Dr. Roberta Flemming
Associate ProfessorPh.D. Queen's University, 1997
Professor Roberta Flemming and her research group study a variety
of mineralogical and geological problems using a combination of
crystallography, mineral chemistry and spectroscopy. Observations made from
synthetic minerals produced at high temperatures and pressures in the
laboratory, and from natural minerals found in Earth and planetary materials,
are used to understand changes in mineral structure, chemistry, cation
distribution, solid-solubility, and phase transition behaviour in response to
changes in pressure, temperature, and composition (P-T-X), on Earth and other
Flemming employs a variety of techniques, including X-ray
diffraction and microdiffraction, Rietveld refinement of diffraction data,
electron probe microanalysis (EPMA), and a variety of spectroscopic techniques,
including solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).
Flemming’s current research objectives are outlined below:
understanding and quantification of mineral behavior as a function of
pressure (P), temperature (T) and composition (X) by synthesizing minerals
at various P-T-X, and studying their crystal structure (X-ray
diffraction/Rietveld refinement), crystal chemistry (EPMA), and cation
order-disorder (NMR spectroscopy,
e.g. 29Si, 27Al,
mineralogical investigation of meteorites. In situ µXRD provides rapid mineral ID
for meteorite classification and clues to thermal and shock history. In situ µXRD also provides shock
stage quantification, as a function of strain related mosaicity (streaking
or asterism along Debye rings).
Rietveld refinement of powder XRD data provides modal mineral
analysis, and enables crystal structural study of selected phases.
investigation of Kimberlite Indicator Minerals (KIM)
(e.g. garnet, chromite, Cr-diopside). Variation in unit cell parameters
(µXRD) is correlated to geochemical data (EPMA) with the aim of developing
µXRD as a tool for diamond exploration. Inclusions and strain related
mosaicity in minerals give additional clues to origin.
- Development of micro
X-ray diffraction (µXRD) as a tool for geologists. µXRD provides a unique
opportunity to correlate crystal structural information with other
microanalytical data on the microscopic scale (100-300 µm) not previously
available. In situ examination
of minerals preserves orientational information. Anticipated projects
include development of µXRD-related exsolution geothermometry (e.g. two
pyroxenes), and quantification of strain-related mosaicity in minerals in
meteorites, impact structures, and tectonically deformed rocks, with the
aim of developing a µXRD strain index.
- Izawa, M.R.M., Flemming, R.L., Banerjee, N.R. (2011) QUE 94204: A product of partial melting of an enstatite chondrite like protolith. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 46: 1742–1753.
- Vinet, N., Flemming, R.L. and Higgins, M.D. (2011) Crystal structure,
mosaicity and strain analysis of Hawaiian olivines using in situ X-ray
diffraction. American Mineralogist,
- Izawa, M.R.M., Flemming, R.L., Banerjee, N.R. and McCausland, P.J.A.
(2011) Micro X-ray diffraction (μXRD) assessment of shock stage in enstatite
chondrites. Meteoritics and Planetary
Science, 46: 638-651.
- Izawa, M.R.M., Flemming, R.L., King, P.L., Peterson R.C., and
McCausland, P.J.A. (2010) Mineralogical
and spectroscopic investigation of the Tagish Lake carbonaceous chondrite by
X-ray diffraction and infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 45: 675-698.
- Izawa, M.R.M., Flemming, R.L. McCausland, P. J. A., Southam, G.,
Moser, D.E. and Barker, I.R. (2010) Multi-technique investigation reveals new
mineral, chemical, and textural heterogeneity in the Tagish Lake C2 chondrite. Planetary and Space Science, 58:
- Lange, K., Rowe, R.K., Jamieson, H., Flemming, R., Lanzirotti, A.
(2010) Characterization of geosynthetic clay liner bentonite using
micro-analytical methods. Applied
Geochemistry, 25: 1056-1069.
- Izawa, M.R.M., King, P.L., Flemming, R.L., Peterson R.C.,
McCausland, P.J.A. (2010) Mineralogical
and spectroscopic investigation of enstatite chondrites by X-ray diffraction
and infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Journal
of Geophysical Research – Planets, 115: (doi:10.1029/2009JE003452)
- Smith, E., Helmstaedt, H.H. and Flemming, R.L. (2010) Survival of
Brown Colour in Diamond During Storage in the Subcontinental Lithospheric
Mantle. Canadian Mineralogist, 48:
- Izawa, M.R.M., Banerjee N.R., Flemming, R.L., Bridge, N.J. and
Schultz, C. (2010) Basaltic glass as a habitat for microbial life: Implications
for astrobiology and planetary exploration. Planetary
and Space Science, 58: 583-591.
- Izawa, M.R.M., Banerjee, N.R., Flemming, R.L. and Bridge, N.J.
