Terry A. Plank

My research is focused on magmas associated with the plate tectonic cycle, at both divergent and convergent plate margins. My main contributions have been to the understanding of:

* Magma generation: quantifying the roles of decompression, temperature and water in driving mantle melting

* Crustal recycling at subduction zones: providing global flux estimates of marine sediment subducted into oceanic trenches, and tracing sediment geochemically from the seafloor to arc volcanoes

* Water content of magmas, and the effects on magma evolution, mantle and slab temperature, and eruptive vigor.

My tools are geochemical, field work has taken me to Nicaragua and the Aleutians, and to sea. I have served on the MARGINS steering committee, the editorial boards of Geology and Earth & Planetary Science Letters, the EarthScope Advisory Committee, as co-chief scientist on Leg 185 of the Ocean Drilling Program, co-lead-author of the SZ4D Vision Document, and one of the writing team for the NAS ERUPT Report.

Plank received the Houtermans Medal from the European Association for Geochemistry, the Donath Medal from the Geological Society of America, is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Geochemical Society, the Geological Society fo America, and the Mineralogical Society of America. In 2012 she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, in 2013 elected into the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2016 the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Some of my projects include:

* Magmatism and Mantle Lithosphere across the Basin and Range

* Volatiles In arc magmas and mantle xenoliths

* Diffusion clocks of volcanic processes

* Subduction fluxes of volatile and stable isotope tracers

Fields of Interest

Geochemistry, Igneous Petrology


  • Ph.D. Columbia University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory 
  • A.B. Dartmouth College