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Robert Harris

Robert Harris photo
Professor

Discipline: Geology and Geophysics
Office: Weniger 517
Phone: 541-737-4370
Fax: 541-737-2064
Email: rharris@coas.oregonstate.edu

Research Interests

I am interested in using thermal processes to understand the Earth. All geologic processes involve the transfer of energy. Heat (energy) and temperature are fundamental to many earth processes, and quantifying the flow of energy and thermal budgets leads to an appreciation and understanding of Earth dynamics. These interests have led me along three paths.

  1. Marine Heat and Fluid Flow. See page on U.S. marine heat flow capability. I am trying to understand the curious observation that while midplate hotspot swells exhibit characteristics suggesting a thermal origin including, broad anomalous topography, underplated magmatic material, and young volcanism, at some hotspots, notably Hawaii, excess heat flow has not been observed. At the Hawaiian midplate swell heat flow values across the swell are resolvably lower than values off swell. We hypothesize that fluid flow within the archipelagic apron and upper oceanic crust might be responsible for the lower than expected heat flow values. I am currently seeking to understand the role of seamounts in channeling flow and advecting heat [Hutnak et al., 2008; Harris and McNutt, 2007; Harris and Chapman, 2004; Harris et al., 2004; Fisher et al., 2003]. See also The future of marine heat flow: defining scientific goals and experimental needs for the 21st century, Workshop Report, Fort Douglas, Salt Lake City, Sept. 6-7, 2007.
  2. Climate change inferred from borehole temperature-depth profiles. Changes in temperature at the surface propagate slowly downward into the Earth, perturbing the background temperature field. Due to the low thermal diffusivity of rock, temperature perturbations in the uppermost 300 m of the Earth record surface temperature conditions over the last 500 yrs. These subsurface temperature perturbations therefore can be used to reconstruct past ground surface temperature changes not only for this century, but also for the time immediately preceding installation of meteorologic stations, a period of time that is critical to climate change studies. Analyses of borehole temperature logs therefore both complement and extend the meteorological archive of climate data and can usefully be combined with proxy data [Harris and Chapman, 2005].
  3. Temperature and rheology. The thermal state of the lithosphere plays a large role in influencing geodynamics. Boreholes being drilled for strain meter emplacement as part of the NSF funded EarthScope Initiative provide excellent opportunities for new continental heat flow measurements. These measurements, combined with modern geodetic measurements, promise to improve our understanding of continental deformation [Harris et al., 2004; see also Thermal Processes in the Context of EarthScope Workshop Report].

Education

Ph.D. Geophysics, 1996, University of Utah
M.Sc. Geophysics, 1992, University of Utah
B.Sc. Geology, 1984, University of California at Davis

Publications

Hautala, S. L., E. A. Solomon, H. P. Johnson, R. N. Harris, and U. K. Miller (2014), Dissociation of Cascadia margin gas hydrates in response to contemporary ocean warming, Geophys. Res. Lett., 10.1002/2014GL061606.

Harris, R. N., J. A. Conder, A. Heuret (2014), The thermal structure of the subduction thrust within accretionary and erosive margins, Tectonophys. 633, 221-231, doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2014.07.009.

Lin W, Fulton PM, Harris RN, Tadai O, Matsubayashi O, Tanikawa W and Kinoshita M (2014), Thermal conductivities, thermal diffusivities, and volumetric heat capacities of core samples obtained from the Japan Trench Fast Drilling Project (JFAST), Earth, Planets and Space 2014, 66-48.

Johnson, H.P., E.A. Solomon, R.N. Harris, M.S. Salmi and R.D. Berg (2014) A Geophysical and Hydrogeochemical Survey of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, GeoPRISMS Newsletter, Issue No. 32, Spring 2014. Retrieved from http://geoprisms.org

Fulton, P. M., E. E. Brodsky, Y. Kano, J. Mori, F. Chester, T. Ishikawa, R. N. Harris, W. Lin, N. Eguchi, S. Toczko, Expedition 343, 343T, and KR13-08 Scientists (2013), Low coseismic friction on the Tohoku-Oki Fault determined from temperature measurements, Science, 342, doi: 10.1126/science.1243641.

Johnson, H. P., E. A. Solomon, R. N. Harris, M. S. Salmi, and R. D. Berg (2013), Heat flow and fluid flux in Cascadia's seismogenic zone, EOS, 94, 457-458.

