Research | Petrology

lavaPetrology covers a wide spectrum of fundamental problems that overlap with Physical Geochemistry, Geophysics, Tectonics, and Mineralogy. Current research deals with both terrestrial and planetary problems in the following areas.

  • Diffusion kinetics, thermobarometry, and tectono-metamorphic processes: fundamental aspects and applications
  • Crystal kinetics (diffusion and order-disorder) and thermodynamic studies of planetary materials, and applications to the thermal history of meteorite parent bodies
  • Closure-temperatures and age profiles of minerals in cooling geochronological systems, which are essential for the proper interpretation of mineral ages in relation to the peak thermal condition (e.g peak metamorphism), and which also permit simultaneous retrieval of cooling rate
  • Experimental and theoretical studies of the energetic properties (thermodynamic, crystal chemical, diffusion, and order-disorder) of minerals
  • Subduction zone dynamics: Interplay among the thermal and mineralogical processes in the subduction zone environments
  • Mineral stabilities in the Earth's interior
  • Trace element evolution of magmas incorporating the diffusion kinetic and dynamic effects, and their applications to the understanding of the source region of magma generation, extent of partial melting, and magma dynamics.



Jibamitra Ganguly - Petrology, geochemistry (Emeritus)

Ananya Mallik - experimental petrology, geochemistry, differentiation and evolution in Earth and planetary systems

 Faculty with related interests
Mark Barton - Economic geology, geochemistry, petrology
Robert Downs - Mineralogy, crystallography
Mihai Ducea - Tectonics
Jonathan Patchett (emeritus) - Isotope geochemistry (Emeritus faculty)

Peter Reiners - Tectonics, radiogenic isotopes, and geomorphology
Joaquin Ruiz - Geochemistry
Pranabendu Moitra – Volcanology, fluid dynamics


Xiaoyu Zhang - Petrology

Facilities, Equipment, and Resources

  • Two piston-cylinder apparatii, one of which has a kiloton force capacity (and can be converted to a multianvil press for experiments to the pressure of ~ 15 GPa)  
  • Facilities for insitu differential thermal analysis (DTA) studies to determine melting temperature as a function of pressure, compressibility measurements, and controlled heating-cooling experiments
  • Hydrothermal apparatii for experiments at low pressure, including rapid quench experiments
  • Controlled gas atmosphere furnaces with controlled heating-cooling facilities
  • Thermogravimetric setup for insitu reaction kinetic study by continuous monitoring of weight loss
  • Powder x-ray diffractometer
  • Thin film deposition set up
  • Mineral Physics Laboratory: 2 four-circle single crystal x-ray diffractometers, Raman spectroscope, Diamond cells
  • Chemistry Department: an area detector single crystal diffractometer
  • Planetary Science: multi-anvil press, Electron microprobe
  • Arizona State University: Ion probe