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

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

Please join us in honoring Jennifer J. Kasbohm and Katja E. Luxem for their contributions to Service and Outreach in the Geosciences.

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2020
Multiple evidence reveals the killing mechanism for the mass extinction 66 m.y. ago began 25,000 years earlier with the onset of cataclysmic Deccan volcanic eruptions in India that caused hyperthermal warming, mercury toxicity, ocean acidification and acid rain on land. 
Friday, Sep 18, 2020
by The Department of Geosciences
The Department of Geosciences and Princeton University congratulates Dr. Xin Sun on successfully defending her Ph.D. thesis "New Processes and Microbes in the Marine Nitrogen Cycle" on September 9, 2020
Wednesday, Sep 2, 2020
by The Department of Geosciences

The annual ed

Friday, Aug 28, 2020

Princeton’s vital research across the spectrum of environmental issues is today and will continue to be pivotal to solving some of humanity’s toughest problems. Our impact is built on a long, deep, broad legacy of personal commitment, intellectual leadership, perseverance and innovation.