Contact Us
Department of Geology
Bryn Mawr College
101 North Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Phone: (610) 526-7392
Fax: (610) 526-5086

Lynne Elkins


Lecturer, Department of Geology, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA, 2008-present


MIT-WHOI Joint Program, Cambridge and Woods Hole, Massachusetts, 2003-2009

       Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics (Igneous Geochemistry), 2009; Advisors: K.W.W. Sims, F.A. Frey

       Dissertation: Basalt Petrogenesis Beneath Slow- and Ultraslow-Spreading Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridges

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2001-2003

       M.S. in Earth and Planetary Sciences (Volcanology), 2003; Advisor: T.P. Fischer

       Thesis: Volatile recycling in the Central American Subduction zone: Insights from Nicaraguan gas chemistry and nitrogen isotope systematics

Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, 1997-2001

        B.A. in Geology with highest honors, 2001, Magna cum laude


National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow, 2001-2005
Mineralogical Society of America Undergraduate Award, 2001
Phi Beta Kappa, 2001


General Earth Science and Geology, Solid Earth, Mineralogy, Petrology, Volcanology, High-Temperature Geochemistry and Thermodynamics, Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry, Hazards Management.

Teaching young people to learn effectively. Assisting young women and other disadvantaged groups in particular in pursuing their interests. Helping all students become excited about science, geoscience, and research.


Instructor: Volcanoes and Society (Emily Balch Seminar), Fall 2012

   Developed new Emily Balch Seminar (freshman writing seminar) course exploring the complex intersection of human society and culture and volcanic hazards.

Field Trip Leader: Costa Rica Department Field Trip, Spring 2012

   Developed, coordinated, and led department-wide field trip for 23 participants to Costa Rican uplifted margin and volcanic front in March of 2012.

Instructor: Natural Hazards and Human Populations, Spring 2012

   Modified and taught lessons in quantitative approaches to natural hazards and disasters, including all class grading in a course that typically employs hired graders. While a lot of work, this approach allowed for intensive, hands-on, and focused evaluation of student work and understanding throughout the course.

Instructor: Physical Geology, Bryn Mawr College, Fall 2011

   In addition to coordinating and teaching lab sections (see below), taught and developed physical geology lecture curriculum and led class field trip. Developed very successful new class project using podcasts and online peer assessment.

Instructor: Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology, Spring 2010

   Developed and taught new petrology course lectures, labs, and field trip, with intense focus on practical microscope skills and petrographic analysis, reading and using thermodynamic phase diagrams, and applying course materials and skills to an intensive study of local rocks.

Instructor: Mineralogy and Crystal Chemistry, Bryn Mawr College, Fall 2010

   Developed and taught new mineralogy course in keeping with inquiry-based pedagogical philosophy; designed and led new field trip in concert with class research project; set up collaboration with University of Florida microprobe facility for classroom remote probe use.

Instructor: Living With Volcanoes, Bryn Mawr College, Fall 2010, Spring 2011

   Developed and taught new focus (7-week) class for freshmen non-majors focusing on human society and volcanoes.

Lab Coordinator and Instrutor: Earth History, Bryn Mawr College, Spring 2010, 2012

   Prepared lessons and taught all lab sections for Geology 102; supervised Teaching Assistants for lab sections; organized overnight class field trip.

Volunteer, Expanding Your Horizons Event, Swarthmore College, Spring 2010, 2011

   Developed and gave science demonstrations and lessons for local middle school girls.

Instructor: High-Temperature Geochemistry, Bryn Mawr College, Fall 2010

   Developed and taught new upper-level geology major class on the geochemistry of igneous systems, including petrologic lab exercises, geochemical data analysis, and a local class field trip.

Lab Coordinator and Instructor: Earth Systems and the Environment Labs, Bryn Mawr College, Spring 2009, 2010

   Prepared lessons and taught all lab sections for Geology 103; supervised Teaching Assistants for lab sections; organized and helped run overnight class field trip.

