Jonathan Tucker
Postdoctoral Fellow, NSF

Jonathan Tucker

Research Interests

Mantle geochemistry; noble gas and volatile element geochemistry; accretion and early Earth


B.S., Chemistry and Astronomy, Amherst College, 2009
Ph.D., Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, 2016

Contact & Links


Jonathan Tucker
Photomicrograph of a vesicular mid-ocean ridge basalt glass. Magmatic vesicles are dominated by carbon dioxide and water vapor, and contain minor amounts of noble gases, nitrogen, carbon monoxide, methane, and other gases. Vesicular gases are released by crushing under vacuum and analyzed by mass spectrometry. Dissolved gases are analyzed by fusion, FTIR, or SIMS.

Jonathan Tucker's research interests involve using volatile elements and compounds to understand the planetary-scale evolution of the Earth. By measuring and modeling the isotopic compositions volatiles, his research seeks to understand the processes occurring during the Earth's formation and 4.5 billion year history.

Tucker uses measurements of the noble gas (helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon) abundances and isotopic compositions in oceanic basalts to understand the processes by which material is cycled between the atmosphere, ocean, crust, and upper and lower mantle. The noble gases are particularly suited to this because of the extremely large variations in both radiogenic and stable isotope systems between the different terrestrial reservoirs. The noble gases also contain radiogenic isotopes of extinct parent nuclides as well as the ability to preserve chemical signals for billions of years, making them ideal tools to study the processes occurring during terrestrial accretion and on the early Earth.

Additionally, the fluxes of major volatiles such as carbon and water affect all facets of the Earth system from surface habitability to mantle dynamics. Tucker's research seeks to quantify these poorly-constrained fluxes by measurements of carbon and water contents and isotopic compositions in olivine-hosted melt inclusions from oceanic basalts. This involves developing methodologies to address magmatic degassing and vapor bubble formation, major roadblocks in robust quantification.