Erik Hauri studies how planetary processes affect the chemistry of the Earth, Moon and other objects. He also uses that chemistry to understand the origin and evolution of planetary bodies.
The minerals that are stable in planetary interiors determine how major elements such as silicon, magnesium, iron, calcium, aluminum, titanium, sodium and sometimes water are distributed, and how they behave when melting occurs and when magmas are generated and transported to the surface in volcanoes.
The presence of water, carbon and other so-called volatiles have a large influence on the strength and melting point of planetary interiors. This in turn determines where magmas are produced, where volcanoes form and how they erupt. Magma generation and, on the Earth the subduction of tectonic plates—when enormous plates slide under one another—produce variability of trace elements in deep planetary interiors. Over time, the accumulation of some isotopes—variations of atoms with different numbers of neutrons--produced by radioactive decay generate irreversible isotopic fingerprints for deep reservoirs, but the constant motion of planetary convection attempts to mix and homogenize this variability.
All of the deep processes are reflected in the chemistry, which is delivered to the surface by volcanoes. Where samples are inaccessible, Hauri and team rely on high-pressure experiments to simulate deep planetary processes. When conditions are too extreme for the laboratory, researchers depend on geodynamic models to reveal the physics of planetary interiors and how they affect the geochemistry. As part of this interest he serves as the chair of the Reservoir and Fluxes Directorate of the Deep Carbon Observatory.
Hauri received his B.S. in Geology and Marine Science from University of Miami and his Ph.D. from MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he was also a postdoctoral investigator. He joined the Carnegie staff in 1994. http://www.dtm.ciw.edu/people/erik-h-hauri