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Department of Earth Sciences

 
I am a metamorphic petrologist interested in how the metamorphic rock record can be inverted to inform our understanding of tectonic processes, and how phase equilibria modelling can be applied to solve a variety of igneous and metamorphic problems.

Biography

I read Natural Sciences as an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge, specialising in Earth Sciences, prior to completing a metamorphic petrology-focussed DPhil in the Earth Science department at the University of Oxford in 2014. I conducted a short-term JSPS postdoctoral fellowship at Nagoya University in Japan during the latter half of 2014, analysing high-pressure rocks from the region, followed by two years as a Visiting Fellow at the Geological Survey of Canada in Ottawa, mapping the terra incognita of the Canadian Arctic. I started my current position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge in 2017. In 2022 I started a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship

Research

Work in my research group aims to decipher tectonic processes through time primarily through the analysis of metamorphic rocks, with the overarching goal to produce a coherent view on Earth's chemical and dynamic evolution. Our approach promotes being rooted in field and petrographic observations, and we frequently integrate phase equilibria modelling, thermal modelling, high-temperature geochronology, Raman spectroscopy, and a variety of major and trace element microanalytical techniques. Major themes of our research include analysing how the metamorphic rock record can be used to decode the evolution of plate tectonics and what biases exist in this record (e.g. Weller & St-Onge, 2017), assessing the viability of tectonic processes (e.g. Weller et al., 2019), and exploring the evolution and behaviour of mountain belts (e.g. Whyte et al., 2021; Weller et al., 2021; Copley & Weller, 2022).

I started a more contemporary research theme in 2022 on the petrogenesis of rare-earth element (REE) deposits associated with carbonatite and alkaline igneous rocks, for which I have been awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship. Work is underway in developing new thermodynamic models for silica-undersaturated systems (e.g. nepheline, leucite, kalsilite and alkaline melts) in collaboration with Prof. Tim Holland and Dr Eleanor Green as a first step in this project.

Publications

Key publications: 

Full publication list here.

Copley, A., and Weller, O.M. (2022) The controls on the thermal evolution of continental mountain ranges. Journal of Metamorphic Geology. doi: 10.1111/jmg.12664

Whyte, A., Weller, O.M., Copley, A. and St-Onge, M.R. (2021) Quantifying water diffusivity and metamorphic reaction rates within mountain belts, and their implications for the rheology of cratons. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 22, e2021GC009988, doi: 10.1029/2021GC009988

Weller, O.M., Mottram, C., St-Onge, M.R., Möller, C., Strachan, R., Rivers, T. and Copley, A. (2021) The metamorphic and magmatic record of collisional orogens. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment 2, 781–799, doi: 10.1038/s43017-021-00218-z

Weller, O.M., Jackson, S., Miller, W.G.R., St-Onge, M.R., and Rayner, N. (2020) Quantitative elemental mapping of granulite-facies monazite: textural insights and implications for petrochronology. Journal of Metamorphic Geology 38, 853–880, doi: 10.1111/jmg.12552

Weller, O.M., Copley, A., Miller, W.G.R., Palin, R.M., and Dyck, B. (2019) The relationship between mantle potential temperature and oceanic lithosphere buoyancy.  Earth and Planetary Science Letters 518, 86–99, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2019.05.005

Weller, O.M., and St-Onge, M.R. (2017) Record of modern-style plate tectonics in the Palaeoproterozoic Trans-Hudson orogen. Nature Geoscience 10, 305–311 doi: 10.1038/ngeo2904

Palin, R.M., Reuber, G.S., White, R.W., Kaus, B.J.P., and Weller, O.M. (2017) Subduction metamorphism in the Himalayan ultrahigh-pressure Tso Morari massif: An integrated geodynamic and petrological modelling approach. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 467, 108–119, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2017.03.029

Palin, R.M., Weller, O.M., Waters, D.J., and Dyck, B.J. (2016) Quantifying geological uncertainty in metamorphic phase equilibria modeling; a Monte Carlo assessment and implications for tectonic interpretations. Geoscience Frontiers 7, 591–607, doi: 10.1016/j.gsf.2015.08.005

Weller, O.M., St-Onge, M.R., Rayner, N., Waters, D.J., Searle, M.P., and Palin, R.M. (2016b) U-Pb zircon geochronology and phase equilibria modeling of the Sumdo eclogite, south-east Tibet: insights into metamorphic zircon crystallisation and eclogite exhumation. Lithos 262, 729–741, doi: 10.1016/j.lithos.2016.06.005

Weller, O.M., St-Onge, M.R., Rayner, N., Searle, M.P., and Waters, D.J. (2016a) Miocene magmatism in the Western Nyainqentanglha mountains of southern Tibet: an exhumed bright spot? Lithos 245, 147–160, doi: 10.1016/j.lithos.2015.06.024

Weller, O.M., Wallis, S.R., Aoya, M., and Nagaya, T. (2015b) Phase equilibria modelling of blueschist and eclogite from the Sanbagawa metamorphic belt of south-west Japan reveals along-strike consistency in tectonothermal architecture. Journal of Metamorphic Geology 33, 579–596, doi: 10.1111/jmg.12134

Weller, O.M., St-Onge, M.R., Searle, M.P., Waters, D.J., Rayner, N., Chung, S.L., Palin, R.M., and Chen, S. (2015a) Quantifying the PTt conditions of north-south Lhasa terrane accretion: new insight into the pre-Himalayan architecture of the Tibetan plateau. Journal of Metamorphic Geology 33, 91–113, doi: 10.1111/jmg.12112

Weller, O.M., St-Onge, M.R., Searle, M.P., Rayner, N., Waters, D.J., Chung, S.L., Palin, R.M., Lee, Y.H., and Xu, X.W. (2013) Quantifying Barrovian metamorphism in the Danba Structural Culmination of eastern Tibet. Journal of Metamorphic Geology 31, 909–935, doi: 10.1111/jmg.12050

Weller, O.M. Lange, D., Tilmann, F., Natawidjaja, D., Rietbrock, A., Collings, R., and Gregory, L. (2012) The structure of the Sumatran Fault revealed by local seismicity. Geophysical Research Letters 39, 1–7, doi: 10.1029/2011GL050440

Teaching and Supervisions

Teaching: 

I teach second- and third-year metamorphic petrology, a fourth year options course called 'Earth History' and lead the second-year field trip to Cornwall.

Research supervision: 

Current PhD students:

2018–:     Andrew Whyte

2018–:     Ian Cawood (University of Oxford)

2019–:     Sophie Miocevich

2021–:     Nick Lucas

Current MSci students:

2021–:     Joe Benson

Associate Professor
Fellow and Director of Studies, Sidney Sussex College
UKRI Future Leaders Fellow

Contact Details

Email address: 
Office S203, Department of Earth Sciences, Downing St, Cambridge, CB2 3EQ, UK
Twitter: @owenmweller
+44 (0) 1223 333464
Takes PhD students