Welcome Grace, Bella, and Mikayla!

This summer 3 undergraduate researchers have joined us in the Mineral Kitchen!

Grace Brekke started in May and is working remotely on geoscience education. Starting in Fall 2018, we have been collecting data in Mineralogy and Geochemistry (GLG 321) and The Dynamic Earth (GLG 201) to better understand how students learn spatial reasoning in geosciences, and how pedagogical choices can affect students’ sense of belonging, confidence, and interest in geosciences. This project is supported by NSF CAREER (EAR-1751664). Grace is analyzing these data to improve our teaching and recruitment of undergraduate students.

Bella Arroyo and Mikayla Kauinana are starting this week in our group as part of a new summer research program run collaboratively by MSU, Northeastern Illinois University, and GeoLatinas. Bella and Mikayla are working remotely and will be helping with data analysis and presentation.


Postdoc opening

The Experimental Mineralogy lab (PI: Dr. Susannah Dorfman, https://sukidorfman.rocks/join-us/) in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences at Michigan State University is searching for a postdoctoral research associate – fixed term to carry out research in high-pressure experimental physics and chemistry of minerals and other complex materials.

The Postdoctoral Research Associate must hold a PhD in a field related to Earth & Environmental Sciences or other applicable field before start of the position. The duration of the appointment will be 12 months, with a possibility of extension based on performance and funding. Start date is flexible but sooner is preferred. Review of applications will begin May 3rd, 2021.

MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. The PI is committed to working to build and support an inclusive environment for diverse scholars.

If you are interested in this position, please use the following link to submit your CV, a statement no more than 2 pages in length explaining your interest in the position, and contact information for 3 references.


If you have questions about the position, please email Susannah Dorfman at dorfman3@msu.edu.

Congratulations Dr. Lv!

Congratulations to Dr. Mingda Lv on the successful defense of his dissertation, Carbon and nitrogen in earth and planetary interiors! Mingda’s next step is a postdoctoral position working with Dr. Yue Meng at HPCAT at Argonne National Laboratory, which will also be a collaboration with Dr. Yingwei Fei at the Carnegie Earth and Planets Laboratory.

New paper on carbonate-silicate reaction in deep mantle

Congratulations to Mingda Lv and the rest of our team on our new paper in Nature Communications out yesterday, “Reversal of carbonate-silicate cation exchange in cold slabs in Earth’s lower mantle.” In this study, we follow up on our previous work that determined calcium carbonate is more resistant than magnesium carbonate to reduction to diamond in the reduced deep lower mantle, asking the key question, “but what happens to these carbonates in contact with deep mantle silicates?” Although magnesium carbonate was thought to be the dominant host for oxidized carbon in the mantle, by pushing all the way to core-mantle boundary pressure/temperature conditions, Mingda determined that calcium carbonate again becomes more stable. This allows us to predict a signature of oxidized, subducted carbon that could be found in diamonds formed in the lowermost mantle.

The work is featured today on the front page of the MSU College of Natural Sciences!

Congratulations Dr. Brugman!

Congratulations to Dr. Benjamin Brugman on the successful defense of his dissertation, Strength, deformation and compression behavior of tungsten carbide, krypton, and xenon under quasi-static loading! Ben is the first Ph.D. from our group! We are also so proud to announce that he’s starting soon as a postdoctoral researcher at Arizona State University working with Prof. Alexandra Navrotsky.

New publications!

Congratulations to Mingda for leading a second publication in 2020:

Lv, M., J. Liu, F. Zhu, J. Li, D. Zhang, Y. Xiao, and S. M. Dorfman, “Spin transitions and compressibility of ε-Fe7N3 and γ’-Fe4N: implications for iron alloys in terrestrial planet cores,” Journal of Geophysical Research – Solid Earth 125, no. 11 (2020), e2020JB020660. 

Also recently accepted for publication:

Wang, W., J. Liu, H. Yang, S. M. Dorfman, M. Lv, J. Li, F. Zhu, J. Zhao, M. Y. Hu, W. Bi, E. E. Alp, Y. Xiao, Z. Wu, and J.-F. Lin, “Iron Force Constants of Bridgmanite at High Pressure: Implications for Iron Isotope Fractionation in Deep Mantle,” accepted to Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (2020).

Calderon, M., W. Peng, S. M. Clarke, J. Ding, B. L. Brugman, G. Levental, A. Balodh, M. Rylko, O. Delaire, J. P. S. Walsh, S. M. Dorfman, and A. Zevalkink, “Anisotropic structural collapse of Mg3Sb2 at high pressure,” accepted to Chemistry of Materials (2020).

Remote experiments at GSECARS!

That’s our diamond anvil cell, right there!

We’re running our first remote experiments at Argonne today from our homes! Thanks to Mingda Lv, who prepared the DACs in our lab at MSU under approved quarantine safety procedures and mailed them to Argonne. Thanks to Stella Chariton, on-site beamline scientist handling all the physical tasks and coaching us through everything! And of course the rest of GSECARS, particularly Vitali Prakapenka, for getting remote operations working. Mingda can operate the equipment from his desk at his place, and I from my “standing desk” (bedroom bureau).

Awards 2019-2020

We’re overdue for another round of congratulations to group members on this past year’s achievements!

Congratulations to Benjamin Brugman on his 2020 Outstanding Poster Award at the NNSA SSAP Symposium!

Benjamin Brugman received a second presentation award for his work on the high-pressure deformation of tungsten carbide, this time at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s symposium for the Stockpile Stewardship Academic Programs (one of which is the Chicago-DOE Alliance Center, of which we are members).

Mingda Lv was awarded the Pringle Endowed Fellowship (for a second time) from the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, in recognition of his academic and research excellence.

Mingda’s first first-authored paper from his work at MSU was also accepted in 2020! In addition, Suki’s paper on “Effects of composition and pressure on electronic states of iron in bridgmanite,” the result of work both at EPFL and MSU, is now in press at American Mineralogist.