Geochemistry Research Group

photo of polishes section of a pallasite-type meteorite

The Geochemistry group uses fundamental chemical techniques to understand natural processes on a range of temporal and spatial scales, from single atoms on mineral surfaces and the environmental geochemistry of the modern Earth to the large-scale chemical structure of planets and the birth of the Solar System.

A key theme of the research group is the use of established and novel isotopic tracers to understand the nature and chronology of cycling between the major reservoirs of the Earth.  The remit extends from interactions between the core and mantle to the atmosphere and hydrosphere with implications for Earth's climate.  We further apply these skills to understanding other terrestrial planets and the evolution of the solar system.   This activity is organised under the umbrella of the multi-departmental Bristol Isotope Group , using isotope facilities housed in the Department of Earth Sciences.
model of the mineral birnessite

 

Another major focus of research is the application of  spectroscopy, first-principles calculations and laboratory experiments to aqueous solutions and the mineral-solution interface.  The goal of this work is to develop a molecular-level understanding of the geochemical cycles between the lithosphere and hydrosphere, the formation of ore-deposits, and the fate of environmental contaminants.  This work is done by the Aqueous Geochemistry Group.

 

These two strands of research are linked by the need for an atomistic understanding of isotopic fractionation and elemental partitioning, which drive the large-scale chemical differences observed in Nature.

 

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