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Laboratory of Extreme Condition Geology and Geochemistry TEXT SIZE: A A A


  GIGCAS Laboratory of Extreme Condition Geology and Geochemistry under Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (GIGCAS) was established in 2002. It mainly aims to explore the characteristics, varying and interactive processes of geological bodies,rocks, minerals, organisms and elements under extreme physical and chemical conditions. And research conducted at this laboratory is based on mineral resources, and is focused on preparation of new mineral materials, R&D of minerals and related materials that enjoy market potentials as well as the industrialization of research achievements, so as to render its services to the national economic construction.

 Prof. CHEN Ming currently serves as the director of the laboratory. GIGCAS Laboratory of Extreme Condition Geology and Geochemistry now has 15 staff scientists appointed for the CAS Experimental Knowledge Innovation Program,two members of the GIGCAS Advisory Committee,and 2 technicians. Among them,6 hold senior academic titles (Ph.D. advisors), 1 is the foreign academician with Russian Academy of Sciences,2 is the laureate of the State Foundation for Outstanding Youth Scientists, and 2 are awardees for the CAS Program for 100 Outstanding Scientists.

 GD Key Laboratory of Mineral Physics and Material Research and Development is affiliated with GIGCAS Laboratory of Extreme Condition Geology and Geochemistry. For this laboratory, the major tasks consist of fundamental study on minerals and their physical properties, research and development of key technologies and materials as well as cultivation of high profile talents. Meanwhile, it is planned that GD Key Laboratory of Mineral Physics and Material Research and Development is to be built as an international base for the mineral physics research and related materials development.

Research orientations

1. Extreme Condition Geology and Geochemistry

High temperature and superhigh pressure mineralogy and petrology. Through the study on shock-metamorphosed meteorites and impact craters as well as an approach of high-pressure and temperature experiments , scientists are exploring the terrestrial impact structures and shock effects in rocks and minerals, the components and structures of the deep earth, especially in the mantle,the mechanisms for the physical conditions in the mantle and at the crust-mantle boundary and for the geological phenomena such as mantle convection, etc.
Geochemical research on phyrolites. Scientists are now exploring the geochemical characteristics of elements of igneous rocks of mantle origin, the mechanisms for their petrogenesis and evolution and their possible genetic links with endogenetic metallic deposits.
Interaction between materials from the deep part of the earth and materials from the surface of the earth. Scientists are now studying the processes of and products from the interactions among the mantle materials from the median ridge, the deep sea hydrosphere and the biosphere, the geochemical processes of pyrolites and gas and liquid components released from the pyrolites during ore-forming processes,and their impact toward the environment on the surface of the earth.
2. Surface chemistry of mineral and mineral materials

Basic and theoretical research on minerals and their physical properties, which covers mineral physics, mineral spectroscopy, basic study on microscopic structures,compositions of minerals and new materials,surface chemistry and surface physics of mineral materials, etc.
R&D and application of mineral materials, which covers: (1) study on key technologies for development and application of mineral materials such as preparation, processing and application of superfine powder materials, and surface activation, surface modification and interlayer domain intercalation technologies, etc. (2) technologies for synthesis of new mineral materials; (3) R&D of functional materials such as functional mineral fillers, environmental engineering materials,catalytic materials,new and special coating and doping materials as well as high-tech ceramics based on new mineral materials.

Recent representative achievements

 In 2003, scientists at GIGCAS Laboratory of Extreme Condition Geology and Geochemistry attained significant breakthroughs in study of superhigh pressure minerals from the mantle, since they discovered for the first time in nature two high pressure phases of post-spinel whose crystal structure densities even higher than that of spinel, and verified the temperature and pressure conditions for the formation of these phases through experiments. Furthermore,In a meteorite sample that has undergone a cosmic impact event, they discovered that spinel and chromite can be transformed into a high density phase that shows a CF structure type at 125,000 atms, and this high density can be transformed into another even high density phase that has a CT structure type when the pressure is greater than 200,000 atms. The pressures for the formation of these two high-pressure minerals of post-spinel structure correspond respectively to pressures at 400 and 580 km from the surface deep down to the mantle of the earth. Since chromite is universally present in the universe and on earth,this research achievement is fundamentally significant in geoscientific development. The breakthrough discovery indicates that one of the important oxide minerals can show regular structural changes or ordered phase transformations with the increase in pressure and temperature,which can undoubtedly provide an important standard that can be used to distinguish the temperature and history of rocks in the deep part of the earth. This achievement also provides an important window for scientists to further explore the volcanism and the history of temperature and pressure of rocks in the deep part of the earth and the structural geology at the continental collision zones. The achievements had been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of U.S.A (PNAS).

 In 2007, some significant progresses were obtained in basic theory of non-metallic mineral materials. The academic results on layered silicate mineral surface physical chemistry have been awarded the first prize of Science and Technology of Guangdong province.


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