About John Higgins
Professor John Higgins' primary research interest is the evolution of the carbon cycle and the global climate system over Earth history. One focus has been on processes that control the chemical composition of seawater and how those processes have changed on geologic timescales. Another is on the chemistry of carbonate sediments is affected by processes that occur post-deposition. These include early diagenetic recrystallization, dolomitization and hydrothermal alteration. The tools Prof. Higgins has employed to study these include numerical models of chemical and isotopic biogeochemical cycles, as well as analysis of traditional stable isotopes of oxygen and carbon, and new isotope systems such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
The Higgins Research Laboratory
Higgins Lab construction and installation of the Thermo Neptune multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (MC ICP-MS) was completed in February 2013. Since that time, we have established protocols for a number of metal isotope systems—magnesium, calcium, and most recently, potassium. The development of stable potassium isotope measurements is significant as our achieved precision is a factor of 3-5 better than previously reported, allowing us to demonstrate stable K isotope variation in low temperature environments for the first time.
The Hunt For The World's Oldest Ice
Scientists think the world's oldest ice is hiding somewhere in Antarctica. NPR science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce tells us how researchers plan to find it--and why. NPR Short Wave, Nell Greenfieldboyce, Emily Kwong, Rebecca Ramirez, Jan. 7, 2021
For more, read Nell's story, "Scientists Have Found Some Truly Ancient Ice, But Now They Want Ice That's Even Older."
Recovery of the World’s Oldest Ice
John Higgins, a Princeton University assistant professor of geosciences, led a team of researchers who reported in 2015 the recovery of a 1-million-year-old ice core from the remote Allan Hills of Antarctica, the oldest ice ever recorded by scientists.
Recently In The News
Princeton University-led researchers have extracted 2 million-year-old ice cores from Antarctica that provide the first direct observations of Earth’s climate at a time when the furred early ancestors of modern humans still roamed.
Under a five-year, $25 million Science and Technology Center award, the Center for Oldest Ice Exploration (COLDEX) has been established to address climate change and its impacts.