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Geology student to present research on Allende meteorite at meeting in Japan

Chelsea Brunner, a junior geology major from Louisville, will present her research on the Allende meteorite at the 71st Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society in Matsue, Japan, on Friday (Aug. 1).

Brunner’s research is an extension of work that she started in the summer of 2007, collaborating with Dr. Denton Ebel at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her talk is titled: “Abundances and Sizes of Clast Types in the Allende CV3 Meteorite: New Results from Mapping Analysis.”

Her research involves the examination of calcium-rich and aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs) in the Allende meteorite, which is classified as a carbonaceous chondrite meteorite. Samples of the meteorite were recovered from a strewn field in the Chihuahua State in Mexico in 1969. The inclusions in the meteorite originally formed as free-floating aggregates of mineral dust, some of which were partially or fully melted to form droplets in the solar nebula. Surfaces of the meteorite were mapped using an electron microprobe, and relative surface area and size distributions of different types of inclusions, matrix, and chondrules were computed. The abundances and the distribution of these different inclusions pertain to theories of their origin and planet formation.

Brunner also received a grant from the Geological Society of America to continue work on the project after the summer REU was completed. “Chelsea’s research and participation in this international conference is another great example of student engagement beyond the classroom,” said Dr. David Keeling, head of the Department of Geography and Geology. “Her work at the AMNH in New York as part of a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) fellowship has enriched her training in the geological sciences and provided additional academic and cultural experiences in communities other than her own.”

For information, contact Andrew Wulff at (270) 745-5976.

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