Harris, R., M. Yamano, M. Kinoshita, G. Spinelli, H. Hamamoto, and J. Ashi (2013), A synthesis of heat flow determinations and thermal modeling along the Nankai Trough, Japan, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 118, doi:10.1002/jgrb.50230.

Dunlea, A. G., R. W. Murray, R. N. Harris, M. A. Vasiliev, H. Evans, A. J. Spivack, and S. D'Hondt (2013), Assessment and Use of NGR Instrumentation on the JOIDES Resolution to Quantify U, Th, and K Concentrations in Marine Sediment, Sci. Drilling,15, 57-63, doi:10.2204/iodp.sd.15.05.2013.

Expedition 344 Scientists (2013), Costa Rica Seismogenesis Project, Program A Stage 2 (CRISP-A2): sampling and quantifying lithologic inputs and fluid inputs and outputs of the seismogenic zone. IODP Prel. Rept., 344. doi:10.2204/iodp.pr.344.2013

Hurwitz, S., R. N. Harris, C. A. Werner, and F. Murphy (2012), Heat flow in vapor dominated areas of the Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field: implications for the thermal budget of the Yellowstone Caldera, J. Geophys. Res., 117, B10207, doi:10.1029/2012JB009463.

Heilweil, V. M., R. W. Healy, and R. N. Harris, 2012, Noble gases and coupled heat/fluid flow modeling for evaluating hydrogeologic conditions of volcanic island aquifers, J. Hydrology, 1-19, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2012.07.019.

Fulton P. M., and R. N. Harris, 2012, Thermal considerations in inferring frictional heating from vitrinite reflectance and implications for shallow coseismic slip within the Nankai Subduction Zone, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 335-336, 206–215, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2012.04.012.

Harris, R., A. Sakaguchi, and K. Petronotis, 2012, Costa Rica Seismogenesis Project, Program A Stage 2 (CRISP-A2): sampling and quantifying lithologic inputs and fluid inputs and outputs of the seismogenic zone. IODP Sci. Prosp., 344. doi:10.2204/iodp.sp.344.2012

Spinelli, G. A., and R. N. Harris, 2011, Effects of the legacy of axial cooling on partitioning of hydrothermal heat extraction from oceanic lithosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 116, B09102, doi:10.1029/2011JB008248.

Spinelli, G.A., and R.N. Harris, 2011.  Thermal effects of hydrothermal circulation and seamount subduction: Temperatures in the Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment transect, Japan, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 12, Q0AD21, doi:10.1029/2011GC003727.

Harris, R. N., F. Schmidt-Schierhorn, and G. Spinelli, 2011, Heat flow along the NanTroSEIZE transect: Results from IODP Expeditions 315 and 316 offshore the Kii Peninsula, Japan, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 12, Q0AD16, doi:10.1029/2011GC003593.

Davis, M.G., D.S. Chapman, R.N. Harris, 2011, Geothermal record of climate change, in H. K. Gupta (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Solid Earth Geophysics, Springer Science, doi:10.1007/978-90-481-8702-7.

Harris, R. N., I. Grevemeyer, C. R. Ranero, H. Villinger, U. Barckhausen, T. Henke, C. Muller, S. Neben, 2010, The thermal regime of the Costa Rican convergent margin 1: Along strike variations in heat flow from probe measurements and estimated from bottom simulating reflectors, Geochem. Geophys. Geosys., Q12S28, doi:10.1029/2010GC003272.

Harris, R. N., G. Spinelli, C. R. Ranero, I. Grevemeyer, H. Villinger, U. Barckhausen, 2010, The thermal regime of the Costa Rican convergent margin 2: Thermal models of the shallow Middle America Subduction Zone offshore Costa Rica, Geochem. Geophys. Geosys., Q12S29, doi:10.1029/2010GC003273.

Fulton, P.M., G. Schmalzle, R.N. Harris, and T. Dixon, 2010, Reconciling patterns of interseismic strain accumulation with thermal observations across the Carrizo segment of the San Andreas Fault, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 300, 402-406, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2010.10.024.

Fulton, P.M., R.N. Harris, D. M. Saffer and E. E. Brodsky, 2010, Does hydrological circulation mask frictional heat on faults after large earthquakes?, J. Geophys. Res. 115, B09402, doi:10.1029/2009JB007103.

Davis, M. G., R.N. Harris, D. S. Chapman, 2010, Repeat temperature measurements in boreholes from northwestern Utah link ground and air temperature changes at the decadal time scale, J. Geophys. Res., 115, B05203, doi:10.1029/2009JB006875

Fisher, A. T., R.N. Harris, 2010, Using seafloor heat flow as a tracer to map subseafloor fluid flow in the ocean crust, Geofluids, 10, 142-160, doi: 10.1111/j.1468-8123.2009.00274.x.

Chapman, D.S., R.N. Harris, and M. Bartlett, 2009, Surface warming inferred from borehole temperatures: results from Utah and comparisons with Northern Hemisphere, in Climate Warming in Western North America: Evidence and Environmental Effects, F. Wagner (ed.), pp. 19-34, Univ. of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, UT.

Screaton, E., G. Kimura, D. Curewitz, G. Moore, F. Chester, O. Fabbri, C. Fegusson, F. Girault, D. Goldsby, R. Harris, et al., 2009, Interactions between deformation and fluids in the frontal thrust region of the NanTroSEIZE transect offshore the Kii Peninsula, Japan: Results from IODP Expedition 316 Sites C0006 and C0007, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 10, Q0AD01, doi:10.1029/2009GC002713.

Hutnak, M., A. T. Fisher, R. Harris, C. Stein, K. Wang, G. Spinelli, M. Schindler, H. Villinger, and E. Silver, (2008), Surprisingly large heat and fluid fluxes driven through mid-plate outcrops on ocean crust, Nature Geoscience, 1, 611-614, doi:10.1038/ngeo264.

Selker, J.S. J. Gabrielli, C. Gregory, C. Saydec, N. Tufillaro, R. Haggerty, A. Kennedy, R. Harris, E. Hester, S. Tyler, M. Hausner, F. Day-Lewis, J. Lane, R. Henderson, R. Tanner, S. Senften, C. Soto, A. Sawyer, A. Marzadri, P. Gerla, B. Gungle, 2008, Taking the temperature of ecological systems with fiber optics, Eos Trans. AGU, 89(20).

Harris, R. N., A. Fisher, F. Martinez, C. Ruppel, 2008, The future of marine heat flow: defining scientific goals and experimental needs for the 21st century, Workshop Report, Fort Douglas, Salt Lake City, Sept. 6-7, 2007.

Harris, R. N., A. Fisher, C. Ruppel, F. Martinez, 2008, Modern perspectives on measuring and interpreting seafloor heat flux, EOS, 89, 24-25.

Harris, R. N., and S. M. Higgins, 2008, A permeability estimate in 56 Ma crust at ODP Hole 642E, Vøring Plateau Norwegian Sea, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 267, 378-385.

Harris, R. N., 2007, Variations in air and ground temperature and the POM-SAT model: results from the Northern Hemisphere, Climate of the Past, 611-621.

Harris, R. N., and D. S. Chapman, 2007, Stop-go temperature logging for precision applications, Geophysics, 72, 119-123.

Harris, R. N., and M. K. McNutt, 2007, Heat flow on hot spot swells: Evidence for fluid flow, J. Geophys. Res., 112, B03407, doi:10.1029/2006JB004299.

Hutnak, M., A. T. Fisher, C.A. Stein, R. Harris, K. Wang, E. Silver, G. Spinelli, M. Pfender, H. Villinger, R. MacKnight, P. Costa Pisani, H. DeShon, and C. Diamente, 2007, The thermal state of 18-24 Ma upper lithosphere subducting below the Nicoya Peninsula, northern Costa Rica margin, in The Seismogenic Zone of Subduction Thrust Faults, edited by T. Dixon, C. Moore, Columbia University Press, New York, 2007, 42-85.

Stein, R., T. Kanamatsu, C. Alvarez-Zarikian, S.M. Higgins, J.E.T. Channell, E. Aboudeshish, M. Ohno, G.D. Acton, K. Akimoto, I. Bailey, K.R. Bjørklund, H. Evans, S.H.H. Nielsen, N. Fang, P. Ferretti, J. Gruetzner, Y.J.B. Guyodo, K. Hagino, R. Harris K. Hatakeda, J. Hefter, S.A. Judge, D.K. Kulhanek, F. Nanayama, H. Rashid, F.J. Sierro Sanchez, A. Voelker, and Q. Zhai, 2006, North Atlantic Paleoceanography: The Last Five Million Years, EOS, 87, 91-93.

