Brennan van Alderwerelt
I studied astrophysics at UCD in northern California and later worked for the CA Department of Water resources before coming to grad school here at UI. I’ve previously worked in laser optics, stellar chemistry, education, estuary conservation, and ecosystem chemistry. While these may seem disconnected, it all relates to my fascination with the repercussions of matter and energy transfer in natural systems. In other words, I’m interested in things that happen. Originally from the great Pacific Northwest, I have a love for volcanoes buried deeply in my soul. Here I study volcanoes happening.
My current research focuses on rocks from the central Andes which provide a unique opportunity to better understand the composition of magma as it first forms beneath the region. This basaltic andesite was erupted at a monogenetic maar in the Altiplano-Puna volcanic complex, a major silicic volcanic province formed from intense episodes of ignimbrite volcanism. Lavas erupted within the complex are generally highly evolved and have experienced extensive contamination. I am using whole rock geochemistry, single crystal isotopes, melt inclusion compositions, and petrology to study the most primitive endmember in this section of the Andes and the crustal xenoliths it hosts.