. 201-204.

Halverson G.P., Hurtgen M.T., Porter S.M., Collins A.C. (2010) Neoproterozoic-Cambrian Biogeochemical Evolution. In: Gaucher, C., Sial, A., Halverson, G.P., and! Frimmel, H. (Eds.): Neoproterozoic-Cambrian Tectonics, Global Change and! Evolution: a focus on southwestern Gondwana. Developments in! Precambrian Geology Series, v. 16, Elsevier, p. 351-365.

Research Interests

  • Earth history
  • biogeochemical cycles
  • sedimentary geology
  • geochemistry
August 8, 2017