Geosciences professor awarded Fulbright for 2023-2024

Geosciences professor, Derek Schutt
Derek Schutt, Fulbright award winner 2023-2024

Adapted from a U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs press release.

Derek Schutt, a Colorado State University professor of geophysics in the Warner College of Natural Resources Department of Geosciences, has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award for the 2023-2024 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Schutt is among over 800 U.S. citizens who will conduct research and/or teach abroad for the 2023-2024 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Fulbrighters engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks, often continuing research collaborations started abroad and laying the groundwork for forging future partnerships between institutions.

Schutt will work with petrologists and geochemists Enikő Bali and Guðmundur Guðfinnsson of the University of Iceland on the temperature, extent, and other properties of the Icelandic mantle plume. A mantle plume is a hot upwelling from deep within the Earth that produces partial melting as it ascends, often producing volcanic eruptions at the surface. At Iceland, a mantle plume intersects a mid-ocean spreading ridge, where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates move apart approximately three centimeters per year. The interaction of this plume and the mid-ocean ridge system is responsible for Iceland’s existence.

Map of seismic ray paths under Iceland and Greenland.
Potential seismic ray paths that will be used to estimate the temperature of the upper mantle under Iceland and Greenland.

“Derek is an exceptional member of the international geophysical research community. In particular, his integration of seismology, rock physics, mineralogy, and ability to interrogate the large-scale geological and geophysical processes that shape our planet, is unparalleled,” said Rick Aster, geophysics professor and head of CSU’s Department of Geosciences. “He merges these discrete disciplines with geophysical images of the Earth’s deep interior to drive new understanding of our planet, and I am thrilled that he will now be working with Icelandic colleagues to study the mantle plume there.”

Schutt will live in Iceland for an entire year, starting in August 2023, but before starting his his time as a Fulbrighter, Schutt will make a stop at the University of Bristol for six weeks as a “Next Generation Visiting Researcher,” focusing on lithosphere and asthenospheric tomography, and physical state mapping.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and Colorado State University was recently named one of the top producers of Fulbright scholars.

“I hope to build a long-term collaboration with Iceland, both in terms of research and sharing students,” Schutt said.