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Dr Mike Widdowson


Mike Widdowson

Lecturer in Volcanology and Geochemistry

Post Nominals B.A; M.A.; DPhil. (Oxon)
Biography OVERVIEW

Mike is Lecturer in Geochemistry and Volcanology), and previously Lecturer in Volcanology at the Open University. He is an acknowledged world expert in flood basalt volcanology and its environmental effects, and an international authority on the geochemistry of tropical deep weathering processes

Mike has been included in the last 3 RAE/REF returns as part of a consistently achieved Grade 5 submission (Open University). In the REF2014 he was graded as GPA 3.5, including papers from Geology, Chemical Geology, Lithos, and Science.

Mike has received international recognition through >120 publications which have been cited >4000 times, resulting in an H index of 34 and an i10 index of 46 (Sources: Google Scholar; ResearchGate - RG score c. 39). Outputs eligible for the current REF cycle include papers in Chemical Geology, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, GCA, Geological Society of America (GSA).

Externally, Mike is currently an Officer of the Mineralogical Society; Vice Chair of Large Igneous Province Commission at IAVCEI. He was Chair of Volcanic and Magmatics Study Group, UK (2015 – 2018), executive member of VMSG committee for 20 years, and previously served on Geological Society of London and Mineralogical Society SIGs Science Committees, and the Schlumberger, Collins and Hay Medals awards Committee.

Mike was nominee (2015) for the prestigious VMSG Award. In recent years he has given numerous radio, TV, and newspaper interviews, appeared on BBC, History and Discovery TV Channels, and delivered commentaries regarding flood basalt volcanism, the KT boundary, and the dinosaur extinction.


Mike has an established and very broad research and analytical experience through collaboration with scientists within the UK and internationally. Many of his publications are multi-author works in high-profile journals. He has a reputation for reliable and thorough fieldwork and detailed field-sampling, and high-quality analytical data performed on collected materials which can be robustly placed within their geological context.

His research interests range from volcanology and geochemistry to sedimentology, weathering studies and river chemistry. He has investigated materials from throughout geological history (Proterozoic to Cenozoic). His key research themes may be summarized as the following themes:

The chemical and environmental memory of Large Igneous Provinces: evaluating linkages with climate change

Deep weathering processes: environmental chemical and isotopic fluxes
Research Interests SUMMARY

Mike's focus is (i) flood basalt volcanism and its environmental effects; (ii) tropical weathering and lateritization processes. He uses a variety of analytical techniques - geochemistry (XRF, ICP and isotope studies), geochronology (Ar/Ar and Palaeomag). Fieldwork investigations are worldwide: in detail the evolution of the Deccan Traps large igneous province (LIP), and LIPs elsewhere (i.e., CRBP, BTIP, Iceland, Hawaii, Emeishan, Kalkarindji, Shatsky Rise). He is collaborating with Chinese scientists on projects documenting the development of the Himalaya and the associated floral evolution. His weathering studies have documented the fate of elements and behaviour of isotope systems during extreme alteration.
Teaching and Learning OVERVIEW

Mike teaches across a broad range of subject material primarily in the Geology/Earth Sciences discipline, as well as elements in Physical Geography and Environmental Studies.

He leads/teaches modules in all year groups (Foundation, Certificate, Diploma and Honours).

TEACHING - MODULES [Past Courses in brackets]

Foundation (Year 0)
330103: Dynamic Environments: Challenge Project (Module Lead/Lecturer)
300008 Preparing for Learning in Higher Education (Lecturer)
[(16012): Foundation in Physical Geography (Module Lead/Lecturer)]

Certificate (Year 1)
440951: Introduction to Petrology (Trip Leader)
400145: Exploring Worlds around Us (Tutor)
[400149: Sedimentary Basins and Structural Analysis (Module Lead/Lecturer)]
[400147: Rocks, Minerals and Fossils (Module Lead/Lecturer)]

Diploma (Year 2)
500187: Geohazards (Lecturer)
500191: Geoscience Field Course (Tutor)
500192: Earth Evolution (Tutor)

Honours (Year 3)
600257: Volcanoes and their Hazards (Module Lead/Lecturer)
600270: Advanced Geology Field Study (Cyprus) (Lecturer)
600273: Geological Mapping Dissertation (Supervisor)
[16302: Geography Dissertation (Supervisor)]


Foundation Level
Humber Levels Oakhill Nature Reserve, Goole – Environmental Studies for Geographers and Geologists (2016 – Present)

Certificate Level
Northern England (Ingleton, Shap and Teesdale) – Basic field Techniques/Introduction to Igneous Rocks (2019 - Present)
North Yorkshire Coast (Cleveland Basin) – Sedimentology and Basin Evolution (2015 – 2019)
North Yorkshire Coast (Filey and Staithes) – Introduction to Field Techniques (2015 – 2019)

Diploma Level
Isle of Skye – Magmatic and Metamorphic Rocks (2016)

Honours Level
Cyprus – Ophiolite and Sedimentary Evolution and uplift of the Troodos Massif (2016 – Present)
Iceland – Volcanism and Geomorphology (2017 – 2018)


Widdowson, M., 2009. Introduction to Earth System Science (Chapter 1). In: Kelley, S.P. (Ed). Earth Science: A systems approach (S808; Earth Sciences, MSc module). The Open University (on-line; web-based teaching text and software).

Brandon, M., Clark, N. and Widdowson, M. (Eds). 2009. Environmental changes: Global challenges. The Environmental Web (U316). The Open University, 182pp.

Widdowson, M. 2007. Plate Tectonics (Chapter 4). In: Rogers, N.B.W. (Ed). Our Dynamic Earth (S279). The Open University/Cambridge University Press, 250pp. (pp. 95 - 142).

Widdowson, M. 2003. The internal structure of the terrestrial planets (Chapter 2). In: McBride, N., and Gilmour, I (Eds). The Solar System (S283). The Open University/Cambridge University Press, 199pp. (pp. 31 – 82)

Widdowson, M., 2003. Planetary volcanism – Ultima Thule? (Chapter 3). In: McBride, N., and Gilmour, I (Eds). The Solar System (S283). The Open University/Cambridge University Press, 199pp. (pp. 83 – 126).

Gilmour, I. and Widdowson, M., 1999. Geology - Maps and Landscape (S260). The Open University, 97 pp.
Scopus Author ID 7006622759