Draper Research Group
Basalts are melts of the upper mantles of these bodies, and as such are probes of the interiors, bringing with them (typically subtle) clues about their source regions. This is hugely important, because we can't take field trips to the mantle and hence cannot sample those regions directly... Basalt is by far the most abundant rock type on Earth: the entire ocean floor, which covers three-quarters of Earth's surface, is made of basalt. Similarly, both Mars and the Moon are dominated by basaltic rocks. It therefore follows that understanding how a planetary interior works means learning how to decipher what basalts have to tell us
Areas of emphasis also include study of lunar and martian magma ocean crystallization, and mineral-melt trace element partitioning. Areas of major concentration in my earlier work included terrestrial mantle xenoliths (rare pieces of Earth's upper mantle brought to the surface by some basaltic lava flows), the role of H2O and CO2-rich fluids, formation of subduction- and rift-related magmas, very low-degree silicate melts as mantle metasomatic agents, and the solution behavior of noble gases in magmatic systems. Summaries of these research avenues appear below.
Research interests: Igneous petrology, with emphasis on experimental investigations of processes of formation of terrestrial and extraterrestrial basaltic magmas and of terrestrial mantle xenoliths. Areas of major concentration include experimental constraints on formation of martian and lunar primitive basalts, crystallization of planetary magma oceans, and systematics of mineral-melt trace element partitioning.