Nicholas Swanson-Hysell

Nicholas Swanson-Hysell

Assistant Professor
Dept of Earth and Planetary Science
Research Expertise and Interest
geology, stratigraphy, paleomagnetism, paleogeography
Research Description

I am a geoscientist whose research integrates original field observations with laboratory data sets in order to further understanding of global change through time. My research group develops data from sequences of volcanic and sedimentary rocks where information can be extracted about the positioning of the continents, the evolution of the magnetic field, shifting dynamics of the carbon cycle and large changes in climate.

In the News

April 11, 2019

Ice Ages triggered when tropical islands and continents collide

University of California scientists think they know why Earth’s generally warm and balmy climate over the past billion years has occasionally been interrupted by cold snaps that enshroud the poles with ice and occasionally turn the planet into a snowball. The key trigger, they say, is mountain formation in the tropics as continental land masses collide with volcanic island arcs, such as the Aleutian Islands chain in Alaska.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the campus.
April 17, 2019
Sheobi Ramos
The leading cause of the six ice ages that have occurred over the past billion years has been the collision of continental land masses with volcanic island arcs in the tropics, reports a team of scientists co-led by assistant earth and planetary science professor Nicholas Swanson-Hysell. The collisions are inevitable with the constant movement of Earth's tectonic plates, they say, and the global cooling effect comes from newly formed mountains with rocks called ophiolites, which remove carbon from the atmosphere. "Earth has a long-running carbon sequestration program," Professor Swanson-Hysell says. "We know that these processes keep Earth's climate in balance, but determining what causes shifts between non-glacial and glacial climates on million-year timescales is a long-standing puzzle." For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News. Stories on this topic appeared in more than a dozen sources, including FARS News Agency (Iran), News Live TV, and Before It's News.