Matthew Jackson

Matt Jackson was a student of Stan Hart at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) who pioneered the use of intraplate volcanism to investigate the structure and causes of mantle chemical heterogeneity. Matt’s work has well shown how much fundamental information remains to be extracted from the compositional variations in intraplate volcanism. His thesis involved very fine scale laser ablation isotope analysis of melt inclusions from Samoa and confirmed that the radiogenic signature derives from recycled crust in the mantle source of these lavas. Matt and student Rita Cabral recently again used micron-scale measurements to detect processes operating over gigayear timescales and whole-mantle circulation when they found mass-independently fractionated sulfur, which had once been in the Archean atmosphere, in modern igneous sulfides. In between these discoveries, he stepped back in scale to use whole-rock compositional variations to document that some large igneous provinces derive from a mantle source formed within <200 million years of Earth formation. In work with a previous Kuno Award winner, Raj Dasgupta, Matt showed that the mantle compositional reservoirs defined by Stan Hart using trace elements and isotopes are expressed as well in major element composition, which has critical consequences for the dynamic behavior of the different components during their circulation through the mantle. Matt showed that the bipolar Kea-Loa chemical signature seen in Hawaii is common to many other hot spot traces, with implications for the way that hot spots sample the deepest parts of the mantle. Matt’s success reflects his energy and enthusiasm, a well-developed ability to converse, impressive analytical talents, and, perhaps most importantly, his ability to see in, and extract from, complex data sets the answers that they contain to fundamental questions in solid Earth science. His research focus and magnitude of achievement make him a most deserving recipient of an award named in honor of Hisashi Kuno.

—Rick Carlson, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.


Thank you, Rick, for your kind words, and for all of your support. And thanks to the Kuno committee and to my nominators for this truly unexpected award. This is an auspicious way to start my career with a terrific bunch of colleagues at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

I want to thank a few of the people that have inspired me to pursue geochemistry and have fun doing so. Phil Ihinger and the late Karl Turekian inspired me to pursue research at Yale, and after working in Phil’s lab, I was “fired up” about studying hot spot volcanism in graduate school.

So I signed up for 5 years with Stan Hart at the WHOI-MIT Joint Program, and working with Stan was a lot of fun. In fact, Stan often described doing geochemistry as “having fun,” and the philosophy stuck. I cannot imagine working with a more supportive graduate adviser. Rounding out the geochemical “dream team” were Nobu Shimizu and Mark Kurz, and a lot of really neat ideas were born during conversations in their offices.

Al Hofmann seemed to be ever present and was not shy about keeping me in line!

My postdoc at Carnegie continued the fun started at WHOI. Rick Carlson was supportive of exploring a lot of neat ideas, and I consider myself lucky to have his mentorship. Steve Shirey and Erik Hauri completed the ideal trio of mentors and created a fantastic postdoc experience.

Now I have students of my own, and they are teaching me how to have even more fun: Rita Cabra, Ellie Price, Julie Klath, and Floyd Jaggy. I am lucky to work with each of you.

My family has been incredibly supportive, and I am here today because of my family’s role in my life. My wife, Anna, has been my closest ally and friend and my strongest supporter. None of this would have been possible without you.

—Matthew Jackson, University of California, Santa Barbara

Citation: AGU (2015), Jackson receives 2014 Hisashi Kuno Award, Eos, 96, doi:10.1o029/2015EO028089. Published on 20 April 2015.

Text © 2015. The authors. CC BY-NC 3.0
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