Henry Elderfield

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Professor Harry Elderfield
Born 1943
Nationality British
Fields Oceanography
Alma mater University of Liverpool, University of Cambridge
Notable awards Prestwich Medal (1993)
Lyell Medal (2003)
Urey Medal (2007)
V. M. Goldschmidt Award (2013)

Professor Henry "Harry" Elderfield, FRS, (born 1943), is Professor of Ocean Geochemistry and Palaeoclimate Research at the Godwin Laboratory, Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge University. He made his name in ocean chemistry and palaeochemistry, using trace metals and isotopes in biogenic carbonate as palaeochemical tracers, and studying the chemistry of modern and ancient oceans - especially those of the glacial epoch and the Cenozoic.

Education and career[edit]

Harry Elderfield attended the University of Liverpool obtaining a BSc in Chemistry (Oceanography) in 1965. He worked as a Research Fellow in the Geology Department, Imperial College, London between 1968-1969 whilst completing his PhD at the University of Liverpool in 1970. He was appointed a Lecturer in the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Leeds in 1969, a position he held until 1982. From 1982 until 1989 he held the post of Assistant Director in Research in the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge. During this time he obtained an MA from the University of Cambridge in 1985, followed by his ScD in 1989. The same year, he was made a Reader in Geochemistry at Cambridge, before being appointed to the chair of Professor of Ocean Geochemistry and Paleochemistry (Cambridge) in 1999.

Early career[edit]

His early career saw him working on the behaviour of trace metals in oceans and their sediments, and in fluid flow through the ocean crust and sediments under the influence of off-axis hydrothermal circulation. He became one of the first low-temperature geochemists to appreciate how radiogenic isotopes might be used to solve the problems of marine geochemistry, developing the seawater strontium isotope curve for the Cenozoic[1] – now the most reliable isotopic record available for the Phanerozoic.

He has also worked on iodine speciation in seawater and porewaters,[2] the separation of cerium from other rare earth elements in a classic example of redox behaviour;[3] he has developed a precise mass spectrometric analysis method – and made the first ever measurements of oceanic profiles for – 10 rare earth elements. The rare earths are now widely used as tracers in sedimentary geochemistry and palaeoceanography.[4]

Current Research[edit]

Harry Elderfield's research focuses on ocean chemistry and paleochemistry, and his results have had a far-reaching impact on geochemistry. He has contributed significantly to marine chemistry, most notably the fate of metals in hydrothermal processes, the formation of manganese nodules,[5] and the biogeochemical cycles of elements including iodine and strontium.

His current interests include defining chemical proxies from biogenic carbonates and using them to understand the ancient ocean. He has pioneered the development of foraminiferal magnesium thermometry, which has become accepted for the estimation of past ocean temperatures.[4][6]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Elderfield, H., Holland, D. & Turekian, K.K. (2003) Treatise on geochemistry. Elsevier Science, 646p
  • Elderfield H. (2002) Carbonate Mysteries, Science, 296, 1618–1620
  • Elderfield H, Upstillgoddard R, Sholkovitz ER (1990) The rare-earth elements in rivers, estuaries, and coastal seas and their significance to the composition of ocean waters. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta: 54, 971-991
  • German, C. R. & Elderfield, H. (1990) Application of the Ce-anomaly as a palaeoredox indicator: the ground rules. Paleoceanography 5, 823-833
  • Palmer, M.R. & Elderfield, H. (1985) Sr isotope composition of sea water over the past 75 Myr. Nature 314, 526-528
  • Wakefield, S.J. & Elderfield, H. (1985) Interstitial water iodine enrichments in sediments from the eastern Pacific. Journal of Marine Research 43, 951-961
  • Elderfield H, Greaves MJ (1982) The rare-earth elements in sea-water. Nature 296 (5854): 214-219
  • Elderfield H, Hawkesworth CJ, Greaves MJ, et al. (1981) Rare-earth element geochemistry of oceanic ferromanganese nodules and associated sediments. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 45: 513-528

Awards[edit]

  • Fulbright Scholar, 1988
  • Prestwich Medal, The Geological Society 1993
  • Plymouth Marine Medal, Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 1998
  • Fellow of the European Association of Geochemistry, 2000
  • Fellow of the Geochemical Society, 2000
  • Fellow of the Royal Society] (FRS) 2001
  • Honorary Fellow, European Union of Geosciences, 2001
  • Fellow of American Geophysical Union, 2001
  • Clair C. Patterson Award, 2002
  • Lyell Medal, The Geological Society, 2003
  • Urey Medal, European Association of Geochemistry, 2007

References[edit]

  1. ^ Palmer, M.R. & Elderfield, H. (1985) Sr isotope composition of sea water over the past 75 Myr. Nature 314, 526-528
  2. ^ Wakefield, S.J. & Elderfield, H. (1985) Interstitial water iodine enrichments in sediments from the eastern Pacific. Journal of Marine Research 43, 951-961
  3. ^ German, C. R. & Elderfield, H. (1990) Application of the Ce-anomaly as a palaeoredox indicator: the ground rules. Paleoceanography 5, 823-833
  4. ^ a b The Geological Society Lyell Medal Award
  5. ^ Elderfield H, Hawkesworth CJ, Greaves MJ, et al. (1981) Rare-earth element geochemistry of oceanic ferromanganese nodules and associated sediments. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 45: 513-528
  6. ^ European Association of Geochemistry

External links[edit]