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RESEARCH INTERESTS

Noble gas distributions in olivine

Noble gas isotopic ratios are one of the few tools we have to study the deep mantle. Finding these rare gases, however, can be difficult. I am developing techniques to better identify noble gas-bearing samples by scanning mineral grains (such as the one pictured here; ~ 3 mm in diameter) with X-ray computed tomography. The black inclusions are spinel.

Radiogenic heat production

Crustal processes at granulite facies conditions and hotter remain enigmatic because melting and deformation commonly obfuscate the geologic record. I combine geochronology and mineral geochemistry of accessory phases (zircon, monazite, rutile, etc.) to understand extreme heating events. My research in Madagascar indicates that the radioactive decay of thorium can be a major source of heat during collisional tectonic events.

Phosphorus fluxes to the ocean from igneous rocks

 The rate of phosphorus---a biolimiting nutrient on geologic time scales---delivery to the oceans is linked to tectonic processes. My research suggests that extensive flood basalts that erupted in the Neoproterozoic were a fertile source of phosphorus that could have increased primary productivity in the oceans and destabilized global climate.

Himalaya gneiss dome formation

Locallized extension in the upper crust allows partially-melted middle crust to upwell, forming Himalayan gneiss domes tens of kilometers across. My research on Gianbul gneiss dome in northern India sheds light the role of partial-melting in the Himalayan orogen.