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Richard John Arculus

Emeritus professor in geology, Australian National University

Professor Arculus is an igneous petrologist who has focussed on magmatism associated with convergent tectonic plate boundaries. The impact of plate recycling at subduction zones in terms of generation of the continental crust and overall geochemical evolution of the Earth are his prime interests.

During the past 30 years, he has focused on submarine volcanism, hydrothermalism, and tectonism of island arcs and backarcs, primarily in the western Pacific.

He has participated in and led many research voyages on Australian, New Zealand, and USA ships in these regions. Most recently, he was co-chief scientist of a research voyage that explored the submarine environs of Heard and Macdonald islands in the Southern Ocean.

He has been deeply engaged with the various incarnations of the deep sea drilling programs; these have included the lead investigator role in obtaining funding from the Australian Research Council for our national membership of the programs. He served as co-chief scientist aboard the International Ocean Discovery Program’s Expedition 351 in mid-2014; this expedition targeted the rock record of subduction zone inception and arc evolution of the Izu-Bonin-Mariana island arc.

He has received sustained research funding support from the National Science Foundation during his time in the USA, and subsequently from the Australian Research Council. He has published over 160 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.


  • –present
    Emeritus professor, Australian National University


  • 1973 
    University of Durham, PhD
  • 1970 
    University of Durham, BSc