Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Newton Horace Winchell School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Jeff Havig


375-05 Tate Hall


In Modern And Deep Time Environmental Geochemistry and Geobiology Laboratory  we are interested in exploring the world around us using a wide range of geochemical techniques to better understand the interaction between water, rocks and minerals, and microorganisms. To this end, we embrace a holistic approach to geochemical sampling, characterizing a full suite of cations, anions, trace elements, dissolved inorganic carbon, dissolved organic carbon, redox-sensitive chemical species (such as Fe(II) and sulfide), and stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen. To accomplish this, we use a wide array of analytical techniques, including ICP-MS, Ion Chromatography, EA-IR-MS, SEM-EDX, BIO-SIMS, microscopy, electron microprobe, and molecular techniques (through collaboration with The Fringe Lab).

Why do we do this?

This explorative research allows us to gain understanding of the interactions between water, minerals and rocks, and microbial communities which drive chemical reactions and elemental cycling at local and global scales. Using the holistic approach to sampling allows us to ask questions that are focused on specific sites (e.g., a single hot spring, a snow algae community on a glacier, a meromictic lake), but can also be scaled up to allow comparison between sites and can be placed in context of regional to global questions that span modern Earth, ancient Earth, and other planets (e.g., Mars, Europa, exoplanets). Everyone in MAD EGG Lab learns the full gamut of research: how to generate hypotheses to drive the need for sample collection, how to collect samples, how to prepare and analyze samples to generate data, how to interpret the data, how to communicate the data as a story that addresses scientific questions. Sampling and analytical skills gained through this research can then be applied to a wide range of career paths, from fundamental research to applied monitoring/testing.

Where do we work?

Current field sites include:

- Hot spring/hydrothermal systems in Yellowstone National Park

- Glacial systems on Pacific Northwest stratovolcanoes

- Meromictic Fayetteville Green Lake in New York

- Beartooth Mountains in Montana

- Medicine Bow Mountains in Wyoming

- Acid mine drainage sites in south-central Kentucky

- Lakes and reservoirs in Western Ohio

This list will likely expand to new sites in Minnesota as we explore locally.


Courses Taught

ESCI 1904 – Astrobiology (Freshman Seminar)

ESCI 2203 – Earth Surface Dynamics (Co-taught with Chris Paola, Jake Bailey, and Katsumi Matsumoto)

ESCI 3890 – Spring Seminar/Spring Trip (Tetons and Yellowstone)


Select publications:

Havig, J. R. and Hamilton, T. L. (2019) Hypolithic photosynthesis in hydrothermal areas and implications for cryptic oxygen oases on Archean continental surfaces. Frontiers in Earth Sciences, Biogeoscience. DOI: 10.3389/feart.2019.00015


Havig, J. R., and Hamilton, T. L. (2019) Snow algae drive productivity and weathering at volcanic rock-hosted glaciers. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 247, 220-242. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2018.12.024


Rutledge, A. M., Horgan, B. H. N., Havig, J. R., Rampe, E. B., Scudder, N. A., and Hamilton, T. L. (2018) Silica Dissolution and Precipitation in Glaciated Volcanic Environments, and Implications for Mars. Geophysical Research Letters 45. DOI: 10.1029/2018GL078105


*Milshteyn, D., Damer, B., Havig, J. R., and Deamer, D. (2018) Amphiphilic Compounds Assemble into Membranous Vesicles in Hydrothermal Hot Spring Water but Not in Seawater. Life 8(11). DOI: 10.3390/life8020011


Herndon, E. M., Havig, J. R., Singer, D. M., McCormick, M. L., and Kump, L. R. (2018) Manganese and iron geochemistry in sediments underlying a redox-stratified lake. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 231: 50-63. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2018.04.013


Hamilton, T. L. and Havig, J. R. (2018) Inorganic carbon addition stimulates snow algae primary productivity. The ISME journal, 1. DOI:10.1038/s41396-018-0048-6


*Schuler, C. G., Havig, J. R., and Hamilton, T. L. (2017) Hot spring microbial community composition, morphology, and carbon fixation: implications for interpreting the ancient rock record. Frontiers in Earth Science, Biogeoscience, 5, 97. DOI:

Havig, J. R., McCormick, M. L., Hamilton, T. L., McClure, B. E., Sowers, T., & Kump, L. R. (2017) Water column and sediment carbon stable isotope biogeochemistry of a redox-stratified lake: Fayetteville Green Lake, N.Y. ASLO Limnology and Oceanography.


Havig, J. R., Hamilton, T. L., Bachan, A., & Kump, L. R. (2017). Sulfur and carbon isotopic evidence for metabolic pathway evolution and a four-stepped Earth system progression across the Archean and Paleoproterozoic. Earth-Science Reviews.


Havig, J. R., Grettenberger, C., & Hamilton, T. L. (2017). Geochemistry and microbial community composition across a range of acid mine drainage impact and implications for the Neoarchean‐Paleoproterozoic transition. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences.


Hamilton, T. L., & Havig, J. R. (2017). Primary productivity of snow algae communities on stratovolcanoes of the Pacific Northwest. Geobiology, 15(2), 280-295.


Havig, J. R., McCormick, M. L., Hamilton, T. L., & Kump, L. R. (2015). The behavior of biologically important trace elements across the oxic/euxinic transition of meromictic Fayetteville Green Lake, New York, USA. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 165, 389-406.


Boyd, E. S., Hamilton, T. L., Havig, J. R., Skidmore, M. L., & Shock, E. L. (2014). Chemolithotrophic primary production in a subglacial ecosystem. Applied and environmental microbiology, 80(19), 6146-6153.


Boyd, E. S., Fecteau, K. M., Havig, J. R., Shock, E. L., & Peters, J. W. (2012). Modeling the habitat range of phototrophs in Yellowstone National Park: toward the development of a comprehensive fitness landscape. Frontiers in microbiology, 3.


Havig, J. R., Raymond, J., Meyer‐Dombard, D. A. R., Zolotova, N., & Shock, E. L. (2011). Merging isotopes and community genomics in a siliceous sinter‐depositing hot spring. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 116(G1).