Lizzy Trower
Assistant Professor
Geological Sciences


I am a chemical sedimentologist: I study how and why chemical sediments form and lithify, with the goal of better understanding how chemical sedimentary rocks (e.g., carbonates, chert, iron formations) record chemical, physical, and biological paleoenvironmental conditions. Chemical sediments provide a key geobiological record – preserving a physical record of fossil life forms and depositional environments and a geochemical record of seawater and pore fluid chemistry. I am particularly interested in applying my work to Precambrian chemical sediments, which formed prior to the evolution of biomineralizing organisms. My research encompasses lab experiments, modeling, petrography, in situ geochemistry, and fieldwork, spanning modern environments to Precambrian time. My general philosophy is to use experiments and models to understand some key process – for example, abrasion of carbonate sand – then move to a modern environment to test how well these models work in a natural system, and finally to apply what I have learned to the rock record to decipher something new about an ancient surface environment.


process sedimentology, Precambrian sedimentology, chemical sediments, sediment transport, historical geobiology, Si isotope geochemistry

Department Topic Areas

Education and Training

  • Ph.D. Stanford 2014
  • B.S. Caltech 2009