My research over the last 5 decades or so has focussed on several topics. From initially studying the formation of igneous rocks from back-arc basins and island arcs my interests migrated more towards the formation of oceanic islands and large igneous provinces. However all of these systems are in many ways inter-related (after all they all co-exist on the same planet and involve the same fundamental processes) and the real fun comes from understanding the 'whole system' - the planet. Latterly I've enjoyed studying the links between large-scale volcanic eruptions - flood basalts - and climate change and mass extinctions. My research has taken me to all continents and many countries has used a variety of (generally quite expensive) geochemical techniques. and led to meeting lots of great people. I now enjoy reading what others are doing - especially in the study of exoplanets. I no longer teach alas but the students may think that that is a Good Thing.
My latest research has been studying the links between mantle plumes large igneous provinces and climate change. This is focused on the development of the Siberian Traps: was a mantle plume involved in their formation how long did they take to erupt and what was their impact on Earth’s climate?
(0) Fitton, J. G., Williams, R., Barry, T.L. and Saunders, A.D. 2020. The Role of Lithosphere Thickness in the Formation of Ocean Islands and Seamounts: Contrasts between the Louisville and Emperor-Hawaiian Hotspot Trails. Journal of Petrology 61(11-12). doi: 10.1093/petrology/egaa111.
Saunders, A.D. 2016. Two LIPs and two Earth-system crises: the impact of the North Atlantic Igneous Province and the Siberian Traps on the Earth-surface carbon cycle, Geological Magazine, 153, 201-222. doi:10.1017/S0016756815000175
Tapster, S., Roberts, N.M.W., Petterson, M.G., Saunders, A.D. and Naden, J. 2014. From continent to intra-oceanic arc: Zircon xenocrysts record the crustal evolution of the Solomon island arc, Geology, 42, 1087-1090. doi:10.1130/G36033.1
Coogan, L.A., Saunders, A.D. and Wilson, R.N. 2014. Aluminum-in-olivine thermometry of primitive basalts: Evidence of an anomalously hot mantle source for large igneous provinces. Chemical Geology, 368, 1-10. doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2014.01.004
Reichow, M.K., Pringle, M.S., Al'Mukhamedov, A.I., Allen, M.B., Andreichev, V.L., Buslov, M.M., Davies, C.E., Fedoseev, G.S., Fitton, J.G., Inger, S., Medvedev, A.Y., Mitchell, C., Puchkov, V.N., Safonova, I.Y., Scott, R.A., Saunders, A.D., 2009. The timing and extent of the eruption of the Siberian Traps large igneous province: Implications for the end-Permian environmental crisis, Earth Planet. Sci. Letters 277, 9-20. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2008.09.030
Saunders, A.D. and Reichow, M.K. 2009. The Siberian Traps and the End-Permian mass extinction: A critical review. Chinese Science Bulletin, 54, 20-37. doi:10.1007/s11434-008-0543-7
Saunders, A.D., Jones, S.M., Morgan, L.A., Pierce, K.L., Widdowson, M., Xu, Y.G. 2007. Regional uplift associated with continental large igneous provinces: The roles of mantle plumes and the lithosphere. Chemical Geology, 241, 282-318. doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2007.01.017
I am currently the Degree Accreditation Officer of the Geological Society. In addition to liaising with and assisting departments in their preparation for accreditation and re-accreditation of their degree programmes the role entails working with the Accreditation Committee and keeping abreast with national strategy on accreditation.