Matthew Mayne - South Africa
Matthew obtained his MSc in Geology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa in 2015 after which he began a joint PhD programme between Stellenbosch University and Université Jean Monnet, France. Currently his research is focused on the development and use of a new software tool that aids in the modelling of mineral stabilities inside rocks.
His work aims to improve the techniques with which geologists study natural systems and thereby further our understanding of how earth processes formed, and currently maintain, our world. He is funded by the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) and the French Embassy of South Africa. In his spare time, Matthew enjoys hiking and rocking out on his drumkit.
How do rocks melt? A question requiring both chemistry and thermodynamics
Thermodynamic laws provide us with the inner workings of materials and minerals. Fundamental to these laws is the axiom that given a certain minimum number of known variables we can calculate all other dependent properties of a thermo-chemical system. Continued improvement of activity-composition models are constantly increasing the accuracy with which thermodynamic models can investigate mineral reactions. Among the many applications of this data are the geologists' use of the interdependence of pressure, temperature and chemical composition of minerals to unravel the history of a rock's formation. Following recent advances in this form of 'phase equilibria modelling', we present a new software tool that enables independent investigation of compositional change in a thermodynamically constrained environment. This tool uses iterative calculations to create a 'path dependence' whereby modellers can investigate the progressive processes that are integral to mineral and rock evolution.