Michael A. Velbel
Geochemical kinetics & petrography of mineral-water reactions
Department of Geological Sciences, Michigan State University
My students and I study the geochemical kinetics (rates and mechanisms)
of mineral-water interactions during rock and mineral weathering, from
mineral to landscape scales. Our research emphasizes the geological, mineralogical,
geochemical, and geomorphic factors which control mineral alterations at
the Earth's surface and the migration of chemical elements through the
landscape. Mineralogical and petrographic studies establish textural and
paragenetic relationships among primary rock-forming silicates and their
weathering products, and help constrain reaction stoichiometries and rate-determining
steps. Watershed-scale field studies investigate thermodynamics and kinetics
of solute acquisition, and mass balance (input-output budgets) of southern
hardwood forest watersheds of the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, a Long-Term
Ecological Research (LTER) site. Related areas of research include; rock
and mineral weathering and landform/landscape evolution; genesis and history
of terrestrial regolith, especially in residual/sedentary landscapes; weathering
contributions to global geochemical and sedimentary cycles, ancient and
modern; weathering of building and monument stone; mineral weathering and
landscape response to acid deposition; dissolution kinetics of halides
and other evaporite minerals; terrestrial weathering of Antarctic meteorites;
and pre-terrestrial aqueous alteration on meteorite parent bodies and other
rocky solar-system objects.
Lab., Otto, NC
Aerial view of the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, Otto, North Carolina
(U.S. Department of Agricultural, Forest Service).
Historical streamflow on Little Tennessee River near Coweeta, 1960-1996
Prof Bob Bourman (Univ. of South Australia, left) and Prof Mike Velbel
(right) inspected some weathered volcanics with Assoc Prof Graham Taylor
(University of Canberra, middle) on the Monaro Plain, New South Wales.
(Photo by Ian Roach, CRC LEME)
Students from Australia's Cooperative Research Centre for Landscape
Evolution and Mineral Exploration (CRC LEME) and visiting scientist Prof
Michael Velbel from Michigan State University, USA (far left), on the Mundi
Mundi escarpment near Broken Hill, New South Wales. LEME students and staff
have benefited from the visits of a number of prominent national and international
scientific visitors in 1997/98. (Photo by Steve Hill, CRC LEME)
from Antarctica (NASA/JSC)
SNC meteorite from Antarctic Meteorite Collection (NASA/JSC).
ALH84001, the oldest Martian meteorite.
I presently teach part of GLG 321 Mineralogy and Geochemistry; GLG/CSS
863 Mineral-Water Interactions; and part of CSS/GLG 825 Clay Mineralogy.
I participated in the National Science Foundation Undergraduate Faculty
Enhancement Program's Workshop on Teaching Mineralogy, held at Smith College
in June 1996, and remain active in the Mineralogical Society of America's
Mineralogy Teaching interest group. In conjunction with other faculty from
the Departments of Geological Sciences, Entomology, Botany and Plant Pathology,
and Sociology, new classes in Earth System Science have been developed
as part of the USRA/NASA Earth System Science Education initiative. In
the past, I have taught undergraduate courses in Physical Geology, Historical
Geology, Geology of the Human Environment, Sedimentology, part of Sedimentology
and Stratigraphy, and graduate-level classes in Sandstone and Shale and
Chemistry of Natural Waters.
Research, Publications & Other Information
Michael A. Velbel
Department of Geological Sciences
206 Natural Science Building
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 46624-1115
This page created 5 June 1996; last updated 15 January 2001.