Morton K. Blaustein Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences

Letter from the Morton K. Blaustein Chair

Welcome to the summer 2014 edition of the Earth and Planetary Sciences Newsletter. This summer the E&PS faculty experienced a major transition with the retirements of Professors Bruce Marsh, David Veblen, and John Ferry. Their departure marks a milestone in the history of our department.


Bruce, with the longest Hopkins record, arrived in Baltimore in 1974, just a few years after the department was founded, and eight years before Olin Hall was ready for use. He developed a distinguished and penetrating school of thought, scholarship, and research on magmatic processes. He has been described as “a central figure in magma dynamics, a field of which he is the principal architect.” Bruce’s 40 years of service to E&PS, the Krieger School, and the University are also exemplary. He served as a member of the Homewood Academic Council for 5 years. And he served as the inaugural Morton K. Blaustein Chair of his beloved E&PS.


David joined E&PS in 1981, and rapidly became full professor of mineralogy and crystallography. Subsequently, he served as Chair, for two periods. David is one of the foremost authorities on transmission electron microscopy (TEM) in geology. Using TEM, he probed the structure of many complex minerals, including pyroboles, obsidian, and clays. A colleague recalls David's wisdom: “One day nothing happened, another day nothing happened, another day nothing happened, and then one day, something important happened. That is TEM.” He was recently honored by the International Mineralogical Association with the naming of veblenite, a mineral found in Newfoundland and Labrador. For a mineralogist, that's a big deal.


John was recruited in 1984 and is also a former E&PS Chair. He is a world-renowned authority on metamorphic geology and fluid-mediated processes in Earth's crust. His most significant and sustained research has been on infiltration-driven metamorphosis: John devotes much of his research to documenting fluid flow in rocks; developing field, laboratory, and mathematical tools for extracting quantitative information about fossil fluid flow systems from rocks; and explicating the central role that reactive fluid flow plays in metamorphism. John was honored in 2011 by the Geological Society of America Mineralogy, Geochemistry, Petrology, and Volcanology Division with a Distinguished Geologic Career Award.

Collectively, the careers of Bruce, David, and John at Hopkins span nearly a century. They are known to almost all of the E&PS family. They will assume Emeritus Professorships and I wish them happy retirements, but their departure is keenly felt. It's not possible to replace them. Instead, inspired by their example, E&PS will seek talented, creative scholars to carefully rebuild the faculty in solid-earth geoscience. That process is beginning now, with a search for an assistant professor in geology. On behalf of everyone at E&PS, past and present, thank you Bruce, David and John.

With best wishes,
Thomas W. N. Haine