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Dr Emma Tomlinson

Assistant Professor

Tel: + 353 1 896 3856 
Office: Museum Building, Office 0.18B
Google Scholar ID: Dr. Emma Tomlinson
Orcid: Dr. Emma Tomlinson


My research applies igneous petrology and geochemistry to problems of lithosphere and magmatic evolution.

Origin and evolution of the Archaean lithospheric mantle:

The stabilization of the first large and robust continental land masses, termed cratons, is inexorably linked to the development of thick, strong lithospheric keels that extend 250 km below the surface. The strength and longevity of these cratonic roots stems from their strong geochemical depletion, which is widely considered to be the result of extensive and protracted melting of convecting mantle. Yet there remain significant uncertainties about the melting environment of the depleted cratonic root and its relationship to the early magmatism on Earth. Following initial formation, the cratonic lithosphere cooled to subsolidus temperatures and was subjected to metasomatism by percolating fluids and low degree melts, however the timing and extent of metasomatism and the origin of the metasomatic agent(s) remain uncertain. My work uses both natural samples (peridotite xenoliths and diamond inclusions) and model systems (thermodynamic and experimental) to understand the depth and conditions of mantle melting and to investigate the subsequent evolution of the depleted lithosphere.

Magma chamber processes and tephrostratigraphy:

Many volcanic systems exhibit remarkable cyclic behaviour, each cycle starting with emplacement of less evolved magma and transitioning eruptions of evolved magma before culminating in cataclysmic eruption. My research is uses volcanic glass geochemistry to unravel processes taking place in the magma reservoir, both prior to a single eruption and throughout the eruption history of the volcano. In particular, detailed insight into the frequency-composition histories of hazardous volcanoes can be revealed by analysis of volcanic ash (tephra) layers in high resolution chronostratigraphic records. While, accurate identification of tephra from a given eruption in different locations allows eruption magnitude and tephra dispersal to be modelled. Finally, since tephra forms isochronous marker layers, they allow the various sedimentary records to be linked. High-precision correlations are critical for reconstructing the timing, rate and duration of paleoenvironmental changes and hence for testing theories about the causes and impacts of those changes.



Vitor Azevedo Alves, PhD (Trinity College Dublin) - Testing volcanic - climatic linkages across the caldera cycle: a case study from Campi Flegrei.

Lucy Blennerhassett, PhD (Trinity College Dublin) - The effect of climatic warming on the frequency of volcanic eruptions in Iceland.

Brendan Hoare, PhD (Trinity College Dublin) – Thermal and temporal constraints on metasomatism in the Kaapvaal lithosphere.


Brendan Hoare, MSc (Trinity College Dublin, 2017) - Insight into the origins of metasomatism along the southern margin of the North Atlantic Craton, South Greenland

Donal O’Farrell, MSc (Trinity College Dublin, 2017) -The Halogen Composition of the Proto-Iceland Plume Source Mantle

Carolina Rosca, PhD (Trinity College Dublin, 2018) - Peat bogs as archives of atmospheric metal pollution from natural and anthropogenic sources (co-supervisor)

Clare Stead, PhD (Trinity College Dublin, 2017) -Rare earth elements in olivine: determination, occurrence and behaviour

Joanna Cross, PhD (Royal Holloway University of London, UK, 2013) - Explosive activity Colli Albani Italy: constraints on the chemistry and explosivity (co-supervisor)

Paul Albert, PhD (Royal Holloway University of London, UK, 2012) - Volcanic glass geochemistry of Italian proximal deposits linked to distal archives in the central Mediterranean region (co-supervisor)


Junior Sophister:

GSU33005 Volcanism and Magmatism

GLU33008 Metamorphic Rocks and Processes

Senior Sophister:

GLU44906 Global Igneous Petrology (ending 2020)

Early Earth Evolution (coming 2021)

Geoscience Frontiers (coming 2021)

Geoscience Capstone projects:

I supervises projects in the areas of mantle petrology and mantle geochemistry and also temporal and chemical evolution of magmatic systems. Projects will typically involve in-situ major and/or trace element geochemical analysis and/or thermodynamic modelling. Possible topics include:

records of mafic recharge in magmatic reservoirs, frequency-compositional evolution of magmatic systems from distal tephra records, formation of the cratonic lithosphere and metasomatism of the cratonic lithosphere.

