Catherine A. Macris

PI of the High P-T Experimental Geochemistry Lab at IUPUI
Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences at IUPUI
Caltech Postdoc (2012-2015)
Ph.D. and M.S. in Geochemistry, UCLA (2012)
B.S. in Geology, LSU (2002)

My research interests involve geological and planetary processes at extreme conditions (temperature and/or pressure). I like to develop creative experiments that test our hypotheses of natural phenomena and contribute to the field of planetary geochemistry. I am currently working on several projects ranging from crustal melting caused by giant impacts on Earth to mineral/melt interactions beneath Earth’s crust.

Current Postdoctoral Scholars

Stuart Kenderes

Ph.D. University of Missouri (2021)
M.S. University of Missouri (2016)

B.S. Western Kentucky University (2012)

I study thermal histories of geologic systems using a combination of high temperature experiments and thermodynamic modeling. Relaxational geospeedometry is a method that relates a structurally dependent, readily measurable property of a glass sample to its natural cooling rate at the glass transition (Tg). Tektites are natural blebs of molten earth that are ejected into the atmosphere, and then quenched to a glass during large high velocity impact events. I will be using relaxational geospeedometry to constrain the thermal histories of both natural and synthetic tektites, which can help us better understand the conditions of tektite forming impact events. 

Current Students

David Wallington

Ph.D student at IUPUI (2021-present)
B.S. in Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota Duluth (2021)

My research is focused on geochemical and petrologic processes at high temperatures and pressures. To better understand these processes, I use experimental techniques and tools, such as a piston cylinder, to recreate the conditions of interest in the laboratory and study the physical and chemical changes of the system in question. My current project is studying stable iron isotope fractionation during the partial melting of peridotite under mantle conditions. I hope through my research to understand how the crust and mantle chemically evolve and interact with one another.

Ian Marrs

NSF Graduate Research Fellow (2021-2022)

M.S. student at IUPUI (2020-present)
B.S. in Technical Communications (2019); B.S. in Geology (2020)

My research aims to explore tektites – natural glasses formed during meteorite impacts. My work chiefly involves the creation of synthetic glasses using an aerodynamic levitation laser heating furnace conducting geochemical analyses using a scanning electron microscope. I also analyze the relationships of various tektite groups using the R programming language. I hope to use my knowledge of high temperature/pressure geochemistry, statistical analysis, and computer programming to aid in the colonization efforts of the Moon, Mars, and the Solar System.

Alexandra Horman

M.S. student at IUPUI (2020-present)
B.A. in Geological Sciences, Albion College (2020)

My research is focused on meteorite impacts, specifically the Sudbury Igneous Complex in Sudbury, Canada. I am primarily working with the aerodynamic levitation laser and the scanning electron microscope to analyze post-impact samples and understand the conditions they formed in. My primary research goal is to find evidence for a melt emulsion of large melt bodies through these experiments.

Former Students

Ruiguang Pan

Ph.D. candidate at IUPUI (2016-2021)
M.S. Florida State University (2015)
M.S. China University of Geosciences, Beijing (2013)
B.S. Northeastern University, Shenyang (2010)

My research mainly focuses on interpreting (U)HP metamorphism and fluid-rock interactions using thermodynamic modeling methods. In particular, I use phase equilibria diagrams/pseudosections to calculate metamorphic P-T-t paths and quantify fluid-rock interactions on the (U)HP rocks within the Himalayan orogeny (e.g., Tso Morari UHP terrane). I’m also interested in evaluating the performance of thermodynamic modeling based on petrographic observations and mineral compositions.

Arielle Hogan

M.S. student at IUPUI (2019-2021)
BSc. in Earth Sciences, Memorial University of Newfoundland (2019)

My research is focused on planetesimal geochemistry. Planetesimals are small rocky bodies that combine to form planets. I use synthetic experiments and computational models as analogs for studying planetesimal processes — specifically the mechanics of evaporation experienced by planetesimals during planet formation. My ultimate goal is to constrain how these evaporative processes govern the chemical evolution of planetesimals, and in turn, planets.

Emilee Darling

MS student at IUPUI (2017-2019) 
Lab Instructor and Teaching Assistant of Earth Sciences at IUPUI
B.A. in Geological Sciences, Albion College (2017)

My research is focused around the field of planetary geochemistry and involves the analysis of tektites, glasses formed during a meteorite impact, and meteorites. I am currently working on experiments analyzing tektite isotope compositions and formation conditions. I have also contributed to the analysis of meteorite formation and composition pre- and post-impact through high temperature experiments.

Tom zur Loye

BSMS student at IUPUI (2016 – 2018)

I research the methodology of creating synthetic glass materials with the compositions of mantle minerals using aerodynamic levitation combined with laser heating. These glasses are the perfect starting material for high pressure diamond anvil cell experiments, which can simulate lower mantle conditions. I also write apps in the R programming language, including LaserPlot and RockR.

Alexander Kern

MS student at IUPUI (2018-2020) 
Lab Instructor and Teaching Assistant of Earth Sciences at IUPUI
B.S. in Geology, BGSU (2018)

 I am attempting to explain why the oxygen isotope content in most tektites is 4.0-4.5 permil lower than that of the suggested protolith, opposite in what one would expect from vaporization induced fractionation. Using IUPUI’s High-Temperature Conical Nozzle Levitation (HT-CNL) system, I am investigating the effect of partial vaporization on different tektite starting materials. I am also studying the thermal histories of tektites by mapping diffusion of silica from lechatelierite into the surrounding felsic glass.   

Lindsey Powell

Undergraduate student at IUPUI (2015-2019) 
UROP researcher

My research interests involve studying geological events that ended the reign of Dinosauria. I like to analyze impact debris from the Chixculub Impact to better understand the events that took place leading to their demise, and the environmental processes that occur after a bolide impact. I am currently working on identifying new spherule alteration textures from a new Western Interior Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary locality, the Tanis site in SW North Dakota.