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Lincoln S. Hollister
Professor of Geosciences (Petrology)

Department of Geosciences
411 Guyot Hall
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544

Phone: (609) 258-4106


How are mountains and continental crust made?  This is the major question driving my research and teaching. I interpret the pressure-temperature-time-strain history of rocks in the context of the tectonic processes operating on the continental crust.  My contributions are based on direct observation of the products of mountain building.  I have forged collaborations with people in other disciplines, and I work over a wide range of disciplines with the objective to achieve results unattainable by focusing on only one or two disciplines.

This approach led to the article that Chris Andronicos and I wrote (Hollister & Andronicos, 2006), which brought together results from the 1993-2000 multidisciplinary project ACCRETE into a hypothesis for formation of continental crust.

My current research is on three fronts: the origin of the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, the origin of the Himalayas in Bhutan, and the proterozoic metamorphic history of northern New Mexico.

1) BATHOLITHS.  My biggest research commitment (funded 2003-2008) had been the multidisciplinary collaboration, called BATHOLITHS, which proposed to resolve the continental crust composition paradox: although continental crust begins as accreted island arcs, the average composition of continental crusts is more silicic than that of island arcs.  Before becoming stable continental crust, the original island arc composition is modified by processes that are not understood. This is a fundamental problem in the earth sciences, and was a topic of a special conference convened in June 2006 in Valdez, Alaska, and the subject of the article by Hollister & Andronicos (2006).

The disciplines of BATHOLITHS included active and passive source seismology, geochemistry, structural geology, and petrology.  Most of these endeavors have been exceedingly successful, but the active source seismology experiment was terminated by Canadian government authorities in response to public pressure organized against the project. See:

bhutan2) BHUTAN.  With my colleague Djordje Grujic at Dalhousie University, we defined a process of mountain building, based on our studies in Bhutan. This process involves the rapid extrusion of a low viscosity, partially melted orogenic channel from lower crustal depths. An article on pulsed channel flow in Bhutan (Hollister & Grujic, 2006) rationalizes seemingly contradictory field data to the theoretically based channel flow model of Beaumont and others. Photo by Djordje Grujic

I continue my interests in Bhutan through the Ph.D. theses of two current graduate students.

3) Building an on information from samples collected by classes I have taken to New Mexico over the last 10 years (see GEO 314), several recent seniors and I are working on the P-T time history of Proterozoic metamorphic rocks in northern New Mexico.

Updated 06/17/08