Paul R. Renne
Director
Faculty Researcher & Geochronologist

prenne@bgc.org

Paul R. Renne received his Ph.D. in Geology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1987. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University, he returned to Berkeley in 1990 as a Research Associate at the Institute of Human Origins and became Director of Geochronology in 1991. He was the founding Director of the Berkeley Geochronology Center in 1994, and has served in that role (and as Board President) since then with a hiatus from 2000 to 2003. Renne is a Professor in Residence in the Earth and Planetary Science Department at U.C. Berkeley, where he teaches courses in petrology and field geology, and serves as formal BLANK

Paul R. Renne

research advisor to graduate students and postdocs. Renne specializes in 40Ar/39Ar geochronology and paleomagnetism applied to broad topics in the evolution of Earth’s biosphere and lithosphere, and to the relationships between these and extraterrestrial processes such as meteoroid impacts in the inner solar system. He is also heavily engaged in refinement of methodologies for these techniques. Renne’s contributions to his field were recognized by the American Geophysical Union in 2005 with the Bowen Award "…for innovations in high-precision Ar-Ar dating and for application of these techniques to refining the geologic and paleomagnetic timescales, to paleoanthropology, and, most notably, to ages and durations of LIP volcanism and their relationship to mass extinctions and global environmental crises". Renne is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Profile on Google Scholar

Primary Areas of Research Interest
Investigating the causes and consequences of Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs)
  • What triggers LIPs and controls their eruptive tempo?
     

  • What fraction of climate-modifying gases are released from magmas passively before they erupt?
     

  • How did the Chicxulub impact affect the Deccan Traps magma system at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary?
     

IMG_0258.jpg
Timing and drivers of major biotic events in Earth history
Timing and drivers of major biotic events in Earth history
  • Causes, timing and tempo of mass extinctions and recoveries
     

  • Calibration of the geological time scale
     

  • Phylogenetic history of H. sapiens, including the archeological record

Improving the accuracy and precision of ⁴⁰Ar/³⁹Ar geochronology
  • Refining neutron irradiation sources and strategies
     

  • Intercalibration of standards and improved calibration of decay constants
     

  • Intercalibration with other geochronometers, e.g., U/Pb

HFNG.jpg
Drilling.jpeg
Application of paleomagnetism to Earth history
  • Clarifying the nature and timing of geomagnetic polarity reversals
     

  • Constraining the accretion history of western North American terranes
     

  • Understanding the physicochemical mechanisms of rock magnetism

Selected Publications

Morgan*, L.E., and Renne, P.R., 2008, Diachronous Dawn of Africa's Middle Stone Age: New 40Ar/39Ar ages from the Ethiopian Rift: Geology 36: 967-970. doi: 10.1130/G25213A.1

Renne, P.R., Arenillas, I., Arz, J.A., Vajda, V., Gilabert, V., and Bermúdez, H.D., 2018, Multi-proxy record of the Chicxulub impact at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary from Gorgonilla Island, Colombia: Geology 46: 547-550. DOI: 10.1130/G40224.1

 

Rutte**, D., Renne, P.R., Morrell, J., Qi, L.Q., Ayllon, M., van Bibber, K., Wilson, J. Becker, T.A., Batchelder, J., Bernstein, L.A., Lebois, M., James, J., Chong, S.A., Heriot, W.L., Wallace, M., Marcial, A., Johnson, C., Woolley, G., and Adams, P.A., 2019, Boutique neutrons advance 40Ar/39Ar geochronology: Science Advances 5, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw5526

 

Sprain*, C.J., Renne, P.R., Vanderkluysen, L., Pande, K., Self., S., and Mittal, T., 2019, The eruptive tempo of Deccan volcanism in relation to the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary: Science 363, 866-870,  DOI: 10.1126/science.aav1446

 

Sprain*, C.J., Renne, P.R., Clemens, W.A., and Wilson, G.P., 2018, Calibration of chron C29r: New high-precision geochronologic and paleomagnetic constraints from the Hell Creek region, Montana: Geological Society of America Bulletin 130, 1615-1644. DOI: 10.1130/B31890.1

