Discovering what planets are made of and how they got that way

We aim to understand the origin and dynamic evolution of Earth and planetary interiors, from their crusts to their cores, and the processes that lead to surfaces capable of supporting life. We investigate the minerals, rocks, and melts that make up planetary interiors through a combination of observations from natural samples, high-pressure and temperature experiments, and advanced computational and data analytic techniques.

We use a broad range of lab-based and theory-based tools to explore the physics and chemistry of planetary materials from the atomic to the planetary scale.

Top Questions

Tools of the Trade

Experiments at pressure and temperature conditions ranging from planetary crusts to cores are made using a wide range of tools, including 1 atm furnaces, cold-seal devices, piston cylinders, multi-anvil presses, laser-heated diamond anvil cells, and dynamic compression facilities. We analyze and characterize natural and experimental samples using our wide-ranging in-house capabilities, including SEM, EPMA, FIB, NMR, Raman, FTIR, and X-ray diffraction.

We use national and international synchrotron facilities to probe samples in situ at micron and sub-micron scales. Theoretical approaches utilize high-performance computing systems both on and off-campus.

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