Olivia Pardo

  • Program Year: 3
  • Academic Institution: California Institute of Technology
  • Field of Study: Geophysics
  • Academic Advisor: Jennifer Jackson
  • Practicum(s):
    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (2019)
  • Degree(s):
    B.S. Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, 2017

Summary of Research

My research investigates the properties of materials under extreme conditions by conducting high-pressure, high-temperature experiments relevant to planetary interiors. The basis of my research is the need to understand how factors of a material's external environment, like pressure and temperature, change the atomic environments within this material, and ultimately how these changes in fundamental properties manifest in observable features within Earth and other planetary bodies in the solar system. I design experiments that measure the properties of relevant mineral phases that allow for interpretation of seismic observations and inform geodynamic and geochemical modeling. To achieve the pressures relevant to Earth's interior, I use diamond-anvil cells, a small device that is designed to situate a microscopic mineral sample in between the tips of two diamonds and generates extreme pressures, such as those that exist within the Earth's core. My group performs synchrotron diamond anvil-cell experiments designed around answering several questions including volatile transport from the surface into the deep interior, the observed structure of Earth's mantle, and the composition of Earth's core.

My own experiments have focused on the measuring the electronic, vibrational, and elastic properties of a hydrous, iron-bearing sulfate using synchrotron X-ray diffraction, Moesbauer spectroscopy, nuclear resonant inelastic X-ray scattering, and infrared spectroscopy. These techniques allow identification of structural phase transitions, fundamental changes in lattice dynamics, and the effect of iron in relation to other hydrous sulfates. This work aims to address the behavior of hydrous sulfates during volatile transport within the Earth and other planetary bodies, such as within icy, sulfate-rich interiors.


Perez, T.; Finkelstein, G.J.; Pardo, O.; Solomatova, N.V.; Jackson, J.M. A Synchrotron Moessbauer Spectroscopy Study of a Hydrated Iron-Sulfate at High Pressures. Minerals 2020, 10, 146.

Thomas Stephan, Reto Trappitsch, Peter Hoppe, Andrew M. Davis, Michael J. Pellin, and Olivia S. Pardo. Molybdenum Isotopes in Presolar Silicon Carbide Grains: Details of s-process Nucleosynthesis in Parent Stars and Implications for r- and p-processes. Astrophysical Journal, 877, 101. 2019.

Chidester B.A., Pardo O.S., Fischer R.A., Thompson E.C., Heinz D.L., Campbell A.J., Prescher C., and Prakapenka V.B. High pressure phase behavior and equations of state of ThO2 polymorphs. American Mineralogist, 103. 10. 2018.

Patrick Boehnke, Elizabeth A. Bell, Thomas Stephan, Reto Trappitsch, C. Brenhin Keller, Olivia S. Pardo, Andrew M. Davis, T. Mark Harrison, and Michael J. Pellin. Potassic, high-silica Hadean crust. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115. 201720880. Jun 2018.

Trappitsch R., Boehnke P., Stephan T., Telus M., Savina M. R., Pardo O., Davis A.M., Dauphas N., Pellin M.J., Huss G.R. New constraints for the low abundance of 60Fe in the early solar system. Astrophysical Journal, 857. L15. 2018.


Degree Honors - University of Chicago: General Honors, Geophysical Sciences (B.S.) With Honors
Dean's List, University of Chicago, 2013-14, 2015-16, 2016-17