Thomas Lapen - University of Houston
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Thomas Lapen

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Thomas Lapen

Curriculum Vitae pdf

Associate Chair EAS Department, Professor of Geology, Isotope Geochemistry

Ph.D., 2005, University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.S., 1998, Western Washington University
B.S., 1995, Central Washington University

Office: 315-A SR1
Office Hours: T/TH 3:00p - 4:00p
Phone: (713) 743-6122

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ResearchGate Profile

Research Interests

Lapen’s research uses petrologic analyses, measurements of radiogenic and stable isotopic compositions, and measured trace element concentrations to understand Earth and planetary processes.  He oversees a laser ablation multiple-collector inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-MC-ICP-MS) facility, which was jointly funded by NASA, NSF, and UH. The instrumentation includes a Photon Machines Analyte.193 eximer laser ablation instrument and a Nu Instruments NuPlasma II MC-ICP-MS. 

Current research projects include:

  • Nature and timing of magmatism on Mars 
  • Chronology of early solar system materials 
  • Impact processes on Earth and planetary bodies 
  • Sediment provenance studies 
  • Geochemical and petrologic studies of authigenic silica
  • Uranium-thorium-lead chronology of organic-rich shale deposition and diagenesis

Selected Publications

  • Schmieder, M., Shaulis, B.J., Lapen, T.J., Kring, D.A., 2017, U-Th-Pb systematics in zircon and apatite from the Chixulub impact crater, Yucatan, Mexico. Geological Magazine, DOI: 10.1017/S0016756817000255
  • Shaulis, B.J, Righter, M., Lapen, T.J., Jolliff, B.L., Irving, A.J., 2017, 3.1 Ga crystallization age for magnesian and ferroan gabbro lithologies in the Northwest Africa 773 clan of lunar meteorites. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 213, 435-456.
  • Sarafian, A.R., Hauri, E.H., McCubbin, F.M., Lapen, T.J., Berger, E., Nielsen, S.G., Marschall, H.R., Gaetani, G.A., Righter, K., Sarafian, E., 2017, Early accretion of water and volatile elements to the inner solar system: Evidence from angrites. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A. DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2016.0209
  • Udry, A., Howarth, G.H., Lapen, T.J., Righter, M., 2017, Petrogenesis of the NWA 7320 enriched martian gabbroic shergottite: Insight into the martian crust, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. doi:
  • Kent, J.J., Brandon, A.D., Joy, K.H., Peslier, A.H., Lapen, T.J., Irving, A.J., Coleff, D.M., 2017, Mineralogy and petrogenesis of lunar magnesian granulitic meteorite Northwest Africa 5744. Meteoritics and Planetary Sciences, DOI: 10.1111/maps.12898.
  • Righter K., Nickodem K., Pando K., Danielson L., Boujibar A., Righter M., Lapen T. J., 2017, Distribution of Sb, As, Ge, and In between metal and silicate during accretion and core formation in the Earth. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 198, 1-16.
  • Lapen, T.J, Righter, M., Andreasen, R., Irving, A.J., Satkoski, A.M., Beard, B.L., Nishiizumi, K., Jull, A.J.T., Caffee, M.W., 2017, 2 Billion years of magmatism recorded from a single Mars ejection site. Science Advances, 3, e1600922
  • Chen, X., Lapen T.J., Chafetz H.S., 2017, Accurate and precise silicon isotope analysis of sulfur and iron-rich samples by MC-ICP-MS. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research, doi:10.1111/ggr.12158
  • McLeod C, Brandon AD, Fernandes, VA, Peslier AH, Shafer J, Lapen TJ, Butcher A, Irving A, 2016, Constraints on Formation and Evolution of the Lunar Crust from Feldspathic Granulitic Breccias NWA 3163 and 4881. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 187, 350-374.
  • Chen, X., Chafetz, H.S., Andreasen, R., Lapen T.J., 2016, Silicon isotope compositions of euhedral authigenic quartz crystals: Implications for abiotic fractionation at surface temperatures. Chemical Geology, 423, 61-73.
  • Fernandez A, Lapen TJ, Andreasen R, Swart PK, White CD, Rosenheim BE, 2015, Ventilation time scales of the North Atlantic subtropical cell revealed by coral radiocarbon from the Cape Verde Islands, Paleoceanography, 30, doi:10.1002/2015PA002790.
  • Armytage RMG, Brandon AD, Andreasen R, Lapen TJ, 2015, Evolution of Mojavian mantle lithosphere influenced by Farallon plate subduction: evidence from Hf and Nd isotopes in peridotite xenoliths from Dish Hill, CA. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta., 159, 264-284.
  • Skora S, Mahlen NJ, Johnson CM, Baumgartner L, Lapen TJ, Beard BL, Szilvagyi ET, 2015, Evidence for protracted prograde metamorphism followed by rapid exhumation of the Zermatt-Saas Fee Ophiolite. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, doi:10.1111/jmg.12148
  • Armytage, R. M. G., Brandon, A. D., Peslier, A. H., Lapen, T. J., 2014. Osmium isotope evidence for Early to Middle Proterozoic lithosphere stabilization and concomitant production of juvenile crust in Dish hill, CA peridotite xenoliths. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 137, 113-133.
  • Joy, K.H., Nemchin, A., Grange, M., Lapen, T.J., Peslier, A.H., Ross, D.K., Zolensky, M.E., Kring, D.A., 2014, Petrography, geochronology and source terrain characteristics of lunar meteorites Dhofar 925, 961 and Sayh al Uhaymir 449, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, doi:10.1016/j.gca.2014.08.013
  • Wittmann A., Korotev R.L., Jolliff B.L., Lapen T.J., Irving A.J., 2014, The petrogenesis of impact basin melt rocks in lunar meteorite Shişr 161. American Mineralogist, 99. 1626-1647, doi: 10.2138/am.2014.4837
  • McClelland W.C., Lapen T.J., 2013, Linking time to the pressure-temperature path for ultrahigh-pressure rocks. Elements, 9, 273-279.
  • Tomlinson D.W., Copeland P., Murphy M.A., Lapen T.J., 2013, Oligocene shortening in the Little Burro Mountains of southwest New Mexico. Rocky Mountain Geology, v. 48, 169–183.
  • Beard B.L., Ludois J.M., Lapen T.J., Johnson C.M., 2013, Pre-4.0 billion year weathering on Mars constrained by Rb-Sr geochronology on meteorite ALH 84001. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 361, 173-182. 
  • Sanchez VI, Murphy MA, Robinson AC, Lapen TJ, Heizler MT, 2013, Tectonic evolution of the India-Asia suture zone since Middle Eocene time, Lopukangri area, south-central Tibet. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences. V. 62, 205-220. doi:10.1016/j.jseaes.2012.09.004 
  • Ahmad I, Khan S, Lapen TJ, Burke K, 2013, Isotopic ages for alkaline igneous rocks, including a 26 Ma ignimbrite, from the Peshawar Plain of northern Pakistan and their tectonic implications. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences. V. 62, 414-424. doi:/10.1016/j.jseaes.2012.10.025 
  • Shaulis B.J., Lapen T.J., Casey J.F., Reid D.R., 2012, Timing and rates of flysch sedimentation in the Stanley Group, Ouachita Mountains, Oklahoma and Arkansas, U.S.A.: Constraints from U-Pb zircon ages of subaqueous ash-flow tuffs. Journal of Sedimentary Research – Current Ripples. v. 82, 833-840. doi:10.2110/jsr.2012.68 
  • van Acken D., Brandon A.D., Lapen T.J., 2012, Highly siderophile element and osmium isotope evidence for post-core formation magmatic and impact processes on the aubrite parent body. Meteoritics and Planetary Science. V. 47, 1606-1623. doi:10.1111/j.1945-5100.2012.01425.x 
  • Peslier A.H., Woodland A.B., Bell D.R., Lazarov M., Lapen T.J., 2012, Metasomatic control of water contents in the Kaapvaal cratonic mantle.  Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 97, 213-246. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2012.08.028 
  • Robinson AC, Ducea M, Lapen TJ, 2012, Detrital Zircon and Isotopic Constraints on the Crustal Architecture and Tectonic Evolution of the Northeastern Pamir. Tectonics. Tectonics, V 31, doi:10.1029/2011TC003013
  • Zhu Y, Bhattacharya JP, Li W, Lapen TJ, Jicha BR, Singer BS, 2012, Milankovitch-Scale Sequence Stratigraphy and Stepped Forced Regressions of the Turonian Ferron Notom Deltaic Complex, South-Central Utah, U.S.A Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 82, 723-746.
  • Copeland P., Murphy M.A., Dupre W.R., Lapen T.J., 2011, Oligocene deformation in southern New Mexico and its implications for Farallon plate geodynamics. Geosphere, 7, 1209-1219; doi: 10.1130/GES00672.1.
  • Hui, H., Peslier, A.H., Lapen, T.J., Shafer, J.T., Brandon, A.D., Irving, A.J., 2011, Petrogenesis of basaltic shergottite Northwest Africa 5298: Closed system crystallization of an oxidized mafic melt. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 46, 1313-1328; doi: 10.1111/j.1945-5100.2011.01231.x.
  • Zhang R, Murphy MA, Lapen TJ, Sanchez V, Heizler M, 2011, Late Eocene crustal thickening followed by Early-Late Oligocene Extension along the India-Asia suture zone: Evidence for cyclicity in the Tibet-Himalayan orogen. Geosphere, 7, 1249-1268; doi: 10.1130/GES00643.1.
  • Shaulis, B., Lapen, T.J., Toms, A., 2010, Signal linearity of an extended range pulse counting detector: Applications to accurate and precise U‐Pb dating of zircon by laser ablation quadrupole ICP‐MS, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 11, Q0AA11, doi:10.1029/2010GC003198.
  • Shafer, J.T., Brandon, A.D., Lapen, T.J., Righter, M., Peslier, A.H., Beard, B.L., 2010, Trace element systematics and 147Sm-143Nd and 176Lu-176Hf ages of Larkman Nunatak 06319: Closed-system fractional crystallization of an enriched shergottite magma, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 74, 7307-7328, DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2010.09.009.
  • Peslier A.H., Hnatyshin D., Herd, C.D.K., Walton E.L., Brandon A.D., Lapen T.J., Shafer J.T., 2010, Crystallization, melt inclusion, and redox history of a new Martian meteorite: olivine phyric shergottite LAR 06319. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 74:4543-4576.
  • Lapen T.J., Righter M., Brandon A.D., Debaille V., Beard B.L., Shafer J.T., and Peslier A.H., 2010, A younger age for ALH 84001 and its geochemical link to shergottite sources in Mars. Science, 328, 347 – 351. DOI: 10.1126/science.1185395
  • Skora, S, Lapen, TJ, Baumgartner, LP, Johnson, CM, Hellenbrand, E, and Mahlen, NJ., 2009, The duration of prograde garnet crystallization in the UHP eclogites at Lago di Cignana, Italy.  Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 287:402-411. 
  • Brandon, AD, Lapen, TJ, Debaille, V, Beard, BL, Rankenburg, K, and Neal, C., 2009, Re-evaluating 142Nd/144Nd in Lunar Mare basalts with implications for the early evolution and bulk Sm/Nd of the Moon.  Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 73:6421-6445.
  • Lapen, T.J., Medaris, L.G.Jr., Beard, B.L., Johnson, C.M., 2009, The Sandvik peridotite, Gurskøy, Norway: Three billion years of mantle evolution in the Baltica lithosphere. Lithos, doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2008.08.007.
  • Lapen T.J., Cuthbert, S., Dobrzhinetskaya, L., 2008, International Eclogite Field Symposium and Workshop of the Task Force IV, International Lithosphere Program; Episodes, v. 31, 1-3.
  • Skora, S., Baumgartner, L.P., Mahlen, N.J., Lapen, T.J., Bussy, F., 2008, Estimation of a maximum Lu diffusion rate in a natural eclogite garnet. Swiss J. Geosciences, DOI: 10.1007/s00015-008-1268-y.
  • Chafetz, H.S., Wu, Z., Lapen, T.J., Milliken, K.L., 2008, Geochemistry of preserved Permian aragonitic cements in the tepees of the Guadalupe Mountains, West Texas and New Mexico, U.S.A.; Journal Sedimentary Research, 78, 187-198
  • Mahlen, N.J., Beard, B.L., Johnson, C.M., Lapen, T.J., 2008, An investigation of dissolution methods for Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd isotope studies in zircon and garnet bearing whole rock samples. Geochemistry, Geophysics, and Geosystems (G3) 9, Q01002, doi:10.1029/2007GC001605
  • Copeland, P., Watson, E.B., Urizar, S.C., Patterson, D., Lapen, T.J., 2007, Alpha thermochronology of carbonates I: Experimental data, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 71, 4488-4511.
  • Kylander-Clark, A.R.C., Hacker, B.R., Johnson, C.M., Beard, B.L., Mahlen, N.J., Lapen, T.J., 2007, Coupled Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd geochronology constrains prograde and exhumation histories of high- and ultrahigh-pressure eclogites from western Norway. Chem. Geol. 242:137-154.
  • Lapen, T.J., Johnson, C.M., Baumgartner, L.P., Dal Piaz, G.V., Skora, S., Beard, B.L., 2007, Coupling of oceanic and continental crust during Eocene eclogite facies metamorphism: Evidence from the Monte Rosa nappe, Western Alps, Italy. Contributions to Mineralogy Petrology, 153:139-157.
  • Lapen, TJ, Medaris, LG Jr, Johnson, CM, and Beard, BL, 2005, Archean to Middle Proterozoic evolution of Baltica subcontinental lithosphere: evidence from combined Sm- Nd and Lu-Hf isotpe analyses of the Sandvik ultramafic body, Norway. Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 150:131-145.
  • Brown, E.H., Lapen, T.J., Leckie, M.R., Silva, P.I., Verga, D., Singer, B.S., 2005, Revised ages of blueschist metamorphism and the youngest pre-thrusting rocks in the San Juan Islands, Washington. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 42:1389-1400.
  • Jicha, B.R., Singer, B., Brophy, J.G., Fournelle, J.H., Johnson, C.M., Beard, B.L., Lapen, T.J., and Mahlen, N.J., 2004, Variable impact of the subducted slab on Aleutian island arc magma sources: evidence from Sr, Nd, Pb, and Hf isotopes and trace element abundances. Jour. Petrol. 45:1845-1875.
  • Lapen, T.J., Mahlen, N.J., Johnson, C.M., Beard, B.L., 2004, High precision Lu and Hf isotope analyses of both spiked and unspiked samples: A new approach, Geochem Geophys Geosyst, 5, Q01010, doi: 10.1029/2003GC000582
  • Lapen, T.J., Johnson, C.M., Baumgartner, L.P., Mahlen, N.J., Beard, B.L., Amato, J.M., 2003, Burial rates during prograde metamorphism of an ultra-high pressure terrane: an example from Lago di Cignana, Western Alps, Italy, Earth Planet Sci Lett, 215, 57-72.
  • Brown, E.H., Talbot, J.L., McClelland, W.C., Feltman, J.A., Lapen, T.J., Bennett, J.D., Hettinga, M.A., Troost, M.L., Alvarez, K.M., Calvert, A.T., 2000, Interplay of plutonism and regional deformation in an obliquely convergent arc, southern Coast Belt, British Columbia: Tectonics, vol. 19, no. 3, p. 493-511.
  • Dragovich, J.D., Logan, R.L., Schasse, H.W., Walsh, T.J., Lingley, W.S. Jr., Norman, D.K., Gerstel, W.J., Lapen, T.J, Schuster, J.E., and Meyers, K.D., 2002, Geologic map of Washington. Northwest quadrant: Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Geologic Map GM-50, 72 p., 3 pl., scale 1:250,000.
  • Loen, J.S., Lingley, W.S., Jr., Anderson, Garth, Lapen, T.J., 2001, Reconnaissance investigation of sand, gravel, and quarried bedrock resources in the Bellingham 1:100,000 quadrangle, Washington: Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Information Circular 91, 45 p., 1 plate.
  • Lapen, T.J., 2000, Geologic map of the Bellingham 1:100,000-scale quadrangle, Washington: Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Open-File-Report 00-5, 35 p., 2 plates.
  • Dragovich, J.D., Norman, D.K., Lapen, T.J., Anderson, G., 1999, Geologic map of the Sedro-Woolley North and Lyman 7.5-minute quadrangles, western Skagit County, Washington: Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Open-File-Report 99-3, 37 p., 4 plates.