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Abby Kavner Colloquium Abstract (Nov 1, 2017)

The Electrochemical Earth

Redox reactions — chemical process capable of generating electrical current — are important in Earth and planets, especially at major interfaces where oxidized and reduced phases may be in contact such as the core/mantle boundary in the deep interior, and mineral-fluid interfaces nearer to the surface. In this seminar, I share the results of some of our experimental and theoretical investigations into geochemical signatures of redox reactions. I show that measured stable isotope fractionations are particularly sensitive to the kinetics of redox reactions, and I outline the development of a framework designed to predict rate-dependent fractionation factors in a variety of chemical reactions. The ultimate goal is to develop a set of geochemical signatures to use as markers for planetary-scale thermo-chemical disequilibrium, which is the fundamental requirement for a planet to support life.