Department of Geosciences

School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Faculty and Research

Dean C. Presnall

Professor Emeritus


B.S., Geology and Mineralogy, Pennsylvania State University, 1957
M.S., Geology, California Institute of Technology, 1959
Ph.D., Geochemistry, Pennsylvania State University, 1963


Research Interests

Experimental igneous petrology, magmatic evolution of Earth.



Presnall, D. C. (1964) Deduction of liquid crystallization paths in a five-component oxide system containing iron, Carnegie Institution of Washington Yearbook 63, 133-135.

Presnall, D. C. (1966) The join forsterite-diopside-iron oxide and its bearing on the crystallization of basaltic and ultramafic magmas, Amer. Jour. Sci., 264, 753-809.

Presnall, D. C. (1967) Compressibility isotherms of hydrogen at 200° and 300°C and pressures up to 1800 atmospheres, Carnegie Institution of Washington Yearbook 65, 415-418.

Presnall, D. C. (1968) P-V-T measurements on hydrogen up to 600°C and 1800 atmospheres, Carnegie Institution of Washington Yearbook 66, 539-541.

Presnall, D. C. (1969) Pressure-volume-temperature measurements on hydrogen from 200 to 600°C and up and to 1800 atmospheres, J. Geophys. Res., 74, 6026-6033.

Presnall, D. C. (1969) The geometrical analysis of partial fusion, Amer. Jour. Sci., 267, 1178-1194.

Presnall, D. C. (1971) Compressibility measurements of gases using externally heated pressure vessels, in G. C. Ulmer (ed.), Research Techniques for High Pressure and High Temperature, Chapter 9, 259-279, Springer-Verlag, Inc., New York.

Presnall, D. C., C. L. Simmons, and H. Porath (1972) Changes in electrical conductivity of a synthetic basalt during melting, J. Geophys. Res., 77, 5665-5672.

Presnall, D. C. and P. C. Bateman (1973) Fusion relations in the system NaA1Si308-CaAl2Si208-KAlSi308-H20 and generation of granitic magmas in the Sierra Nevada Batholith, Geol. Soc. Am. Bull., 84, 3181-3202.

Presnall, D. C., N. L. Brenner and T. H. O'Donnell (1973) Drift of Pt/Pt10Rh and W3Re/W25Re thermocouples in single stage piston-cylinder apparatus, Am. Mineral., 58, 771-777.

Presnall, D. C. and N. L. Brenner (1974) A method for studying iron silicate liquids under reducing conditions with negligible iron loss, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 38, 1785-1788.

Chen, C.-H. and D. C. Presnall (1975) The system Mg2Si04-Si02 at pressures up to 25 kbar, Am. Mineral., 60, 398-406.

Presnall, D. C. (1976) Alumina content of enstatite as a geobarometer for plagioclase and spinel lherzolites, Amer. Mineral., 61, 582-588.

Presnall, D. C., S. A. Dixon, J. R. Dixon, T. H. O'Donnell, N. L. Brenner, R. L. Schrock and D. W. Dycus (1978) Liquidus phase relations on the join diopside-forsterite-anorthite from 1 atm to 20 kbar; their bearing on the generation and crystallization of basaltic magma, Contr. Mineral. Petrol., 66, 203-220.

Presnall, D. C., B. O. Mysen and I. Kushiro (1978) Correction to the paper "Compositional variations of coexisting phases with degree of melting of peridotite in the upper mantle" by B. O. Mysen and I. Kushiro, Amer. Mineral., 63, 597.

Presnall, D. C. (1979) Fractional crystallization and partial fusion, in H. S. Yoder, Jr. (ed.), The Evolution of the Igneous Rocks, Fiftieth Anniversary Perspectives, Princeton University Press, 59-75.

Presnall, D. C., J. R. Dixon, T. H. O'Donnell and S. A. Dixon (1979) Generation of mid-ocean ridge tholeiites, J. Petrology, 20, 3-35.

O'Donnell, T. H. and D. C. Presnall (1980) Chemical variations of the glass and mineral phases in basalts dredged from 25° - 30°N along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Amer. Jour. Sci., Jackson Vol. 280-A, 845-868.

Presnall, D. C. (1980) A double partial melt zone in the mantle beneath mid-ocean ridges, Phys. Earth Planet. Int., 23, 103-111.

