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The Australian National University

Dr Penelope (Penny) King

Ph.D. Arizona State University, USA
ARC Future Fellow
ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
T: 61-2-6125-0667

Areas of expertise

  • Geology 0403
  • Geochemistry 0402

Research interests

Origin and evolution of planetary interiors and surfaces. Effect of volatiles, pH and oxidation/reduction on materials at high and low temperature. Analysis of astromaterials - especially novel techniques for analyzing light elements, multivalent elements and trace elements - to better constrain past environmental processes.

Researcher's projects

My current research focuses on the origin and evolution of planetary surfaces; and the roles of volatiles, pH, and gases on minerals and melts/glasses at high and low temperatures.  I am particularly interested in the interface between volcanic and sedimentary rocks and the atmosphere.  Our group uses techniques in micro-analysis (especially infrared spectroscopy), performs high and low temperature experiments, and examines geology in the field and applies the results to other planets like Mars.

Available student projects

Our research group is accepting applications from PhD students for projects on gas-solid reactions.  Contact if you are interested.  Applicants with a strong background in Chemistry are encouraged to apply.

Current student projects

Analytical & Field-based projects

  • Development of non-destructive, field-based reflectance infrared techniques to recognise mineral coatings on rock art, with application to finding datable coatings (Tristen Jones)
  • Micron-scale X-ray diffraction of new minerals in corals from the Great Barrier Reef (Ulrike Troitzsch)
  • Do microbialites that grew on trees that were submerged in the past provide climate proxy data? (Aly Weirman)
  • How swelling clays interact with land use (Prue Merriman)
  • Petrology of buchites from Mt Stromboli, Italy (Dick Henley)
  • Petrology and unusaul chemical features of altered rocks from the Grasberg Deposit, Indonesia (Dick Henley)
  • Petrology and geochemistry of potassic alteration in the Bingham Copper Porphyry Deposit (Rachel Kirby)

  • Laboratory projects

  • Reaction of SO2 with glasses in the Anorthite-Albite-Diopside system (Christian Renggli)
  • Effect of temperature on the infrared spectra of organic compounds: application to searching for the origins of life on asteroids (Shannon McConachie)
  • Reaction of SO2 with Carrera marble (Dick Henley, Duncan Stewart)
  • Development of a glass thermometer using the effect of temperature on the mid-infrared spectra of glasses (Leo Pure, Andrew Palm)
  • Can we detect volcanic ash particles with infrared remote sensing if ice crystallizes on its surface? (Penny King)
  • Uptake of greenhouse gases on basaltic materials monitored with X-ray computed tomography (Rachel Kirby)

  • Planetary geology projects

  • Distribution of metals on the Moon's surface (Christian Renggli)
  • Origin of unusual iron meteorites with silicate inclusions (Rachel Kirby)
  • Role of shock and volcanic degassing on S distribution on Mars (Shannon McConachie)
  • Past student projects

    Planetary geology projects

  • 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)

  • Laboratory projects

  • Effect of 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)

  • 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)

  • 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)
  • Publications

    Projects and Grants

    Grants are drawn from ARIES. To add Projects or Grants please contact your College Research Office.

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    Updated:  27 July 2017 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers