Hess Deep Home

Expedition Bios

Jeffrey A. Karson
Professor of Geology
Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment
Chairman, Division of Earth & Ocean Sciences
Chief Scientist

Jeff Karson joined the Duke University faculty in 1986 after seven years as a member of the scientific staff at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The central theme of his research is structural and tectonic analysis of rift and transform plate boundaries. His approach involves the systematic collection of geological data in order to determine the geometry, chronology and mode of formation of outcrop-scale deformation structures and their relation to crustal processes that operate on a regional scale. In order to gain insights into the evolution of rifts and transforms, Karson has worked in several different environments. In the East African Rift System, detailed structural studies define the geometry and kinematics of active rifting and the birth of a rifted continental margin. Investigations of the ocean-continent transition and coastal dike swarms of the Tertiary East Greenland volcanic rifted margin are underway in collaboration with the Danish Lithosphere Center. Along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and East Pacific Rise, spreading centers and intervening transform faults are examined from the perspective of the submersible Alvin and various other seafloor mapping tools. Studies of ophiolite complexes, ancient oceanic lithosphere exposed in mountain belts, reveal the deep structure of crust and upper mantle produced by seafloor spreading. Integrating these diverse studies has proven to be useful in developing new models of crustal deformation in extensional and strike-slip tectonic regimes. These studies are undertaken with the collaboration of geophysicists, petrologists, and geochemists in order to help understand the interplay of various geologic processes during deformation.

Emily M. Klein
Associate Professor of Geology
Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment
Co-principal investigator

Emily Klein completed her graduate studies at Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University. The primary focus of her research is the geochemistry of ocean ridge basalts, using diverse tools of major and trace element and isotopic analysis. Because ocean ridge basalts are the direct products of mantle melting, they provide a "window" into the sub-oceanic mantle. Their chemical compositions can be used to investigate physical and chemical conditions in the mantle and process of melt generation. On a global scale, Klein has shown that world-wide variations in basalt composition correlate with both the depth of the ridge axis and the thickness of the oceanic crust. These co-variations may result from temperature variations in the mantle. Klein is currently investigating the extent to which basalt composition can be used to map mantle temperature variations and possible mantle convection patterns. Her most recent sea-going expedition involved mapping and sampling of the Chile Ridge near its intersection with the Chile Trench. The overall goal of this cruise was to study the effects of ridge subduction on the composition of magmas erupted along the ridge that is being consumed. Her initial analyses of these lavas reveal a diversity of unusual chemical compositions, possibly related to proximity of the ridge to the subduction zone. Using samples collected during Alvin submersible dives, Klein has also examined the spatial distribution of basalt compositions to elucidate local tectonic processes, as a compliment to structural, morphologic and sedimentologic studies of the Clipperton transform-ridge system. Her results suggest that basalt composition can potentially be used to investigate the extent to which oceanic crust is transferred from one plate to the other within the transform fault zone. She was recently honored with the award of the prestigious F.W. Clarke Medal of the Geochemical Society, and she is a recipient of a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award.

Daniel Curewitz
Ph.D. Degree Student
Duke University

Daniel Curewitz grew up in Maine, experienced the joys of life on a farm and did all the things that excitable youth do in rural America. Curewitz then migrated to slightly warmer Connecticut, where he received a Bachelor's in environmental science from Wesleyan University in 1992. After a brief respite back in his homeland, Curewitz again fled the "icy north" - this time for North Carolina, where he is currently completing his Ph.D. in Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment's Division of Earth & Ocean Sciences. He is concentrating in structural geology under the supervision of Jeffrey A. Karson. Curewitz's research is focused on investigations of fault processes and products in extensional tectonic settings.

Michael Stewart
Ph.D. Degree Student
Duke University

Michael Stewart received his BS in geology from Indiana University in 1990, where he remained to complete his MS in geology the following year under the direction of James G. Brophy. While at Indiana University, Stewart's research focused on the genesis of continental flood basalts of the Oregon Plateau. He began graduate studies at Duke University in 1995 under the supervision of Emily M. Klein at the Nicholas School of the Environment's Division of Earth & Ocean Sciences. Stewart's dissertation research focuses in part on the geochemical variability among basaltic dikes and associated lavas from Hess Deep in the equatorial Pacific. This aspect of Stewart's research addresses how the observed geochemical variability may relate to changes in accretionary processes at mid-ocean ridges over time. Another component of his Ph.D. research concerns using the stable Cl isotope composition of mid-ocean ridge basalts to further characterize the nature and origin of chemically distinct domains in the Earth's mantle.

Carrie Lee
Master's Degree Student
Duke University

Carrie Lee is a Kentucky native who is in her first year at Duke University. She received a BA in geology from Miami University where she did undergraduate research on the Kizildag Ophiolite in southern Turkey. She is now at Duke studying under the supervision of Jeffrey Karson in the Nicholas School of the Environment's Division of Earth & Ocean Sciences. Work on the Hess Deep cruise will be the beginnings of her graduate research. A large part of this research will be focused on the Argo II studies, which will give digital images of lower levels of oceanic crust exposed at Hess Deep.

Peter Rivizzigno
Division of Earth & Ocean Sciences

Peter Rivizzigno was born and raised in Liverpool, N.Y., on the outskirts of Syracuse. After high school he headed to the midwest where he received his BA in geology from Miami University (Ohio). Upon graduation Rivizzigno moved to Durham, N.C., and was subsequently hired by Jeffrey Karson to assist in preparation for the upcoming cruise. He will also be assisting in mapping of Hess Deep and curation of rock samples while at sea.

Aisha Renee Morris
Duke University

Aisha Renee Morris was born in Salem, Ore., where she lived for the first two and a half years of her life. She then moved to Illinois for a year and a half before finally settling in St. Paul, Minn., at the age of four. Morris grew up in the suburbs of St. Paul, finally leaving the state to pursue an undergraduate degree in geology at Duke University. She is currently finishing her senior year, focusing on igneous/structural geology, under the guidance of Jeffrey Karson, with an interest in planetary geology.

Monte Basgall
Senior Science Writer
Duke University Office of Research Communications

Monte Basgall received a bachelor's degree from the University of Richmond in 1967 and began a 22-year career in daily newspaper journalism at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1969. In 1976 he moved to the Miami Herald and in 1978 went to the News & Observer of Raleigh, where he covered science, the environment and medicine. In 1989-90 he was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. In 1991, he became a media officer at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., and in 1992 he joined Duke's Office of Research Communications as a senior science writer. He has won several writing awards from the Virginia and North Carolina press associations, a Media Award for Excellence from the North Carolina chapter of the Sierra Club and a "Hard Hat Award" from the American Society of Civil Engineers' North Carolina section. He has also served on science news writing contest screening committees for the AAAS and the American Institute of Physics.

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