Experimental Geochemistry Lab (PI: Mike Krawczynski)
Our lab simulates planetary interior pressure and temperature conditions, and uses new ultra-precise analysis methods to measure element fractionation, phase equilibria, and isotopic partitioning and diffusion. The general goal of our research is to constrain the chemical fingerprints and time scales of melting and crystallization processes in the terrestrial planets and asteroids, and to determine rates and magnitudes of a variety of aspects of silicate and metal behavior that have previously proved difficult to determine. Combining a laboratory-based approach with thermodynamic, geochemical modeling, and petrographic studies, our lab is advancing the understanding of igneous processes in the solar system.
Fundamental questions that drive our research are: What is the role of volatiles in the crystallization and origin of subduction zone magmas? How does the crust on a variety of planets form and evolve? How long lived are magma chambers, and what is the relationship between intrusive and extrusive magmas?
Liquide immiscibility in synthetic Apollo 12 moon sample
Back scattered electron image of two olivine crystallization experiments. Both experiments were conducted at fO2 = IW+2. Experiment durations were 1 day (left) and 4 days (right). Experimental olivine crystals (dark gray) in the 4-day experiment ($50 mm diameter) are larger than those grown in the 1-day experiment ($20 mm). Additionally, the olivine grains are compositionally homogenous, i.e., there is no visible Fe zoning within the grains at the ± 0.5 wt.% FeO level. Read the paper here
U and Th dopped zircons grown in a 1-atm furnace under controlled oxygen fugacity
Shiveluch during the September 2017 eruption. See the photos and video of the fieldwork here
A (brief) tour of exciting topics in experimental petrology
150 ton piston cylinder (max P=4GPa and T=1500ºC)
Wabeco mini lathe
200 ton piston cylinder (max P=4GPa and T=1500ºC)
Leica petrographic microscope and binocular with camera for digital image analysis
Vertical tube furnace for cold-seal MHC pressure vessels (T<1300ºC with rapid quenching system) coupled with a gas intensifier (max. P=0.3GPa)
Precision welding station (left) and oxyacetylene torch (right)
Gas mixing Deltech furnaces (T<1600ºC under controlled fO2 with rapid quenching system)