Resume & Research

Lawrence M. Cathles III 

After completing doctoral research on the viscosity of the earth’s mantle at Princeton, Cathles spent seven years at Kennecott Copper Corporation’s Ledgemont Laboratory investigating the genesis of porphyry copper deposits and industrial leaching. In 1978 he joined the faculty of The Pennsylvania State University to research the dewatering of basins and the formation of massive sulfide deposits at mid-ocean ridges and in failed rifts in Japan.  Joining the Chevron Oil Field Research Laboratory in 1982 he developed genetic and exploration models for gold and sulfide deposits, and investigated the CO2 generation that often attends steam injection for enhanced oil recovery.  At Cornell University since 1987 he investigated oil and gas generation and migration in the Gulf of Mexico Basin, co-directed an industrial associates program, developed models that simulate the chemical alteration caused by the movements of water in the subsurface, developed models of CO2 migration and filling of reservoirs in the South China Sea, developed vein halo models that suggest very fast and nearly explosive formation of porphyry copper systems, investigated pressure seals, and investigated the use of inert nanoparticles to define the pathways of actual flow in the subsurface.  He was the 24th Hugh Exton McKinstry Memorial Lecturer (1989) at Harvard, the 2008 Adrian Smith Lecturer at the University of Waterloo, the 2011 Distinguished Lecturer for the Society of Economic Geologists, a Plenary speaker at the 2012 Goldschmidt Conference in Montreal, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  He has published over 140 peer-reviewed publications and a book: “The Viscosity of the Earth’s Mantle”.  He is a past director of the Cornell Institute for the Study of the Continents.


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Current research and future research plans

Presently I am seeking to fully understand the differences between the Correspondence Principle and the separated viscous-elastic methods of Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) calculation.  I plan to update the global analysis of GIA presented in Cathles (1975).  I will then likely apply simple fluid-rock interaction calculations to simulate the formation of diverse mineral resources.