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Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Dr Jake Ciborowski is an igneous petrologist who uses geological and geochemical techniques to examine igneous systems preserved in the geological record.

Jake has published widely on Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) and continues to develop our understanding of how mantle processes operate to generate such important geological phenomena, how they relate to global tectonic processes, and the ways that they affect the biosphere. Jake’s current primary research focus lies in exploring the potential of LIPs being key mechanisms in driving fundamental change in Earth’s early atmosphere. Jake is a member of the Applied Geosciences Research Group.

Prior to working at Brighton, Jake was a Lecturer in Geology at National University of Ireland, Galway, a Teaching Fellow at Cardiff University, and a professional geoscientist with a number of mining and exploration companies based in both Canada and the UK. Jake has a PhD in Geology from Cardiff University and an MSci degree in Geology from Imperial College London.

Approach to teaching

My teaching is underpinned by advances in the latest published research, as well as from my own on-going projects. In the first year modules for which I have responsibility, I attempt to show how each of the fundamental principles of geology learnt in lecture can be applied to ‘real’ geoscience problems that you’ll encounter as a professional geologist. These applied problems are drawn from my own experience of working in research and the resource industry. I encourage group work early on in the degree as I feel very strongly that it helps build productive working relationships within the student cohort and enriches the learning experience for all.

In the later years of the degree the modules for which I have responsibility involve significant amounts of student-led, independent research where each student gets the opportunity to investigate and interrogate real geoscience research data to answer a question of applied importance. This is exemplified in the module 'Advanced Petrology', where students consider real mineral exploration research data aimed at characterising the economic potential of an igneous intrusion in the Midwestern US. The students are tasked with understanding how the intrusion formed, whether it might contain significant amounts of mineralisation, and where in the intrusion that mineralisation might be. This culminates with a student-led pitch where different student ‘exploration companies’ detail how the future exploration of the intrusion should be conducted in order to maximise any potential economic gain.

I am strongly committed to fieldwork, as I believe it not only helps students contextualise the material they study in lecture sessions, but that it is also one of the unique joys of doing a geoscience degree. In addition to leading UK and overseas field courses, I offer third year projects independent mapping projects to Snowdonia, where students have the opportunity to put every geological concept they have learnt over the course of their degree into practise in understanding one of the most interesting areas of geology in the country.

Research interests

My research falls into three main areas of interest, which have broad overlap in the field of Geochemistry.

The driving mechanisms of the Great Oxidation Event (GOE)

The GOE represents the first, sustained appearance of free oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere approximately 2.45 billion years ago. Debate continues as to the mechanism(s) which were responsible for driving this fundamental change in the Earth system and potential mechanisms that have been put forward include, the evolution of photosynthesis, changes in the geometry of continents, the loss of atmospheric components to space, and the secular changes in the composition of gases emitted by volcanoes. My ongoing research attempts to understand this critical period in Earth’s history, and the mechanisms which might have driven it.

Economic mineralisation in igneous systems

Igneous intrusions are an important source of a number of different commodities including Copper, Nickel and the Platinum Group Metals. Understanding the petrogenetic processes critical to forming economically feasible concentrations of these commodities is vital for the successful exploration of future deposits. My research into these mineralised systems involves using geochemistry to both define the economic potential of different igneous intrusions, model the petrogenetic processes at play in the intrusions, and ultimately understand the factors which control whether or not an intrusion has the potential to contain significant mineralisation.

Understanding ancient human mobility and societal development

As ancient human societies moved through landscapes, they developed complex raw material gathering networks to aid technological development. Being able to link technological artefacts to source regions is key to understanding how such societies developed. My research in this field aims to explore the potential for using geochemistry as a tool to match stone artefacts to likely outcrop sources.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Cardiff University

Award Date: 1 Apr 2013

Bachelor, Imperial College London

Award Date: 1 Aug 2008


  • QE Geology
  • Igneous Petrology
  • Geochemistry
  • Great Oxidation Event
  • Ore Genesis


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