Bruce Nelson's Profile Picture

Bruce Nelson
Emeritus Professor
Associate Dean for Research
Adjunct Professor, UW School of Oceanography
Participating Faculty, UW Astrobiology Program
Office: JHN-433
Phone: 206-543-4434, 206-543-9187
Fax: 206-543-0489 (shared)
Email: [javascript protected email address]
Interests: Isotope Geochemistry; Igneous Petrology; Environmental Chemistry
Research Groups: Astrobiology, Isotope Geochemistry, Petrology/Mineralogy/Geochemistry, Volcanology

Ph.D., Geology, UCLA, 1985
M.S., Geology, University of Kansas, 1980
B.A., Geology, Carleton College, 1977

Current Research:
Bruce became Professor Emeritus in 2022 and no longer serves as a primary advisor for new graduate students or post-doctoral scholars. He continues to pursue research and support of the Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory as summarized below.

Bruce Nelson received his B.A. in geology from Carleton College, Minnesota, in 1977, his M.S. in geology from the University of Kansas in 1980, and his Ph.D. in geology from UCLA in 1985. He received an NSF postdoctoral fellowship to the Institute de Physique du Globe at the Université de Paris (1985-86). He came to the University of Washington in 1986.

He is also an Adjunct Professor Emeritus of Oceanography, and is a member of the UW Astrobiology Program. His research interests are in the application of variations in radiogenic isotope compositions (Pb, Nd, Hf, Sr, U-series) and trace element abundances to studies of the origin and evolution of continental crust, the chemical structure of mantle plumes and the suboceanic mantle, intraplate and mid-ocean ridge volcanism, and hydrothermal circulation systems at mid-ocean ridges. He also examines variations in stable metal isotope ratios (e.g., Cu, Zn, Fe) to infer processes of hydrothermal circulation and metal fluxes relevant to environmental concerns. Recent studies include investigation of the sources of granites and basalts in the Cascades, volcanism in the Kamchatka arc, the evolution of volcanism in the Hawaiian and Canary Islands, chemical fluxes associated with hydrothermal alteration of oceanic crust, metal isotope variability in mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal systems, and the isotopic signature of anthropogenic toxic metals accumulating in Puget Sound.

The Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory is built around a suite of five adjoining clean laboratories. One lab is dedicated to common Pb and U-series processing, another to trace metal separations, another to Nd, Hf, Sr, Se and other analyses, and a general acid preparation and cleaning lab. The instrumentation lab houses a Nu Instruments multiple-collector ICP-MS. The geochemistry laboratories are collaboratively managed with Professor Fangzhen Teng.

Recent Publications:
de Villiers S. and Nelson B.K. (1999) Detection of low-temperature hydrothermal fluxes by seawater Mg and Ca anomalies: Science, v. 285, p. 721-723.

Holcomb R.T., Nelson B.K., Reiners P.W. and Sawyer N.-L. (2000) Overlapping volcanoes: The origin of Hilo Ridge, Hawaii: Geology, v. 28, p. 547-550.

Gaffney A.M., Nelson B.K., Reisberg L. and Eiler J.M. (2005) Oxygen - osmium isotope systematics of West Maui lavas: A record of shallow-level magmatic processes: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 239, p. 122-139.

Gaffney A.M., Nelson B.K. and Blichert-Toft J. (2005) Melting in the Hawaiian plume at 1-2 Ma as recorded at Maui Nui: the role of eclogite, peridotite and source mixing: Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, v. 6, Q10L11, doi: 10.1029/2005GC000927.

Sahni J., Nelson B.K. and Scharenberg A.M. (2007) SLC41A2 encodes a plasma-membrane Mg2+ transporter: Biochemical Journal, v. 401, p. 505-513.

Gaffney A.M., Blichert-Toft J., Nelson B.K. and Albarède F. (2007) Constraints on source-forming processes of West Greenland kimberlites inferred from Hf–Nd isotope systematics: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 71, p. 2820-2836.

Bosch D., Blichert-Toft J., Moynier F., Nelson B.K., Telouk P., Gillot P.-Y. and Albarède F. (2008) Pb, Hf and Nd isotope compositions of the two Réunion volcanoes (Indian Ocean): A tale of two small-scale mantle “blobs”?: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 265, p. 748-768.

Harkins S.A., Appold M.S., Nelson B.K., Brewer A.M. and Groves I.M. (2008) Lead isotope constraints on the origin of nonsulfide zinc and sulfide zinc-lead deposits in the Flinders Ranges, south Australia: Economic Geology, v. 103, p.353-364.

Chan C. F., Tepper, J. H. and Nelson B. K. (2012) Petrology of the Grays River volcanics, southwest Washington: Plume-influenced slab window magmatism in the Cascadia forearc: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 124, p. 1324-1338.

Kayzar T.M., Nelson B.K., Bachmann O., Bauer A.M. and Izbekov P.E. (2014) Deciphering petrogenic processes using Pb isotope ratios from time-series samples at Bezymianny and Klyuchevskoy volcanoes, Central Kamchatka Depression: Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v. 168, DOI 10.1007/s00410-014-1067-6.

Kant L.B., Tepper J.H., Eddy M.P. and Nelson B.K. (2018) Eocene basalt of Summit Creek: Slab breakoff magmatism in the central Washington Cascades, USA: Lithosphere, v. 10, p. 792-805.

Bidwell, A.L., Callahan, S.T., Tobin, P.C., Nelson, B.K. and DeLuca, T.H. (2019) Quantifying the elemental composition of mosses in western Washington, USA: Science of the Total Environment,

Liu, J., Li, J. Zhu, D.-C., Nelson, B.K. and Gao, R. (2022) Ridge subduction and episodes of crustal growth in accretionary belts: Evidence from late Paleozoic felsic igneous rocks in the southeastern Central Asian Orogenic Belt, Inner Mongolia, China: Bulletin Geological Society of America,