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The chemical signature of ancient oceans

The chemical signature of ancient oceans

Alex Dickson

I am interested in using the chemical signature of oceans to trace the processes that shape our Earth and its inhabitants. These processes include the weathering of crustal rocks, the emplacement of volcanic provinces, and the cycling of nutrients and trace gases that organisms need to thrive.

I develop and test new geochemical tools using waters and sediments from the present-day, and then apply these tools to reconstruct ‘paleo-environments’ during past intervals of major global climate change.

A key focus of my work is to understand how environmental processes evolve during times of very warm global climate, similar to what we might expect in the coming years.

You will most commonly find me working in the Royal Holloway metal free chemistry labs or using one of our high-sensitivity mass spectrometers (the Neptune MC-ICP-MS or the Phoenix TIMS).

I especially enjoy dissolving organic-rich and carbonate-rich rocks in horrible acids, in order to extract the cocktail of elemental and isotopic signatures hosted by their different mineral phases, and eventually, to disentangle the environmental signatures preserved by these elements.





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