(2010) Preservation of microbial ichnofossils in basaltic glass by titanite
mineralization. Canadian Mineralogist,
- Moser, D.E., Davis,
W.J., Reddy, S., Flemming, R.L. and Hart, R.J. (2009) Zircon U-Pb strain
chronometry reveals deep impact-triggered flow.
Earth and Planetary Science
Letters, 277: 73-79.
- Nene, S., Karhu, E., Flemming, R.L. and Hutter, J.L. (2009) A
Diffusionless Transition in a Normal Alkane. Journal of Crystal Growth, 311: 4770–4777.
- Flemming, R.L. (2007) Micro X-ray Diffraction (µXRD): A versatile
technique for characterization of Earth and planetary materials. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences,
- Ning, G. and Flemming, R.L. (2005) Rietveld refinement of LaB6:
Data from µXRD. Journal of Applied
Crystallography, 38, 757-759.
- Flemming, R.L., Salzsauler, K., Sherriff, B.L. and Sidenko, N.
(2005) Identification of scorodite in very fine-grained, high-sulfide
arsenopyrite mine wastes using Micro X-ray diffraction (µXRD) Canadian Mineralogist, 43, 1527-1537.
- Flemming, R.L. and Luth, R.W. (2002) 29Si MAS NMR study of diopside - Ca-Tschermak
clinopyroxenes: Detecting both tetrahedral and octahedral Al. American Mineralogist, 87, 25-36.
Undergraduate courses (currently taught):
Earth Sciences 2206a: Mineral Systems,
Crystallography and Optics
Earth Sciences 2212b: Genesis of Meteorites and Planetary Materials (even
Earth Sciences 3310b: Structure and
Chemistry of Minerals and Materials (odd years)
Environmental Science 300F: Great Lakes Pollution (2001,
Earth Sciences 3341b: Environmental Geochemistry (2003)
Geology/Geophysics 9580a/9680a: Graduate Seminar (2005, 2007,
2008, 2009, 2010, 2012)
Geology 9516b: Advanced Mineralogy and Crystallography (2002,
2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012)
Geology 9549a/b: Special Topics in
Mineralogy (2005, 2012)
- Jeff Berger Ph.D. (with M. Schmidt, Brock Univ.)
- Michael Craig Ph.D. NIR, NMR and XRD study of terrestrial impact
glasses (with G. Osinski)
- David Edey M.Sc. Micro-CT algorithms for reduction of
high-density artifacts in meteorite scans. (with D. Holdsworth, Robarts)
- Annemarie Pickersgill M.Sc. (with G. Osinski)
- Patrick Shepherd M.Sc.
- Jared Shivak M.Sc. Mineralogical evidence for habitability on
Mars. (with N. Banerjee)
Available projects include:
- Matthew Izawa Ph.D. (2012) Mineralogical investigation of meteorites
and terrestrial environments: mineralogical and biological
evolution. (with N. Banerjee)
- Monika Haring M.Sc. (2012) Heating events in the early solar system:
Clues from meteoritic pyroxene.
- Michael Craig M.Sc. (2010) The effects of impact on the NIR spectra of
carbonates and calibrations for use in planetary
- Ben Harwood M.Sc. (2009) Crystal-chemical relationships in kimberlitic
and non-kimberlitic garnet and ilmenite.
- Matthew Izawa M.Sc. (2008) Mineralogy and IR spectroscopy of the Tagish
Lake C2 chondrite and enstatite
- Jingshi Wu M.Sc.
(2005) Cation ordering in
diopside-jadeite solid solution.
- Andrea Cade M.Sc. (2003) Colouration in lazurite from Baffin Island, Nunavut.
structure, cation ordering and configurational entropy in pyroxene group
minerals, using NMR spectroscopy and diffraction methods.
- Systematic determination of unit cell parameters in KIM minerals (e.g. Cr-diopside and chromite) and investigation
of crystal structural – crystal chemical correlations.
- Mineralogical investigation of meteorites: Crystal chemical clues to formation, thermal
and shock metamorphism, fusion crust formation aqueous processing, and weathering.
Possible meteorites include chondrites (e.g. Allende), achondrites (e.g. 4 Vesta
HEDs), martian, lunar.
- Systematic determination of unit cell parameters for major minerals
in meteorites (e.g. clinopyroxene and olivine) and correlation to mineral
chemistry and planetary origin.
- Quantification of strain-related mosaicity in minerals in
meteorites, impact structures, and tectonically deformed rocks, with an aim
toward development of a µXRD strain index, and calibration using existing
- Development of µXRD for exsolution geothermometry. (e.g. two
pyroxenes). GADDS image provides simultaneous unit cell information for both
phases, as well as their T-dependent orientational relationship.