The Centre for Planetary Sciences at UCL / Birkbeck

Prof Adrian Jones

Prof Adrian Jones

Professor of Petrology

Dept of Earth Sciences

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Jan 1990

Research summary

Transfer, storage and mobility of carbon in natural systems from the Earths interior to the surface, including connections to diamond as ancient carbon reservoir, C-rich meteorites (ureilite), trace elements (rare earth elements) and European subsurface energy (since 2015). 

The Haskel Laboratory(funded 1990 Endowment from Haskel USA, ~£500K) uses high pressure solid state multianvil presses to quantify materials and melting behaviour in the Earths mantle, and the transport of materials to sites of volcanic eruptions. We are particularly interested in the deep carbon cycle, - where C is stored and how it is entrained back to the surface in C-rich magmas like carbonatites and kimberlites (see ESF Eurocarb). Diamond provides the deepest known terrestrial samples and may have survived from the early stages of the Earth's history, including impact accretion and a magma ocean; it therefore provides a unique way to directly access a significant part of the Earths carbon inventory. We are part of the Mineral Ice and Rock Physics Laboratory, and share the same facilities with colleagues working on deformation. Systematic analysis of products from HP experiments is compared with natural diamond through microscopic analytical techniques both in the Earth Sciences and Chemistry Departments, including electron microprobe, laser ICPMS, IR and Raman spectroscopy and Xray diffraction.

The highest experimental pressures are achieved through shock during hypervelocity impacts, and these allow access to processes which include the ancient bombardment history of the early Earth. Materials behaviour during high shock pressure can be related to static experimental data through equations of state, when allowance is made for the unique loading and unloading conditions of impact experiments. A combined modelling and experimental approach links naturally to planetary geology and astrobiology. We collaborate with  experimental gun facilities, and our understanding of terrestrial materials has enabled us to parameterise the response of the lithosphere to large impact cratering, including potential for triggering volcanic activity.

Since 2009 Focus on deep carbon through the Deep Carbon Observatory (Founder Member), Executive Committee and support through the Sloan Foundation Officer Grants for summer schools, workshops and carbon (gas phase) instrument development, approximately US $400K not listed in formal grants.

Teaching summary

GEOL1002 Petrology to Petrogenesis 

GEOLG044 Geology for Global Managers and Engineers

GEOL2010 Igneous Petrology 

GEOL3043/M043  Earth Resources and Sustainability

GEOLGG07/M021 Melting and Volcanism 

GEOLM003 Earth and Planetary Systems Science (Impact crater Fieldclass 50%)


University of Durham
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1980
University of Durham
First Degree, Bachelor of Science (Honours) | 1977


BSc (Hons) Geology, Durham University, 1976

PhD (Mineralogy, Geochemistry and Petrology of the Motzfeldt Centre, Igaliko Complex, S Greenland), Durham University 1980
Postdoctoral Associate, University of Chicago 1980-82
Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology 1982-84
Lecturer Kingston Polytechnic, 1985-1989
Senior Haskel Lecturer in Petrology with industrial endowment (Haskel) High Pressure Lab (~£500K) University College London, 1989-2004
Hayman Reader in Petrology UCL 2004-
Founder Member of Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) Carnegie Institution Washington 2009-2011
Executive Committee Member DCO 2011-
Visiting Science Associate, Natural History Museum London, 2012- (renewed 2016-2018)
Visiting Professorship Pavia University Italy 2017-