Peter C. Lippert

Curriculum Vitae

Peter C. Lippert portrait
  • Assistant Professor, Geology & Geophysics
  • Affiliated Faculty, Global Change & Sustainability Center

Research

Research Summary

I use field study in conjunction with paleomagnetic, rock magnetic, and collaborative stratigraphic, geochemical, and geochronologic approaches to investigate a wide range of geological puzzles. Specifically, I utilize the unique information encoded in the magnetic and chemical properties of geological materials to understand tectonic, paleoclimate, and paleoecological processes, and to recognize feedbacks between geodynamics, climate change, and surface processes.

Research Statement

I use field study in conjunction with paleomagnetic, rock magnetic, and collaborative stratigraphic, geochemical, and geochronologic approaches to investigate a wide range of geological puzzles. Specifically, I utilize the unique information encoded in the magnetic and chemical properties of geological materials to understand tectonic, paleoclimate, and paleoecological processes, and to recognize feedbacks between geodynamics, climate change, and surface processes. 

I currently spend most of my time studying the tectonic history of the Tibetan Plateau and India-Asia collision zone, ecological and surface process responses to Cenozoic global climate change events, and exploring non-charcoal-based methods for detecting paleo-wildfire.

Given the scale of these problems, I draw from a diverse quiver of approaches and strong collaborations with other geoscientists. My work involves a substantial and essential component of field study. I also utilize archived material (e.g., from ocean and lake cores), as well as construct compilations of magnetic, geochemical, and ecological information. Most of my research involves analytical laboratory work, which includes a variety of magnetic experiments as well as SEM and TEM microscopy. My collaborations include stable isotope, trace-element, and organic geochemistry, low-temperature thermochronology, geochronology, structural analysis, marine micropaleontology, and sedimentary basin analysis.

My research program can be broadly defined into the following three areas (please see my personal website for more information).

TECTONICS & GEODYNAMICS

Most of my past and ongoing projects in tectonics are driven by questions concerning the dynamics of convergent orogens, the suturing process, and the processes responsible for transforming deep marine basins into high mountain ranges. My primary approach to understanding these processes combines field geology, regional synthesis, and paleomagnetism, which is the only means by which we can quantify paleolatitude and the magnitude of vertical axis rotation of crustal materials.

Some examples include:

1) The suturing process: Insight from the India-Asia collision zone. Specifically, characterizing the paleogeography of Southern Tibet and Greater India for the past 120 million years.

2) Geological records of early Paleogene tectonics in Northern Qiangtang, North-Central Tibetan Plateau.

3) Did the Altyn Tagh Fault continue beyond the northern margin of Tibet? Implications for strain partitioning during continent-continent collision.

 

GEOCHRONOLOGY & PALEOCLIMATE CHANGE

Many exciting frontiers in the geosciences are focused on recognizing lead-lag relationships between surface processes and tectonics, determining rates of planetary processes, and establishing confidant correlations between intra-basin and global events. I use magnetostratigraphy, often coupled with radiochronology and biostratigraphy, to accurately and precisely date and correlate stratigraphic intervals. I am also developing projects and collaborations that will give my students and me experience applying cyclostratigraphic methods to a variety of surface process studies. Many of my current projects are centered on records recovered during IODP Leg 342 (Paleogene Newfoundland Sediment Drifts), but I also apply these methods to continental sections. 

Some examples include:

1) Timescales of enviromental change across the Eocene-Oligocene Transition, and the Oligocene-Miocene Boundary of the North Atlantic.

2) Astronomical calibration of the Cenozoic geomagnetic polarity timescale.

3) Timescales and field morphology of geomagnetic reversals.

4) Chronostratigraphy of Cenozoic basins in the Qiangtang and Lhasa Terranes of the Tibetan Plateau.

 

CRUSTAL & SURFACE PROCESSES

A substantial component of my research program couples studies of the magnetic properties and mineralogy of rocks with microscopic, chemical, or paleontological methods to study a wide range of geological processes.

Some examples include:

1) Developing non-charcoal-based proxies for modern and paleowildfire.

2) Revealing changes in sediment provenance, orbital controls on lithostratigraphy, and changes in deep-water currents.

3) Detecting and quantifying magnetofossil diversity during rapid climate change events.

4) Characterizing the rock magnetism of brittle fault zones.

5) Rock magnetic proxies for fluid flow and remagnetization in collisional orogens.

6) Low-temperature and biologically-mediated fluid-rock interactions in young oceanic basalts.

Research Keywords

  • Tectonics, Interest Level: 5
  • Surface Processes, Interest Level: 5
  • Stratigraphy, Interest Level: 4
  • Paleoclimatology, Interest Level: 5
  • Geology, Interest Level: 5
  • Geochronology, Interest Level: 5

Research Equipment and Testing Expertise

  • 2G/WSGI DC-SQUID superconducting rock magnetometer: full vector characterization and measurement of magnetic remanence. Contact: Pete Lippert .
  • 2G/WSGI alternating field demagnetizer with peak fields of 150 mT. Contact: Pete Lippert .
  • AGICO JR-6A automated spinner magnetometer: full vector characterization and measurement of magnetic remanence. Contact: Pete Lippert .
  • AGICO MFK1 multifunction kappabridge with furnace, liquid nitrogen cryostat, and 3D anisotropy rotator: measures magnetic susceptibility as a function of a) temperature (-196-700C); b) field strength; c) field frequency; and d) orientation. Measurements can be performed in ambient air or argon. Characterizes magnetic grain size, composition, and fabrics. Contact: Pete Lippert .
  • ASC IM-10-30 impulse magnetizer capable of imparting isothermal remanent magnetizations up to 2.7 Tesla. Contact: Pete Lippert .
  • ASC TD-48 thermal demagnetizer with custom-built Kiethley temperature monitor and data logger: magnetically shielded oven with precision temperature control and monitoring. Contact: Pete Lippert .
  • Applied Physics System 3-axis fluxgate magnetometer. Contact: Pete Lippert .
  • Gas-powered and electric rock-coring drills (Pomeroy designed). Contact: Pete Lippert .
  • Lakeshore/PMC Model 3900-04 vibrating sample magnetometer. Room-temperature measurements of magnetic remanence, coercivity, and anisotropy capable of characterizing magnetic composition, grain size, and coercivity distributions. Contact: Pete Lippert .
  • Leitz transmitted, polarizing, and reflected light petrographic microscope with Leica digital camera. Contact: Pete Lippert .
  • Low-magnetic rock sawing equipment and dedicated rock coring drill press. Contact: Pete Lippert .
  • Magnon AFD300 alternating field demagnetizer with peak fields of 300 mT and ability to impart anhysteretic remanent magnetizations (ARM). Contact: Pete Lippert .
  • PMC Model 2900-02 alternating gradient field magnetometer. Room-temperature measurements of magnetic remanence, coercivity, and anisotropy capable of characterizing magnetic composition, grain size, and coercivity distributions. Contact: Pete Lippert .