Dr. Benjamin Edwards
Associate Professor of Geology
(Igneous & Metamorphic Petrology / Volcanology)

Department of Geology
Kuafman Building, rm 141
Dickinson College
Carlisle, PA 17013-2896

Phone: 717.254.8934

Research Interests

I have spent much of the last ten years studying deposits formed by volcanic eruptions beneath, against and possibly on top of glaciers. Most of my research in this field has been in Northern Cordilleran Volcanic Province of northwestern British Columbia, Canada, although I have also visited glaciovolcanic deposits in Iceland and Hawaii. My main interests are 1) to document and understand the behavior of peralkaline lava-ice interaction at volcanoes such as Hoodoo Mountain, 2) to use glaciovolcanic deposits regionally to help constrain long term climate change in continental environments, and 3) to examine possible connections between glacial ice fluctuations and triggering of volcanic eruptions.

Magma assimilation:
Magmatic assimilation is a complex process by which magmas incorporate foreign materials, changing the magma's physical state (e.g. Temperature) and chemical composition. I have worked with Kelly Russell (U.B.C.) to develop models for predicting the rates at which foreign solids will react with magmas, as well as trying to understand the physical and chemical signals of magmatic assimilation. Many people now feel that open system processes like assimilation and magma mixing are the most fundamental means by which magmas diversify. We have recently proposed a model for the production of trachyte/phonolite via assimilation of alkali-rich Stikine Terrane lithosphere by alkali olivine basaltic magmas at Hoodoo Mountain in the Northern Cordilleran Volcanic Province and are in the process of further testing the model at Hoodoo as well as applying the model to other alkaline centers in the NCVP such as Mount Edziza and Level Mountain.

Tectonics and Lithospheric Magmatism:
I am also keenly interested in the connections between extensional tectonics and magmatic processes. My research in northern BC has focused on two aspects of these connections: 1) studies of lithospheric xenoliths brought to the surface by young volcanism, and 2) broad-scale connections between tectonic forces and initiation of magmatic activity.