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Phone: 979-845-3380
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Texas A&M University
Room 411B, Oceanography and Meteorology (O&M) Building
MS 3146,
College Station, Texas 77843

Dr. Mitch Lyle


Ph.D. Oceanography, Oregon State University, 1978

B.S. Geology with honors, The University of Michigan, 1973

Research Interests

  1. Paleoceanography of the Cenozoic Pacific.
  2. The North American water cycle: linkages between the North Pacific paleoceanographic change and precipitation in the US (emphasis on western US) on both Cenozoic and millennial time scales.
  3. Biogenic sedimentation and  feedbacks between the carbon cycle and climate.
  4. Regional seismic stratigraphy of the Pacific Ocean.
  5. Pleistocene dynamics of the California Current system.
  6. Using high-resolution seismic reflection and ocean drilling for basin analysis and climatic reconstructions.
  7. Physical properties of sediments (bulk density, magnetic susceptibility, p-wave velocity, color): how they encode sedimentological changes and climate signals.

Courses Taught

OCNG 251: Oceanography

GEOS 410: Global Change

GEOS 442/642: Past Climates

OCNG 605: Oceanography Cruise

OCNG 670: Deep Sea Sediments


  • 8/05-8/07 NSF-ODP A drilling site survey for the South Pacific Paleogene Latitudinal Transect.
  • 2/05-2/09 NSF-EAR Collaborative Research: Water balance of western North America - Dynamics of the Miocene summer monsoon.
  • 9/05-8/10 NSF-ODP A site survey in support of IODP proposal 626-Full--Cenozoic Pacific equatorial age transect: Following the palaeo-equator.
  • 7/09-6/13 NSF-OCE Th-230 dynamics in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean: testing the Th-230 normalization method to estimate sediment fluxes
  • 1/10-1/14 NSF-ODP IODP Expedition Objective Research: Neogene productivity and biogenic sedimentation in the equatorial Pacific
  • 3/12-3/13 NSF-OCE Collaborative Research: Coring the Line Islands Ridge for paleoceanographic research

Recent Field Programs

2005 Co-chief scientist, Tui Malia Expedition Leg 3 (R/V Melville) Site survey for IODP to study Cenozoic changes in the Antarctic-temperate ocean transition

2006 Co-chief scientist, AMAT Expedition Leg 3 (R/V Revelle) joint US-UK site survey for IODP Cenozoic equatorial Pacific drilling.

2009 Co-chief scientist, IODP Expedition 321 (JOIDES Resolution) Pacific equatorial age transect

2010 shorebased co-chief scientist, MV1014 (R/V Melville) geophysical and geochemical studies of erosion and sediment flux in the eastern equatorial Pacific

2012 MGL1208 (R/V Marcus Langseth) Coring the Line Islands Ridge (central Equatorial Pacific) for paleoceanographic research

Recent Papers

2012 M. Lyle, L. Heusser, C. Ravelo, M. Yamamoto, J. Barron, N. Diffenbaugh, T. Herbert, D. Andreasen. Out of the Tropics: The Pacific, Great Basin Lakes, and Late Pleistocene Water Cycle in the Western United States. Science 337, 1629-1633

2012 H. Pälike, M. Lyle, H. Nishi, I Raffi, and the Exp 320/321 Shipboard Scientific Party. A Cenozoic record of the equatorial Pacific carbonate compensation depth. Nature, 488, 609-614

2012 J. LaRiviere, A.C. Ravelo, A. Crimmins, P. Dekens, H. Ford, M. Lyle, M. Wara. Late Miocene decoupling of oceanic warmth and atmospheric carbon dioxide forcing. Nature, 486, 97-100.

2012 C. Piela, M. Lyle, F. Marcantonio, J. Baldauf, A. Olivarez-Lyle. Biogenic sedimentation in the equatorial Pacific: Carbon cycling and paleoproduction, 12–24 Ma. Paleoceanography. 27, PA2204, doi:10.1029/2011PA002236.

2011 M. Tominaga, M. Lyle, N.C. Mitchell. Seismic interpretation of pelagic sedimentation regimes in the 18–53 Ma eastern equatorial Pacific: Basin-scale sedimentation and infilling of abyssal valleys. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 12, Q03004, doi:10.1029/2010GC00334, 22 pp.

2011 A. Singh, F. Marcantonio, M. Lyle. Sediment focusing in the Panama Basin, eastern equatorial Pacific. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 309 (2011) 33–44.

