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Department of Geology and Geophysics
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: (307) 766-3386
Fax: (307) 766-6679

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Dr. Barbara E. John


Structural Geology/Tectonics, Igneous Processes

Office Phone: 307-223-1951
Fax Phone: (307) 766-6679

P.O. Box 3006
Laramie, Wyoming 82071-3006
Office: ESB 3016


Geology, PhD, UC - Santa Barbara, 1987
Geology, BA, University of CA - Berkeley, 1978

Research Projects

Tracking the thermal and petrologic evolution of magmatically robust fast spread lower ocean crust

The four-dimensional development of lower oceanic crust: Integrated zircon trace element and high precision U-Pb geochronology from IODP Hole U1473A, Atlantis Bank, Southwest Indian Ridge

Constraints on initiation of low-angle normal faults within the seismogenic regime

Recent Awards and Honors 

2018  Distinguished Alumnus Award, U.C. Santa Barbara 

2018  Directors’ Fellowship, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), Paris, France 

2016  Presidential Speaker, Univ.Wyoming: Mid-Ocean Ridges: one last frontier for exploration on Planet Earth


* indicates graduate student first author

* Maher, S.M., Gee, J.S., Cheadle, M.J., John, B.E., 2021, Three-dimensional magnetic stripes require slow cooling in fast-spread lower ocean crust: Nature, 597, 511-515.

* Maher, S.M., Gee, J.S., Doran, A.K., Cheadle, M.J., John, B.E., 2020, Magnetic Structure of Fast‐Spread Oceanic Crust at Pito Deep: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 21 (2), e2019GC008671.

Dick, H.J.B., C.J. MacLeod, P. Blum, N. Abe, D.K. Blackman, J.A. Bowles, M.J. Cheadle, K. Cho, J. Ciążela, J.R. Deans, V.P. Edgcomb, C. Ferrando, L. France, B. Ghosh, B. Ildefonse, B. John, M.A. Kendrick, J. Koepke, J.A.M. Leong, C. Liu, Q. Ma, T. Morishita, A. Morris, J. H. Natland, T. Nozaka, O. Pluemper, A. Sanfilippo, J.B. Sylvan, M.A. Tivey, R. Tribuzio, and G. Viegas, 2019, Dynamic accretion beneath a slow spreading ridge segment: IODP Hole 1473A and the Atlantis Bank Oceanic Core Complex: Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth v. 124 (12), p. 12631-12659.

Howard, K.A., House, P.K., John, B.E., Crow, R.S., and Pearthree, P.A., 2019, A river is born: Highlights of the geologic evolution of the Colorado River extensional corridor and its river: A field guide honoring the life and legacy of Warren Hamilton: The Geological Society of America Field Guide 55, p. 61-113.  

Howard, K.A., House, P.K., John, B.E., Crow, R.S., and Pearthree, P.A., 2019, Topock gorge Geologic River Guide; Geological Society of America Field Guide 55,

*Brown, T., Cheadle, M.J., John, B.E., Coogan, L.A., Gee, J.S., Karson, J.A. and Swapp, S. , 2018, Gabbro microstructure and crystallography from Pito Deep: Evidence for Gabbro Glacier Flow. J. Pet. v. 60 (5), p. 997-1026. 

Früh-Green, G.L., Orcutt, B.N., Rouméjon, S., Lilley, M.D., Morono, Y., Green, S., Cotterill, C., Escartin, J., John, B.E., McCaig, A., Cannat, M., Ménez, B., Schwarzenbach, E. M., Williams, M., Morgan, S., Lang, S.Q., Schrenk, M.O., Brazelton, W., Akizawa, N., Boschi, C., Dunkel, K.G., Quéméneur, M., Whattam, S.A., Mayhew, L., Harris, M., Bayrakci, G., Behrmann, J.-H., Herrero-Bervera, E., Hesse, K., Ratnayake, A.S., Twing, K., Weis, D., Zhao., R., Bilenker, L., 2018, Magmatism, serpentinization and life: Insights through drilling the Atlantis Massif (IODP Expedition 357): Lithosv. 323, p. 137-155;

 House, P. Kyle, John, Barbara E., Malmon, Daniel V., Block, Debra, Beard, L. Sue, Felger, Tracey J., Crow, Ryan, Schwing, Jonathan, and Cassidy, Colleen, E., 2018, Geologic map of the Castle Rock 7.5 quadrangle, Arizona and California: U.S. Geological Survey, 1 sheet, DOI: 10.3133/sim3411; Report number: USGS SIM3411. 

