Professor, Department Chair
M.S. Geosciences, University of Missouri
B.S. Geosciences, State University of New York
B.A. Political Science, University of Rochester
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. In particular, we focus on identifying the complex set of processes that regulate the global carbon cycle and the evolution of Earth’s climate system. My research is driven by three questions:
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?
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?
How have past changes in ocean chemistry affected the way in which the Earth system operates 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 (mostly stable isotopes), 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 331: Field Problems in Sedimentary Geology
EARTH 440: Paleoceanography
Mills J.V., Gomes M.L., Kristall, B., Sageman B.B., Jacobson A.D., Hurtgen M.T. (2017) Massive volcanism, evaporite deposition, and the chemical evolution of the Early Cretaceous ocean. Geology, v. 45, p. 475-478.
Kristall B., Jacobson A.D., Hurtgen M.T. (2017) Modeling the seawater radiogenic strontium isotope record: A case study of the Late Jurassic – Early Cretaceous. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 472, p. 163-176.
Gomes M.L., Hurtgen M.T., and Sageman B.B. (2016) Biogeochemical sulfur cycling during Cretaceous Ocean Anoxic Events: A comparison of OAE1a and OAE2. Paleoceanography, v. 31, p. 233-251.
Sim M.S., Ono S., Hurtgen M.T. (2015) Sulfur isotope evidence for low and fluctuating sulfate levels in the Late Devonian ocean and the potential link with the mass extinction event. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 419, p. 52-62.
Gomes M.L., Hurtgen M.T. (2015) Sulfur isotope fractionation in modern euxinic systems: Implications for paleoenvironmental reconstructions of paired sulfate-sulfide isotope records. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 157, p. 39-55.