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My research involves applying trace element and isotope geochemistry to various problems in the geosciences. Mantle Volatiles: The transport and thus the distribution of incompatible trace elements in the mantle and crust is a reflection of their behaviour during magmatic processes: from melting, through differentiation, to saturation. Thus, incompatible elements provide valuable tracers of igneous processes in inaccessible parts of the Earth’s mantle. Low degree partial melts and exsolved fluids permeate through and react with the mantle, causing localized areas of trace element enrichment, or metasomatism. Metasomatised regions may represent significant trace element repositories in the mantle, and partial melting or assimilation of metasomatised material may generate melts that are enriched in these elements. However, the degree to which metasomatism is localized or pervasive is poorly constrained and the sources of different metasomatising fluids and melts and their relative importance in the mantle are not known. My research focuses on understanding the character and sources of metasomatic mantle fluids, using the compositions of metasomatic minerals and of mantle fluids and melts preserved as inclusions in diamonds. Tephrostratigraphy and tephrochronology : Volcanic ash (tephra) forms isochronous marker layers, which allow the various sedimentary records to be linked. My work uses the geochemistry of volcanic ash layers to correlate between marine, lake and archaeological paleoarchives (tephrostratiraphy). In addition, if distal tephra layers can be correlated to proximal deposits of known eruptions, then these can be used as chronostratigraphic markers (tephrochronology). High-precision correlations are critical for reconstructing the timing, rate and duration of environmental changes and hence for testing theories about the causes and impacts of those changes. I also use the composition of the eruption deposits to further understand magmatic processes. Studies of tephra in high-resolution stratigraphic records can also aid in deciphering the composition-frequency-magnitude relations of past volcanic eruptions. This temporal context is critical for reconstructing the eruptive history of hazardous volcanoes.
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