Roumejon, S., Fruh-Green, G.L., Orcutt, B.N. and the IODP Expedition 357 Science Party, 2018, Alteration Heterogeneities in Peridotites Exhumed on the Southern Wall of the Atlantis Massif (IODP Expedition 357): Journal of Petrology, 2018, 1–29 doi: 10.1093/petrolog.

*LaForge, J.S., John, B.E., and Grimes, C.B., 2017, Synextensional dike emplacement across the footwall of a continental core complex, Chemehuevi Mountains, southeastern California: Geosphere, v. 13, no. 6, p. 1–20, doi: 10 .1130 /GES01402.1

Escartin, J., Mevel, C., Petersen, S. Bonnemains, D.M, Cannat, M., Andreani, M., Augustin, N., Bezos, A., Chavagnac, V., Choi, Y., Godard, M., Haaga, K., Hamelin, C., Ildefonse, B., Jamieson, J., John, B., Lelau, T., MacLeod, C.J., Massot-Campos, M., Nomikou, P., Olive, J.A., Paquet, M., Rommevaux, C., Rothenbeck, M. Steinfurer, A., Tominaga, M., Triebe, L., Garcia, R., and Campos, R., 2017, Tectonic structure, evolution, and the nature of oceanic core complexes and their detachment fault zones (13°20’N and 13°30’N, Mid Atlantic Ridge): G3, 18, doi:10.1002/2016GC006775.

Rioux, M., Cheadle, M.J., John, B.E., and Bowring, S., 2016, High precision U-Pb zircon dating of ODP Holes 735B and 1105A, Atlantis Bank, Southwest Indian Ridge: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 449, p. 395–406.

Escartin, J., Leclerc, F., Mével, C., Cannat, M., Petersen, S., Augustin, N., Feuillet, N, Deplus, C., Bezos, A., Bonnemains, D., Chavagnac, V., Choi, Y., Godard, M., Haaga, K., Hamelin, C., Ildefonse, B., Leleu, T., Jamieson, J., John, B.E., MacLeod, C.J., Massot Campos, M., Noumikou, P., Olive, J-A., Paquet, M., Rommevaux-Jestin, C., Rothenbeck., M., Steinfürer, A., Tominaga., M., Triebe, L., Campos, R., Gracias, N., Garcia, R., Andreani, M., 2016, First direct observation of coseismic slip and seafloor rupture along a submarine normal fault and implications for fault slip history: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 450, p. 96-107, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2016.06.024.

*Miranda, E.A., Hirth, J.G., and John, B.E., 2016, Textural evidence for the transition from dislocation creep to dislocation-accommodated grain boundary sliding in naturally deformed plagioclase: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 92, p. 30- 45.

Früh-Green, G.L., Orcutt, B.N., Green, S., Cotterill, C., and Expedition 357 Scientists. 2016, Expedition 357 Preliminary Report: Atlantis Massif Serpentinization and Life. International Ocean Discovery Program. 10.14379/

Raineault, N., Marr, C., John, B., Cheadle, M., Chaytor, J., Etnoyer, P., and Marsh, L., 2015, Nautilus Samples: Oceanography, v. 28, no. 1, p. 13-15.

Rioux, M., Bowring, S.A., Cheadle, M.J., and John, B.E., 2015, Evidence for initial excess 231Pa in mid-ocean ridge zircons: Chemical Geology, v. 397, p. 143-156.

*Grimes, C.B., Wooden, J.L., Cheadle, M.J., and John, B.E., 2015, “Fingerprinting” tectono-magmatic provenance using trace elements in igneous zircon: Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v. 170, p. 45-70.

Kathryn M. Gillis, Jonathan E. Snow, Adam Klaus, Natsue Abe, Alden B. Adriao, Norikatsu Akizawa, Georges Ceuleneer, Michael J. Cheadle, Kathrin Faak, Trevor J. Falloon, Sarah A. Friedman, Marguerite Godard, Gilles Guerin, Yumiko Harigane, Andrew J. Horst, Takashi Hoshide, Benoit Ildefonse, Marlon M. Jean, Barbara E. John, Juergen Koepke, Sumiaki Machi, Jinichiro Maeda,Naomi E. Marks, Andrew M. McCaig, Romain Meyer, Antony Morris,Toshio Nozaka, Marie Python, Abhishek Saha, and Robert P. Wintsch, 2013, Primitive layered gabbros from fast-spreading lower oceanic crust: Nature, doi:10.1038/nature12778.

Hansen L. N., M. J. Cheadle, B. E. John, S. M. Swapp, H. J. B. Dick, B. E. Tucholke, and M. A. Tivey, 2013, Mylonitic deformation at the Kane oceanic core complex: Implications for the rheological behavior of oceanic detachment faults: Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., doi:10.1002/ggge.20184.

Howard, K.A., John, B.E., Nielson, J.E., Miller, J.M.G., and Wooden, J.L., 2013, Geologic map of the Topock 7.5' quadrangle, Arizona and California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3236, pamphlet 60 p., 1 sheet, scale 1:24,000. (

Howard, K.A., Jagiello, K.J., Fitzgibbon, T.T., and John, B.E., 2013, Geologic map of the Lead Mountain 15' quadrangle, San Bernardino County, California: U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Quadrangle Map GQ-1766, scale 1:62,500,

Schoolmeesters, N., Cheadle, M.J., John, B.E., Reiners, P.W., Gee, J.S., Grimes, C.B., 2012, The
cooling history and the depth of detachment faulting at the Atlantis Massif oceanic core
complex: G3, vol. 13, no. 1, Q0AG12, doi:10.1029/2012GC004314.

John, B.E., and John, G.A., 2012, Running the Amazon (an adventure from California down the Amazon River - November 11, 1934 thru August 18, 1935): Apple Press, 78 pages.

Grimes, C. B., M. J. Cheadle, B. E. John, P. W. Reiners, and J. L. Wooden, 2011, Cooling rates and the depth of detachment faulting at oceanic core complexes: Evidence from zircon Pb/U and (U-Th)/He ages, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 12, Q0AG01, doi:10.1029/2010GC003391.

Blackman, D. K., S. Awaji, J. S. Beard, D. Brunelli, A. B. Charney, D. M. Christie, J. Collins, A. G. Delacour, H. Delius, M. Drouin, F. Einaudi, B. Ildefonse, J. Escartin, B. R. Frost, G. Früh-Green, P. B. Fryer, J. S. Gee, M. Godard, C. B. Grimes, A. Halfpenny, H.-E. Hansen, A. C. Harris, B. E. John, A. Tamura, N. W. Hayman, E. Hellebrand, T. Hirose, J. G. Hirth, S. Ishimaru, K. T. M. Johnson, G. D. Karner, M. Linek, C. J. MacLeod, Y. Ohara, J. Maeda, O. U. Mason, A. M. McCaig, K. Michibayashi, A. Morris, T. Nakagawa, T. Nozaka, M. Rosner, R. C. Searle, G. Suhr, D. J. Miller, M. Tominaga, A. von der Handt, T. Yamasaki, X. Zhao, N. Abe, M. Abratis, E. S. Andal, and M. Andreani, 2011, Drilling Constraints on Lithospheric Accretion and Evolution at Atlantis Massif, Mid-Atlantic Ridge 30°N; J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2010JB007931.

John, B.E., and Cheadle, M.J., 2010, Deformation and alteration associated with oceanic and continental detachment fault systems: are they similar?: in Rona, Devey, Dyment, and Murton, eds., Diversity of Hydrothermal Systems on Slow-spreading Ocean Ridges, AGU Monograph 188, p. 175-206.

Schwartz, J.J., John, B.E., Cheadle, M.J., Wooden, J., Mazdab, F., Swapp, S, and Grimes, C.B., 2010, Dissolution-Reprecipitation of Igneous Zircon in Mid-Ocean Ridge Gabbro, Atlantis Bank, Southwest Indian Ridge: Chemical Geology, vol 274, p68-81.

*Grimes, C.B., John, B.E., Cheadle, M.J., Mazdab, F.K., Wooden, J., Swapp, S., and Schwartz, J., 2009, On the occurrence, trace element geochemistry, and crystallization history of zircon from in situ ocean lithosphere; Contrib. Mineral. Petrol., DOI 10.1007/s00410-009-0409-2.

*Schwartz, J.J., John, B.E., Cheadle, M.J., Reiners, P., and Baines, A.G., 2009, The cooling history of Atlantis Bank oceanic core complex: evidence for hydrothermal activity 2.6 Myr off-axis; G3, v. 10, doi:10.1029/2009GC002466.

*Baines, A.G., Cheadle, M.J., John, B.E., Grimes, C.B., and Schwartz, J.J., 2009, SHRIMP Pb/U zircon ages constrain gabbroic crustal accretion at Atlantis Bank on the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge; Earth and Planetary Science Letters, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2009.09.002.

Morris, A., J.S. Gee, N. Pressling, B.E. John, C.J. MacLeod, C.B. Grimes, and R.C. Searle, R.C. 2009, Footwall rotation in an oceanic core complex quantified using reoriented Integrated Ocean Drilling Program core samples; Earth and Planetary Science Letters, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2009.08.007/.

John B.E., Cheadle, M.J., Gee, J.S., Grimes, C.B., Morris, A., and Pressling, N., 2009, Spatial and temporal evolution of slow spread oceanic crust - graphic sections of core recovered from IODP Hole U1309D, Atlantis Massif, 30°N, MAR (including Pb/U zircon geochronology and magnetic remanence data); Proc. IODP, Sci. Res, 304/305.

*Grimes, C.B., John, B.E., Cheadle, M.J., and Wooden, J.L., 2008, Evolution and timescales for accretion of slow-spreading oceanic crust: constraints from high resolution U-Pb zircon dating of a gabbroic crustal section at Atlantis Massif, 30º N, MAR; G3, v. 9, doi:10.1029/2008GC002063.

*Grimes, C.B., John, B.E., Kelemen, P.B., Mazdab, F.K., Wooden, J.L., Cheadle, M.J., K. Hanghøj, K, and Schwartz, J.J, 2007, Trace element chemistry of zircons from oceanic crust: A method for distinguishing detrital zircon provenance, Geology, v. 35, no. 7, p. 643–646; doi: 10.1130/G23603A.1.   

*Baines, A. G., M. J. Cheadle, H. J. B. Dick, A. H. Scheirer, B. E. John, N. J. Kusznir, and T. Matsumoto, 2007, Evolution of the Southwest Indian Ridge from 55°45’E to 62°E: Changes in plate-boundary geometry since 26 Ma, G3, v. 8, Q06022, doi:10.1029/2006GC001559.

Ildefonse, B., Blackman, D.K., B., John, B.E., Ohara, Y., Miller, D.J., MacLeod, C.J., and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expeditions 304/305 Science Party, 2007, Oceanic core complexes and crustal accretion at slow-spreading ridges, Geology, v. 35, no. 7, p.p. 623–626; doi: 10.1130/G23531A.1.

