The UF Experimental Geochemistry Lab is almost ready! The contractors are hard at work and moving quickly. The cabinets and temperature controllers for the two piston cylinders are installed, the new floor is going in this week, and the instruments themselves (two piston cylinders and a Deltech furnace) will be installed soon. We expect the lab to be done and ready for setup by the end of November. I'm very much looking forward to getting to work and if you're a potential graduate student interested in joining the group, be sure to get into contact with me!
With the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 is July, The University of Florida highlighted our work on Apollo samples and all of the interesting things we are still learning from these rocks half a century later. The article, which you can read here, also highlights the NASA mission proposal which I am a co-investigator on. We are proposing to bring new samples of the Moon back from what we believe are the youngest flood basalts on the Moon. If you want to know more about our mission proposal, we which hope is selected for flight, you can check our more details in this great article from Space.com!
My new paper in Earth and Planetary Science Letters is out and available online. This paper on how iron isotopes fractionate during core formation follows up my first paper on the topic in Nature Geoscience by provided some additional experiments and also offer a model for why we see the isotopic behavior that we observe. In the paper, my co-authors and I propose that the shortening and stiffening of Fe bonds in Fe-rich core-like alloys causes an increase in the alloys preference for heavy Fe isotopes relative to molten silicate during core formation, which is what we observe in our experiments. We also model the fractionation behavior of Fe isotopes during planetary differentiation and conclude we do not see a clear signature of isotope fractionation by vaporization or volatile depletion.
The Planetary Geochemistry Group has opportunities for highly motivated students seeking graduate degrees with an emphasis in Planetary Petrology and Geochemistry. Potential projects cover a wide range of topics including geochemical, mineralogical, and isotopic studies of planetary differentiation and core formation, the origin and evolution of the Moon’s crust and mantle, and the origins of planetary magmas. Students would join a group that utilizes experimental petrology in the newly established Experimental Geochemistry Lab, microbeam studies of meteorites and Apollo samples, and non-traditional stable isotope geochemistry to answer questions about these topics. The Department of Geological Sciences at UF is well-equipped with a wide array of instrumentation and resources available for these studies.
PhD and MSc positions are available as early as Fall 2019. For more information, please contact me (Prof. Stephen Elardo; email@example.com) with a C.V. and a brief description of research interests and experience.
The brand new Experimental Geochemistry Lab is going to be an awesome facility where we can conduct a wide range of experiments, but the space that it's going into needs more than a little work. The lab space in Williamson hall was formerly occupied by a low-temperature physics lab, part of the larger Microkelvin research facilities operated by the UF Department of Physics. Soon it be home to two Rockland Research Corp. piston cylinders and a Deltech Furnaces 1800 °C controlled atmosphere furnace, along with all of the other equipment that usually goes into an experimental petrology lab. The staff in the Geological Sciences Department started renovations on the lab recently and one of the first steps is to remove the solid concrete wall and pillars that isolated the old physics experiments from vibrations. We'll be getting a complete reno, with a new floor, coat or two of paint, lights, and new bench space. The reno will probably go past the new calendar year, but I fully expect the lab and experimental equipment to be up and running for next year when, hopefully, the lab group will be growing!