Michael Brown, Director
(Full c.v.)
mbrown AT umd.edu
Google Scholar user profile

Sheeted leucogranite complex comprising migmatitic orthogneiss (lighter, gray-colored), migmatitic paragneiss (darker, brown-colored) and leucogranite.


Research in the Laboratory for Crustal Petrology is concerned with the origin and evolution of the Earth's crust, including the pressure-temperature-time-deformation (P-T-t-d) history of crustal rocks and the processes of mass transfer within the crust during orogenesis, crust-mantle interactions and secular change. Currently, we have a particular interest in the tectonics of ultrahigh-temperature metamorphic belts and in the evolution of supercritical fluid/melt/fluid attending ultrahigh pressure metamorphism in subducted continental crust.

Coarse-grained garnet with sapphirine + cordierite symplectite from xenolith of Mg–Al granulite. From Anakapalle quarry, Eastern Ghats Province, India.

UHT migmatitic residual granulite; leucosomes include peritectic garnet rimmed by hypersthene. From road section west of Salur, Eastern Ghats Province, India.

Migmatitic residual granulite; leucosomes include peritectic hypersthene rimmed by garnet. From hill west-northwest of Garbham, Eastern Ghats Province, India.

Patchy (‘arrested’) charnockite in leptynitic gneisses. From Kottavattom quarry, Trivandrum Block, Southern Granulite Terrane, India.

In the Laboratory for Crustal Petrology, our interests span the fields of mineralogy and petrology, microstructures, structural geology and tectonics, and geochemistry. Our work involves integration between field studies and laboratory studies [CHEM 2229A, the Geochemistry Laboratories and the Electron Probe Microanalyzer Facility within the Nanoscale Imaging, Spectroscopy, and Properties Lab (http://www.nanocenter.umd.edu/labs/nisplab.php)], and theoretical analysis and modeling (e.g. phase equilibria modeling and petrological–thermomechanical numerical modeling).

Areas of active fieldwork include: the Sulu UHP belt in China; the Eastern Ghats Province, part of the Eastern Ghats Belt in India; and, the Lewisian Complex of Scotland.

Animation of a 2D petrological–thermomechanical tectono-magmatic numerical experiment

Animation of a 2D petrological–thermomechanical tectono-magmatic numerical experiment for conditions appropriate to a hotter early Archean lithosphere to demonstrate a variety of tectono-magmatic settings in which felsic melts can be generated from hydrated primitive basaltic crust.

For more information see the article: Sizova, E., Gerya, T., Stüwe, K. and Brown, M., 2015. Generation of felsic crust in the Archean: a geodynamic modeling perspective. Precambrian Research, 271, 198-224.

Animated CT Images of Migmatite Samples

The animated gif to the left of gray scale inverted images of 112 HR X-ray CT scans of the migmatitic garnet amphibolite. First and last slices are outlined in white. Animation cycles from first to last slice (Movie 10 Mb; GIF).

Animation of projection of false-color three-dimensional image of stromatic migmatite, derived from the stack of two-dimensional representations of the HR X-ray CT scans, created using VoxBlast® . A scale bar is not presented because these are projections of a three-dimensional image (Fig. 4(b) contains the scale for the first image in the stack). The leucosome is rendered transparent in this image. The color of the solid part of the image is brighter for material with higher mineral density, with garnet appearing yellow (Download Movie: 3MB MP4).

More information on these migmate images is available in the article: Brown, M.A., Brown, M., Carlson, W.D. and Denison, C., 1999. Topology of syntectonic melt flow networks in the deep crust: inferences from three-dimensional images of leucosome geometry in migmatites. American Mineralogist, 84, 1793-1818.

Major Awards to Michael Brown

The Major John Sacheverell A'Deane Coke Medal of The Geological Society of London for 2005

The Major John Sacheverell A'Deane Coke Medal is made to scientists for their contributions to Geology as is the case with the Lyell and Murchison Medals, but in addition recognition may be given to significant service to Geology, for example through administrative, organisational or promotional activities resulting in benefits to the community.

The Major John Sacheverell A'Deane Coke Medal of The Geological Society of London
The Collins Medal of The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland for 2014

The Collins Medal is awarded annually to a scientist who, during a long and active career, has made an outstanding contribution to pure or applied aspects of Mineral Sciences and associated studies. Publications, teaching, outreach and other activities leading to the promotion of mineral sciences, in the broadest sense, will be taken into account in making the award.

The Collins Medal of The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland

Recent Presentations

When Did Plate Tectonics Begin? (40MB Powerpoint)

Crust–mantle interactions in hot orogens characterised by counterclockwise P–T–t paths and slow cooling (44MB Powerpoint)

Archean crust: a modeling perspective (79MB Powerpoint)


Piccoli, Philip M. ( piccoli AT umd.edu piccoli AT umd.edu) (Nanoscale Imaging, Spectroscopy, and Properties Lab (NISPLab), Electron Probe Microanalyzer Facility; Laboratory for Mineral Deposits Research)


Co-Advisor: Brown, Michael

Songjie Wang
Ph.D. Project: "The generation, migration and crystallization of melts/fluids in deeply subducted continental crust of the Sulu belt, China" (co-advised with Dr Lu Wang, CUG Wuhan, China)


