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Dr. Emma Tomlinson - Assistant Professor

Emma Tomlinson



Tel: + 353 1 8963856

Office: 0.18B Museum Building



My research involves applying trace element and isotope geochemistry to various problems in the geosciences.

Mantle Volatiles:

The transport and thus the distribution of incompatible trace elements in the mantle and crust is a reflection of their behaviour during magmatic processes: from melting, through differentiation, to saturation. Thus, incompatible elements provide valuable tracers of igneous processes in inaccessible parts of the Earth’s mantle. Low degree partial melts and exsolved fluids permeate through and react with the mantle, causing localized areas of trace element enrichment, or metasomatism. Metasomatised regions may represent significant trace element repositories in the mantle, and partial melting or assimilation of metasomatised material may generate melts that are enriched in these elements. However, the degree to which metasomatism is localized or pervasive is poorly constrained and the sources of different metasomatising fluids and melts and their relative importance in the mantle are not known. My research focuses on understanding the character and sources of metasomatic mantle fluids, using the compositions of metasomatic minerals and of mantle fluids and melts preserved as inclusions in diamonds.

Tephrostratigraphy and tephrochronology:

Volcanic ash (tephra) forms isochronous marker layers, which allow the various sedimentary records to be linked. My work uses the geochemistry of volcanic ash layers to correlate between marine, lake and archaeological paleoarchives (tephrostratiraphy). In addition, if distal tephra layers can be correlated to proximal deposits of known eruptions, then these can be used as chronostratigraphic markers (tephrochronology). High-precision correlations are critical for reconstructing the timing, rate and duration of environmental changes and hence for testing theories about the causes and impacts of those changes. I also use the composition of the eruption deposits to further to gain insights into the magma source and magmatic processes. Studies of tephra in high-resolution stratigraphic records can also aid in deciphering the composition-frequency-magnitude relations of past volcanic eruptions. This temporal context is critical for reconstructing the eruptive history of hazardous volcanoes. 


Current Students

Brendan Hoare (Trinity College Dublin) – Halogens in the West Greenland sub-continental lithospheric mantle

Donal O'Farrell (Trinity College Dublin) – Halogens in the proto-Iceland plume source mantle

Carolina Rosca (Trinity College Dublin) – Isotope fingerprint of metal deposition onto the Earth surface

Clare Stead (Trinity College Dublin) – cryptic metasomatism

Previous students:

Joanna Cross (Royal Holloway University of London, UK) - Explosive activity Colli Albani Italy: constraints on the chemistry and explosivity (co-supervisor)

Paul Albert (Royal Holloway University of London, UK) - Volcanic glass geochemistry of Italian proximal deposits linked to distal archives in the central Mediterranean region (co-supervisor)

Anna Todman (Royal Holloway University of London, UK) - The last 2000 years of explosive activity, Vulcano, Italy (co-supervisor)


Junior Sophister
GL3322 Crystalline rocks

Senior Sophister
GL4406 Global igneous petrology


Satow C, Tomlinson EL, Grant KM, Albert PG, Smith VC, Manning CJ, Ottolini L, Wulf S, Rohling EJ, Lowe JJ, Blocley SPE, Menzies MA (2015). A new contribution to the Late Quaternary tephrostratigraphy of the Mediterranean: Aegean Sea core LC21. Quaternary Science Reviews 117, 92–112.

Albert PG, Hardiman M, Keller J, Tomlinson EL, Smith VC, Bourne AJ, Wulf S, Zanchetta G, Sulpizio R, Müller UC, Pross J, Ottolini L, Matthews IP, Blockley SP, Menzies MA. (2015) Revisiting the Y-3 tephrostratigraphic marker: a new diagnostic glass geochemistry, age estimate, and details on its climatostratigraphical context. Quaternary Science Reviews, 118, 105–121.

