Last spring I passed my Qualifying Examination and advanced to candidacy, so the rest of my PhD will be spent finishing data collection and writing up my projects for publication. However, I still take time to promote opportunities for the scientists of tomorrow through mentoring undergraduate students. Today I am training Erin Solloway, a UCSB 3rd year undergraduate working with me to gain research experience, on the beginning steps for zircon mineral separation from igneous rocks, or rocks that form from cooling magma. Currently I am training her to turn a giant chunk of rock, that I collected during a 2016 field expedition to Antarctica, into sand-sized pieces by using an instrument called a Jaw Crusher. This involves crushing the rock between two steel plates at progressively smaller size fractions. Then the crushed sample is sieved so that the >355 micron (um) material is saved and returned to the sample bag and the <355 um material can be further separated in later steps. The end goal is to condense as much of the mineral zircon as possible for geochronological (i.e., dating the rock) and geochemical (i.e., determining characteristics about the magma the rock formed from) analyses.
Please join me in championing this cause to help support future generations of scientists by donating at my campaign page: https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/science-a-thon-2018/elizabetherickson11/ You can also follow my “Day of Science” on Instagram @schemerthedreamer
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