Abigail Barker

Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor at Department of Earth Sciences; Mineralogy Petrology and Tectonics

+46 18 471 25 52
Visiting address:
Geocentrum, Villavägen 16
752 36 Uppsala
Postal address:
Villavägen 16
752 36 UPPSALA


2012 Docent, Uppsala University
2006 Ph.D. Danish Lithosphere Centre & University of Copenhagen.
2002 M.Sc. Geological Sciences, University of Durham, UK.
Research Interests:
Geochemistry, Igneous and metamorphic petrology,
Ocean Island Basalts, Continental Flood Basalts, Hydrothermal alteration of ocean crust
Application of petrology and geochemistry to studies of:
Cape Verde hotspot
- Temporal variations in mantle source heterogeneity
- Phenocryst scale heterogeneity
- Magma plumbing system
East Greenland Plateau Basalts
- Spatial and temporal extents of mantle heterogeneities in relation to Iceland
- Assimilation of continental crust
Fast spreading East Pacific Rise (EPR) ocean crust at Pito Deep
- Pervasive high temperature hydrothermal fluid flow
- Fault controlled hydrothermal fluid flow
- Sulphur cycle in the ocean crust


Igneous Geochemistry

I investigate research questions associated with mantle source heterogeneity, magmatic processes and magmatic-hydrothermal processes. Additionally, my research covers a wide variety of volcano-magmatic settings including Ocean Islands, volcanic arcs, Large Igneous Provinces, metabasalt associated with continental rifting and hydrothermal alteration of ocean crust. To investigate the processes and conditions of magma storage we analyse minerals from volcanic eruptions. We focus on volcanism at Ocean Islands such as Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, as well as volcanic arcs associated with subduction zones e.g. Izu-Bonin arc in the Pacific Ocean. Investigating magma storage helps to optimise seismic monitoring of volcanoes and to inform input parameters for models of volcano deformation, in this way igneous petrology contributes to the field of volcanic hazards. Through my research on magmatic systems I contribute to the activities of the Swedish Centre for Natural Hazards and Disaster Sciences (CNDS; www.cnds.se).

Environmental Geochemistry

My research group investigates the impacts of climate change on radiocesium (137Cs) anomalies from nuclear power plant accidents like Chernobyl 1986 and Fukushima 2011. To assess what has happened to the 137Cs anomalies, we are investigating time series data. Temporal variations in 137Cs are interpreted in terms of processes such as deposition and burial, radioactive decay, and (re)exposure by bioturbation, erosion, as well as reworking by construction and agriculture based on the local landscape and land-use. Additionally, radiocesium data series are compared with temperature and rainfall data to trace the impacts of climate related variations with weather. Likely causes and influences will be explored such as the effects of temperature and forest fires to expose radiocesium anomalies and the links between rainfall and erosion for transporting radiocesium. This work is supported by funding from SSM (Strålsakerhetsmyndighet; Swedish Radiation Protection Authorities).

Geoscience Education Research

My research focuses on learning behaviours as well as conceptual and cognitive aspects of learning. One project looks at how and when students use handouts and other resources provided during courses and how that aligns with teacher’s intentions. Another project investigates teamwork skills, using real-time feedback and self-reflection in Problem Based Learning (PBL). This shows that it is possible to foster changes in behaviour that improve teamwork. Additionally, qualitative research examines school children’s participation in citizen science projects. We observe themes connected to the affective domain, such as how people see themselves, individual preferences, comfort zones, stressors etc. We interpret that these secondary school pupils are figuring out their identities and experiencing variable degrees of novelty space. Interest in the learning process, especially associated with concepts in geology, has led to an ongoing project investigating students learning of stratigraphy.

Together with colleagues across the Nordic region, we have setup a Nordic network for Geoscience Education Research; contact me if you are interested to join.


Selection of publications

Recent publications

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Abigail Barker