Center for Lunar Science and Exploration
USRA - Lunar and Planetary Institute
3600 Bay Area Blvd
Houston, Texas 77058, USA
I am a NASA Lunar Science Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, and work at the LPI-JSC Center for Lunar Science and Exploration here at LPI.
My current research concerns the compositions and generation conditions of the primitive Martian magmas. I approach this question from studies of the petrology and chemistry of the melt inclusions trapped in early crystallizing phases from the Shergottites-Nakhlites-Chassignites (SNC) Martian meteorites. Defining the chemical characteristics of the Martian magmas has the potential to provide us with important clues about the interior of Mars, processes involved in magma generation, the timing of these processes, and relationship among meteorites.
My research also includes the study of serpentinization and its implications for life on the Early Mars. Serpentinization of olivine- and pyroxene-rich rocks liberates molecular hydrogen, a source of energy and electrons that can be readily utilized by a broad array of chemosynthetic organisms. These systems are viewed as important analogs for potential early ecosystems on Mars, where highly reducing mineralogy was likely widespread in an undifferentiated crust.
During my PhD research work, I acquired qualitative understanding and quantitative data on the growth and dissolution kinetics of olivine, pyroxene, quartz, and plagioclase at low disequilibrium by performing transcrystalline melt migration experiments. The interpretation of experiments involved physical modelling of the motion and entrapment of the gas bubble, the morphological evolution of the liquid-filled cavity, the solid-liquid-gas wetting relations, the steady-state migration rates and the crystal-melt chemical reequilibration. I broadened my domain of research on melt inclusions by characterizing the olivine-hosted melt inclusions from the Brahin main-group pallasite, proposing possible models for their origin, and discussing the implications on the formation and differentiation of the Brahin pallasite parent body.
Dr. Sonzogni's Curriculum Vitae
February 23, 2012