Please follow the left navigation menu for an in-depth look at the laboratories and equipment used within the GEOMETRIC lab.
The GEOMETRIC Lab's current research activities focus on:
- Understanding the formation and evolution of planetary bodies and geological reservoirs through chemical and isotopic studies of trace metals in rocks and minerals.
- Tracing and timing of mineral formation and major reservoirs in terrestrial planets using metal stable and radiogenic isotopes and trace element studies.
- Development of new geochemical approaches and cutting edge laboratory and mass spectrometry techniques.
Researchers in the GEOMETRIC lab use (1) stable metal isotopic studies and (2) radiogenic isotope dating of planetary materials to understand the origin, processes and history of environmental, geological and extra-terrestrial materials. These techniques are used in complement of geochemical, spectroscopic and petrographic studies to interpret the isotopic signatures.
Once termed “non-traditional” metals, transition metals are now extensively used in geochemistry for various applications. Many transition metals such copper, iron or magnesium are useful as tracers of natural processes because the relative proportion of their stable isotopes (when there are at least two) can vary due to temperature of processes, redox conditions, and mineral recrystallization. These novel stable isotope techniques are currently used in the lab to provide new tracers for understanding metal cycles during ore deposit formation as well as paleoclimate records.
Other stable isotopic variations of heavy elements such as rare-earth elements, hafnium and uranium, are used to understand the nucleosynthetic heritage of the Solar System, neutron capture effects, redox changes, or decay products of short-lived radioisotopes recorded in meteorites.
Radiogenic isotope pairs are used as clocks to date geological processes. Several of these pairs, such as the long-lived and short-lived radiogenic systems uranium-lead (238,235U-206,207Pb), samarium-neodymium (147,146Sm-143,142Nd) and lutetium-hafnium (176Lu-176Hf), can be used in various minerals to date the formation and trace the history of igneous, metamorphic, impact rocks or meteorites. These radiometric dating techniques constitute the framework of several ongoing collaborative projects.