Constraining the formation conditions and interior structures of smaller-sized planetary bodies
* Mar 11, 2020: Paper alert! New paper out in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, focused on constraining the thermal regime of early lunar evolution. Check it out!
I am Edgar Steenstra, a Carnegie Fellow at the Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington D.C. My research is focused on experimental petrology and its application on the formation and early evolution planetary bodies. I use a wide range of equipment (piston cylinder, gas mixing furnace, multi-anvil, diamond anvil cell, in-situ synchrotron techniques, elecron microprobe, Raman, spectroscopy, LA-ICP-MS) to study geochemical processes at high pressure and temperature. Using this data, I study the formation and evolution of planetary bodies in the inner solar system.
My current research interests:
1) Isotopic fractionation of trace elements in magmatic systems
2) Systematics of metal-silicate and sulfide-silicate partitioning of lithophile, siderophile and chalcophile elements Quantification of the effects of pressure, temperature, composition, redox conditions. These results are used to determine to which extent volatile elements are depleted through core formation, under which P-T-redox conditions planets formed and the compositions of their cores.
3) Assessment of sulfide saturation in planetary materials Quantification of the solubility of S in various planetary melts and applications of these results to model sulfide saturation in planetary mantles and samples.
4) Optimizing analytical set-ups for LA-ICP-MS analyses of trace elements in metal targets Reducing matrix effects that arise from the lack of matrix-matched standards.
Altogether, all these results are applied to study the bulk compositions, the formation and early evolution Mercury, Mars, Earth, Moon, asteroids (Vesta, angrite parent body, aubrite parent body), as well as the volatile flux in the early solar system.
Note: this website is still under construction and will be updated from time to time.