Sulfur (S) is a fundamental element in geo/biochemistry, due to its effects on atmosphere chemistry, its essential role for the origin and evolution of life and its importance for mantle chemistry. It is also a volatile element and thus provides key insights into how the Earth’s volatile flux developed through time. The terrestrial S cycle is governed by the initial amount of S present during Earth’s accretion, the extent to which S degassed and/or delivered during accretion, the amount of S that was/is recycled into the deep Earth by plate tectonics and the compatibility of S in the (deep) terrestrial interior (core, sulfide matte, minerals).
Unfortunately, the potential reservoir role of minerals and deep sulfide mattes for S and chalcophile elements is as of yet not well constrained, prohibiting a full understanding of the terrestrial S cycle. Sulfide-loving (chalcophile) elements are important geochemical tracers of S due to their compatibility in these phases. The proposed research will investigate crucial aspects of the S cycle using experimental petrology. Novel high pressure-temperature experiments will be conducted at WWU Münster to constrain the reservoir potential of mantle and crustal phases in terms of S and chalcophile elements. Experiments will be chemically analyzed using micro-analytical methods, and these results will be used to obtain thermodynamic models describing their distribution between minerals, sulfides and melts at high pressure. The models will be used to fully constrain the terrestrial S and chalcophile element cycle.
During his PhD research and first postdoctoral fellowship at the Carnegie Institution for Science (USA), he has worked with a wide range of experimental and analytical methods. WWU would greatly benefit from the applicant’s research experience and international collaborations. Finally, the applicant would benefit greatly from doing the proposed research at one of the world’s top experimental petrological institutes.
Fields of science
- natural sciencesphysical sciencesthermodynamics
- natural sciencesearth and related environmental sciencesgeologyseismologyplate tectonics
- natural sciencesearth and related environmental sciencesgeologypetrologyexperimental petrology
- natural scienceschemical sciencesinorganic chemistryinorganic compounds
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