Instructor: Senior Thesis Seminar, Bryn Mawr College, Spring 2009

   Developed new seminar to mentor and assist students with their senior capstone projects, and to teach scientific writing to undergraduates.

Lab Coordinator and Instructor: Physical Geology Labs, Bryn Mawr College, Fall 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012

   Prepared lessons and taught all lab sections for Geology 101; supervised Teaching Assistants for grading and help during lab sections; prepared lab and class project assignments and grading rubrics; helped run class field trip to Valley Forge National Monument; taught guest lectures for class.

Teaching Assistant: Introduction to Marine Geology and Geophysics, WHOI, Woods Hole, MA, 2007

   Helped faculty prepare and proofread class materials; designed and implemented website for class; led recitations for students outside of class lectures.


Igneous geochemistry; mantle chemical structure and evolution; radiogenic and uranium-series isotopes; volcanology and volcanic hazards; scientific learning and pedagogy.


Gakkel Ridge research project: Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA (NSF-ARN proposal declined)

   Following pilot analyses of six Eastern Volcanic Zone basalts from the 85ºE volcano on the Gakkel Ridge, worked with collaborators at WHOI and Univ. of Wyoming to develop a study to thoroughly characterize U-series systematics of basalts from the full Gakkel Ridge and explore melt generation, crustal accretion, and melt-rock reaction at the ultraslow-spreading mid-ocean ridge endmember. Although recently declined, the proposal development accelerated collaboration between Elkins and colleagues at other institutions interested in state-of-the-art marine science research and the pedagogy and mentorship of undergraduates.

Jan Mayen research project: Bryn Mawr College, PA, 2011-present (NSF-OCE 1061037, $140,000)

   After analysis of 238U-234U-230Th-226Ra and 235U-231Pa in several samples from the Eggvin Bank ridge segment as pilot study (Elkins et al., 2011), major questions were raised about volcanism in the Jan Mayen region: is the volcanism caused by a small hot spot, or is it generated by mantle convection anomalies and/or unusual mantle chemical compositions? Working with Bryn Mawr and Haverford students and colleagues at Univ. of Wyoming to conduct isotopic analyses of a newly compiled sample suite from Jan Mayen Island and the southernmost Mohns Ridge. High-resolution mapping and targeted concentrated sampling of the Eggvin Bank segment in July of 2012 led to additional characterization of the region and further geochemical analysis, all to explore the question above.

Melt modeling research project: Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA, 2009-2011

   Development and analysis of new, sophisticated melting models that consider various complexities of the melt process, including variations in melt productivity and trace element partitioning behavior during melting. Included supervision of an undergraduate senior thesis project.

Mid-ocean ridge basalt alteration project: Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA, 2009-2010

   Conducted electron probe microanalysis of young Kolbeinsey Ridge basaltic glasses to characterize the extent of chemical alteration by seawater on the rocks. Included supervision of summer undergraduate research.

Doctoral Research: Geology & Geophysics, Woods Hole Ocean. Inst.; Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Dept., Massachusetts Inst. of Technology, 2003-2009; Advisors: K.W.W. Sims, F.A. Frey

    Dissertation: Basalt Petrogenesis Beneath Slow- and Ultraslow-Spreading Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridges

   Conducted comprehensive study of U-series isotopes (238U-234U-230Th-226Ra-210Pb and 235U-231Pa) and radiogenic isotopes (Hf, Nd, Pb, Sr) in 40+ Arctic mid-ocean ridge basalts. Equipped new lab facility for U-series analysis. Used existing and developed new complex time-dependent melting models for comparison with analyzed data (Elkins et al., 2011; new manuscript in prep.). Conducted piston-cylinder experiments on partitioning of U and Th during melting of mantle garnet pyroxenite (Elkins et al., 2008).


