Catherine Armstrong

MSc student
University of British Columbia

After starting my undergraduate degree at McGill University, I soon discovered the discipline that unites my diverse scientific interests with my love of the outdoors: geology. As part of my B.Sc. (Hons.) in Earth Sciences, I completed an undergraduate thesis on tourmaline geochemistry. Specifically, I investigated how the major and trace element partitioning among a tourmaline crystal’s sectors varies throughout its growth history, and what this variation implies for temperature changes during growth.

My undergraduate project opened my eyes to how characterizing the geochemical makeup of a rock or mineral sample can reveal vast amounts of information about its origin and evolution, an approach I will apply to my M.Sc. project at the University of British Columbia. Under the supervision of Dr. Dominique Weis and Dr. James Scoates, I will determine the composition of enriched basalts from the Makapuu section on Koolau volcano, Hawaii, and study implications for the source of enriched components in the Hawaii mantle plume. As a MAGNET trainee, I am excited to gain context for current geochemical research in Canada, and to see firsthand what geochemical techniques can offer to the exploration and environmental sectors.