A fundamental question in Earth and planetary systems is: how are chemical elements distributed from high temperature in the planet's interior to low temperatures at the surface, atmosphere and/or ocean? This question is at the heart of understanding how life originated, how planetary atmospheres develop, how ore deposits form and how climate is regulated. Currently, there is no consensus on the sources and sinks of elements on Earth now, nor over Earth's history, in part because some elements are volatile: preferring to be in the gas phase and they leave little trace.
Gas mixtures play a crucial role in distributing elements between different parts of Earth and planet-forming systems over a range of settings and temperatures. Despite the fundamental role of gases in geochemical cycles, few experiments exist on gas-solid or gas-melt reactions and the molecular-scale reaction mechanisms are poorly constrained by experiment, theory or field observations. Our recent work shows that these reactions may be extraordinarily rapid.
PhD and Masters students are sought for geochemistry research projects at the Research School of Earth Sciences at The Australian National University, Canberra ACT (rses.anu.edu.au). Students who might be interested in the projects may have undergraduate degrees in Earth Sciences, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Materials Science, or Engineering. Projects that investigate gas-solid reactions using experiments combined with state-of-the-art analysis of laboratory, field samples, and/or modelling are available. Students will have access to state-of-the-art analytical and experimental facilities (rses.anu.edu.au/research/facilities) and a vibrant PhD student population (oncirculation.com). Interested applicants should send an e-mail, preferably with a CV or resume, to Dr. Penny King (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For more information about this potential research topic or activity, or to discuss any related research area, please contact the supervisor.