Prof Randall Parrish

Prof Randall Parrish

Research Scientist

Location: Keyworth

Tel: 0115 936 3427

E-mail Prof Randall Parrish


  • Present: Head of NERC Earth Sector Facilities (geochronology and isotope geosciences) on behalf of the British Geological Survey
  •  1996 : Joint appointment with the University of Leicester's Department of Geology and the BGS


  • Climate change and tectonics
  • Depleted uranium and human exposure
  • Environmental isotope geochemistry
  • Heavy metal pollution, isotopic studies of metal bioavailability in soils
  • Himalayan geology
  • Isotope geochemistry and mass spectrometry
  • Management of large research groups/facilities
  • N American Cordilleran geology
  • Nuclear chemistry and isotope synthesis
  • Precambrian geology
  • Tectonics, structure and evolution of the continental crust
  • U-Th-Pb geochronology

Research interests

  • Accessory minerals in metamorphism: reactions, P-T conditions, and isotopic systematics with applications to the Himalaya
  • Dating of Quaternary carbonate rocks by high precision U-Pb dating in archaeology, hominid evolution, climate archives
  • Development of improved biomarkers for Pb exposure in population epidemiology using biological materials and teeth.
  • Exhumation of ultra high pressure metamorphic rocks and its chronometry
  • Himalayan tectonic evolution and Neogene erosion, mainly Bhutan, Tibet, India, Burma
  • Innovations in chemistry and mass spectrometry in U-Th-Pb dating and other isotopic systems, including plasma multicollector mass spectrometry
  • Provenance of sediments and dust and applications to Neogene erosion and climate change
  • The Neogene rise of the Coast Mountains of western Canada as a contributing cause of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation
  • The measurement of U isotopes in environmental and biological materials (esp. human urine): assessment of exposure to depleted uranium in military conflicts.
  • U-Th-Pb geochronology applied to a wide variety of applications using accessory minerals and carbonate, mainly using LA-ICP-MC-MS methods.

Not available

  • European EARTHTIME training network
  • Other NERC Facility grants dedicated to PhD student projects
  •  2011 –2014 : Dust storms and Chinese loess sources over the last 22 million years; NERC, 2011–1014
  •  2010 –2012 : Dating the "Taung Child" Australopithecus africanus type specimen through U-Pb measurements of associated calcite crystals; NERC, 2010–2012
  •  2009 –2012 : River capture in the Easternmost Himalaya:Testing erosion-tectonic feedback models using paleo-Brahmaputra deposits of the Bengal Basin, Bangladesh; NERC, 2009–2012
  •  2008 –2012 : The origin of short-lived nuclides in the early solar system: implications for the assembly of terrestrial bodies; STFC  2008–2012.

Professional association

  •  2009 : Peer Review College of NERC 2009–onwards
  •  2008 –2012 : NERC Cosmogenic Isotope Facility Steering Committee 2008–2012
  •  2008 : RAE 2008 Specialist Evaluation Panel for Geochronology (HEFCE)
  •  2008 –2009 :  NERC Coordinator for DU research 2008–2009
  •  2007 : Editor Precambrian Research 2007–onwards
  •  2005 : Earth Sciences Panel Expert, Norwegian Research Council 2005–present
  •  2005 –2014 : NERC Ion Microprobe Facility Steering Committee 2005–2014 (Chair)
  •  1996 : NERC Isotope Geosciences Facilities Steering Committee 1996–present

Published outputs

Key papers

Chambers, J, Parrish, R R, Argles, T, Harris, N, and Horstwood, M. 2011. A short duration pulse of ductile normal shear on the outer South Tibetan detachment in Bhutan: alternating channel flow and critical taper mechanics of the eastern Himalaya, Tectonics, doi:10.1029/2010TC002784, in press.

Foster, G L, Lunt, D J, Parrish, R R.  2010. Mountain uplift and glaciation of North America – A sensitivity study, Climates of the Past,  6, 1–10, 2010. doi:10.5194/cp-6-1-2010

Parrish, R R, Arneson, J, Brewer, T, Chenery, S, Lloyd, N, Carpenter, D. 2008. Depleted uranium contamination by inhalation exposure and its detection after >25 years: implications for health assessment. Science of the Total Environment, Science of the Total Environment v. 390, 58–68; doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2007.09.044.

Foster, G, Parrish, R R, Horstwood, M S A, Chenery, S, Pyle, J, & Gibson, H D. 2004. The generation of prograde P–T–t points and paths; a textural, compositional, and chronological study of metamorphic monazite. Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Horstwood, M S A, Parrish, R R, Nowell, G M, & Noble, S R. 2003. Accessory mineral U-Th-Pb geochronology by laser-ablation plasma-ionisation multi-collector mass spectrometry (LA-PIMMS). J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2003, 18, 837–846.