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  Elise Knittle

Elise Knittle





Physical & Biological Sciences Division

Earth & Planetary Sciences Department

Interim Department Chair, Biomolecular Engineering


Regular Faculty

Earth & Marine Sciences
EMS C448 (Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences office)

EMS C448 (Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences office)

Earth and Planetary Sciences

  • B.A., Smith College
  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

  • Experimental Geophysics and Mineral Physics

  • Elise Knittle's research uses ultrahigh pressure and temperature experiments to simulate the conditions in the Earth's interior. The goal of this work is to provide experimental constraints on the thermal and chemical evolution of the Earth and a better understanding of the physical properties of the interior. Results from high-pressure experiments combined with seismological, geodetic, paleomagnetic, and geochemical observations provide a powerful interdisciplinary approach to understanding the Earth's interior.

    Current and past research projects have included investigations of the temperature and composition of the Earth's mantle, core, and core-mantle boundary; phase equilibria and equations of state of hydrous mantle minerals; trace-element partitioning and phase equilibria between mantle minerals and melts; and physical property measurements and structural investigations of minerals and silicate glasses. Knittle is also interested in the effect of pressure on the bonding properties of solids and has studied the metallization of ionic and semiconducting materials at high pressure and the physical properties of superhard diamond-structured materials. To achieve extreme conditions of pressure and temperature in the laboratory, UCSC researchers use the diamond-anvil cell coupled with several heating techniques. The UCSC Mineral Physics Laboratory houses a state-of-the-art Raman spectrometer, Fourier-transform infrared spectrometer, high-intensity x-ray generator and transmission electron microprobe to investigate the structural, physical, and chemical state of samples held at high pressures.

  • Earth as a Chemical System
  • Advanced Mineralogy
  • Topics in Mineral Physics

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