Joe Biasi, PhD Candidate, Caltech

“The best geologists are the ones who’ve seen the most rocks.”


Curriculum Vitae

My CV can be found here.

Google Scholar



My research employs a rare combination of detailed fieldwork, practical paleomagnetism, and igneous/metamorphic petrology. My field areas are primarily in the Pacific Northwest, Antarctica, and the Arctic.

Mafic Terranes of Interior/Arctic Alaska

Mafic bodies are in grey (Angayucham Terrane)

Interior and Arctic Alaska contains voluminous mafic/ultramafic bodies, all of which are understudied. My research focuses on the origin, geochemistry, and tectonic significance of these rocks, which may be key to understanding the assembly of Alaska.

The Columbia River Basalts: Eruption, Alteration, Deformation

View from the top of Steens Mountain, OR

My work on the Columbia River Basalts (CRBs) consists of three separate projects:

  1. Eruption timescales of the CRBs: Here I employ an unorthodox use of paleomagnetic measurements in order to constrain the lifetime of CRB dikes that feed individual flood basalt eruptions. Preliminary results suggest that flows of 500-1000 km3 can be erupted in just a few months.
  2. Alteration of the CRBs: Most CRB flows appear to be deuterically altered, though this has been difficult to identify using the geochemistry of the flows. In this project, I use a unique combination of petrology, geochemistry, and paleomagnetism to show which flows are altered, and which ones are not. Furthermore, this alteration may explain discrepancies between Ar/Ar ages from CRB flows and U-Pb zircon ages from interbedded ashes.
  3. Deformation since emplacement: In this project, I employ a combination of thermochronology and paleomagnetism to constrain the timing of normal and strike-slip faulting in Eastern Oregon. My data suggests that Basin & Range extension reached Oregon by ~10.5 Ma.

S-Type granitoids of the Canadian Shield

A rare komatiite outcrop

This project makes use of a unique exposure in NW Ontario. Here the Ghost Lake Batholith (an S-Type granite) and the sedimentary units that it is derived from are both exposed. Furthermore, there is a clear contact aureole in the metasediments, with migmatites near the batholith contact that then progress to chlorite-grade sediments far from the contact.

This provides a unique opportunity to study the origin of S-Type granites, and to determine how well S-Type granites preserve the sedimentary units that they are derived from. My work is focused on the geochemistry and isotopic characteristics of both the metasediments and granites, as a function of metamorphic grade.

The Geomagnetic Field over Antarctica

James Ross Island, Antarctic Peninsula

The long-term behavior of the geomagnetic field is fairly well-constrained throughout much of the globe, especially in the recent geologic past. This is not the case at high latitudes, where a lack of data has seriously hindered our understanding of the field there. This research focuses on building a large dataset of paleomagnetic measurements from the Antarctic Peninsula in order to constrain the long-term behavior of the geomagnetic field there.

Baffin Island Flood Basalt Volcanism

Padloping Island

The flood basalts of Padloping and Durban Islands, Baffin are famous among noble gas geochemists for their extremely high 3He/4He ratios. However, they are extremely understudied paleomagnetically. In this project, I am gathering paleo-directional data from lava flows as well as paleointensity data from fresh volcanic glass. Preliminary data suggests that the entire 1km section of flood basalt was emplaced in <300 kyr.


Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike

Trail name ‘Icarus’

Georgia to Maine, May-August 2015

2187.5 miles, 108 days, 7 hours

I had no reason to start, no reason to continue, and no reason to finish.

At the start, still youthful
Near the end
Finally Done