Chemical synthesis can be fun! No, really. Doing solid state chemistry in the lab can be an adventure, and sometimes you can even make some compounds that you didn’t know existed! Such is the story of my attempt (with cohort Dr. Dawnika Blatter of the USGS) to synthesize cobaltous oxide, a compound that I was hoping to use in future experiments. The journey involved heating and moulding silica glass tubes with a pair of exceptionally groovy welding goggles and an oxyhydrogen torch, a 1010 °C furnace, and some pretty funky colors.
A short video of what it looks like to quench an experiment run in a TZM-type (MHC) pressure vessel. This particular run, performed at the USGS Menlo Park (California), was held at 900 °C and 1,000 bar for three days in order to synthesize a hydrous comendite glass.
On July 21st, 2015 at 2:41:14 local time, a 4.1 magnitude earthquake occurred in Fremont, California. This is the story of how the chemical analysis of a volcanic rock from North Korea at a facility in Stanford University recorded the event.
I heard a European tell a very funny joke once. He said,
It’s colder than a North American shopping mall in here!
I was the only one in the room who laughed (and, I laughed a very hearty laugh) as the other Europeans didn’t seem to get the joke. But, it’s true, isn’t it? I know I’m not the only one that has to keep a sweater at work, even when it’s 90° or more outside.
When wondering around central Paris, one may not expect to stumble upon a Geek haven filled with sci-fi merchandise, steam-punk design, a time lord inspired ceiling mural, and plenty of geeks playing games, having fun, and drinking geeky cocktails. Le Dernier Bar Avant La Fin Du Monde (The last bar at the end of the world… anyone get the Hitchhiker’s Guide reference?) is just that place and is located literally a few minutes’ walk from Notre-Dame cathedral. This month, from June 3-30, Le Dernier Bar is hosting a Star Trek art show, where the Trek themed art of local and not-so-local artists is on display and even for sale at only 81€ per piece. Check out some photos of this awesome bar and the amazing work on display below.
There’s a simple new excel spreadsheet available on the Tools for Petrologists page. The tool Calculate fO2 Buffer allows you to determine the “delta” of a several oxygen fugacity buffers (for example: ΔNNO, ΔQFM, etc.) when the value of logfO2 is known. Here’s a screenshot of the inputs and outputs:
References: B. R. Frost in Mineralogical Society of America “Reviews in Mineralogy” Volume 25.
I’ve discovered an error in the Glass Density Calc spreadsheet, posted on the Tools for Petrologists page. The original version of the spreadsheet, used to calculate the density of a volcanic glass or magma, contained incorrect values for the partial molar volumes of the oxide components and incorrect corresponding dV/dT values. The new version (version 2) has the correct values and has been checked against other density measurements in the literature and found to be within about 10% error.
Please update to the newest version: available here.
Yet another update to the Tools for Petrologists page this week with the Glass Density Calc tool. This Excel spreadsheet allows you to input the composition of your silicate glass in terms of oxide wt% in addition to the water content in wt% plus the temperature and pressure of your sample and outputs the density of your melt in terms of g/cm3 and g/L.
All of the constants and equations necessary from this tool come from Lange and Carmichael (1990) and Ochs and Lange (1999). The equations are put to further use (and some interesting relationships with viscosity are explored) in Hack and Thompson (2011).
User inputs are in the blue boxes, calculated outputs are in the red.