Personalia | Humboldt Research Fellow Kusiak is for a research stay at the GFZ

Humboldt Awardee Monika Kusiak is for a research stay at the GFZ (photo: private)

01.03.2017: Monika Kusiak comes as a Humboldt Research Fellow to the GFZ, section Chemistry and Physics of Earth Materials, for eleven months, starting on 1 March. She is an Associate Professor at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland. At the GFZ she will be working on improving age determination of rocks via the mineral zircon, in the team of Richard Wirth.

Age determination of rocks is a fundamental part of several geoscientific disciplines. The age of a mineral or rock can be determined by analyzing the proportion of certain isotopes – which are versions of the same atom but with different weights – of certain elements. Elements that are often used are uranium and lead or thorium and lead. In nature these elements are common in the mineral zircon. This is why zircon is often used for dating rocks. For precise and reliable age determinations, the structure of the mineral must be free of both external and internal disturbing influences that may have an effect on the determined age.

During her stay at the GFZ, Monika Kusiak wants to find out more about what kind of changes in the mineral zircon, induced for example by high-temperatures, have a deleterious effect on age determination. By a better understanding of element distribution on a below-micrometer scale, dating via isotope ratios can be improved in the future. (ak)