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Stephen Parman

Assistant Professor:
Geological Sciences
Phone: +1 401 863 3352

My research focuses on the chemical evolution of the Earth, moons and planets. I use a combination of high-pressure, high-temperature experiments to understand the chemical behavior of geomaterials at depth, and use this information to interpret the geochemical rock record.


I received my Ph.D. in Geology and Geochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001. I came to Brown after three years as Lecturer at Durham University, Great Britain. I am considered a leading expert on the behavior of volatiles in the Earth's interior. My work on water in early Earth magmas is providing new insights into the thermal evolution of the Earth. Likewise, my recent research on noble gas solubility in the mantle is challenging the existing models of mantle structure and evolution.


Have there been peaks in global magma production over time? How does continental crust form? What was its growth rate over time? How did the cratonic mantle roots form? Is mantle convection layered? What is the chemical nature of the core mantle boundary? Did mantle degassing play any role in the dramatic atmospheric changes that occurred from 2.7 to 2.4 Ga? When did plate tectonics begin? How do melts interact with the rocks they pass through on the way to the surface? How hot was the mantle in the Archean? To what extent can we use the Moon, Mars and Venus to help understand the Earth's evolution, and vice-versa?

Ever improving analytical methods are yielding a detailed record of the long-term evolution of the Earth and planets. Understanding and interpreting this record requires an equally detailed knowledge of the chemical behavior of materials. Thus experiments and geochemical analyses are intimately linked. When combined, the two are a powerful tool for probing our planet's past.


2008: Visiting Faculty – Blaise Pascale University, Clermont-Ferrand, France

2007: Houtermans Medal – European Association of Geochemists, Young Scientist Award

2006-2007: MSA Distinguished Lecture Series


GEOL 1060H: First Year Seminar: Diamonds
GEOL 1960-H: The Early Earth
GEOL 2430: Igneous Petrology

Current Graduate Students:
Colin Jackson
Tabb Prissel
Hillary O'Brien (co-advising w/ Prof. Reid Cooper)
Sicheng Wang

Funded Research

Recent Funding:
NSF-MRI (PI: A Saal, CoPI: S Parman) laser-ablation multicollector ICP-MS.

Salomon (PI: S Parman, CoPI: R Cooper) Atom Probe Tomography of Geological Materials.

Curriculum Development Grant (PI: S Parman) Development of Freshman Seminar on Diamonds.

NERC – Did catastrophic melting events dominate the early evolution of the atmosphere, oceans and solid earth? – PI: Parman, CoIs: D Pearson, G Nowell, Project Partners: P Kelemen, E Hanski, A Kontinen, H Pritchard

NERC – Noble gas partitioning experiments: analyses – co-investigators: Funds to analyze noble gas partitioning experiments run at Bayreuth. PI: S Parman, CoIs: S Kelley, C Ballentine

EUFP6 infrastructure access grant (5 weeks of experimental time at the Bayreuth Geoinstitut) – Development of methods to measure noble gas partitioning at mantle pressures. PI: S Parman, Project Partners: C McCammon, D Frost

NERC – Melting processes in infant subduction zones: HFSE fractionation in boninites PI: S Parman, Project Partner: K Kelley

Nuffield Fellowship - Experimental investigation of noble gas partitioning. PI: S Parman

Web Links

Curriculum Vitae

Download Stephen Parman's Curriculum Vitae in PDF Format