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Profile Page

Christopher Kincaid
Professor of Oceanography

Educational Background

Ph.D., Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
M.A., Geophysics
B.A., Earth Science
The Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University
Wesleyan University

Areas of Specialization


Research interests are divided between the dynamics of Earth's interior and problems in coastal physical oceanography. We use 3D laboratory and numerical models to study circulation and thermal-chemical transport within Earth's mantle. Recent projects focus on the interaction between buoyant mantle plumes and plate subduction processes. We also use a combination of spatially and temporally detailed observational techniques, along with numerical modeling tools to study circulation and related physical-chemical-biological processes in estuarine systems like Narragansett Bay. Recent projects include developing coupled ecosystem models for Narragansett Bay and exploring the relationship between poor flushing within urban estuaries and chronic water quality problems.


I teach graduate courses on marine and environmental fluid dynamics, oceanographic modeling and geodynamics, along with an undergraduate course, The Ocean Planet, which covers topics ranging from planetary science to Earth system science.


Our group works closely with many local environmental and management groups including Save the Bay, the Narragansett Bay Commission and Save Bristol Harbor. We have run educational sessions on circulation processes in estuaries like Narragansett Bay with Save the Bay's Girls in Science summer program.


John Sifling
William Deleo
Dwight Coleman
Kurt Rosenberger
Diana Stram
Paul Hall
Deanna Bergondo
Justin Rogers
Michelle Aleszczyk
Amber Harris
Kelsey Druken
Anna Pfeiffer-Herbert
Christelle Balt
Sara Szwaja
Christina Wertman
Kevin Rosa
Tucker Sylvia
M.S. (co-advise)


Druken, K., M. Long and C. Kincaid, Patterns in seismic anisotropy driven by rollback subduction beneath the High Lava Plains, Geophys. Res. Lett. , vol. 38, L13310, doi:10.1029/2011GL047541, 2011

Druken, K., C. Kincaid and R. Griffiths, Directions of seismic anisotropy in laboratory models of mantle plumes, Geophy. Res. Lett., Vol. 40, 1-6, doi:10.1002/grl.50671, 2013

Druken, K., C. Kincaid, R. Griffiths, D. R. Stegman and S. Hart.  Plume-slab interaction:  The Samoan-Tonga System,  Phys., Earth Plan., Int. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ j.pepi.2014.03.003, 2014

Hall, P. S., and C. Kincaid, Melting, dehydration, and the geochemistry of off-axis plume-ridge interaction, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 5, Q12E18, doi:10.1029/2003GC000667, 2004

Kincaid, C., K. Druken, R. W. Griffiths and D. Stegman.  Bifurcation of the Yellowstone plume driven by subduction-induced mantle flow, Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo1774, 2013. 

Kincaid, C., D. Bergondo and K. Rosenberger, Circulation and exchange between lower Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound, in Ecosystem-based Estuary Management: A Case Study of Narragansett Bay, Springer Publ., ed. A. Desbonet, B. Costa-Pierce, 301-324, 2008.

Kincaid, C., The exchange of water through multiple entrances to the Mt. Hope Bay Estuary, Northeast Naturalist, 13(Spec. Issue 4), 117-144, 2006

Kincaid, C. and R. W. Griffiths, Variability in mantle flow and temperatures within subduction zones. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 5, Q06002, doi:10.1029/2003GC000666, 2004.

Kincaid, C., and R. W. Griffiths, Thermal evolution of the mantle during rollback subduction, Nature, 425, 58-62, 2003

Kremer, J. N., J. M. P. Vaudrey, D. S. Ullman, D. L. Bergondo, N. LaSota, C. Kincaid, D. L. Codiga, and M. J. Brush. Simulating property exchange in estuarine ecosystem models at ecologically appropriate scales, Ecological Modelling, 221: 1080-1088, 2010

Long, M., C. Till, K. Druken, R. Carlson, L. Wagner, M. Fouch, D. James, T. Grove, N. Schmerr and C. Kincaid. Mantle dynamics beneath the Pacific Northwest and the generation of voluminous back-arc volcanism.   Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 13, Q0AN01, doi:10.1029/2012GC004189, 2012

MacDougall, J. G., C. Kincaid, S. Szwaja and K. M. Fischer.   The impact of slab dip variations, gaps, and rollback on mantle wedge flow: insights from fluids experiments, Geophys. Journal Int.,  doi: 10.1093/gji/ggu053, 2014

Stram, D. C. Kincaid and D. Campbell, Water quality modeling in the Rio Chone Estuary, J. Coastal. Res., 21, 797-810, 2005

Ullman, D. S.,  D. L. Codiga, A. Pfeiffer-Herbert, and C. R. Kincaid.  An anomalous near-bottom cross-shelf intrusion of slope water on the southern New England continental shelf, J. Geophys. Res., 119, doi:10.1002/2013JC009259., 2014 

Ullman, D.,  D. Codiga, D. Hebert, L. Decker and C. Kincaid, Structure and dynamics of the midshelf front in the New York Bight,  J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 117, C01012, doi:10.1029/2011JC007553, 2012



Druken, K., C. Kincaid, R. Pockalny, R. Griffiths and S. Hart. Three-dimensional laboratory modeling of the Tonga trench and Samoan plume interaction. Eos Trans. AGU, 90(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract V31D-2000, 2009. (3rd best student paper award).

Druken, K., C. Kincaid, and R. Griffiths. Laboratory models of 3D mantle flow: Implications on the Northwest U.S. volcanism for plume and non-plume models. Eos Trans. AGU, 90(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract V53A-04, 2009. (Invited)

Druken, K., C. Kincaid, and R. Griffiths. Surface expressions of mantle upwellings: Expect the unexpected,  Abstract DI22A-03, 2011.

Kincaid, C., C. Balt, A. Pfeiffer-Herbert and D. Ullman.  Characterizing the influence of The Great 2010 Flood on circulation, flushing and chemical transport in Narragansett Bay, New England Est. Res. Soc., Fall 2012 Meeting Block Island (RI), , Oct. 11-13,  2012. 

Kincaid, C. R., J. MacDougall, K. Druken, and K. Fischer. Modeling 3-D flow in the mantle wedge with complex slab geometries: Comparisons with seismic anisotropy, AGU Fall Meeting, DI34A-02
TI, 2010

Kincaid, C., K. Druken and R. Griffiths. Subduction: The gatekeeper for mantle melting,  AGU Fall Meeting, DI43B-04
TI, 2011 (Invited)

Kincaid, C., K. Druken, R. Griffiths, M. Long, M. Behn and G. Hirth. Modeling mantle circulation and density distributions in subduction zones: Implications for seismic studies. Eos Trans. AGU, 90(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract S14A-04, 2009. (Invited)

MacDougall, S. Szwaja, C. Kincaid and K. Fischer, Experimental constraints on the impact of slab dips, gaps and rollback on mantle wedge flow (INVITED), Abstract 1484174, 2012 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 5-9 Dec., 2012

Szwaja, S.  C. Kincaid and K. Druken, Laboratory models of time-varying, three-dimensional flow and deformation of the mantle in subduction zones, Geo. Soc. Amer., Northeastern Sect., 47th Meet., 18-20 March 2012, Paper No.  25-3, 2012.  


Member for
7 years 2 weeks