Bruce D. Marsh

Bruce D. Marsh

Professor Emeritus and Academy Professor

Contact Information

Research Interests: Volcanism; magma dynamics; planetology; igneous petrology; geophysics

Education: PhD, University of California, Berkeley

Academic Background

1974 Ph.D. U.C. Berkeley
1971 M.S. University of Arizona
1969 B.S. Michigan State University

Elected Positions

  • Gordon Conference Co-Chairman (1983):  Quantification of Petrologic Processes
  • American Geophysical Union; Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology (VGP): Section
  • Secretary and Program Manager (1984-86); President Elect (1988-90), President (1990-92).

Advisory Positions

American Geophysical Union

  • Editor Search Committee (1990-92; Chair)
  • Macelwane Medal Committee (1992-94)
  • Nominations Committee (1992-94)
  • Audit and Legal Affairs Committee (1988-92; Chair 1990-1992)
  • Book Board, Chair (1996-1998)
  • Publication Committee (1996-2000, Chair 1998-2000)


  • Planetary Geology (1980-83)
  • Solid Earth Geophysics Working Group of Earth System Science Committee (1984-85)

National Science Foundation

  • Graduate Fellowship Panel (1979-83, Chair, 1983)
  • Review and Advisory Panel (March 1984)
  • Review Panel (1985-88; 2000-01)
  • Ocean Drilling Program, Tectonics Panel (1984-87)

National Research Council

  • Steering Committee on Physics and Chemistry of Earth Materials (1985-88)
  • U.S. National Committee for the International Geological Correlation Program
    • Chair, (1987-90)
    • U.S. Delegate to International Geological Congress (1989)
  • Oversight Committee for Joint U.S.-U.S.S.R. Research in the Evolution of Geological Processes in the History of the Earth (1987-  )
  • Associateship Program (1988-91)
    • Site Visiting Committee, Johnson Space Center (1990)
  • Solid Earth Sciences Panel on Physics and Chemistry Earth Materials (1988-89)

Geological Society of America

  • Day Medal Committee (1989-91)

Mineralogical Society of America

  • MSA Award Committee (1991)
  • Management Committee (1992-94)
  • Nominating Committee (1999-2002)
    • Roebling Medal Committee (1993–96)
    • Fellows Committee (1997-1999)

Advisory & Review Boards

  • Stanford University (1991-1993)
  • Rice University Visiting Committee (Chair, 1991–)
  • Princeton University Advisory Council (1993-)
  • American Museum of Natural History (Idea Person for Hall to Planet Earth, 1998-2000)
  • Smithsonian Institution Review and Advisory Panels (1999, 2003)
  • Columbia University (2003)
  • Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Life. German-U.S., Symp. 2004 (co-American Organizer)
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission (2005-2008)
  • McMurdo Area Users Committee (2006-2010)
  • PreCambrian Research Center, University of Minnesota, Duluth, Minnesota (2007-2011)


  • Bowen Award (1993), American Geophysical Union
  • Hallimond Lecture (1995), Mineralogical Society of Great Britain & Ireland
  • Daly Lecture (2000), American Geophysical Union
  • Marsh Cirque (2005) in the Olympus Range of Antarctica named in honor of research by Bruce Marsh and his Research Group.
  • Noel Potter Distinguished Lecturer (2006), Dickinson College

Magma is the vehicle by which most planetary differentiation takes place. The origin of continents as well as the origin of the magnetic field are intimately tied to the dynamics of magma. My research involves the physics and chemistry of the origin and evolution of magma, mainly silicate magma. We study magma from three vantage points: field, laboratory, and theory. We feel that the greatest, most fundamental discoveries come from walking the fine line between these fields, taking strength and insight from each. We have worked on volcanic and magmatic systems the world over, and presently have a considerable field program in the Dry Valley region of Antarctica. Present areas of research include the dynamics of crystal size distributions, the propagation and behavior of solidification fronts in sheet-like systems, and the emplacement of flow differentiated magmas. The main objective of this program is to train scholars who will fundamentally affect the course of science.


