The Department of Geosciences presents

Geology Open Night

Spring 2016

 

 

Uncommon behavior of a common mineral
lends new insight into the ancient lunar crust

 

Hanna Nekvasil

 

7:30  PM Friday 
January 29, 2016
ESS 001

A Rover’s Eye View of the Ancient Surface and Climate of Mars

Joel Hurowitz

7:30 PM Friday
February 19, 2016
ESS 001

 

TBA

Donald Weidner

7:30 PM Friday
March 25, 2016
ESS 001

TBA

Lianxing Wen

7:30 PM Friday
April 22, 2016
ESS 001

 

Earth and Space Sciences Building 
Lecture Hall (Room 001)
SUNY Stony Brook Campus

There will be Refreshments and Demonstrations after the Geology Open Night Presentations.

Admission is Free!!

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How do I get to the Earth and Space Sciences Building at SUNY Stony Brook?


Geology Open night lectures are usually on topics in the geosciences related to the current research of the faculty, staff and students at SUNY Stony Brook. These presentations are intended for:

  • those interested in new developments in the sciences

  • earth science high school students and teachers

  • undergraduate and graduate students in geosciences

  • professional geologists

One hour toward professional development is available for teachers and professional geologists attending the Geology Open Night lectures.

 

  

Uncommon behavior of a common mineral
lends new insight into the 
ancient lunar crust

 

 

Hanna Nekvasil

 

7:30  PM Friday 
January 29, 2016
ESS 001

Our interpretation of lunar history is strongly intertwined with the model of a lunar magma ocean in which plagioclase began crystallizing late and floated and accumulated to form an anorthositic crust. However, to date, the search continues for direct evidence of a deep origin of minerals that make up the anorthosite that could validate this fundamental model. Such evidence has been elusive as laboratory investigation of nominally equivalent terrestrial minerals has shown that these minerals do not change their crystallization behavior over the pressure range of the lunar magma ocean and therefore, are poor indicators of pressure. With new investigation of a long standing enigma regarding the compositional invariance of plagioclase in lunar anorthosite, we have shown that plagioclase of the highly calcic composition of the lunar anorthosite is not only sensitive to pressure but shows evidence for a high pressure origin. This provides the first diagnostic means of assessing the possibility of a lunar magma ocean source of the Highlands anorthosite.

Hanna Nekvasil is a Professor in the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook University. She received her B.A from Cornell University in 1979 and her Ph.D. from Penn State in 1985. She has been a professor in the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook since 1988, where she has focused on understanding the igneous history of the Earth, Moon, and Mars primarily through simulating, in the laboratory, the conditions of crystallization on these planetary bodies.  Recently, her group was the first to identify a mineral on the Moon that contained water and showed that the Moon was not as dry as first thought. Today she will report on their new results that provide the first definitive criteria to assess whether a lunar magma ocean actually existed in the Moon’s past.

A Rover’s Eye View of the 
Ancient Surface and Climate of Mars

Joel Hurowitz

7:30 PM Friday
February 19, 2016
ESS 001

For nearly a decade, the international program of Mars exploration has been guided by a remarkably useful framework that describes how Mars’ environmental conditions have evolved in the context of time-dependent changes in the composition of rock and soil deposits at the Martian surface. Built on the basis of observations by the instruments onboard the European Space Agency’s Mars Express Orbiter, this framework describes an early era of Earth-like surface environments that gave way to a far more arid environment in which surface water was acidic and salt-rich.

Ongoing observations by Mars Express and the higher-resolution instruments onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have continued to refine and extend this paradigm, but as is the case on Earth, the greatest insight into the evolution of surface environments comes from close-up examination of the sedimentary rock record. In-situ observations of sedimentary rocks by NASA’s Opportunity and Curiosity rovers enable evaluation of hypotheses developed from orbit, and reveal that interactions between iron-rich waters and the atmosphere have played a critical role in the evolution of the Martian surface.

I will discuss observations of the sedimentary rock record by NASA surface missions to Mars, drawing parallels between ancient Mars and processes inferred from ancient sedimentary rocks on Earth. I will also discuss the upcoming Mars 2020 rover mission and the role that the Planetary Instrument X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL), part of the scientific payload for this mission, will play in further deciphering the geochemical history of the surface of Mars.

Joel Hurowitz, an assistant Professor in the Department of Geosciences, is a geochemist and planetary scientist working at the forefront of the exploration of Mars and the Solar System. Specializing in understanding the processes of sedimentary rock formation and evolution, Prof. Hurowitz has worked extensively on the ongoing Mars Exploration Rover mission, launched in 2003, and the more recent Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover mission, which was launched in 2012. He has played a variety of roles on these missions from scientist, to rover instrument design and operations specialist, to science and engineering operations team leader.

Prof. Hurowitz is the Deputy Principal Investigator of one of the 7 instruments recently selected for the science payload of the Mars 2020 Rover mission, which is expected to operate on Mars at least through the year 2023. This instrument, called “PIXL”, for “Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry”, is a micro-focus X-ray fluorescence instrument that will produce high-fidelity maps of the distribution and abundance of chemical elements within rocks and soils at the Mars 2020 rover landing site. He has previously held positions at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL, 2007-2013),and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech, 2006-2007). 

 

TBA

Donald Weidner

7:30 PM Friday
March 25, 2016
ESS 001

TBA

Lianxing Wen

7:30 PM Friday
April 22, 2016
ESS 001

 

You may also be interested in the following lectures:
Astronomy Open Night,

The World of Physics and
The Living World
These lectures are usually held in ESS 001 at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays during the academic year.

Professional Development letters are available for teachers and geologists for attending these lectures.


Web pages describing earlier Geology Open Night presentations

Spring 1998Fall 1998, Spring 1999, Fall 1999, Spring 2000, Fall 2000, Spring 2001,
Fall 2001, Spring 2002, Fall 2002, Spring 2003, Fall 2003Spring 2004, Fall 2004,
Spring 2005, Fall 2005, Spring 2006, Fall 2006, Spring 2007, Fall 2007, Spring 2008,
Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011,
Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015
Fall 2015


 

There will be Refreshments after the Presentations.

Admission is FREE!

Presentations are in Room 001 ESS Building SUNY Stony Brook

How do I get to the Earth and Space Sciences Building at SUNY Stony Brook?