R. Harris, and IODP Exp. 306 Scientists, 2006, Borehole Observatory Installations on IODP Expedition 306 Reconstruct Bottom-Water Temperature Changes in the Norwegian Sea, Scientific Drilling, 2, 28-31.

Bartlett, M. G., D. S. Chapman, and R. N. Harris, 2006, A decade of ground-air temperature tracking at Emigrant Pass Observatory, Utah, J. Climate, 19, 3722-3731.

Harris, R. N., and D. S. Chapman, 2005, Borehole temperatures and tree-rings: Seasonality and estimates of extratropical Northern Hemispheric warming, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2005JF000303.

Beltrami, H., G. Ferguson,and R. N. Harris, 2005, Long-term tracking of climate change by underground temperatures, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, doi:10.1029/2005GL023714.

Bartlett M. G., D. S. Chapman, and R. N. Harris, 2005, Snow effect on North American ground temperatures, 1950–2002, J. Geophys. Res. 110, doi:10.1029/2005JF000293.

Harris, R. N., and D. S. Chapman, 2005, Borehole Temperatures and Climate Change: A Global Perspective, J. Ehleringer and T. Cerling (eds.), A History of CO2 and its effects on plants, animals, and ecosystems, Springer-Verlag, 487-508.

Harris, R. N., and D. S. Chapman, 2004, Deep-seated oceanic heat flow, heat deficits, and hydrothermal circulation, E.E. Davis, H. Elderfield (eds). in Hydrogeology of the Oceanic Lithosphere, Cambridge Univ. Press, 311-336.

Bartlett M. G., D. S. Chapman, and R. N. Harris, 2004, Snow and the ground temperature record of climate change, J. Geophys. Res., 109, doi:10.1029/2004JF000224.

Harris R. N., A. T. Fisher, and D. S. Chapman, 2004, Fluid flow through seamounts and implications for global mass fluxes, Geology, 725-728. doi:110.1130/G20387.1.

Harris, R. N., D. S. Chapman, K. P. Furlong, and D. M. Saffer, 2004, Thermal processes in the context of EarthScope, EOS, 85, 292.

Fulton, P. M., D. M. Saffer, R. N. Harris, and B. A. Bekins, 2004, Re-evaluation of heat flow data near Parkfield, CA: Evidence for a weak San Andreas Fault, Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L15S15, doi:10.1029/2003GL019378.

Chapman, D. S., M. G. Bartlett and R. N. Harris, 2004, Comment on "Ground vs. surface air temperature trends: Implications for borehole surface temperature reconstructions" by Mann and Schmidt, Geophys. Res. Lett., 10.1029/2003GL019054.

Fisher, A. T., C. A. Stein, R. N. Harris, K. Wang, E. A. Silver, M. Pfender, M. Hutnak, A. Cherkaoui, R. Bodzin, and H. Villinger, 2003, Abrupt thermal transition reveals hydrothermal boundary and role of seamounts within the Cocos Plate, Geophys. Res. Lett., 30, doi:10.1029/2002GL016766.

Von Huene, R., G. Alvarado, K. Brown, R. Harris, et al., 2003, Discussion of ODP Leg 205 and Drilling the Middle America Seismic Zone, Eos, 84, p. 91-92.

Harris, R. N., and K. Wang, 2002, Thermal models of the middle America trench at the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica, Geophys. Res. Lett., 10.1029/2002GL015406.

Fisher, A. T., H. Villinger, M. Pfender, M. Müller, I. Grevemeyer, N. Kaul, R. N. Harris, R. P. Von Herzen, 2002, Comment on “Deep-penetration heat flow probes raise questions about interpretations from shorter probes”, EOS, 83 (18), pp.196-197, 199, 30 Apr 2002

Harris, R. N., and D. S. Chapman, 2002, Response to Comments by T.J. Osborn and K.R. Briffa on "Mid-Latitude (30°-60° N) climatic warming inferred by combining borehole temperatures with surface air temperatures", Geophys. Res. Lett., 10.1029/2001GL013769.

Roy, S., R. N. Harris, R. U. M. Rao, and D. S. Chapman, 2002, Climate change in India inferred from geothermal observations, J. Geophys. Res., 107,10,1029-10,1043

Beltrami, H., and R. N. Harris, (eds.) 2001, Inference of climate change from geothermal data, Global and Planet. Change, 29, 149-348.

