I'm a postdoctoral scholar studying planetary geology in the Planetary Sciences Group at UCF.
I'm interested in planetary materials, including their early evolution in the solar system, re-creating their exotic properties in the lab, and extracting them sustainably as space resources.
1. Carbonaceous muds (Recent abstract).
2. Martian clay formation and noble gas sequestration in the pre-Noachian (Recent publication).
3. High fidelity regolith simulants (Recent publication).
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December 6, 2017
Our paper “Primordial Clays on Mars” went online in Nature today, with a nice write-up by Kevin Stacey on Brown’s website. This is a fairly bold and untested new idea, and there are a number of important questions that will help determine whether I’m completely full of it. I’m not nearly clever enough to figure out the answers to most of these, but hopefully this paper spurs interest in others to help out.
- What was the oxidation state of the atmosphere outgassed from the martian magma ocean? Specifically, how was hydrogen speciated, and what was the fugacity of water?
- How long did the outgassed atmosphere last?
- How quickly was porosity introduced into the primary crust, and thus how deep could alteration have been?
- What was the mineralogical composition of the primary martian crust? More broadly, what WAS the primary crust: quenched basalt, quenched chondritic melt, a floatation crust...?
- What would the supernatant be after alteration of the crust, and could this lead to the precipitation of felsic rocks, as suggested for early Earth?
- How would the Borealis impact affect a primordial clay layer, both proximally in terms of disrupting it, and distally in terms of burying it?
- Is the apparent clustering of crustal clay outcrops around Hellas/Isidis/Argyre real, or a detection bias?
- Could clay diapirs have formed on geologic timescales if the clay layer was buried under dense basaltic overburden? Could they make it near the surface?
- How would a subsurface clay layer affect magmas rising through the crust?
- Would we recognize a meteorite made of primordial martian clays, assuming such a material could survive re-entry (noting that things like Tagish Lake made it through)?