At the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Dr. Ella Jewison studies volcanic rocks that erupted in the last 5 million years. Her research takes place in northern Israel, in the vicinity of the Dead Sea Transform, a major tectonic boundary where two plates slip horizontally against each other. Yet the relationship between volcanism and this slip is unclear. Dr. Jewison tracks the origin and the evolution of the melting of the mantle (the part of the Earth that lies between its super-heated core and its thin outer layer, the crust) in this region, which could help to confirm or disprove earlier models for the evolution of mountain belts in the area.
The rocks Dr. Jewison must identify are melt inclusions from volcanic rock, meaning small pockets of melts trapped within a host mineral during its growth. Physically and chemically isolated within the host mineral and protected from later interaction with the external environment, such inclusions retain valuable information about the early stage of the parent melt.
Dr. Jewison earned her Phd in Geosciences from the Sorbonne University, where she studied ancient convergent plate boundaries in the difficult crystalline terrane of northern Scotland. She innovatively developed a new lab protocol to date apatite, one of the area’s minerals, using highly complicated SIMS (Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer) technology. She will use this technology again in her current project.