2010 M. Lyle, L. Heusser, A.C. Ravelo, D. Andreassen, A. Olivarez Lyle, N. Diffenbaugh. Pleistocene water cycle and eastern boundary current processes along the California continental margin. Paleoceanography, 25, 2010.

2010 M. Lyle, H. Palike, H. Nishi, I. Raffi, K. Gamage, A. Klaus, and the IODP Expedition320/321 Scientific Party. The Pacific Equatorial Age Transect, IODP Expeditions 320 and 321: Building a 50-million-year-long environmental record of the Equatorial Pacific Scientific Drilling, no 9, April 2010.

2009 L. Libery, T. Pratt, M. Lyle, and I . Madin. Neotectonic analysis of Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon: New insights from seismic reflection data. Oldow & Cashman (eds), GSA Special Paper 447, 71-82.

2009 S. Hess, J. Fairley, J. Bradford, M. Lyle, W. Clement. Evidence for composite hydraulic architecture in an active fault system based on 3D seismic reflection, time-domain electromagnetics and temperature data Near Surface Geophysics, 2009,

2009 L. Waddell, I. Hendy, T.C. Moore, M. Lyle. Ventilation of the abyssal Southern Ocean during the late Neogene: A new perspective from the subantarctic Pacific (Waddell, Hendy, Moore, and Lyle) Paleoceanography, 24, PA3206, doi: 10.1029/2008PA001661, 15 pp.

2008 Lyle, M., Barron, J., Bralower, T.J., Huber, M., Olivarez Lyle, A., Ravelo, A.C., Rea, D.K., and Wilson, P.A., The Pacific Ocean and the Cenozoic evolution of climate: Reviews of Geophysics, v. 46, RG2002, 47pp.

2007 Lyle, M., Gibbs, S., Moore Jr., T.C., and Rea, D.K., Late Oligocene initiation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current: Evidence from the South Pacific: Geology, v. 35, p. 691-694.

2007 Moore , T.C. jr., Mitchell, N.C., Lyle, M., Backman, J., and Pälike, H., , Hydrothermal pits in the biogenic sediments of the equatorial Pacific Ocean: Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, v. 8,  doi:10.1029/2006GC001501.

2007 Lyle, M., Pisias, N.G., Paytan, A., Martinez, J.I., and Mix, A.,  Reply to comment by R. Francois et al. on ‘‘Do geochemical estimates of sediment focusing pass the sediment test in the equatorial Pacific?’’: Further explorations of 230Th normalization: Paleoceanography, v. 22,  PA1217, 1-5. doi:10.1029/2006PA001373

2006 Olivarez Lyle, A., and Lyle, M.,  Organic carbon and barium in Eocene sediments: Is metabolism the biological feedback that maintains end-member climates?: Paleoceanography, v. 21, p. 1-13; doi:10.1029/2005PA001230.

2006 Rea, D.K., Lyle, M., Liberty, L.M., Hovan, S.A., Bolyn, M.P., Gleason, J.D., Hendy, I.L., Latimer, J.C., Murphy, B.M., Owen, R.M., Paul, C.F., Rea, T.H.C., Stancin, A.M., and Thomas, D.J., Broad region of no sediment in the Southwest Pacific Basin: Geology, v. 34, p. 873-876; doi:10.1130/G22864.1.

2006 Lyle, M., and Wilson, P.A., Leg 199 Synthesis: Evolution of the equatorial Pacific in the early Cenozoic, in Lyle, M., Wilson, P., and Firth, J., eds., Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, Volume 199: College Station TX, Ocean Drilling Program, p. 1-35, doi:10.2973/

2005 Lyle, M.W., Olivarez Lyle, A., Backman, J., and Tripati, A.,  Biogenic sedimentation in the Eocene equatorial Pacific: the stuttering greenhouse and Eocene carbonate compensation depth, in Lyle, M., Wilson, P., and Firth, J., eds., Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, Volume 199: College Station TX, Ocean Drilling Program, p. 1-35 doi:10.2973/

2005 Lyle, M., Mitchell, N.C., Pisias, N., Mix, A., Martinez, J.I., and Paytan, A.,  Do geochemical estimates of sediment focusing pass the sediment test in the equatorial Pacific?: Paleoceanography, v. 20, doi:10.1029/2004PA001019.

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