The beginning is usually the best place to start whether telling a story or deciphering data. I take this concept to heart with my current research; investigating geochemical variation in calcium-and aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs), some of the oldest solids in our solar system, which provide a glimpse into the geochemical reservoirs at the beginning our solar system. CAIs are found in a majority of chondritic meteorites, from undifferentiated parent bodies, and range in size from cm- to micron-scale. As a whole, chondrites have very similar and rather uniform chemical compositions (isotopic characteristics vary to some degree between types). These are the values that many petrologists use to normalize data in order to interpret terrestrial data regarding reservoirs of origin, geologic processes, and many other applications. However, when individual objects in chondrites are analyzed they are not ‘chondritic’. This means these objects must combine in such a way to form a bulk rock of geochemically similar material. Given what we hypothesize about early solar system processes, is such homogeneity attainable? Is complementarity really accomplished between all the objects in a particular chondrite type? And before we even address those questions, what type of variation in major and trace element abundances can be expected for CAI mineral phases within the same chondrite or chondrite type? My research aims to yield insight into all of these questions.
Although my current research leaves me pondering the vacuum of space, my research interests do extend into the terrestrial realm. As an undergraduate I worked with lower oceanic crust samples from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This experience introduced me to the concepts and related conundrums of crustal recycling, mantle mixing, and hydrothermal alteration. These topics remain intriguing to me as they pertain directly to how our Earth’s interior is evolving.