Slide3Fiona D’Arcy

MSc student
McGill University

I was always fascinated by nature, and after discovering a passion for research at the Ontario Science School in Toronto I decided to pursue Earth sciences. I took up a bachelor’s degree specializing in geology with a minor in physics at the University of Ottawa, where I started working in Dr. Danielle Fortin’s geomicrobiology lab. I spent two years working on the environmental remediation of mine tailings, studying the bacteria present and their effect on the geochemistry of the surrounding iron minerals. On my exchange in Iceland I continued microbiology research and geochemical sampling while re-discovering my childhood wonder of volcanoes. In my final undergraduate year I ventured to the Canadian Arctic, completing my honours project with Dr. Ian Clark on the biodegradation of hydrocarbons in permafrost using stable and radiocarbon isotopes.

I am now starting my Master’s degree in volcano geochemistry at McGill University under the supervision of Dr. John Stix. I will be studying the water isotopes in the gases of Turrialba volcano in the central valley of Costa Rica. We would like to characterize the plume in terms of magmatic/ meteoric water content, as well as metal and halogen content to better understand and predict its behaviour. This research will also integrate studies of the changes in stable carbon and sulphur isotopes of the volcano over time, using tree rings which possess a yearly record. This may be complimented by capturing thermal infrared imaging of the crater and extensive monitoring of CO2 flux in the active area.