Wutke K, Wulf S, Tomlinson EL, Hardiman M, Dulski P, Luterbacher J and Brauer A. (1025) Geochemical properties and environmental impacts of seven Campanian tephra layers deposited between 40 and 38 ka BP in the varved lake sediments of Lago Grande di Monticchio, southern Italy. Quaternary Science Reviews, 118, 67–83.

Lane CS , Brauer A, Martin-Puertas C, Blockley SPE, Smith VC, Tomlinson EL (2015) The Late Quaternary tephrostratigraphy of annually laminated sediments from Meerfelder Maar, Germany. Quaternary Science Reviews, 122, 192–206.

Tomlinson EL, Smith VC, Albert PG, Aydar E, Civetta L, Cioni R, Çubukçu HE, Gertisser R, Isaia R, Menzies MA, Orsi G, Rosi M, Zanchetta G. (2015). The major and trace element glass compositions of the productive Mediterranean volcanic sources: Tools for correlating distal tephra layers in and around Europe, Quaternary Science Reviews, 118, 48–66.

Lowe JJ, Ramsey CB, Housley RA, Lane CS, Tomlinson EL (2015) The RESET project: constructing a European tephra lattice for refined synchronisation of environmental and archaeological events during the last c. 100 ka. Quaternary Science Reviews 118, 1-17.

Tomlinson EL, Albert PG, Wulf S, Brown RJ, Smith VC, Keller J, Orsi G, Bourne A and Menzies MA. Age and geochemistry of tephra deposits from Ischia: constraints from proximal-distal correlations with Lago Grande di Monticchio. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 287, 22–39.

R.J. Brown, L. Civetta, I. Arienzo, M.DAntonio, R. Moretti, G. Orsi, E.L. Tomlinson, P.G. Albert, Menzies M.A. (2014) Geochemical and isotopic insigughts into the assembly, evolution and disruption of a magmatic plumbing system before and after a cataclysmic caldera-collapse eruption at Ischia volcano (Italy). Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 168:1035.

J.K. Cross, E.L. Tomlinson, G. Giordano, V.C. Smith, A.A. De Benedetti, J. Roberge, C.J. Manning, S. Wulf, M.A. Menzies (2014), High level triggers for explosive mafic volcanism: Albano Maar, Italy, Lithos, 190-191, p137 – 153

K. Douka, Z Jocabs, C Lane, R Grun, L Farr, C Hunt, RH Inglis, T. Reynolds, PG Albert, A Aubert, V Cullen, E Hill, L Kinsley, RG Roberts, EL Tomlinson, S Wulf, G Baker (2013) The chronostratigraphy of the Haua Fteah cave (Cyrenaica, northeast Libya). Journal of Human Evolution, 12/2013; DOI:10.1016.

P.G. Albert, E.L. Tomlinson, C.S. Lane, S. Wulf, V.C. Smith, M. Coltelli, J. Keller, D. Lo Castro, C.J. Manning, W. Müller, M.A. Menzies, Late glacial explosive activity on Mount Etna: Implications for proximal–distal tephra correlations and the synchronisation of Mediterranean archives, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 265, 2013, p9 – 26

Wulf S, Keller J, Paterne M, Mingram J, Lauterbach S, Opitz S, Sottili G, Giaccio B, Albert P, Satow C, Tomlinson EL, Viccaro M, Brauer A (2012) The 100-133 ka record of Italian explosive volcanism and revised tephrochronology of Lago Grande di Monticchio, Quaternary Science Reviews, 58, p104 –123

Lowe, J., Barton, N., Blockley, S., Ramsey, C.B., Cullen, V.L., Davies, W., Gamble, C., Grant, K., Hardiman, M., Housley, R., Lane, C.S., Lee, S., Lewis, M., MacLeod, A., Menzies, M., Muller, W., Pollard, M., Price, C., Roberts, A.P., Rohling, E.J., Satow, C., Smith, V.C., Stringer, C.B., Tomlinson, E.L. and White, D. (2012). Volcanic ash layers illuminate the resilience of Neanderthals and early modern humans to natural hazards. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109, 1353213537.

