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Mukul Sharma Current Research Interests in Isotope Geochemistry

Geochemical and isotopic studies of cosmic dust

The main objective of this project is to gain an insight into the composition and evolution of micrometeorite parent bodies and to evaluate the mass loss during atmospheric entry and transport. The cosmic spherules constitute the bulk of extraterrestrial material accreted to the earth and could potentially provide a petrogenetic history of millimeter sized and smaller meteoroids that inhabit the inner solar system. They could further yield information about the extraterrestrial contributions to atmospheric aerosols that are critical to stratospheric chemistry and may affect global climate. We are investigating the lanthanide element contents and Sm, Nd, and Os isotopes of the spherules recovered from the bottom of a water-well on South Pole. Our goal is to investigate the evolutionary history of micrometeorites using the Sm and Nd isotope systematics that are well established for larger meteorites. Also, this study would provide a measure of the fraction of Os that is evaporated during atmospheric entry of cosmic dust, which would, in turn, be used to estimate the cosmic dust flux using the Os isotopes. This work is being carried out in collaboration with Susan Taylor, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory.


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