*Students     **Postdocs

Paul R. Renne
Director
Faculty Researcher & Geochronologist

prenne@bgc.org

Paul R. Renne received his Ph.D. in Geology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1987. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University, he returned to Berkeley in 1990 as a Research Associate at the Institute of Human Origins and became Director of Geochronology in 1991. He was the founding Director of the Berkeley Geochronology Center in 1994, and has served in that role (and as Board President) since then with a hiatus from 2000 to 2003. Renne is a Professor in Residence in the Earth and Planetary Science Department at U.C. Berkeley, where he teaches courses in petrology and field geology, and serves as formal research advisor to graduate students and postdocs. Renne specializes in 40Ar/39Ar geochronology and paleomagnetism applied to broad topics in the evolution of Earth’s biosphere and lithosphere, and to the relationships between these and extraterrestrial processes such as meteoroid impacts in the inner solar system. He is also heavily engaged in refinement of methodologies for these techniques. Renne’s contributions to his field were recognized by the American Geophysical Union in 2005 with the Bowen Award "…for innovations in high-precision Ar-Ar dating and for application of these techniques to refining the geologic and paleomagnetic timescales, to paleoanthropology, and, most notably, to ages and durations of LIP volcanism and their relationship to mass extinctions and global environmental crises". Renne is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Profile on Google Scholar

Paul R. Renne
Primary Areas of Research Interest
Investigating the causes and consequences of Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs)

  • What triggers LIPs and controls their eruptive tempo?
     

  • What fraction of climate-modifying gases are released from magmas passively before they erupt?
     

  • How did the Chicxulub impact affect the Deccan Traps magma system at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary?
     

IMG_0258.jpg
Timing and drivers of major biotic events in Earth history
Timing and drivers of major biotic events in Earth history

  • Causes, timing and tempo of mass extinctions and recoveries
     

  • Calibration of the geological time scale
     

  • Phylogenetic history of H. sapiens, including the archeological record

Improving the accuracy and precision
of ⁴⁰Ar/³⁹Ar geochronology

  • Refining neutron irradiation sources and strategies
     

  • Intercalibration of standards and improved calibration of decay constants
     

  • Intercalibration with other geochronometers, e.g., U/Pb

HFNG.jpg
Drilling.jpeg
Application of paleomagnetism to Earth history

  • Clarifying the nature and timing of geomagnetic polarity reversals
     

  • Constraining the accretion history of western North American terranes
     

  • Understanding the physicochemical mechanisms of rock magnetism

Selected Publications

Morgan*, L.E., and Renne, P.R., 2008, Diachronous Dawn of Africa's Middle Stone Age: New 40Ar/39Ar ages from the Ethiopian Rift: Geology 36: 967-970. doi: 10.1130/G25213A.1

Renne, P.R., Arenillas, I., Arz, J.A., Vajda, V., Gilabert, V., and Bermúdez, H.D., 2018, Multi-proxy record of the Chicxulub impact at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary from Gorgonilla Island, Colombia: Geology 46: 547-550. DOI: 10.1130/G40224.1

 

Rutte**, D., Renne, P.R., Morrell, J., Qi, L.Q., Ayllon, M., van Bibber, K., Wilson, J. Becker, T.A., Batchelder, J., Bernstein, L.A., Lebois, M., James, J., Chong, S.A., Heriot, W.L., Wallace, M., Marcial, A., Johnson, C., Woolley, G., and Adams, P.A., 2019, Boutique neutrons advance 40Ar/39Ar geochronology: Science Advances 5, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw5526

 

Sprain*, C.J., Renne, P.R., Vanderkluysen, L., Pande, K., Self., S., and Mittal, T., 2019, The eruptive tempo of Deccan volcanism in relation to the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary: Science 363, 866-870,  DOI: 10.1126/science.aav1446

 

Sprain*, C.J., Renne, P.R., Clemens, W.A., and Wilson, G.P., 2018, Calibration of chron C29r: New high-precision geochronologic and paleomagnetic constraints from the Hell Creek region, Montana: Geological Society of America Bulletin 130, 1615-1644. DOI: 10.1130/B31890.1

*Students     **Postdocs