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Professor Nicholas Tosca

Professor of Mineralogy & Petrology

Nicholas Tosca is accepting applications for PhD students.

Nicholas Tosca is available for consultancy.

Downing Street
Office Phone: +44 (0) 1223 330670

Research Interests

Our research group focuses on understanding the co-evolution of life and environments through Earth’s early history. The periods of time most interesting to us encapsulate intervals of major geological, environmental, and/or biological change on the Earth, including the Neoarchaean/early Palaeoproterozoic, Neoproterozoic, and early Palaeozoic Eras. All of these witnessed transitions in the Earth system thought to have played a key role in shaping life on Earth, yet the connections between environment and biology are not well understood. To tackle these problems, we use laboratory experimentation and theoretical modelling to help us understand how climate and depositional setting influence bottom and porewater chemistry which, in turn, are archived as mineral products that entered ancient sediments.

Ultimately, laboratory studies and modelling must be applied to the sedimentary record, and so the success of our research approach requires that we fully understand the origin of mineralogical, geochemical, and isotopic signals preserved in sedimentary rocks, and how they relate to depositional setting, diagenesis, and metamorphism. A common theme is to link geological, mineralogical, and geochemical studies of sedimentary successions to new information gained from experiments and modelling, providing fresh insight into palaeo-environmental evolution. In many ways, we operate both as an aqueous geochemistry laboratory and as a sedimentology laboratory.

We are also interested in the early evolution of sedimentary environments on Mars, and what they can tell us about whether or not physical and chemical conditions on that planet were ever supportive of microbial life as it is currently understood on Earth.

We are always looking for interested and talented students and researchers to join our group, so please contact me to enquire about available PhD or post-doctoral positions.


Palaeoclimate ; Mineralogy ; Petrology ; Stable isotopes ; Geochemistry

Key Publications