Selected Publications

Tomlinson, E. L. & Holland, T. J. B. (in press). A Thermodynamic model for the subsolidus evolution and melting of peridotite: application to the cratonic lithosphere. Journal of Petrology.

Tomlinson, E. & Kamber, B. (2021). Depth-dependent peridotite-melt interaction and the origin of variable silica in the cratonic mantle. Nature Communications 12, 1082.

Hoare, B. C., Tomlinson, E. L., Barnes, J. D., Tappe, S., Marks, M. A. W., Epp, T., Caulfield, J. & Riegler, T. (2021). Tracking halogen recycling and volatile loss in kimberlite magmatism from Greenland: Evidence from combined F-Cl-Br and δ37Cl systematics. Lithos 384–385, 105976.

Tomlinson, E. L., Smith, V. C. & Menzies, M. A. (2020). Chemical zoning and open system processes in the Laacher See magmatic system. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 175, 19.

Caulfield, J. T., Tomlinson, E. L., Chew, D. M., Marks, M. A. W., McKenna, C. A., Ubide, T. & Smith, V. C. (2020). Microanalysis of Cl, Br and I in apatite, scapolite and silicate glass by LA-ICP-MS. Chemical Geology 557, 119854.

Kamber, B. S. & Tomlinson, E. L. (2019). Petrological, mineralogical and geochemical peculiarities of Archaean cratons. Chemical Geology 511, 123–151.

Rosca, C., Tomlinson, E. L., Geibert, W., McKenna, C. A., Babechuk, M. G. & Kamber, B. S. (2018). Trace element and Pb isotope fingerprinting of atmospheric pollution sources: A case study from the east coast of Ireland. Applied Geochemistry 96, 302–326.

Albert, P. G. et al. (2018). Constraints on the frequency and dispersal of explosive eruptions at Sambe and Daisen volcanoes (South-West Japan Arc) from the distal Lake Suigetsu record (SG06 core). Earth-Science Reviews 185, 1004–1028.

Tomlinson, E.L., Kamber, B., Hoare, B., Stead, C. & Ildefonse, B. (2018). An Exsolution Origin for Archaean Mantle Garnet. Geology.

Stead, C. V, Tomlinson, E. L., McKenna, C. A. & Kamber, B. S. (2017). Rare earth element partitioning and subsolidus exchange behaviour in olivine. Chemical Geology 475, 1–13.

Tomlinson, E. L. et al. (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.

Cross, J. K., Tomlinson, E. L., Giordano, G., Smith, V. C., De Benedetti, A. A., Roberge, J., Manning, C. J., Wulf, S. & Menzies, M. A. (2014). High level triggers for explosive mafic volcanism: Albano Maar, Italy. Lithos 190, 137–153.

Tomlinson, E. L. et al. (2012). Geochemistry of the Phlegraean Fields (Italy) proximal sources for major Mediterranean tephras : Implications for the dispersal of Plinian and co-ignimbritic components of explosive eruptions. 93, 102–128.

Lane, C. S. et al. (2012). Was the 12.1 ka Icelandic Vedde Ash one of a kind? Quaternary Science Reviews 33, 87–99.

Lowe, J. et al. (2012). Volcanic ash layers illuminate the resilience of Neanderthals and early modern humans to natural hazards. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109, 13532–7.

Tomlinson, E. L., Howell, D., Jones, A. P. & Frost, D. J. (2011). Characteristics of HPHT diamond grown at sub-lithosphere conditions (10-20 GPa). Diamond and Related Materials 20, 11–17.

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

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

Tomlinson, E. L., McMillan, P. F., Zhang, M., Jones, A. P. & Redfern, S. A. T. (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, 6030–6039.

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