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The Australian National University

Dr Penelope (Penny) King

ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
T: 61-2-6125-0667

Research interests

Origin and evolution of planetary interiors and surfaces. Effect of volatiles, pH and oxygen fugacity on minerals and melts at high and low temperature. Parameters that affect spectroscopic features of glasses, sulfates and meteorites. Analysis of astromaterials - especially novel techniques for analyzing light elements, multivalent elements and trace elements - to better constrain genetic processes. Field analogs for Mars, Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede.

Researcher's projects

Dr. Penny King's research group examines surface and interior processes on planetary bodies. To achieve this goal, her research group attempts to understand the fundamental geochemical aspects of astromaterials under different conditions. Knowing how materials behave under different conditions allows us to predict planetary environments (in the past and future) and to make better tools to explore our solar system.

Research projects in the New MIRA lab investigate processes from the deep Earth to outer solar system.

Planetary Geology Projects

Some of our projects, with collaborators, are shown below

  • Effect of coatings on micro-reflectance IR spectra (J.A. Berger, T.S. Aran)
  • Evolution of the salts on Mars (D. Lescinsky, H.W. Nesbitt, H. Y. McSween)
  • Extended calibration of the Alpha-Particle X-ray Spectrometer for the Mars Science Laboratory mission (B. Hyde, R. Gellert, J.L. Campbell)
  • Terrestrial Mg-sulfate rich lakes as analogs for Mars and the Galilean satellites (B. Hyde, I. Foster, G. Southam, K. Moser)
  • Oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in the Tagish Lake meteorite (S.D.J. Russell, F.J. Longstaffe, T. Larsen)
  • IR and XRD of the Tagish Lake meteorite and enstatite meteorites (M.R. Izawa, R. Flemming, P.J.A. McCausland, R. Peterson)
  • Analysis of D/H ratios in amphiboles relevant to Mars (Y. Guan, L. Leshin, T.W. Vennemann)
  • Characterization of Fe3+-rich soils on Mars (M.D. Lane, M.D. Dyar, J. Bishop, M. Parente, B. Hyde)
  • Alpha-Particle X-ray Spectrometer on Mars

    Photo from Gellert et al. (2006) J. Geophys. Res. 111, doi:10.1029/2006JE002555

    Basque Lake #1 with epsomite salt

    Laboratory-based Projects

  • Effect of bulk composition on the mid-IR spectra of glasses (C. M. Dufresne, K. Dalby, R.J. Lee, M.S. Ramsey, W.A. McCutchin, J.M. Byrnes)
  • Si-O bonding in glasses (K. Dalby, H.W. Nesbitt)
  • H diffusion from wet basalt to dry rhyolite (D. Lui)
  • Bubble nucleation in phonolitic melts (J. Larsen, J. Mongrain)
  • Effects of changing oxidation state on element partitioning (J.R. Holloway, M.D. Dyar, J.S. Delaney, T.W. Vennemann, R.L. Hervig)
  • Volatile elements in andesitic melts & glasses (J.R. Holloway, R.L. Hervig, J. Lowenstern, T. Vennemann, J. Forneris)
  • Substitution of carbonate in apatite at high pressure (M.E. Fleet, X. Liu)
  • Phase equilibria of A-type granites (K. Klimm, W. Johannes, F. Holtz)
  • Synthesizing quartzofeldspathic glasses

    Analytical & Theoretical Projects

  • Development of micro-reflectance IR techniques for better understanding emission & reflectance TIR data
  • Development of reflectance IR techniques for analyzing volatiles in silicate glasses (J. Larsen)
  • Reflectance and emission IR of quartzofeldspathic glasses (R.J. Lee, J.M. Byrnes, M.S. Ramsey)
  • Synchrotron X-ray Absorption Near-Edge Spectroscopy of Fe3+ in amphiboles (M.D. Dyar, J. S. Delaney)
  • Analysis of metastable sulfates using micro- & bulk analysis techniques (B. Hyde, M. Spilde)
  • Synchrotron X-ray Absorption Near-Edge Spectroscopy of Ce3+/Ce4+ in Ti-rich minerals (T. K. Sham, M.D. Dyar, R. A. Gordon)
  • Theoretical prediction of Fe-and other minerals present on Mars (H.Y. McSween)
  • Electron microprobe methods for analyzing Fe3+ in amphiboles (C. Wagner, M. Fialin, E. Deloule)
  • King, P.L., Ramsey, M.S. & Swayze, G.A. (eds.), 2004. Infrared Spectroscopy in Geochemistry, Exploration Geochemistry and Remote Sensing. Mineralogical Association of Canada, Short Course 33

