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Petrology, Geochemistry, Mineralogy & Mineral Physics

Research in petrology, geochemistry, mineralogy and mineral physics includes a wide variety of collaborations across the department and school.

The investigation of mineralogy and earth materials explores relationships between atomic-level structure and the properties of earth materials, such as minerals, melts, and glass, through experiments and modelling.

Field-based petrology studies, augmented by chemical and isotopic analyses and petrologic modelling, help to determine the origins and evolution of magmas and their relation to tectonic setting, particularly magmatism related to continental extension, large silicic calderas, granitic batholiths, mafic layered intrusions, and mafic supra-subduction arcs.

Volcanology researchers study explosive eruptions, evolution of volcanic centers, physics of magma emplacement and its relation to deformation of the crust through field work, geochronology, and physical modelling, commonly with an eye toward hazards assessment and mitigation.

Metamorphic petrology studies investigate geothermometry, geobarometry, and geospeedometry based on the transformation of rocks in response to the changes in temperature and pressure, in particular to understand tectonism and heat and mass transfer in the Earth's crust.

Hydrothermal geochemistry research studies the chemical and physical processes related to groundwater circulation near magma chambers, by theoretically investigating the properties of solution-mineral reactions to predict the nature of elemental mass transfer by reactive hydrothermal fluids and testing the hypotheses through detailed analysis of vein systems and mineralization found in magma-hydrothermal systems formed during crustal rifting in Iceland and Greenland; volcanological controls on the occurrence of geothermal systems in rhyolitic caldera systems.

Topics of Study

Diamond Anvil Cells and Ultra-High P/T Experimental Method
Profile: Wendy Mao (GES)

Mantle Geochemistry
Profile: Jessica Warren (GES)

Cation field strength effects on high pressure aluminosilicate glass structure
Profile: Jonathan Stebbins (GES)

Tectonic controls on the nature of large silicic calderas in volcanic arcs
Profile: Gail Mahood (GES)

High- and Ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism in the North Qaidam and South Altyn Terranes
Profile: Dennis Bird (GES)

Origins of Thiadiamondoids and Diamondoidthiols in Petroleum
Profile: Michael Moldowan (GES)

Geological Sequestration of CO2: Mechanisms and Kinetics of CO2 Reactions with Mg-Silicates
Profile: Gordon Brown (GES), Dennis Bird (GES), and Kate Maher (GES)