Jim Beard

Dr. Jim Beard, Curator Emeritus of Earth Sciences

Dr. Jim Beard, Curator Emeritus of Earth Sciences

"I spent a lot of time outdoors as a child and was always interested in nature. My childhood dream was to become a botanist, but after taking my first geology course in college, I knew that geology was it for me."

- Dr. Jim Beard on what inspired him to pursue a career in science


Dr. Jim Beard (retired)
Curator of Earth Sciences

Professional Titles

  • Curator of Earth Sciences, Virginia Museum of Natural History (retired)
  • Adjunct Professor of Geology at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA


  • Ph.D. in Geology, Univ. of California, Davis, 1985
  • B.S. in Geology, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1978

Research Interests

  • Origin and evolution of granitoid rocks in continental and oceanic settings
  • Mineralogy of metamorphosed manganese deposits
  • High temperature metamorphism and partial melting
  • Serpentinization and low-T metamorphism in oceanic environments
  • Geochemical characteristics of Lägestatten

Professional Service

  • Member, shipboard scientific party, Ocean Drilling Program Leg 173 (1997) and Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Exp. 305 (2005)
  • Session organizer and chair, igneous and metamorphic petrology, Goldschimdt Conference, 2001
  • Organizer, Ragland Symposium, SE GSA, Spring 2006
  • MSA representative to GSA Joint Technical Program Committee, 2002-
  • Associate editor, Canadian Mineralogist, 2009-2011
  • Associate editor, Journal of Petrology, 2011-
  • Founding Chair, GSA division for Mineralogy, Geochemistry, Petrology and Volcanology (MGPV) 2009-10
  • Chair, Natural Resources Working Group, Fort Monroe (inter-agency task force) 2009
  • Rotating Program Officer, NSF/GEO/OCE, Dec 2011-Jan 2014
  • Fellow, Mineralogical Society of America

Selected Publications

  • Hopkinson, L., Beard, J.S., and Boulter, C. (2004) The hydrothermal plumbing of a serpentinite-hosted detachment:  Evidence from the West Iberia non-volcanic rifted continental margin. Marine Geology, v.204, p.301-315.
  • Beard, J.S., Ragland, P.C., and Rushmer, T. (2004) Hydration Crystallization reactions between anhydrous minerals and hydrous melt to yield amphibole and biotite in igneous rocks: description and implications. Journal of Geology, v.112, p.617-621.
  • Beard, J.S., Ragland, P.C., and Crawford, M.L. (2005) Reactive bulk assimilation: a model for crust-mantle mixing in silicic magmas. Geology, v.33, p.681-684.
  • Beard, J.S., Ragland, P.C., and Crawford, M.L. (2005) Using incongruent, equilibrium hydration reactions to model latter-stage crystallization in plutons: examples from the Bell Island tonalite, Alaska.  Journal of Geology, v.113, p.589-599.
  • Beard, J.S., Sorensen, S.S., and Giere, R. (2006) REE Zoning in Allanite Related to Changing Partition Coefficients During Crystallization: Implications for Behavior in an Epidote-Bearing Tonalite. Mineralogical Magazine, v.70, p.419-435.
  • Ildefonse, B., Blackman, D.K., John, B.E., Ohara, Y., Miller, D.J., MacLeod, C.J., Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expeditions 304/305 Science Party (2007) Oceanic core complexes and crustal accretion at slow-spreading ridges. Geology, v.35, p. 623-626.
  • Frost, B.R. and Beard, J.S. (2007) On silica activity and serpentinization. Journal of Petrology, v.48, p.1351-1368.
  • Beard, J.S. (2008) Crystal-melt separation and the development of isotopic heterogeneity in hybrid magmas. Journal of Petrology, v. 49, p.1027-1041.
  • Beard, J.S. (2008) The rift-to-drift transition in the southern North Atlantic: A stuttering start of the MORB machine?: Comment. Geology, v.36, p.e174 doi: 10.1130/G24775C.1.
  • Frost, B.R., Beard, J.S., McCaig, A., and Condliffe, E. (2008) The formation of micro-rodingites from IODP Hole U1309D: key to understanding the process of serpentinization. Journal of Petrology, v. 49,  p.1579-1588.
  • Severs, M.J., Beard, J.S., Bodnar, R.J., Hanchar, J.M., and Mutchler, S.R. (2009) Distribution of trace elements (REE. Sr, Ba, Y, Ti, Zr, Hf, Nb, Pb) between dacitic melt, plagioclase, orthopyroxene, and clinopyroxene: evidence from laser ablation analysis of silicate melt inclusions. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, v.73, p.2123-2141.
  • Beard, J.S., Frost, B.R., Fryer, P., McCaig, A., Searle, R., Ildefonse, B., Zinin, P., and Sharma, S.K. (2009) Onset and progression of serpentinization and magnetite formation in olivine-rich troctolite, core 227, IODP Hole U1309D. Journal of  Petrology, v.50, p.387-403.
  • Luitkus, C.M., Beard, J.S., Fraser, N.C., and Ragland, P.C. (2010) Use of fine scale stratigraphy and chemostratigraphy to evaluate conditions of deposition and preservation in a Triassic lagerstätte, south-central Virginia.  Journal of Paleolimnology, v.44, p.645-666.
    Beard J.S. (2010) Reconnaissance mineralogy of the Eocene Mole Hill diatreme, Rockingham County, Virginia.  Jeffersoniana, v. 25, p.1-17.
  • Blackman. D.K. and IODP 304-305 Science Party (2011). Drilling Constraints on Lithospheric Accretion and Evolution at Atlantis Massif, Mid-Atlantic Ridge 30N. Journal of Geophysical Research, v.116, BO7103, doi:10.1029/2010JB007931.
  • Frost, B.R., Evans, K., Swapp, S.M., Beard, J.S. and Mothersole, F.E. (2013) The Process of Serpentinization in Dunite from New Caledonia.  Lithos v.178, p.24-39.
  • Tappa, M.J., Ayuso, R.A, Bodnar, R.J., Aylor, J.G., Beard, J.S., Henika, W.S., Vazquez, J.A., and Wooden, J.L. (2014) Age of Host Rocks at the Coles Hill uranium deposit, Pittsylvania County, Virginia, based on zircon U/Pb geochronology. Economic Geology, v.109, p.513-530.
  • Hibbard, J.P., Beard, J.S., Henika, W.S., and Horton, J.W. (in press) The Western Piedmont. In, Bailey, C., and Hibbard, J. eds. Geology of Virginia.
map of Virginia and surrounding areas

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