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Dr Emma Tomlinson

Assistant Professor

Tel: + 353 1 896 3856 
Office: Museum Building, Office 0.18B


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. 


Previous students:

Clare Stead (Trinity College Dublin) – cryptic metasomatism: microtextures and geochemistry

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


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, A.; Keller, J.; Paterne, M.; Mingram, J.; Lauterbach, S.; Opitz, S.; Sottili, G.; Giaccio, B.; Albert, P.; Satow, C.; Tomlinson, E.L.; Viccaro, M.; Brauer, A., The 100-133 ka record of Italian explosive volcanism and revised tephrochronology of Lago Grande di Monticchio, Quaternary Science Reviews, 58, 2012, 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.