All the matter in the universe was created in a massive explosion known as the Big Bang. One must understand the chemistry/physics of how water behaves and other volatiles during planetary formation and evolution. The volatile element hydrogen, has a strong influence on some fundamental physical and chemical properties, affecting the rheological properties of rocks and melting relationships. It also allows us to infer hydrogen distribution using some geophysical observations. High-pressure experiments using a Kawai-type multi-anvil apparatus allow for one to make these observations. High-pressure experiments are extremely vital, for they enable us to make scientific inferences regarding some of Earth's key processes. An experimental study on the effects of water (and pressure) on grain-growth in olivine was carried out by a series of water-added and water-free conditions, using a Kawai-type multi-anvil apparatus. Additionally, as an extension from the lab work, a computer-generated model was created to simulate grain growth kinetics in olivine aggregates. This study has important implications for many grain-boundary-related processes. Results show that the presence of water enhances grain growth and the growth of larger grains occurs rapidly, consuming smaller grains. The grain growth rates for olivine at water-free or water-saturated conditions are relatively rapid on geological timescales. Grain growth could also play an imperative role in the microstructural development in alpine-type peridotites.


Wiles, Greg




Geology | Laboratory and Basic Science Research

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2017 George C. Buehler