Evan Rivers (2011-present)

Rachel Davis (2011-2012)

Kelsey Meisenhelder (2011-2012)

Nora Chong (2010-2011)

Tanya Nelson (Summer 2009)


Committee member and chair (2011-12), Committee on Libraries, Information services, and Computing, Bryn Mawr College, 2008-2012

   After joining and participating in the Committee, worked as committee chair to guide and direct CLIC in taking on its most active role to date at the College. Coordinated and worked with committee members to take on numerous new faculty-directed projects and to initiate more productive and proactive conversations with both the full faculty, and administration and staff about information needs and goals.

Lab Manager, Geochemistry Suite, Bryn Mawr College, 2011-present

   As one of three faculty lab managers for the Geochemistry Suite (with P. Marenco and D. Barber), developed and established safety and work procedure guidelines for faculty, students, and other lab users.

Freshman Advisor, Bryn Mawr College, 2009 and 2011

   Assisted in faculty advising of incoming freshman students through the faculty advising program, meeting with new students and providing feedback about their suggested course schedules.

Session Chair, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, 2011

   Collaborated with another early-career scientist colleague to design, apply for, and run two successful and well-received meeting sessions: a poster session and session of professional talks. Included soliciting four invited speakers, for which we targeted early-career, young professionals.

Director, Summer Science Research Program for Undergraduates, Bryn Mawr College, 2009-2011

   Coordinated, ran, and successfully overhauled the Summer Science Research Program at the College, as funding sources and directing offices for the program were changing dramatically. The Program funds on-campus undergraduate internships to conduct research in the sciences under the mentorship of Bryn Mawr faculty. Includes awarding internships to qualified applicants, coordinating with department faculty and chairs to manage those internships, working with donors and donor managing staff, inviting distinguished scientific and alumnae speakers and panelists to campus, and hosting events and workshops.

Teaching Volunteer: Falmouth Public Schools, Falmouth, MA, 2008

   Worked with volunteers and local public school teachers to coordinate class visits, and taught ocean science to elementary school classes using NSF-COSEE lesson materials.


American Geophysical Union, Mineralogical Society of America, Geochemical Society, Geological Society of America, Association for Women Geoscientists, Association for Geoscience Teachers, Sigma Xi, Phi Beta Kappa


In print:
Elkins, L.J., Gaetani, G.A., Sims., K.W.W., 2008, Partitioning of U and Th during garnet pyroxenite partial melting: Constraints on the source of alkaline ocean island basalts, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 265, 270-286.

Elkins, L.J., Fischer, T.P., Hilton, D.R., Sharp, Z.D., McKnight, S., Walker, J., 2006. Tracing nitrogen in volcanic and geothermal volatiles from the Nicaraguan volcanic front, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 70, 5215-5235.

In progress:
Elkins, L.J., Sims, K.W.W., Prytulak, J., Mattielli, N., Elliott, T., Blichert-Toft, J., Blusztajn, J., N. Dunbar, Devey, C., Mertz, D., Schilling, J.-G., submitted, Melt generation beneath the slow spreading Kolbeinsey Ridgefrom 238U, 230Th, and 231Pa excesses, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta.

Elkins, L.J. and Sims, K.W.W., in prep., The role of changing melt productivity in the generation of mid- ocean ridge basalts, for submission to Earth Planet. Sci. Lett.

Elkins, L.J., Sims, K.W.W., Prytulak, J., Blichert-Toft, J., Blusztajn, J., Fretzdorff, S., Reagan, M., Haase, K., Elliott, T., Humphris, S., Schilling, J.-G., in prep., Generation of 226Ra, 238U, and 230Th excesses in Arctic mid-ocean ridge basalts from the Kolbeinsey, Mohns, Knipovich, and Gakkel Ridges, for submission to Jour. Pet.


Elkins, L.J*., Sims, K.W.W., Dunbar, N., 2009, Seawater alteration of Arctic mid-ocean ridge basalts, EOS Trans. AGU, Fall Meeting Suppl., V33D-2063.