Wyllie, P.J.,C. H. Donaldson, A. J. Irving, S. E. Kesson, R. B. Merrill, D. C. Presnall, E.M. Stolper, T. M. Usselman and D. Walker (1982) Experimental petrology of basalts and their source rocks, Chapter 3 of Basaltic Volcanism on the Terrestrial Planets, Pergamon Press, New York.

Presnall, D. C. and C. E. Helsley (1982) Diapirism of depleted peridotite - a model for the origin of hot spots, Phys. Earth Planet. Int., 29, 148-160.

Presnall, D. C. (1982) Comments on "MORB - a mohole misbegotten?" by M. J. O'Hara, Trans. Am. Geoph. Union, 63, 1210.

Sen, G., and D. C. Presnall (1984) Liquidus phase relations on the join anorthite-forsterite-quartz at 10 kbar with applications to basalt petrogenesis, Contr. Mineral. Petrol., 85, 404-408.

Presnall, D. C. and J. D. Hoover (1984) Composition and depth of origin of primary mid-ocean ridge basalts, Contr. Mineral. Petrol., 87, 170-178.

Sen, G. and D. C. Presnall (1986) Petrogenesis of dunite xenoliths from Koolau Volcano, Oahu, Hawaii: Implications for Hawaiian volcanism, J. Petrology, 27, 194-217.

Presnall, D. C. (1986) An algebraic method for determining equilibrium crystallization and fusion paths in multicomponent systems, Am. Mineral., 71, 1061-1070.

Presnall, D. C. and J. D. Hoover (1986) Composition and depth of origin of primary mid-ocean ridge basalts - reply to D. Elthon, Contr. Mineral. Petrol., 94, 257-261.

Presnall, D. C. and J. D. Hoover (1987) High pressure phase equilibrium constraints on the origin of mid-ocean ridge basalts, Geochem. Soc., Spec. Paper No. 1, 75-89.

Liu, T.-C. and D. C. Presnall (1989) The diopside-tridymite liquidus boundary line in the system Mg2Si04-CaMgSi206-Si02 at atmospheric pressure, Am. Mineral., 74, 1032-1037.

Liu, T.-C. and D. C. Presnall (1990) Liquidus phase relationships on the join anorthite-forsterite-quartz at 20 kbar with applications to basalt petrogen84,Sen,Pres,AnFoQesis and igneous sapphirine, Contr. Mineral. Petrol., 104, 735-742.

Presnall, D. C. and T. Gasparik (1990) Melting of enstatite from 10 to 16.5 GPa and the forsterite-majorite eutectic at 16.5 GPa: Implications for the origin of the mantle, J. Geophys. Res., 95, 15,771-15, 777.

Presnall, D. C. (1991) Algebraic methods for determining directions of decreasing temperature along isobaric liquidus univariant lines, Canadian Mineral., 29, 687-692.

Chen, C.-H., D. C. Presnall and R. J. Stern (1992) Petrogenesis of ultramafic xenoliths from the 1800 Kaupulehu flow, Hualalai Volcano, Hawaii, J. Petrol., 33, 163-202.

Presnall, D. C. and M. J. Walter (1993)  Melting of forsterite, Mg2SiO4, from 9.7 to 16.5 GPa, J. Geophys. Res., 98, 19,777-19,783.

Walter, M. J. and D. C. Presnall (1994) Melting behavior of simplified lherzolite in the system CaO-MgO-Al2O3-SiO2-Na2O from 7 to 35 Kbar, J. Petrol., 35, 329-359

Presnall, D. C. (1995) Phase diagrams of Earth-forming minerals, in Ahrens, T. J. (ed.) Handbook of Physical Constants, Mineral Physics and Crystallography, Am. Geophys. Union, Washington, D.C.

Walter, M. J., T. W. Sisson and D. C. Presnall (1995) A mass proportion method for calculating melting reactions and application to melting of model upper mantle lherzolite, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 135, 77-90.

Gudfinnsson, G. H. and Presnall, D. C. (1996) Melting relations of model lherzolite in the system CaO-MgO-Al2O3-SiO2 at 2.4-3.4 GPa and the generation of komatiites, J. Geophys. Res., 101, 27,701-27,709.

Dalton, J. A. and Presnall, D. C. (1997) No liquid immiscibility in the system MgSiO3-SiO2 at 5 GPa, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 61, 2367-2373.

Milholland, C. S. and Presnall, D. C. (1998) Liquidus phase relations in the CaO-MgO-Al2O3-SiO2 system at 3.0 GPa: The aluminous pyroxene thermal divide and high pressure fractionation of picritic and komatiitic magmas, J. Petrology, 39, 3-27.

Dalton, J. A. and Presnall, D. C. (1998) Carbonatitic melts along the solidus of model lherzolite in the system CaO-MgO-Al2O3-SiO2-CO2 from 3 to 7 GPa, Contrib. Mineral. Petrol., 131, 123-135.

Presnall, D. C., Weng, Y.-H., Milholland, C. S. and Walter, M. J. (1998) Liquidus phase relations in the system MgO-MgSiO3 at pressures up to 25 GPa — Constraints on crystallization of a molten Hadean mantle, Phys. Earth Planet. Int., 107, 83-95.

Presnall, D. C. (1998)  Crystallization of a Hadean terrestrial magma ocean, National Acad. Sci. Lett., 21, 99-109, National Acad. Sci. India.

Dalton, J. A. and Presnall, D. C. (1998) The continuum of primary carbonatitic-kimberlitic melt compositions in equilibrium with lherzolite: Data from the system CaO-MgO-Al2O3-SiO2-CO2 at 6 GPa, J. Petrology, 39, 1953-1964.

Presnall, D. C. (1999) Effect of pressure on the fractional crystallization of basaltic magma, In Fei, Y., Bertka, C. B., and Mysen, B. O. (eds.) Mantle Petrology: Field Observations and High-Pressure Experimentation, Special Pub. 6, Geochem. Soc., 209-224, Houston.

Liu, T.-C., and Presnall, D. C. (2000) Liquidus phase relations in the system CaO-MgO-Al2O3-SiO2 at 2.0 GPa: Applications to basalt fractionation, eclogites, and igneous sapphirine, J. Petrol., 41, 3-20.

Gudfinnsson, G. H. and Presnall, D. C. (2000) Melting behavior of model lherzolite in the system CaO-MgO-Al2O3-SiO2-FeO at 0.7 to 2.8 GPa, J. Petrology, 41, 1241-1269.

Weng, Y.-H. and Presnall, D. C. (2001) The system diopside-forsterite-enstatite at 5.1 GPa: A ternary model for melting of the mantle, Canadian Mineral., 39, 299-308.

Gudfinnsson, G. H., and Presnall, D. C. (2001) A pressure-independent geothermometer for primitive mantle melts, J. Geophys. Res., 106, 16205-16211.

Presnall, D. C., Gudfinnsson, G. H., and Walter, M. J. (2002) Generation of mid-ocean ridge basalts at pressures from 1 to 7 GPa, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 66, 2073-2090.

Presnall, D. C., and Gudfinnsson, G. H. (2005) Carbonatitic melts in the oceanic low-velocity zone and deep mantle, in Foulger, G. H., Natland, J. H., Presnall, D. C., and Anderson, D. L., Plates, Plumes & Paradigms, Geol. Soc. Am. Spec. Paper 388.

Gudfinnsson, G. H., and Presnall, D. C. (2005) Continuous gradations among primary kimberlitic, carbonatitic, melilitic, basaltic, picritic, and komatiitic melts in equilibrium with garnet lherzolite at 3-8 GPa, J. Petrol., doi: 10.1093 (advanced access).

Keshav, S., Sen, G. H., and Presnall, D. C. (2007) Garnet-bearing xenoliths from Salt Lake Crater, Oahu, Hawaii: High-pressure fractional crystallization in the oceanic mantle., J. Petrol., 48, 1681-1724.
Presnall, D. C. and Gudfinnsson, G. H. (2008) Origin of the oceanic lithosphere, J. Petrol., 72, 615-632.

Keshav, S., Gudfinnsson, G. H., and Presnall, D. C. (submitted) Widespread carbonatitic melts at depths of 400-600 km in the Earth, Nature.
Presnall, D. C., and Gudfinnsson, G. H., Fracture-induced oceanic volcanism without mantle plumes, in prep. 

  • Updated: November 21, 2011