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Research in mineralogy
My main interest is to understand water and crustal recycling in the early development of plate tectonics. The global water cycle has important ramifications in numerous fields of natural sciences, shaping up the world as we see it today. Even in minor amounts, water (as different hydrogen speciations) decreases the mechanical strength of minerals and lowers the melting temperature, properties that govern volcanism and the convecting mantle. At a large scale, hydrogen is released into the atmosphere by volcanic outgassing and is reintroduced into the mantle during subduction. Investigating water incorporation and preservation during subduction requires pristine mantle material and solid constraints for its crustal-derived origin. Due to its significantly higher water content (up to 6000 ppm) among mantle NAMs (nominally anhydrous minerals) and its petrogenesis, omphacite (eclogitic clinopyroxene) is an ideal candidate for water investigation.
For my research I look into eclogite xenoliths, which are the oldest remnants of recycled oceanic crust, stored in the continental roots. I use petrology, elemental and oxygen isotope geochemistry concurrently with spectroscopic methods for water analyses. The aim is to advance the knowledge regarding hydrogen (i.e. H2, OH, H2O) incorporation and stability, correlation to lattice variations, possible exchanges and further impact on D/H ratios. Of subsequent interest is answering questions regarding the preferential diffusion of specific hydrogen configurations during dehydration; and the representativeness of our insight into water storage capacity of minerals at mantle conditions.