Prof. Michael Stewart: High temperature geochemistry and igneous petrology

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Current Undergraduate Research Projects

I have a number of research projects underway in our geochemistry labs each of which is evolving and advancing with the development of the students involved in the projects. All are founded in basic petrology and geochemistry research techniques and aimed at addressing well constrained research questions. My purpose is primarily to develop self-confidence in my students through independent and mentored experiences in the field, in the lab, and during analysis of our data. These projects include:


  • Petrogenetic history of andesitic dikes of the Wasatch Igneous Belt, Utah. Dikes throughout the WIB have not been investigated and their relationships to the larger intrusive bodies are yet to be determined. Whole-rock and mineral phase compositions will be determined using scanning electron microscopy and inductively coupled mass spectrometry.
  • Investigation of chemical interactions between mafic enclaves and their host granitoids in the Wasatch Igneous Belt of Utah using elemental and isotopic compositional variations to test the operation of thermal migration zone refining processes.
  • Investigation of upper crustal igneous processes in convergent margin tectonic settings through detailed compositional and isotopic variations of associated dikes and hypabyssal stocks exposed in the Wasatch Range of central Utah.
  • Resolving the Jurassic volcanic arc of the Central Sierra Nevada of North America through major and trace element systematics of igneous and metamorphic rocks from roof pendants and granitic stocks and dikes - a collaborative effort with faculty at the University of the Pacific.



  • Stable chloride isotope systematics in igneous and metamorphic systems. Determine fractionation factors between associated mineral phases. Develop geochemical criteria to investigate exchange and diffusive processes in igneous systems, and to distinguish mantle source characteristics and histories.