UW Recognition

UW Presidential Faculty Speaker (2016)

College of Arts and Sciences Extraordinary Merit in Research (2000)

College of Arts and Sciences Extraordinary Merit in Research (2008)

College of Arts and Sciences Extraordinary Merit in Research (2011)

UW Top PhD Student

Erin Campbell (1997)

Timothy Schroeder (2005)

Craig Grimes (2009)

Graduate Students

Tyler Brown - PhD Candidate

Chris Doorn - PhD Candidate

Michelle Gess - MS Candidate

Rose Pettiette - MS Candidate

Madeleine Wewer - MS Candidate


GEOL4610 - Structural Geology and Tectonics
GEOL4820 - Capstone
GEOL5020 - Fundamentals of Research
GEOL5211 - Seminar in Structural Geology and Tectonics
GEOL5200 - Advanced Petrology; Ocean Tectonics
GEOL4717 - Field Camp

Research Statement

My primary research interest is to understand processes of lithospheric deformation, both on the continents and in the oceans. The majority of this research to date has focused on processes of lithospheric extension, using geologic field projects (both continent and marine-based) with petrologic, geochemical, sedimentologic, microstructural and geophysical studies, to constrain the nature of extension processes (both magmatic and structural). This integrated approach typically includes geochronologic and thermochronologic studies that allow determination of the absolute age of events, rates of geologic/tectonic processes, and the space-time distribution of deformation and/or magmatism. The aim of my approach is use well-placed field studies as natural examples of structural and petrologic processes.

My previous and ongoing research can be divided into three general areas, including deformation of the continental lithosphere, deformation of oceanic lithosphere, and magmatism and deformation.

Deformation of the continental lithosphere:

Controversy still surrounds the processes that form metamorphic core complexes and low-angle normal ('detachment') fault systems in both continental and oceanic settings. Specifically, questions remain regarding the angle(s) at which such faults originate and slip, the capacity of such faults to generate significant earthquakes, characteristics of the transition from plastic to 'brittle' deformation along the faults, the extent to which such faults and their footwalls are deformed by isostatic forces, and the mechanics of any such isostatically driven deformation.

My research on the extensional deformation of continental lithosphere has concentrated on the following: geometry and evolution of large magnitude extensional fault systems; the role of plutonism in extreme crustal extension; the temporal and geochemical evolution of magmatism associated with large-scale crustal extension in the southern Basin and Range; structural and sedimentary history of hanging wall basins to major low-angle normal faults; and constraints on the development of natural fault-related folds in an extensional environment. These projects have been focused in the southern North America Cordillera, with lesser time in Greece, Turkey, and Egypt (Zabargad). In each case, I have tried to concentrate on the timing and rates of the processes involved.

Formation and Deformation of the oceanic lithosphere

My interest in processes in the oceanic lithosphere is more recent, and has concentrated on the thermal/mechanical history of oceanic metamorphic core complexes, and tectonic and magmatic accretion processes, both as a shipboard and shore based scientist. Specifically I have been involved in research along slow spreading segments of the SW Indian and northern mid-Atlantic ridges. My work on gabbroic rocks from the SW Indian Ridge emphasizes important T-t aspects in an ultra-slow spreading environment, that include;

  • magnetic anomaly ages in lower oceanic (gabbroic) crust not replicating crustal ages
  • cooling apparently follows an exponential curve, with rates > 800°C/m.y. for the first 500,000 years (from 850°C to 350°C), decreasing gradually to 60-70°C/m.y. for up to 4 million years off-axis,
  • significant heat (~70%) is lost at the axis and within the rift valley, and
  • pure conductive cooling may be the dominant mechanism of heat loss in slow spreading environments.

These conclusions have important implications for estimates of plate spreading rates, the heat budget associated with mid-ocean ridges, and rheology of oceanic crust.

Magmatism and deformation

My interests in magmatism and deformation ranges from emplacement mechanisms of silicic magmas, the geometry of magma bodies, the influence of magmatism in regions of compressional deformation, magmatic to amagmatic spreading at mid-ocean ridges, and the imagine.

Contact Us

Department of Geology and Geophysics
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: (307) 766-3386
Fax: (307) 766-6679

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