Wollastonite (CaSiO3) is mined in the Adirondack Mountains, NY. Wollastonite is used in applications as diverse as plastics, paints, construction materials, and metallurgical products. Over a timescale of years crushed wollastonite in mine wastes here have been cemented together by calcite, evidence for the reaction where atmospheric CO2 + wollastonite (CaSiO3) –> calcite (CaCO3) + quartz (SiO2). This reaction sequesters atmospheric CO2, and has been proposed as a potential way to mitigate anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Students working on this project will work on mine wastes from the Lewis and Valentine mines in the Adirondacks, analyzing samples using the electron microscope, X-ray diffraction, and stable isotope techniques. The aim of the project is to evaluate mineral-atmosphere reactions as a way to draw down atmospheric CO2; something that has been the topic of laboratory experiments but has had very little confirmation in the field.
Students should have completed Geol 201 (Mineralogy and Geochemistry). The Geology Department encourages students interested in summer research to meet with potential faculty supervisors before submitting an application.