    Field-based projects

  • Volatiles & alteration products of rhyolitic rocks Kaiser Springs, AZ & Obsidian Dome, CA (D. Lui, E. Kirk)
  • Life in MgSO4 lakes - Basque Lakes, British Columbia (I. Foster, B. Hyde, G. Southam)
  • Substitution mechanisms in hydrous minerals (K. Righter, M.D. Dyar, J.S. Delaney, T.W. Vennemann, R.L. Hervig)
  • The origin of A-type granites from eastern Australia (B.W. Chappell, C.M. Allen, A.J.R. White)
  • Burro Creek, Arizona

    Red Knob rhyolite dome, Burro Creek area, Arizona

    Past student projects

    Graduate students

    I. Foster – M.Sc. (2007-2009 UWO) - Characterization of Halophilic Microorganisms & Sulfate Salts from the Hypersaline Lakes of British Columbia, Canada: An Astrobiological Perspective – with G. Southam

    B. Hyde – M.Sc. (2006-2009 UWO) – Bulk analysis, Micro-analysis, IR Spectroscopy & Alpha Particle X-ray Spectroscopy of Fe-H-sulfates

    M. Izawa – M.Sc. (2006-2008 UWO) – Mineralogy & IR Spectroscopy of the Tagish Lake C2 Chondrite & Enstatite Chondrites– with R. Flemming

    C. Dufresne - M.Sc. (2005-2008 UWO) – Effect of SiO2, total FeO, Fe3+/Fe2+ and Alkalis in Basaltic Glasses on Mid-Infrared Spectra

    K. Dalby – Ph.D. (2002-2007 UWO) – The Structure of Silicate Glasses: An FTIR & XPS Study – with H.W. Nesbitt

    S. Russell – M.Sc. (2003-2006 UWO) – The O and H Isotope Composition of the Tagish Lake Carbonaceous Chondrite – with F. Longstaffe

    D. Lui – M.Sc. (2002-2005 UWO) – The Effects of Water on Basalt-Rhyolite Interactions in Volcanic Systems

    Honors/Senior thesis students

    A. Baker (2005) – Zircon Crystallization and Incorporation of Ce: Oxygen Fugacity of Melts Inferred from     Ce4+/Ce3+ – collaboration with Sham, Chemistry

    J. Lockard (2005) – The Effects of Iron-Oxidation State on the Weathering and Bacterial Colonization of Basaltic
        Glass – joint supervision with Southam

    D. Widmer (2004) – Geochemistry of the Acasta Gneiss from the Slave Province, Northwest Territories, Canada

    E. Kirk (2004) – Comparison of Alteration Materials on Rhyolites from Kaiser Springs, Arizona and Obsidian Dome,

    R. Singer (2003) – Fourier Transform Spectroscopy of Zea mays Treated with Nickel Under Light and Dark
        Conditions – joint supervision with Macfie, Biology

    A. Cox (2003) – Insights into the Pre-Eruptive Volatile History of the Caetano Tuff: Evidence from Fluid Inclusions in
        Quartz and Biotite Petrography

    S. Russell (2003) – Geology and Geochemistry of Adirondack Fayalite-Augite Syenites 

    T. Griffin (2002) – Micro-Reflectance FTIR Analysis of Andesite Glasses 

    J. Riddell (2001) – Trace Element Partitioning Between Natural Andesite Glass and Plagioclase 

    M. Bagby (2000) – Petrology and Mineral Chemistry of Reaction Textures in Basalts from Potrillo Maar, Rio Grande

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    Updated:  21 April 2014 / Responsible Officer:  Pro VC (Research and Research Training) / Page Contact:  Researchers