January 26, 2017
Louis Block Professor Nicolas Dauphas has published a new paper in Nature in which he shows that Earth formed from material similar to enstatite meteorites. This implies isotopic stratification in the early Solar System so that the giant impactor that formed the Moon probably had a similar isotopic composition to Earth. The isotopic similarity of Earth and the Moon had been a major mystery since calculations suggest that most of the material that forms the Moon should come from the giant impactor and before Nicolas' work there was no reason to assume that the impactor should be isotopically similar to Earth.
January 24, 2017
Associate Professor (part time) Phillip Heck, whose main appointment is at the Field Museum, has published a paper in Nature Astronomy in which his team determined that meteorites that hit Earth 466 million years ago were drastically different from those of today. This implies that recent large collisions in the astroid belt, rather than the particular astroids that cross Earth's orbit, tend to determine Earth's meteorite population. Click on the link to read NYTimes coverage of this work.
January 20, 2017
Daniel Koll, who defended his PhD this fall and is now a postdoc at MIT, has won an outstanding student paper award at the December meeting of the American Geophysical Union for his poster titled, "Interpreting Atmospheric Circulations of Rocky Exoplanets as Heat Engines." This prestigious award is only granted to the top 5% of student participants. Congratulations Daniel!