Golovanova, I. V., R. N. Harris, G. V. Selezniova, and P. Stulc, 2001, Evidence of climatic Warming in the southern Urals region derived from borehole temperatures and meteorological data, accepted, Global and Planet. Change, 29, 167-188.

Becker, K., M. Malone and Shipboard Scientific Party, 2001, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, scientific results, CORK Hole 395A; covering Leg 174B of the cruises of the drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution; New York, New York, to Las Palmas, Canary Islands; sites 395 and 1074, 19 July-9 August 1997, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, vol.174B.

Harris, R. N., and D. S. Chapman, 2001, Mid-Latitude (30° - 60° N) climatic warming inferred by combining borehole temperatures with surface air temperatures, Geophys. Res. Lett., 28, 747-750.

Harris, R.N., and D.S. Chapman, 2001, Climatic extremes, Energy Magazine, v. 27, no. 2, 15-17.

Harris, R. N., R. P. Von Herzen, M. K. McNutt, G. Garven, and K. Jordahl, 2000, Submarine hydrogeology of the Hawaiian archipelagic apron, Part 1, Heat flow patterns north of Oahu and Maro Reef, J. Geophys. Res., 105, 21,353-21,369.

Harris, R. N., G. Garven, J. Georgen, M. K. McNutt, and R. P. Von Herzen, 2000, Submarine hydrogeology of the Hawaiian archipelagic apron, Part 2, Numerical simulations of coupled heat transport and fluid flow, J. Geophys. Res., 105, 21,371-21,385.

Harris, R. N., and W. D. Gosnold, 1999, Comparisons of borehole temperature-depth profiles and surface air temperatures in the northern plains of the U.S., Geophys. J. Int., 138, 541-548.

Majorowicz, J. A., J. Safanda, R. N. Harris, and W. Skinner, 1999, Large ground surface temperature changes of the last three centuries inferred from borehole temperatures in the Southern Canadian Prairies, Saskatchewan, Global and Planet. Change, 20, 227-241.

Harris, R. N., 1998, Documenting temperature variations in oceanic bottom water with CORKs, in K. Becker, and E. E. Davis, eds., Advanced CORKS for the 21st century, Report of a workshop sponsored by JOI/USSP, 15-16 December, 1997, p. 48-50 (extended abstract).

Harris, R. N., and D.S. Chapman, 1998, Geothermics and climate change: Part 1, Analysis of borehole temperatures with emphasis on resolving power, J. Geophys. Res, 103, 7363-7370.

Harris, R. N., and D.S. Chapman, 1998, Geothermics and climate change: Part 2, Joint analysis of borehole temperatures and meteorological data, J. Geophys. Res., 103, 7371-7383.

Harris, R. N., and D.S. Chapman, 1997, Borehole temperatures provide baseline for 20th Century global warming estimates, Science, 275, 1618-1621.

Harris, R. N., 1996, Climate change inferred from comparisons of borehole temperature data and meteorological data in Utah, Doctoral thesis, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, 136 p.

Harris, R. N., and Chapman, D. S., 1995, Inferring surface ground temperature histories from borehole temperature measurements in the Colorado Plateau of Eastern Utah, J. Geophys. Res, 100, 6367-6381.

Harris, R. N., and Chapman, D. S., 1994, A comparison of mechanical thickness estimates from trough and seamount loading in the southeastern Gulf of Alaska, J. Geophys. Res, 99, 9297-9317.

Chapman, D. S., and Harris, R. N., 1993, Repeat temperature measurements in borehole GC-1, northwestern Utah: Towards isolating a climate-change signal in borehole temperature profiles, Geophys. Res. Lett., 20, 1891-1894.

Chapman, D. S., Chisolm, T. J., and Harris, R. N., 1992, Combining borehole temperature and meteorological data to constrain past climate change, Palaeogeogr., Palaeoclimatol., Palaeoecol. (Global and Planet. Change Sect.), 98, 269-281.

Harris, R. N., 1992, Lithospheric Flexure along the southern portion of the Kodiak-Bowie seamount chain, southeastern Gulf of Alaska, MS. thesis, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, 58 p.

Davis, E. E., Chapman, D. S., Mottl, M. J., Bentkowski, W. J., Dadey, K., Forster, C., Harris, R., Nagihara, S., Rohr, K., Wheat, G., and Whiticar, M., 1991, FlankFlux: An experiment to study the nature of hydrothermal circulation on young oceanic crust, Can. Jour. of Earth Sci., 29, 925-952.

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