Major Areas

  • Dry Valleys of Antarctica
  • Sudbury, Ontario
  • Aleutian Islands
  • Iceland
  • Montana (Shonkin Sag)
  • Central Africa

Minor Areas

  • Japan
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Maine
  • Pennsylvania
  • Hawaii
  • Oregon

Leader and Organizer

Magmatic Field Laboratory and Workshop, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica (2004-2005).

Bruce Marsh on a mountain in a red coat Group of people standing outside by a stone square person with long hair standing above a river and trees with yellow leaves Person with a beard and brimmed hat in a field Person sitting among rocks covered in snow Person standing on a mountain with a snowy lake in the distance

See articles on ResearchGate.

Volcanism and wine tears: Bruce Marsh at TEDxJohnsHopkinsUniversity

Dr. Marsh on a dark stage with a microphone headset
Volcanism and wine tears: Bruce Marsh at TEDxJohnsHopkinsUniversity

View on YouTube

EarthSky PodCast: Bruce Marsh’s rare encounter with molten magma 

closeup of magma and text: Earth scientist Bruce Masrh talks about the first-ever discovery of magma
Bruce Marsh’s rare encounter with molten magma

Listen on EarthSky.

  • J. Myers, Ph.D., 1979, Prof., Univ. Wyoming
  • S. Morris, Ph.D., 1980, Prof., U.C. Berkeley
  • E. Didwall, Ph.D., 1981, Section Leader, Lawrence- Livermore Lab.
  • B. Banerjee, Ph.D., 1981, Project Engineer, Fermilab
  • C. Schlinger, Ph.D., 1983, Prof., Univ. Northern Arizona
  • L. Kovach, Ph.D., 1984, Nuclear Reg. Commission
  • J. Brophy, Ph.D., 1985, Prof., Indiana Univ.
  • K. Cashman, Ph.D., 1986, Prof., Univ. Oregon
  • J. Hinojosa, Ph.D., 1986, Prof. and Dean, Univ. Texas, Laredo
  • T. D. Peterson, Ph.D., 1987, Geol. Survey, Canada
  • B. Gunnarson, Ph.D., 1987, Prof., Univ. Iceland.
  • G. Bergantz, Ph.D., 1988, Prof., Univ. Wash.
  • J. Fournelle, Ph.D., 1988, Senior Res. Sci, Univ. Wisconsin (Madison)
  • M. delMarmol, Ph.D., 1989, Faculty, Univ. Brussels
  • M. Murphy, Ph.D., 1989, Batelle Geoscience
  • R. Congdon, Ph.D., 1991, Bureau of Land Management
  • R. Carmody, Ph.D., 1991, University of Maryland, College Park
  • M. Mangan, Ph.D., 1991, U.S.G.S., Menlo Park
  • K. Grossenbacker, Ph.D., 1993, Bank & Trust Co., Calif.
  • S. McDuffie, Ph.D., 1993, DOE, Pacific Northwest Lab. Richland, Wash.
  • R. Resmini, Ph.D., 1993, Boeing Corp., Alexandria, VA
  • K. McCormick, Ph.D., 1996; Geological Survey of South Dakota
  • C-H. Geshwind, Ph.D., 1995; Univ. of Maryland Library
  • L. Hultgrien, Ph.D., 2000 Research Staff, Univ. Washington
  • M. Zieg, Ph.D., 2001, Prof., Slippery Rock State University
  • Taber Hersum, Ph.D. 2005, Postdoctoral Fellow, Exxon-Mobil, Clinton Res. Lab.
  • Kausthub Patwardhan, Ph.D. 2009, Assist. Prof., Colby College.
  • Nate Winslow Ph.D. (2009)- with Prof. J. Ferry. Now employed Think Tank, Bethesda, MD
  • Amanda Charrier, Ph.D. (2010), Lecturer and Research Scientist, Johns Hopkins University
  • Ryan Currier Ph.D. (2011), Assistant Professor, Univ. Wisconsin, Green Bay.
  • Lynnae Quick Ph.D. (2013), Post-doc, Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA).