Brandon Browne

Professor & Department Chair

Dr. Browne at Crater Lake
(707) 826-3950
Founders Hall (FH), Rm. 21

Dr. Browne discovered geology when he took an introductory geology course in college. He liked it right away and has been a geologist ever since. His research on magmatic and volcanic processes has taken him to Alaska, Kamchatka, Japan, Mexico, Ecuador, and Chile. His current research projects at volcanoes in Alaska, the California Cascades, and Sierra Nevada involve students acquiring data at scales ranging from microns to kilometers and interpreting processes that occur over timescales ranging from milliseconds to millennia. He started working as a geology professor in 2005.

Specialty Area

Igneous petrology, volcanology, field geology

Humboldt's Volcanology class examining pyroclastic deposits from the 1666 AD eruption of Cinder Cone in Lassen Volcanic National Park (Photo by Trevor McBroom)


Dr. Browne teaches introductory geology courses, like GEOL 109 - General Geology; upper division geology courses, like GEOL 312 - Earth Materials, GEOL 314 - Petrology, and GEOL 474 - Volcanology; geologic mapping courses like GEOL 435 - Geologic Field Methods and GEOL 475 - Geology Field Camp; and general education geology courses, like GEOL 300 - Geology of California and GEOL 303 - Earths Resources.

Humboldt's petrology class at Yellow Butte, Siskiyou County  (Photo by Trevor McBroom)



Ph.D., Geology, 2005, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
M.S., Geology, 2001, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
B.S., Environmental Science, 1998, Oregon State University
B.S., Geology, 1998, Oregon State University

Courses Taught

GEOL 109/109L: General Geology
GEOL 300/300L: California Geology
GEOL 303: Earth's Resources and Global Environmental Change
GEOL 312: Earth Materials (Mineralogy + Lithology)
GEOL 314: Petrology
GEOL 380: Advanced Petrology
GEOL 474: Volcanology
GEOL 435: Geologic Field Methods II
GEOL 475: Summer Geology Field Camp
GEOL 482: Instrumental Methods in Geology (Scanning Electron Microscopy)
GEOL 486: Geology Senior Seminar
GEOL 554: Advanced Field Geology


Dr. Browne's research uses geologic mapping and field relations of volcanic deposits coupled with geochemical and petrological analytical techniques of crystals and whole-rocks to investigate a variety of magmatic and volcanic processes. His current research projects examine the volume, extent, and manner in which magma was erupted as well as better understand a variety of pre-eruptive magmatic differentiation processes in Alaska (Aniakchak Volcano), northern California (Mount Shasta, Medicine Lake Volcano), and eastern California (Golden Trout Volcanic Field).


Articles and Selected Abstracts (student author): 

Khoury, R.M., Browne, B.L. (2024) Petrologic and Geochemical Constraints on Pre-Eruptive Storage Conditions of Magmas Erupted During the ~12.5 ka Flare Up of Medicine Lake Volcano, CA. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 56, No. 4. doi: 10.1130/abs/2024CD-399710

Koulakov, I., Quasi, S. I., Izbekov, P., and Browne, B. L. (2023) Structure of shallow magma sources beneath Augustine Volcano (Alaska) inferred from local earthquake tomography. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 107965.

Browne, B.L., Neal, C.A., and Bacon, C.R. (2022) The ~400 yr B.P. eruption of Half Cone, a post-caldera composite cone within Aniakchak caldera, Alaska Peninsula: Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys Professional Report 126, 60 p.

Browne, B.L., Khoury, R. (2019) The compositionally and thermally-zoned rhyolite erupted from Long Canyon Dome, Golden Trout Volcanic Field, Kern Plateau, Sierra Nevada. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 51, No. 4, ISSN 0016-7592 doi: 10.1130/abs/2019CD-329698

Szymanski, M.E., Browne, B.L. (2019) Sr and Nd isotope compositions of Quaternary mafic lavas of the Golden Trout Volcanic Field, Kern Plateau, Sierra Nevada. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 51, No. 4, ISSN 0016-7592 doi: 10.1130/abs/2019CD-329019

Diniega, S., Sangha, S., Browne, B.L., (2018) Using satellite imagery to identify and analyze tumuli on Earth and Mars. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 482, p. 52-61.

Browne, B.L.Sion, B.D., Phillips, F., Nicholson, R., (2017) Eruption styles and late Pleistocene ages from 36Cl dating of Groundhog Cone, the most recent and unglaciated basaltic volcano in the Golden Trout Volcanic Field, Kern Plateau, Sierra Nevada. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 49, No. 6 doi: 10.1130/abs/2017AM-295298  

Browne, B.L.Becerra, R.Campbell, C.Saleen, P.Wille, F., (2017) Quaternary basaltic volcanism in the Golden Trout Volcanic Field, southern Sierra Nevada, California. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research.

Browne, B.L., Tepley, F., (2016) Very coarse-grained plagioclase-CPX-hornblende orthocumulate xenoliths from East Tanaga Volcano, western Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs vol 48, No 4, https://doi: 10.1130/abs/2016CD-274417

Browne, B.L., Szramek, L. (2015) Rates of Magma Ascent and Storage. Encyclopedia of Volcanoes 2nd Edition, Sigurdsson, H., Houghton, B., McNutt, S., Rymer, H., Stix, J. (eds) Academic Press, p. 203-214

Churikova, T.G., Ivanov, B.V., Eichelberger, J., Worner, G., Browne, B., Izbekov, P. (2013) Major and trace element zoning in plagioclase from Kizimen Volcano (Kamchatka): Insights into magma-chamber processes. Journal of Volcanology and Seismology, v. 7, p. 112-130.

Steiner, A., Browne, B.L., Nye, C. (2012) Quenched Mafic Inclusions in ≤2,200 yrs B.P. deposits at Augustine Volcano, Alaska. International Geology Review DOI:10.1080/00206814.2011.636641

Browne, B.L., Bursik, M., Deming, J.Louros, M.Martos, A., and Stine, S., (2010) Eruption Chronology and Petrologic Reconstruction of the Holocene Eruption of Red Cones, Southern Inyo Chain, California. Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 122, p. 1401-1422.

Browne, B.L., P. Izbekov, J. Eichelberger, T. Churikova, (2010) Constraints on the Pre-Eruptive Storage Conditions of the Holocene-Aged KZI Dacite Magma Erupted from Kizimen Volcano, Kamchatka. International Geology Review 52, issue 12, p. 95-110. 

Blazevic, M., Kirby, M., Woods, A., Browne, B.L., Bowman, D. (2009). A sedimentary facies model for glacial-age sediments in Baldwin Lake, Southern California, Sedimentary Geology, 219, p. 151-168.

Coombs, M.L., McGimsey, R.G., Browne, B.L. (2008), Preliminary volcano-hazard assessment for Gareloi Volcano, Gareloi Island, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5159, 36 pp. LINK

Coombs, M.L., McGimsey, R.G., Browne, B.L. (2007), Preliminary volcano-hazard assessment for the Tanaga Volcanic Cluster, Tanaga Island, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5094, 46 pp. LINK

Browne, B.L. (2006) Investigating Magma Withdrawal Dynamics During Plinian Eruptions Through Mineral and Eruptive Stratigraphies: Examples From the Chemically Zoned 400 yr BP Eruption of Half Cone Volcano, Aniakchak National Park, Alaska. Eos Trans. AGU, 87(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract V53E-05

Browne, B.L., Gardner, J.E., (2006) The Influence of Magma Ascent Path on the Texture, Mineralogy, and Formation of Hornblende Reaction Rims. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 246, 161-176. 

Eichelberger, J.C., Izbekov, P.E., Browne, B.L. (2006) Bulk Chemical Trends at Arc Volcanoes are not Liquid Lines of Descent. Lithos 87, 135-154.

Browne, B.L., Eichelberger, J.C., Patino, L.C., Vogel, T.A., Uto, K., Hoshizumi, H., (2006) Magma mingling as indicated by texture and geochemistry of plagioclase phenocrysts from Unzen volcano, SW Japan. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 154, 103-116.

Browne, B.L., Eichelberger, J.C., Patino, L.C., Vogel, T.A., Dehn, J., Uto, K., Hoshizumi, H., (2006) Generation of porphyritic and equigranular enclaves during magma mingling at Unzen volcano, SW Japan. Journal of Petrology 47, 301-328.

Browne, B.L., Gardner, J.E. (2005) The transport and deposition of pyroclastic material from the ~1000 A.D. caldera-forming eruption of Volcán Ceboruco, Nayarit, Mexico. Bulletin of Volcanology 67, 469-489.

Browne, B.L., Gardner J.E. (2004) The nature and timing of caldera collapse as indicated by accidental lithic fragments from the ~1000 A.D. eruption of Volcán Ceboruco, Mexico. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 130, 93- 105.


Coombs, M.L., McGimsey, R.G., and Browne, B.L. (2012) Geologic Map of Mount Gareloi, Gareloi Island, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 2012-3145, 1 plate LINK