Elkins, L.J., Sims, K.W.W.*, Prytulak, J., Blichert-Toft, J., Blusztajn, J., Fretzdorff, S., Haase, K., Elliott, T., Humphris, S., Schilling, J.-G., 2009, Generation of 231Pa, 226Ra, 238U, and 230Th excesses in Arctic mid-ocean ridge basalts from the Kolbeinsey, Mohns, Knipovich, and Gakkel Ridges, Plenary Lecture, 16th International Symposium on Polar Sciences, Incheon Korea.

Elkins, L.J.*, Sims, K.W.W., Prytulak, J., Mattielli, N., Elliott, T., Blichert-Toft, J., Blusztajn, J., Devey, C., Mertz, D., Kelement, P., Murrell, M., Schilling, J.-G., 2009, (234U/238U) and (230Th/238U) disequilibria in fresh and altered Kolbeinsey Ridge basalts, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta Goldschmidt Suppl., A325.

Elkins, L.J., Sims, K.W.W.*, Prytulak, J., Mattielli, N., Elliott, T., Blichert-Toft, J., Devey, C., Fretzdorff, S., Mertz, D., Kelement, P., Murrell, M. Schilling, J.-G., Humphris, S., 2008, Insights into melting processes on slow-spreading ridges north of Iceland from U, Th, Ra, and Pa isotopes, IAVCEI 2008 General Assembly, 1c/1e P05.

Elkins, L.J.*, Sims, K.W.W., Prytulak, J., Mattielli, N., Elliott, T., Kelemen, P., Mertz, D., Devey, C., Blichert-Toft, J., Schilling, J.-G., 2007, Constraints on Melting Beneath the Slow-Spreading Kolbeinsey Ridge from 238U, 230Th, and 231Pa Excesses, EOS Trans. AGU, Fall Meeting Suppl., V21B-0607.

Elkins, L.J.*, Gaetani, G.A., Sims, K.W.W., 2006, Mineral/melt partitioning of U and Th during partial melting of garnet pyroxenite, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta Goldschmidt Suppl., 70, (18) 159.

Elkins, L.J.*, Fischer, T.P., Hilton, D.R., Shaw, A.M., McKnight, S., Strauch, W., Sharp, Z., 2002. Sediment Underplating Beneath Central America: Insights From N-He, d15N Systematics of Volatile Discharges in Nicaragua, EOS Trans. AGU, Fall Meeting Suppl., V21B-1209.

Jenner, G.A.*, S.B. Shirey, D. Hyde, L.J. Elkins, B.A. Kjarsgaard, and J. Kerswill, 2002, Late Archean komatiites and BIFs, Woodburn Lake Group, Churchill Province, Nunavut, Geochim. Cosmichim. Acta 66(15A), A365.


  • Applied for and received GeoPRISMS grant for Bryn Mawr College Department of Geology to support a GeoPRISMS Distinguished Lecturer in 2012.
  • NSF-RUI-OCE collaborative research proposal for study of the geochemistry and morphology of the Jan Mayen region ($140,000 to Elkins)
  • Faculty Research Grant from Bryn Mawr College ($4,500) for a study of chemical alteration processes in mid-ocean ridge basalts.
  • Assisted K. Sims with funding proposal and additional funding requests to NSF for dissertation research on Kolbeinsey Ridge. Responsible for annual reports and final report for this grant.
  • Applied for and received academic travel funds to participate in a research expedition and cruise to the Tjörnes Fracture Zone on the RS Poseidon (C. Devey, chief scientist) in August, 2005.


Participant, EarthCube NSF Workshop for Early Career Scientists, October 2012

Early Career Geoscience Faculty Workshop, National Association of Geoscience Teachers and On the Cutting Edge Program, June 12-16, 2011

Teaching and Learning Initiative Faculty Seminars, Bryn Mawr College, Fall 2010 and Summer 2011

How To Get a Research Program Started at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution (PUI), GeoCUR Workshop, December 15, 2009

Summer of Applied Geophysical Experience, IGPP/LANL, Field course in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2001