My name is Jason Ott, and I am a Ph.D. student in the graduate program in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington studying the deformation and rheology of amphibole minerals in subduction zones. My current research involves mapping the minerals and their orientation in naturally deformed blueschist samples by electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) and using these maps to try and understand how these rocks are deforming deep in the Earth. Connecting the work on these natural rocks with deformation experiments on glaucophane, the dominant amphibole mineral in many blueschists, will help us better understand the deformation behavior of these rocks in particular and the dynamics of subduction zones as a whole. 


Subduction zones are the complex regions where oceanic crust dives into the Earth to be recycled, and are a key element to understanding the plate tectonics of our home planet. Subduction zones host some of the most dangerous hazards on our planet, including megathrust earthquakes, tsunamis, and explosive volcanism-and are often in close proximity to population centers. Therefore, the work we do to better understand them is of importance beyond the scientific community.


I recently completed my Master of Science in research at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the mineral physics research group, where I utilized my background in Earth science, physics, and chemistry to study the metastability of the amphibole mineral tremolite under pressures and temperatures relevant to conditions in the deep crust and upper mantle.

My research was focused on experimentally constraining the structural and thermodynamic properties of minerals using high-pressure apparatus—such as the diamond anvil cell—and high-energy methods of sample interrogation including lasers (Raman spectroscopy) and X-rays (X-ray diffraction) in order to quantify changes in the stability, structure, and bonding environment of amphiboles and better understand the dynamics of the planet we call home.

Under the tutelage of my advisor at the UCSC, Dr. Quentin Williams, my Master's thesis explored the metastability of the amphibole mineral tremolite, a hydrated mineral phase that is up to 2 weight-percent water in the form of hydroxyl units (O-H). Tremolite is a common mineral in subduction zones, often seen in metamorphosed oceanic crust and lithified calcium-bearing sediments, and is also present in specimens of subduction-zone associated upper-mantle material that have been brought to the surface by volcanic activity. Dehydration of tremolite and other hydrated minerals releases water into subduction zones, where it infiltrates the mantle material and drives the partial melting that ultimately leads to the formation of volcanic arcs on the surface (e.g., the Pacific Ocean's Ring of Fire). Understanding the cycling of water that is chemically bound to hydrated minerals through subduction zones will therefore also inform our understanding of these important geologic hazards at the surface.



University of California, Santa Cruz CA

M.S. Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences


University of Washington, Seattle WA

B.S. cum laude (with Honors: Department of Earth and Space Sciences)


Seattle Central College, Seattle WA



University of Washington, Seattle WA

Ph.D. Student, Department of Earth and Space Sciences