Department Home Atmospheric Science Geology and Geophysics Geography

I am always delighted to hear from students who are interested in joining our research group at Texas Tech. I supervise a mixture of graduate and undergraduate students, who work on a variety of projects. I also actively contribute to the supervision of several other students in the department on mineral science related topics.

All students interested in joining the group are encouraged to read my Guidelines for Research Students, which outlines the group philosophy and describes the expectactions for students and mentor alike.

For under-graduates currently enrolled at TTU who are considering enrolling for GEOL-4312 under my supervision, you can find more about opportunities and philosophies concerning under-graduate mentoring and possible projects here.

Dr. Hetherington's Research

For prospective graduate students I have a variety of active projects that fall under two general catagories. Please feel free to contact me if anything strikes you as being interesting!

There are several active projects in the fields of applied mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry, including:

  • Application of high-resolution micro-analytical geochemistry and petrography to accessory minerals to determine the origins and evolution of multiple phases of peraluminous (crustal) magmatism in the Ruby Mountains of Nevada.
    • Project utilizes high-resolution analytical techniques to collect chronological (U-Pb) and isotopic (O, Hf) data to determine more about the thermal history of the Great Basin. Recently the project has expanded to include collaboration with Al McGrew (Uni. Dayton, Ohio) to investigate whether the deepest structural levels of the the Ruby Mountain-East Humboldt core complex may be used to test models for channel-flow in the deep crust.
  • Accessory mineral texture development as a function of mineral assemblage and bulk-rock composition with implications for REE transport and fluid composition.
    • NSF funded project using samples from the Ballachulish Igneous Complex in Scotland. Applies electron-microscopy and texture analysis, whole-rock compositional analysis, and some in situ geochronology.
  • Accessory mineral behavior and integration to understanding the P-T-t-D history of rocks in the metamorphic aureole of the Priest Pluton, New Mexico.
  • High Field Strength Element mobility in the Continental Crust. This is a two-part project based on:
    • Samples with rare and exotic mineral assemblages from NYF-pegamtites and dikes associated with so-called A-type granites in the Norwegian Caledonides.
    • HFSE-enriched granites and pegmatoidal-textured rocks in the Franklin Mountains of New Mexico-Texas and their relationship to Grenville tectonics.
  • Correlating extrusive and intrusive mafic magmatism during the accretion and construction of an active continental margin - the Rouge-Chetco Complex, Klamath Mountains, Oregon.
  • Tracking rock-forming processes in trace element patterns of common minerals in Economic deposits.
  • Mineralogical and geochemical controls over the mechanical properties of mudstones.

Fieldwork for these projects is carried out in the United States, as well as further afield in places such as Scotland and Norway.

The research is conducted with collaborators in Wyoming, London (Ontario), Massachusetts, Turku (Finland), Beauvais (France), Pretoria (South Africa), and Oslo (Norway).

Dr. Hetherington's funding

NSF-EAR-1119454: Trace element mobility in the sub-solidus: accessory mineral stability, fluids and the role of the rock. (Funding period: August 2011-July 2014, total award $189, 159) (NSF Abstract).

NSF-1551467: Subcretion Versus Relamination: Testing Processes of Lower Crustal Modification in the Klamath Mountain Accretionary Province ($350,000 from NSF-EAS Petrology & Chemistry and NSF-EAS Tectonics, Co-PI with Cal Barnes (PI), Aaron Yoshinobu (Co-PI) and Paul Sylvester (Co-PI)) (NSF Abstract).