Laboratory for Rock Physics      

Wen-lu Zhu


Group Memebers
Jeremy Banker, MS student

Harrison Lisabeth, PhD candidate

Kevin Miller, PhD candidate

Are you thinking about graduate school?

Geological processes are fascinating. Geologists are brainy, adventureous, and literally down-to-earth.

The inter-disciplinitary and hands-on research make our lab an ideal place for self-motivated students who want to pursue an advanced degree in geology. Conducting research in a Rock Physics lab means to master skills and knowledge that are of great interests to energy resource related industry.

We are currently looking for graduate students to join our research group!

News at UMD Rock Physics Lab!

2/2014, Dr. Audrey Ougier-Simonin will join the British Geological Survey in Nottingham by the end of this year. Congratulations on the new job, Audrey!

2/2014, Dr. Audrey Ougier-Simonin will join the British Geological Survey in Nottingham by the end of this year. Congratulations on the new job, Audrey!

1/2014, Miller et al., Experimental quantification of permeability for partially molten mantle rocks, Earth Planetary Science Letters, 388, 273-282, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2013.12.003. Congratulations, Kevin!

1/2014, Happy New Year!

12/2013, Harrison Lisabeth gave a poster presentation at the 2014 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

12/2013, Kevin Miller gave an oral presentation at the 2014 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

10/2013,Thomas Braga and Nicholas Caviglia will conduct their undergraduate senior thesis research in our lab. Welcome, Thomas and Nick!

 9/2012, Harrison Lisabeth
sucessfully defended his PhD thesis proposal. Now Harry is officially a PhD candidate! Congratulations, Harry! 

Current Reseach

Our approach is to combine laboratory experiments (skilled mechanic!), microstructural analysis (nano scientist!) and theoretical/numerical modelings (computer geek!). My students and I are working on various projects including:

damage accumulation and fracture propagation in sedimentary rocks, with applications to fault slip and earthquake nucleation;

   a) Triaxial deformation Apparatus; b) Progressive growth of shear localization in Darley Dale sandstone; c) Laser confocal microscopy image of Hertzian crack and grain crushing in a deformed sandstone. Audrey and Tommy are currently writing their findings. Stay tuned!

2) melt distribution in mantle peridotite, with applications to magma transport beneath mid-ocean ridges, where oceanic plates diverge and new crust is made;

3D melt distribution of olivine-basalt aggregates. The size of each cube is 140x140x140 mm3. The melt volume fractions are A) 0.02; B) 0.05; C) 0.10; D) 0.20 respectively. Gray represents the interfaces between melt and olivine crystals. Red represents the interior of melt channels. The hollow space is where olivine crystals reside. Interconnected melt channels along grain edges are observed in all 4 samples. Zhu et al. , Science, 2011. Continuation of this work will be part of Kevin's PhD thesis project. 

To see melt distribution in 3D, click here.
Wonder how it feels flying through the interconnected melt channels? click here.

3) carbon mineralization in mafic and ultramafic rocks, with applications in removing anthropogenic CO2 , a green house gas from the atmosphere (CO2 sequetration);

a) Carbonate veins in naturally altered dunite; b)serpentinized dunite (X-ray synchrotron images); c) Laboratory investigation of carbon mineralizeation under controlled conditions. Harry will take on the challenges and this work will be part of his PhD project.

4) fluid circulation within deep sea hydrothermal vent deposits, where ore deposits occur and unusual chemosynthetic microbial communities thrives (Dark Energy).

a) Probe permeability measurements of deep-sea hydrothermal vent deposits; b) coring parallel and perpendicular along the layering structure of vent deposits; c) benchtop permeamer and porosimeter; d) microstructural analysis. Jill will present these data during a public hearing for her Master's thesis defense in July. She is about to submit her first scientific paper.

5) transport properties and failure modes of carbonate rocks

a) Twinning in a deformed Solnhofen limestone b) Microcracking in a deformed Solnhofen limestone; c) Twinning in a deformed Indiana limestone. Katherine and Abdalla are 2 undergraduate students who participate in this project. 

One common theme in these diverse projects is fluid
flow( in forms of either water, CO2, or hydrocarbons) in Earth's crust and upper mantle.

Former Students 

Evan McMullen, BS 2013
Jill Gribbin, MS 2011
Thomas Tamarkin, MS 2011
Katherine Watter, BS 2011
Stanley Ohaka, BS 2010
Former Postdocs

Dr. Audrey Ougier-Simonin, 2011-2013
British Geological Survey, Nottingham

Former Student Interns

Adrienne Emmerich, 2013
Tyler Fleming, 2013
Abdalla Abdalla, 2011
Eric Long, 2010
Sean Howell, 2010

Geophysics at UMD
Department of Geology
University of Maryland

For more details, please contact
 Dr. Wenlu Zhu.