University of Wisconsin–Madison

John Valley

John W. Valley

Charles R. Van Hise Professor
Stable Isotope Geochemistry and Metamorphic Petrology
(608) 263-5659
Office: 345 Weeks Hall

John Valley – CV   |   WiscSIMS   |   Stable Isotope Lab  |   Early Earth & Zircon Research   |   Useful Links


My research interests span many fields in Earth Science. One interest concerns the igneous and metamorphic evolution of the crust during orogenesis with emphasis on the role of magmas, fluids, and thermobarometry. Another relates to sediments, diagenesis, and the rock record of past climate and astrobiology. Projects generally stress an integrated approach to field oriented studies, combining isotope geochemistry and mineral chemistry.

Many of these projects have involved use of laboratories for advanced geochemical
analysis in the Department of Geoscience, UW-Madison including:

Recent graduate theses include:
  • Isotope zoning in titanite: Rapid cooling and uplift in the Grenville (Chloe Bonamici PhD 2013).
  • Diagenesis and fluid flow, Illinois basin (Anthony Pollington PhD 2013).
  • Genesis of low d18O rhyolites, Snake River Plain (Tyler Blum MS 2013).
  • Isotope zoning in eclogite facies garnets (Ashley Russell MS 2012).
  • Oxygen isotope study of daily depth migration of nautiloids (Ben Linzmeier MS 2012).
  • Seasonality in Holocene Climate, Speleothems From Soreq Cave Israel (Ian Orland, MS 2008; PhD 2012).
  • Oxygen isotope geochemistry, dinkey dome Pluton, Sierra Nevada (Raiza Quintero, MS 2011).
  • Mineral inclusions in zircon, Hadean to present (Dayi Ortiz, MS 2010).
  • Migmatites in the Adirondacks (Penny Lancaster, MS 2007).
  • Analysis of oxygen isotope ratios in quartz overgrowths in St. Peter Sandstone,migration of basin brines and the genesis of MVT-type Pb-Zn ore deposits (Jacque Kelly, MS 2006).
  • Oxygen isotope geochemistry of the Sierra Nevada batholith: magmatic source,  wall rock contamination, cooling history (JS Lackey, PhD 2005).
  • 4.4-4.0 Ga, Early Archean detrital zircons, Jack Hills, W. Australia, U-Pb
    and O isotopes, oceans on Early Earth (Aaron Cavosie, PhD 2005).
  • Origin of subduction-related silicic magmas, Nicaragua and Costa Rica (Jake
    Eaton, MS 2004).
  • Contact metamorphism of the Biwabik Fe Formation, MN, oxygen isotope speedometry.
    (Beth Valaas MS 2004).
  • Carbon isotope thermometry in granulite facies marbles, Salinian Block,
    CA (Joyashish Thakurta, MS 2003).
  • Source and alteration of granitic magmas, western US (Liz King PhD, 2001).
  • Genesis of polymetamorphosed skarns, Marcy Anorthosite Massif, Adirondack
    Mts, NY (Cory Clechenko, MS 2001).
  • Fluid flow and formation of wollastonite skarns, Mt. Morrison Pendant, CA
    (JS Lackey, MS 2000).
  • Crustal input to anorthosite magmas, Grenville Province, Quebec and NY (William
    Peck, PhD 2000).


I teach a variety of courses including Physical Geology, Principles of Mineralogy, Elementary Petrology, Advanced Metamorphic Petrology, and Seminars in Stable Isotope Geochemistry, Metamorphic Petrology, and Astrobiology.

Professional Responsibilities
  • Gemological Institute of America, Board of Governors 2014-
  • Elements: Senior Editor, 2011-2015
  • Mineralogical Society of America: President 2005-06
  • American Journal of Science: Associate Editor, 1996-
  • Geochemical Society: Program Committee, 1988-91
  • Associate Editor, G.S.A. Bulletin, 1985-91