Research focus is on the physical properties of materials at extreme pressures and temperatures utilizing experimental methods. These methods include static compression dynamic compression to simulate the physical conditions inside of planets during their evolution. Understanding the atomistic mechanisms that govern the behavior of liquids at elevated pressures and temperature to interpret present day geophysical observables as well as understand the dynamic evolution of planetary interiors is a main research theme. Additional research into physical properties of unusual materials, either super-hard materials or amorphous materials is another major theme. Current work is focusing on the role of volatiles in altering the physical properties of silicate liquids at high pressures and the implication for in understanding 1) the origin of Earth’s water and 2) the nature of seismic and electrical geophysical anomalies at the upper and lower boundaries of the Earth’s mantle transition zone.
GEOL 1170 - Our Deadly Planet
This course investigates those events so dramatic and catastrophic that they have left evidence in the geologic record that suggest they significantly impacted life on the planet. These include. but are not limited to, violent volcanic eruptions, mega-earthquakes and associated tsunamis, landslides and sector collapse on volcanoes, megafloods, rapid climatic change, superstorms, and impacts from asteroids and comets. The intent is to use examples from recent events and processes to frame and interpret evidence for these types of events observed in the rock record.
GEOL 3010 - Introduction to Mineralogy
Fall 2019 / Fall 2020
Covers origin, occurrence, identification, classification, and uses of minerals with emphasis on applications of mineralogy to economic geology and petrology. Two lectures and one lab per week. Recommended prerequisite: GEOL 2005.
GEOL 5700 - Geological Topics Seminar
Offers seminar studies in geological subjects of special current interest. Primarily for graduate students, as departmental staff and facilities permit. May be repeated up to 15 total credit hours provided that topics vary.