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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, Jun 9, 2020
The Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) has selected seven Princeton University graduate students as 2020 recipients of the Mary and Randall Hack ’69 Graduate Awards for Water and the Environment. The awardees are Francisco Carrillo, Eunah Han, Julie Kim, Aleksander Musiał, Daniel Ruth, Joanna Schneider, and Kewei Zhao.
Monday, Jun 8, 2020
Several projects that push the boundaries of knowledge and have high potential for impact have been awarded support through Princeton’s Dean for Research Innovation Fund. Eduardo Cadava, professor of English, John Higgins, associate professor of geosciences, and Mark Zondlo, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, will embark...
Wednesday, Jun 3, 2020
Princeton University has created a plan for the phased resumption of on-campus laboratory-based research in a safe and orderly manner. The timing of the resumption will be determined by the University’s leadership, taking into account local, state, and national public health guidance and directives. All non-experimental work will continue to be...
Friday, May 29, 2020
The Department of Geosciences and Princeton University congratulates Dr. Joel Simon on successfully defending her Ph.D. thesis: “Recording Earthquakes in the Oceans for Global Seismic Tomography by Freely-Drifting Robots" on Monday, May 11, 2020.
Friday, May 29, 2020
The Department of Geosciences and Princeton University congratulates Dr. Jennifer J. Kasbohm on successfully defending her Ph.D. thesis: “Calibrating Archean and Miocene large igneous province emplacement and geologic timescales with high-precision U-Pb zircon geochronology" on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.