Mantle petrology and heterogeneities; hotspot provenance; early Earth history and dynamics; geochemical method development and instrumental analysis
B.S., Geology, College of William and Mary, 2011
M.S., Ph.D., Earth Science, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 2013, 2016
Brad Peters is interested in the origins of subtle changes in mantle composition that arise as a result of events that have occurred throughout Earth’s history. Such differences have been recognized, among other places, in volcanic rocks from geological hotspots, like Hawaii, and in mantle xenoliths (rocks, usually volcanic, hosting mantle rocks) found throughout the world. While the origins of some of these compositional domains are well-established, many remain unresolved.
These studies focus on precise measurements of the elemental and isotopic compositions of geological materials. The abundances of some isotopes change throughout time as a result of radioactive decay, while the abundances of elements and other isotopes may change in direct response to a particular event. At DTM, Peters will focus on measurements of isotopes of Si, Nd, W and Os to better understand Earth events that contributed to the formation of the mantle source to hotspot volcanism on Réunion Island (Indian Ocean).
A related interest of Peters' is how geochemistry, mantle dynamics and plate tectonic processes interact. For example, hotspots generated by mantle plumes may be capable of changing the motions of tectonic plates or re-directing the flow of mantle material deep in the Earth. In other locations, the geochemistry of mantle rocks can affect the rate and volume of magma production and effectively change local tectonic settings. Geochemical studies may reveal new information about the mantle conditions required to make Earth’s tectonic plates fit together the way they do, which is particularly relevant given.