Research goal: How do habitable (Earth-like) worlds form and evolve?
My work is principally concerned with the conditions of formation and evolutionary path that have made Earth habitable. The approach I take informs and draws on the insights gained from the chemistries and physical properties of asteroids, planets and moons, as well as quests concerning exoplanets and exomoons.
Core research is complemented by a range of synergistic activities.
Main research themes:
The first theme, studying meteorites, is my principal area of dedication. The latter two themes address deep planetary interior properties and this information is important because it can be compared with data from meteorites and lunar materials to inform us of the origins and behaviours of refractory and volatile element inventories during giant impacts such as that which formed the Moon. These studies also reveal the chemical fingerprint of core formation and late-accretion to the Earth-Moon system. Additionally, the type of work conducted is useful to tracing the mechanisms of continent formation, the rise of plate tectonic processes, and the regulation of (bio)geochemical cycles over Earth history, where their roles are of interest in determining the habitability of rocky worlds like our own.
- Understanding the chemical memory of meteorites and their constituent minerals, which represent the remainders of the building blocks for habitable Earth and trace the history of our Solar System. Crucially, the elemental and isotopic data for planetary materials and bulk Earth, as well as our process-based understanding, underpin astrophysical models of planetary growth to provide benchmarks for observational astronomers searching for potentially habitable worlds across the wider universe.
a) EARLY SOLAR SYSTEM
- Constraining the composition, evolution, thermophysical properties, melt processes, and dynamics of Earth’s interior, and the Earth-Moon system (because Earth is a planet of our Solar System too, but is it unique in the universe?).
- Exploring the causes and consequences of Large Igneous Province volcanomagmatism over habitable Earth’s history.