The Geofluids group undertakes research on the origin, evolution and migration of fluids in the Earth’s crust. The research covers several aspects of diagenesis, but we have a special focus on the evolution of organic materials, from microbes to methane and graphite. This includes studies of organic materials relevant to planetary science, such as work on impact craters, meteorites and the search for life on other planets.
More specifically, projects include:
- Studies of mineral cementation histories, supported by detailed fluid inclusion studies, have elucidated the histories of fluid flow at several Atlantic margins, including the UKCS, East and West Greenland, Newfoundland, offshore Angola and Rio Muni, and offshore Argentina. Our main focus is on the NE Atlantic region, where we have investigated the regional extent of hot fluid pulses associated with Tertiary magmatic activity.
- The preservation of organic matter is essential to understanding the origin and evolution of life on Earth, and potentially on other planets. In a wider context, the preservation of carbon in extraterrestrial materials provides clues to the sequestration of carbon by planets. Such preservation requires the survival through a range of high-temperature processes, including meteorite impacts, metamorphism, and hydrothermal alteration. We are studying the preservation of carbon in these environments, and how we can interpret thermal history from carbon composition.
- An astrobiological initiative within the group involves assessing the potential to use the fluid record to extract information on environmental conditions from deposits on other planets, and the early rock record on our own planet. Specific projects include documenting fluid circulation in impact craters, recording fluid compositions in surface deposits of the type that might be sought on Mars, and assessing inclusion fluids as a source of biomolecules.