The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2012 resulted in the release of ~5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, a fraction of which washed ashore onto Gulf beaches. We compare the detailed molecular analysis of hydrocarbons in oiled sands from Pensacola Beach to the Macondo wellhead oil (MWO) by Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry to identify major environmental transformation products of polar, high molecular weight petrogenic material from Pensacola Beach.

Research on a meteorite may one day shed light on whether there has ever been life on Mars — and perhaps even help pave the way for future colonization of the Red Planet.

The facilities of the geochemistry group are available to outside users on a cost recovery basis. Pilot projects and student use are done at reduced costs.

Our Facilities

Facilities include a clean room to keep samples free of contamination.

At wprk in the clean room.

The Earth's Mantle

Our research areas includes source composition of and fractionation in oceanic basalts.

Collecting samples of basalts.

Powerful Tools

Our instruments include this fully automated 9 collector Finnigan MAT 262 mass spectrometer.

Finnigan MAT 262 mass spectrometer.

Mercury Research

Our group studies mercury isotopes to determine the cycling and behavior of mercury in fish and elsewhere in the environment.

Collecting samples of mercury in fish.

Quality Instrumentation

Our first-class tools include this Element2 ICP mass spectrometer.

 Element2 ICP mass spectrometer.

The geochemistry group's research is centered around the use of trace elements and isotopes to understand Earth processes and the environment in the broadest sense.

Atmospheric pressure photoionization (APPI) Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) provides ultrahigh resolving power (m/Δm50% > 1,000,000 at m/z 500) and sub-ppm mass error (50 ppb) required to identify nickel porphyrin isotopes for unambiguous elemental composition assignment. We also report the first simultaneous identification and categorization of both vanadyl and nickel porphyrins in the same sample, without prior sample fractionation.

Traditional tools for routine environmental analysis and forensic chemistry of petroleum have relied almost exclusively on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), although many compounds in crude oil (and its transformation products) are not chromatographically separated or amenable to GC-MS due to volatility. We apply ultrahigh resolution Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometry to identify compositional changes at the molecular level between native and weathered crude oil samples and reveal enrichment in polar compounds inaccessible by GC-based characterization.

To learn about our planet’s paleoclimate, a MagLab scientist goes underground.

Jennifer Stern, a Florida State University graduate and MagLab alum, is a scientist on the Earth-based crew that monitors and directs Curiosity, the space rover now rumbling over the Red Planet more than 34 million miles away.

MagLab scientist Yang Wang joins an expedition to unearth the oldest woolly rhino fossils ever found.

Page 3 of 3