Lindsay McHenry

Undergraduate Advisor & Coordinator; Professor
 Lapham Hall 324


PhD, Rutgers University
MS, Dartmouth College
BS, Dartmouth College

Research Interests

I use the composition of volcanic ash to correlate between archaeological sites in East Africa. Individual volcanic eruptions produce and deposit volcanic ash layers of distinct compositions that can often be uniquely identified over broad areas. Where these ashes are preserved between stratigraphic layers of archaeological interest, we can create stratigraphic frameworks for important evolutionary and cultural changes throughout a region.

I am also interested in Mars geology, and finding terrestrial analogues for the minerals, sediments, and geochemistry of the Martian surface. Much of the Martian surface, as documented by the MER Spirit and Opportunity rovers and recent and current orbiters, likely consists of altered volcanic material. These deposits are also enriched in sulfate minerals, likely the products of dirty evaporites during a wetter episode of Mars’ past or possibly sulfur-rich volcanic fumaroles. I am interested in studying places on Earth where sulfate minerals are formed during the alteration of volcanic materials, under both volcanic and aqueous conditions.

Teaching Areas


Selected Publications

McHenry, L. J., Njau, J. K., de la Torre, I., & Pante, M. C. (2016, January (1st Quarter/Winter)). Geochemical “fingerprints” for Olduvai Gorge Bed II tuffs and implications for the Oldowan–Acheulean transition. Quaternary Research, 85(1), 147–158.
Novek, J. M., Dornbos, S. Q., & McHenry, L. J. (2016). Palaeoredox geochemistry and bioturbation levels of the exceptionally preserved early Cambrian Indian Springs biota. Lethaia, 49, 604–616.
Kloss, T. J., Dornbos, S. Q., Chen, J., McHenry, L. J., & Marenco, P. J. (2015). High-resolution geochemical evidence for oxic bottom waters in three Cambrian Burgess Shale-type deposits. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 440, 90-95.
McHenry, L. J., Stollhofen, H., & Stanistreet, I. G. (2013, September). Use of single-grain geochemistry of cryptic tuffs and volcaniclastic sandstones improves the tephrostratigraphic framework of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Quaternary Research, 80(2), 235-249.
McHenry, L. J. (2012, August). A revised stratigraphic framework for Olduvai Gorge Bed I based on tuff geochemistry. Journal of Human Evolution, 63(2), 284-299.
de la Torre, I., McHenry, L. J., Njau, J., & Pante, M. (2012). The origins of the Acheulean at Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania): A new paleoanthropological project in East Africa. Archaeology International, 15, 89-98.
McHenry, L. J., Chevrier, V., & Schröder, C. (2011). Jarosite in a Pleistocene East African saline ‐ alkaline paleolacustrine deposit: Implications for Mars aqueous geochemistry. Journal of Geophysical Research, 116, E04002.
McHenry, L. J., Chevrier, V., & Schröder, C. (2011, April (2nd Quarter/Spring)). Occurrence of jarosite in a saline-alkaline paleo-lake deposit: implications for Mars aqueous geochemistry. Journal of Geophysical Research, Journal of Geophysical Research, 116, 15.