Monica E. Erdman


Ph.D. student

Rice University

Department of Earth Science

6100 Main Street MS-126

Houston, TX 77005


Advisor: Cin-Ty Lee

I am interested in the origin and evolution of the continental crust. Some questions I seek to answer are: How has continental crust evolved through geologic time? What makes cratons so stable with time and non-cratonic continental crust not? What processes create, alter, and destroy continental crust? In addition to magmatic differentiation in volcanic arcs, arguably the major source of new continental crust, the return of subducted material to the surface may also play an important role in the chemical evolution of continents. Projects I am involved in include microtextural analysis of rocks in Basin and Range metamorphic core complexes to infer the velocity anisotropy of the lower crust, major and trace element geochemical investigation of the lower crust beneath the southwestern US, and developing a fluid dynamical model to explain the exhumation of subducted but chemically buoyant material. In addition, I am currently developing a method to rapidly determine sulfur concentrations in rocks. The goal of this project is to investigate the contribution of the crust and mantle to the sulfur cycle, with possible implications for the redox evolution of the earth.