Florentine Zwillich is a graduate student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada focusing on geochemistry and volcanology. She grew up in a small village in the northern part of Bavaria, Germany. Although there were no volcanoes in this area, she was always interested in the genesis of such natural phenomena. She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degree in geosciences at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. Both theses focused on volcanological related topics. At the beginning of 2018, she volunteered as an intern at the Colima Intercambio e Investigación de Volcanología in Colima, Mexico where she had one of her first experiences to study an active volcano.
Since the end of 2018, she has been studying at McGill University. She visited Saba in 2019 and 2020 to collect rock samples from different areas on Saba. These rocks contain specific crystals, called plagioclase which she will use to study the evolution of the magmatic system over time. Plagioclase is highly abundant in rocks on Saba. By studying rocks of different ages, we can use the geochemical signature of these crystals to understand the history of the magmatic system. But how can we do this? Plagioclase shows rings of different chemical composition which relates to the environmental conditions the crystal grew in. These environmental conditions can be changes in temperature, pressure, or chemical composition of the magma. For example, imagine a tree’s cross-section showing its tree rings. So, what climatologists can say about past climatic conditions from the tree rings, we can say about environmental conditions in a magmatic system using plagioclase crystals.
At the end of October, join Florentine for an island hike to examine different types of rocks and their formations that Saba has to offer as a dormant volcano.