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Our research focuses on the high-temperature geochemistry of igneous rocks to elucidate processes of magma ascent, storage, and evolution. We use geochemical tools to constrain the rates of these processes, employing U-series and other isotopic dating techniques as well as the diffusional modification of major and trace element profiles within and between minerals at magmatic temperatures. We also study the low-temperature geochemistry of environmental systems.
Our focus is on chemical and physical processes in igneous rocks and how they relate to volcanic processes. We also investigate metasomatic alteration products in active and ancient hydrothermal systems. Our mineral compositions research ranges from primary minerals in igneous rocks to clay minerals. We also study the mineralogy and petrology of economic mineral deposits, with implications for the mining industry.
We have expertise in the distribution and properties of New Zealand soils and their sustainable use. We also study soil formation and erosion.
We investigate the Quaternary landscapes, soils and geology of New Zealand, using loess, tephra, paleomagnetic, palynological, terrestrial and marine sediment sequences to interpret quaternary processes and paleoclimate fluctuations. We also study the impact of these processes on soil distribution and human activities.
We improve knowledge of the complex interactions between sedimentology, stratigraphy and structural geology of New Zealand and apply this to resource assessment and exploration. Our research includes applied sedimentology, diagenesis and clay mineralogy.
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We have recently discovered water in spinels, a group of oxide minerals that are abundant in many rocks. This Marsden-funded project, led by Professor Georg Zellmer will quantify the water content in spinels and the parameters that influence water uptake into their crystal structures. This will allow the team to develop a robust hygrometer, that can determine magmatic water cycles through space and time on Earth, and provide opportunities for investigating the water budgets of other planetary objects to advance our knowledge of planetary dynamics.