Using garnet geochemistry to investigate the lithospheric mantle beneath northern Tanzania

Originally posted on the EGU blog network As part of my undergraduate MSci course at the University of Cambridge, I carried out a project investigating a collection of thin sections from peridotite xenoliths from northern Tanzania. The main aim of this research was to constrain the petrogenetic evolution of the lithospheric mantle beneath the East […]

Science Snap (6): SEM images of a high-pressure experiment

Originally posted on the EGU blog network These back-scattered electron (BSE) images are a typical view of one of the high-pressure experiments that I run on the piston-cylinder apparatus, here in the BEEST labs at the University of Bristol. Such photographs are taken using the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and are an essential stage in […]

How to make a rock (in 60 seconds)

Following on from Elspeth’s PhD in 40 seconds, I decided to document the goings on in the basement of the Wills Building. I tried to capture a second a day for a month (allowing for artistic license), and here is the result. Enjoy! The background music is Apply Some Pressure by Maxïmo Park – I […]

From rocks to riches

A lot of people think that doing an Earth Science PhD involves looking at rocks. Most of the time they’d be wrong (experimental petrology = making pretend rocks; geochemistry = water; geophysics = computers; palaeontology = colouring in), but just occasionally, I do get to play with the real thing. From sample pick-up to analysis, […]

HF – Highly Fatal?

Geologists are used to being in mortal peril. Just ask Pierce Brosnan. Whether it’s contending with exploding volcanoes, braving the high seas on on a research cruise or melting rock in furnaces at 1400ºC, danger is part and parcel of being a rock-lover. But after much deliberation, I’ve come to the conclusion that the most […]

Journey to the centre of the Earth (in BS8)

When asked to explain what I actually do in my PhD, my preferred answer is inevitably “making pretend volcanoes”. No, not the Blue Peter-style baking soda kind, but actually trying to simulate the conditions found beneath active volcanoes, in the laboratory. If you are wondering how this is done, then why not take a blog-tour […]