Tag: Geology

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2020 Recipient – Olivia Barbee

Olivia Barbee

I am a Ph.D. Candidate studying igneous petrology in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences. I conduct crystal-scale studies of magmatic minerals primarily within a voluminous eruption deposit from Toba caldera volcano in Indonesia. Before eruption, these minerals were recording the evolving conditions of their subsurface environment as they were growing (crystallizing) from the magma. I decipher their preserved records, similar to how one studies tree rings. I specifically link changes in crystal texture with changes in crystal chemistry to better understand magma dynamics in potentially hazardous, caldera-forming magma systems (e.g., Toba, Yellowstone, Taupo Volcanic Zone). My findings have important implications for the application of petrologic tools used to study magmas, such as mineral geothermometers, geobarometers and geospeedometers, as well as models of caldera magma systems. My research may also help inform timescales of the production and gestation of giant silicic magma bodies stored in the Earth’s crust, whose eruptions are known to have global impacts.

I thank my advisor, Dr. Chad Deering, for his generous support, and allowing me to explore various research avenues throughout my time at Michigan Tech. I am also indebted to Dr. Craig Chesner, a long-time mentor and Michigan Tech Alumni (M.S.; Ph.D. ’88), as his Toba research at Tech led me to where I am today (and ironically, back to where it all started). I am very grateful to the Graduate School for their support through a Doctoral Finishing Fellowship, which will allow me to finish writing my dissertation and research publications.