Faculty Spotlight

Professor John A. Higgins

Title: Associate Professor of Geosciences

Research Areas:

Professor John Higgins' primary research interest is the evolution of the carbon cycle and the global climate system over Earth history.  One focus has been on processes that control the chemical composition of seawater, and how those processes have changed on geologic timescales.  Another is how on the chemistry of carbonate sediments is affected by processes that occur post-deposition.  These include early diagenetic recrystallization, dolomitization and hydrothermal alteration.  The tools Prof. Higgins has employed to study these include numerical models of chemical and isotopic biogeochemical cycles, as well as analysis of traditional stable isotopes of oxygen and carbon, and new isotope systems such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

Higgins Research Laboratory


John A. Higgns, Associate Professor of Geosciences


Upcoming Semester - SPRING 2021

GEO 360 / ENV 356 - Geochemistry of the Human Environment
Humans have profoundly altered the chemistry of Earth's air, water, and soil. This course explores these changes with an emphasis on the analytical techniques used to measure the human impact. Topics include the accumulation of greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4) in Earth's atmosphere and the contamination of drinking water at the tap and in the ground. Students will get hands on training in mass spectrometry and spectroscopy to determine the chemical composition of air, water, and soil and will participate in an outreach project aimed at providing chemical analyses of urban tap waters to residents of Trenton, NJ.

Past Semesters

GEO 203 - Fundamentals of the solid Earth
GEO 360 / ENV 356 Geochemistry of the Human Environment Class
GEO 362 / ENV 362  Earth History
GEO 534 - Geological Constraints on the Global Carbon Cycle


In The News



More recent articles

Monday, Oct 19, 2020

In 2018, Chemistry, Geosciences, and Environmental Studies Librarian Emily Wild joined Princeton University Library (PUL) after serving as a hydrologist and librarian (physical scientist) at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for over two decades.

Thursday, Oct 15, 2020
by the Office of Communications, Princeton University
Environmental challenges have galvanized activity across Princeton’s campus in recent years like few other issues in our history. From physical, biological and applied sciences to art, architecture, psychology, policy and more, research groups across the University are tackling some of the toughest problems facing humanity with the fullest range...
Thursday, Oct 15, 2020
by Princeton University
You can now explore the full scope of Princeton’s latest environmental research – plus the University’s legacy of environmental commitment – through a single portal: "Princeton Environmental Research: A Half-Century at the Forefront." The portal was launched on Thursday, Oct 15, 2020. Users will find a video presenting 50 years of environmental...
Tuesday, Oct 13, 2020
by The Department of Geosciences
Rajkrishna (Raj) Dutta *19 has been awarded an American Geophysical Union (AGU) John C. Jamieson Student Paper Award in the Mineral and Rock Physics section for the year 2020.  
Friday, Oct 9, 2020
by The Department of Geosciences
The Department of Geosciences and Princeton University congratulates Emma R. Kast on successfully defending her Ph.D. thesis "Development and Application of Biogenic Mineral-Bound Nitrogen Isotope Measurements to the Million-Year Timescale" on Friday, September 25, 2020