Johnson, Tim (Department of Applied Geology, Western Australian School of Mines, Curtin University, Western Australia)

Xia, Bin (School of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China)


Advisor: Brown, Michael

Chen, Y., The P–T–t history of a Barrovian sequence in Dutchess County, New York, and the adjacent part of Connecticut.
Awarded M.S. 2009 (Joint with Dr. P.M. Piccoli)

Reno, B., Timing of orogenesis in the Southern Brasília Belt.
Awarded Ph.D. 2009 (Joint with Dr. P.M. Piccoli)

Brown, C., Petrogenesis of peraluminous granites from the Fosdick Mountains, Marie Byrd Land, West Antarctica.
Awarded M.S. 2013

Yakymchuk, C., Anatexis and crustal differentiation: Insights from the Fosdick migmatite–granite complex, West Antarctica.
Awarded Ph.D. 2014 (Joint with Dr. P.M. Piccoli)


Reno, B.L., Piccoli, P.M., Brown, M. and Trouw, R., 2012. In situ chemical dating of monazite from the Southern Brazília Belt, Brazil. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 30, 81-112.

Korhonen, F.J., Brown, M., Grove, M., Siddoway, C.S., Baxter, E.F., and Inglis, J.D., 2012. Placing constraints on the timing of melting and melt loss events during polymetamorphism in the Fosdick migmatite–granite complex, West Antarctica. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 30, 165-192.

Brown, M., 2012. Introduction to a virtual special issue on crustal melting. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 30, 453–456.

Johnson, T., Fischer, S., White, R., Brown, M. and Rollinson, H., 2012. Intracrustal Differentiation from Partial Melting of Metagabbro – Field and Geochemical Evidence from the Central Region of the Neoarchaean Lewisian Complex, NW Scotland. Journal of Petrology, 53, 2115–2138.

Sizova E., Gerya T., and Brown M., 2012. Exhumation mechanisms of melt-bearing ultrahigh pressure crustal rocks during collision of spontaneously moving plates. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 30, 927–955.

Saito, S., Brown, M., Korhonen, F.J., McFadden, R.R., and Siddoway, C.S., 2013. Petrogenesis of Cretaceous mafic intrusive rocks, Fosdick Mountains, West Antarctica: Melting of the sub-continental arc mantle along the Gondwana margin. Gondwana Research, 23, 1567-1580.

Sharman, E.R., Penniston-Dorland, S.C., Kinnaird, J.A., Nex, P.A.M., Brown, M., and Wing, B.A., 2013. Primary origin of marginal Ni-Cu-(PGE) mineralization in layered intrusions: Δ33S evidence from the Platreef, Bushveld, South Africa. Economic Geology, 108, 365-377.

Korhonen, F., Clark, C., Brown, M., Bhattacharya, S. and Taylor, R., 2013. Long-lived ultrahigh temperature (UHT) metamorphism in the Eastern Ghats orogenic belt, India: Constraints from zircon and monazite geochronology. Precambrian Research, 234, 322-350.

Brown, M., 2013. Granite: from genesis to emplacement. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 125; 1079-1113.

Yakymchuk, C., Brown, M., Ivanic, T.J. and  Korhonen, F.J., 2013. Leucosome distribution in migmatitic paragneisses and orthogneisses: A record of self-organized melt migration and entrapment in a heterogeneous partially-molten crust. Tectonophysics, 603, 136-154.

Korhonen, F.J., Brown, M., Clark, C., Bhattacharya, S., 2013. Osumilite-bearing equilibria and implications for the evolution of the Eastern Ghats Province, India. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 31, 881-907.

Sizova E., Gerya T., and Brown M., 2014. Contrasting styles of Phanerozoic and Precambrian continental collision. Gondwana Research, 25, 522-545.

Yakymchuk, C. and Brown, M., 2014. The behavior of zircon and monazite during open system melting. Journal of the Geological Society, London, 171, 465-479.

Brown, M., 2014. The contribution of metamorphic petrology to understanding lithosphere evolution and geodynamics. Geoscience Frontiers, 5, 553-569.

Korhonen, F.J., Clark, C., Brown, M. and Taylor, R., 2014. Taking the temperature of Earth's hottest crust. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 408, 341-354.

Yakymchuk, C., Brown, M., Clark, C., Korhonen, F.J., Piccoli, P.M., Siddoway, C.S., Taylor, R.J.M. and Vervoort, J.D., 2015. Decoding polyphase migmatites using geochronology and phase equilibria modelling. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 33, 203-230.

Yakymchuk, C., Brown, C., Brown, M., Siddoway, C.S., Fanning, C.M. and Korhonen, F.J., 2015. Paleozoic evolution of western Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 127, 1464-1484.

Korhonen, F., Brown, M., Clark, C., Foden, J.D. and Taylor, R., 2015. Are granites and granulites consanguineous? Geology, 43, 991-994.

Brown, M., 2015. Paleo- to Mesoarchean polymetamorphism in the Barberton Granite–Greenstone Belt, South Africa: Constraints from U–Pb monazite and Lu–Hf garnet geochronology on the tectonic processes that shaped the belt: Discussion. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 127, 1550-1557.

Sizova, E., Gerya, T., Stüwe, K. and Brown, M., 2015. Generation of felsic crust in the Archean: a geodynamic modeling perspective. Precambrian Research, 271, 198-224.