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Jessica Warren

Associate Professor


Jessica Warren is a petrologist who specializes in studying the physical and chemical processes recorded in rocks from the Earth’s mantle. She received her undergraduate degrees from Cambridge University, followed by a PhD from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Institution of Washington and then spent five years as an assistant professor at Stanford University. In 2015, she moved to the Department of Geological Sciences at UD as an assistant professor.

Department Affiliation

Department of Geological Sciences

Current Projects

Investigating the Relationship Between Mantle Shear Localization, Melt Flow and Water Content​
The occurrence of shear localization is one of the defining properties of plate tectonics, but the mechanisms driving shear localization are poorly constrained. Both melt and water have been proposed as agents that lead to ductile localization within the Earth's mantle. This CAREER research project investigates the relationship between shear localization, melt flow and water through analysis of well-preserved shear zones in one of the best examples of mantle peridotite, the Josephine peridotite in Oregon. ​

Deformation-induced Hydration of Peridotite Mylonites in Nature and Experiments
This project assesses the degree to which water circulates though the brittle-ductile transition in oceanic fault zones, where fracture propagation during seismic events can send water downward into mylonite zones. In this project, peridotite mylonites are analyzed from shear zones in two complementary settings, the St. Paul's Rocks on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the New Caledonia ophiolite. 

Oxygen Fugacity in the Upper Mantle: Intercalibration of Upper-Mantle Oxybarometers with State-of-the-Art Analytical Techniques
This research involves a collaboration of three institutions in different parts of the country, employs high temperature/atmospheric-pressure experiments to achieve research goals, and carries out a comparison of the geochemistry of seafloor igneous rocks from the Southwest Indian Ridge.


PhD, Geochemistry and Geophysics, MIT/WHOI Joint Program, 2007
MA, Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge, 2003
MSci, Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, 2000
BA, First Class, Natural Sciences Tripos, University of Cambridge, 1999

Select Publications

Day, J.M.D., R.J. Walker, and J.M. Warren. Os-Os and highly siderophile element abundance
systematics of the mantle revealed by abyssal peridotites and Os-rich alloys, Geochimica et Cos-
mochimica Acta
, submitted.

Birner, S.K., J.M.Warren, E. Cottrell, and F.A. Davis, 2016. Hydrothermal alteration of seafloor peridotites does not inuence oxygen fugacity recorded by spinel oxybarometry, Geology, 44, 535-538, doi:10.1130/G38113.1

Hansen, L.N., J.M. Warren, M.E. Zimmerman, and D.L. Kohlstedt, 2016. Viscous anisotropy of
textured olivine aggregates, Part 1: Measurement of the magnitude and evolution of anisotropy, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 445, 92-103, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2016.04.008.

Research Interests

Jessica Warren’s research explores the physical and chemical processes in the Earth that govern plate tectonics. In particular, she studies the role of the mantle in the plate tectonic cycle, from the generation of lithospheric plates at ocean ridges to their destruction at subduction zones, as well as the flow that occurs within the convecting interior of the Earth. To do this, she uses samples of peridotite - the main rock type in the upper mantle - collected  from the seafloor at ridges and trenches and on land at ophiolites and orogenic massifs.

Research Opportunities

I am always looking for enthusiastic people to join my group! Contact me for more information.

  • Undergraduates: projects are available in the lab during either the summer or academic year.
  • Graduate students: a position is available for next Fall.
  • Postdocs: I am always interested to hear from prospective postdocs with similar research interests. Position availability is dependent on funding, but I am happy to discuss possible projects and explore funding opportunities



• Earth's Interior• Geochemistry• Geophysics


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