E.L. Tomlinson, I. Arienzo, S, Wulf, V.C. Smith, A. Carandente, L. Civetta, M. Hardiman, C.S. Lane, G. Orsi, M. Rosi, M.T. Thirlwall, W. Muller and M.A. Menzies (2012). Geochemistry of the Campi Flegrei (Italy) proximal sources for major Mediterranean tephras (C-1, C-2, Y-3 and Y-5). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 93, 102–128.

E.L. Tomlinson, H.S. Kinvig, V.C. Smith, J.D. Blundy, J. Gotsmann, W. Mueller, and M.A. Menzies (2012). The Upper and Lower Nisyros Pumices: revisions to the Mediterranean tephrostratigraphic record using glass geochemistry. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 243-244, 69–80.

P. G. Albert, E.L. Tomlinson, V. C. Smith, A. Di Roberto, A. Todman, M. Rosi, M. Marani, W. Muller and M.A. Menzies. Continental-marine tephra correlations: volcanic glass geochemistry from the Aeolian Islands, Italy. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 229-230, 74-94.

E.L. Tomlinson, T. Thordarson, C.S. Lane, C.J. Manning, V.C. Smith, W. Mueller, and M.A. Menzies (2012). Petrogenesis of the Slheimar Ignimbrite (Katla, Iceland): implications for tephrostratigraphy. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 86, 318-337.

C.S. Lane, S.P.E. Blockley, J. Mangerud, V.C. Smith, O.S. Lohne, E.L. Tomlinson, I.P. Matthews and A.F. Lotter (2011). Was the 12.1 ka Icelandic Vedde Ash one of a kind? Quaternary Science Reviews, 33, 87-99.

E. Smith, M. Kopylova, L. Dubrovinsky, O. Navon, J. Ryder and E.L. Tomlinson (2011). Transmission X-ray diffraction as a new tool for diamond fluid inclusion studies. Mineralogical Magazine, 75, 2657-2675

E.L. Tomlinson, D. Howell, A.P. Jones and D. Frost. (2011) Characteristics of HPHT diamond grown at sub-lithosphere conditions (10-20 GPa). Diamond and Related Materials 20, 1117

E.L. Tomlinson, T. Thordarson, W. Mueller , M. Thirlwall, M.A. Menzies (2010). Microanalysis of tephra by LA-ICP-MS - Strategies, advantages and limitations assessed using the Thorsmork ignimbrite (Southern Iceland). Chemical Geology 279, 73-89.

E.L. Tomlinson, W. Muller, EIMF (2009) A snapshot of mantle metasomatism: Trace element analysis of coexisting fluid (LA-ICP-MS) and silicate (SIMS) inclusions, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 279 (3), 362-372.

E.L. Tomlinson, P.F. McMillan, M. Zhang, A.P. Jones and S.A.T. Redfern (2007) Quartz-bearing C-O-H fluid inclusions diamond: Retracing the pressure-temperature path in the mantle using calibrated high temperature IR spectroscopy. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 71 (24) 6030-6039.

E.L. Tomlinson, A.P. Jones and J.W. Harris (2006) Co-existing fluid and silicate inclusions in mantle diamond. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 250 (3-4) 581-595.

E.L. Tomlinson, I. De Schrijver, K. De Corte, A.P. Jones, Luc Moens and Frank Vanhaecke (2005) Trace element compositions of sub-microscopic inclusions in coated diamond: a tool for understanding diamond petrogenesis. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 69 (19) 4719-4732.

E.L. Tomlinson, A.P. Jones and H. J. Milledge (2004) High-pressure experimental growth of diamond using C-K2CO3-KCl as an analogue for Cl-bearing carbonate fluid. Lithos 77(1-4) 287-294.

Last updated 13 October 2015