My name is Lydia and I am an environmental science major. I am a research assistant for the summer with a professor at the University of Michigan in the Earth and Environmental Science department. I am working on a larger project mapping the chemical composition of various apatite samples from across the world, focusing on rare earth elements. From this information, we can determine which areas and types of apatite have valuable elements within the deposits and which do not. This will allow future researchers to determine if a deposit is worth extracting based on where and how it was formed compared to previously mapped deposits.
I was drawn to this opportunity because I am very passionate about earth sciences and was interested in learning more about economic geology, a field that I was completely unaware of previously.
Economic geology is the study of earth’s materials that are valuable for an industrial or commercial purpose. Materials such as rare earth elements, precious and base metals, petroleum, and coal.
My specific project is data mining which means I am reading through old journals to create a large database of apatite samples and their chemical compositions. From there I will create graphs and look for patterns between different data sets.
I am so excited to learn more about this field and see where the summer of research takes me!