Sulfur on Mercury and on reduced protoplanets

Analytical geo-/cosmochemistry applied to BepiColombo-Mission to Mercury data

The planet Mercury is uniquely enriched in Sulfur at the surface, as demonstrated by the NASA MESSENGER probe. Similarly, aubrite and enstatite chondrite meteorites are also enriched in S. In addition, Mercury, aubrites and enstatite chondrites are highly reduced, with low oxygen fugacities, and S occurs either dissolved in glasses, or as sulfides. The processes controlling the behavior of S at reducing conditions and in these planetary systems remain poorly constrained.

To understand the chemical evolution of planetary surfaces and crusts, the PhD student will conduct high temperature experiments on the formation of sulfides by sulfidation reactions. The student will employ spectroscopic and isotopic analysis and use the experimental constraints to interpret observations by the ESA BepiColombo mission, that will arrive at Mercury in December 2025. Previous experience in analytical geo-/cosmochemistry, mineralogy, or experimental petrology is desirable.

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