Bernie Wood

Bernie Wood

Professor of Mineralogy; Senior Research Fellow
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 272014

My area of research is experimental petrology, aimed at experimentally simulating conditions within the Earth in order to understand fundamental petrological and geochemical processes. One aspect of this has been the development of quantitative models to predict trace element partitioning between crystals and melts during igneous processes. This research uses high pressure-high temperature experiments in conjunction with microanalysis of mineral and melt phases and theory based on the elastic properties of the minerals.

A second major interest is the conditions under which the Earth and other terrestrial planets formed and differentiated into silicate crusts, silicate mantles and iron-rich metallic cores. This uses high pressure, high temperature experiments coupled to thermodynamic calculations and isotopic measurements of meteoritic and planetary materials. The experiments generate, for example, a small sample (10 mgm) in which a ball of metal has segregated from a metal-silicate mixture. We chemically analyse the different parts of sample in order to determine the partitioning of specific elements between metal and silicate under the physical conditions of interest. In this way we determine the extent to which elements enter the metal (siderophile character) or the silicate (lithophile). The experimental partitioning is then compared with that observed on the Earth (between core and mantle) in order to understand the core formation process.

Recently we have been studying the behaviour of moderately volatile elements (such as Pb, Bi, Sb) during planetary formation using a specially designed high temperature furnace in which the molten silicate is stirred at 1300 degrees. A final related arm of our research is to determine the behaviour of important volatile components in silicate melts. Current research centres on the halogens and sulphur.


Teaching Profile

Second year- Thermodynamics


Wood, B.J., Smythe, D.J. Harrison, T. The condensation temperatures of the elements : A reappraisal. Amer. Mineral. v.104. 844-56. 2019

Nash, W.M.,Smythe, D.J., Wood, B.J. Compositional and temperature effects om sulfur speciation and solubility in silicate melts. Earth Planet. Sci. Letts v.507 187-198. 2019

Matzen A.K., Wood, B.J., Baker, M.B., Stolper, E.M., The roles of pyroxenite and peridotite in the mantle sources of oceanic basalts. Nature Geosci. v.10, 530-537. 2017

Norris, C.A. and Wood, B.J., Earth’s volatile contents established by melting and vaporization. Nature v. 549, 507-510. 2017

Smythe, D., Wood, B.J. Kiseeva, E.S., The S content of silicate melts at sulfide saturation: new experiments and a model incorporating the effects of sulfide composition. Amer. Mineral v.102, 795-803. 2017

Kiseeva, E.S., Wood, B.J., Ghosh, S., Stachel, T. The pyroxenite-diamond connection. Geochem. Persp. Let. 2, 1-9.2016

Wood, B.J., Kiseeva, E.S. Trace element partitioning between sulfide and silicate melts: how lithophile elements become chalcophile and vice versa.Amer. Mineral. 100, 2371-2379 2015

Wohlers, A., Wood, B.J. A Mercury-like component of early Earth yields uranium in the core and high mantle 142Nd. Nature 520, 337-340

Wood, B.J., Blundy, J.D. Trace element partitioning: the influences of ionic radius, cation charge, pressure and temperature. Treatise of Geochemistry 2nd edition. Vol 3 p421-448. Oxford: Elsevier 2014

Kiseeva, E.S., Wood, B.J. A simple model for chalcophile element partitioning between sulphide and silicate liquids with geochemical applications. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 383 68-81, 2013

Tuff, J., Wade, J., Wood, B.J. Volcanism on Mars controlled by early oxidation of the upper mantle. Nature 498, 342-345 2013

Williams, Helen M., Wood, Bernard J., Wade, Jon, Frost, Daniel J., Tuff, James, Isotopic evidence for internal oxidation of the Earth’s mantle during accretion, Earth Planet.Sci.Lett., 2012 DOI (10.1016/j.epsl.2011.12.030)
Wade, Jon, Wood, Bernard J., Tuff, James, Metal-silicate partitioning of Mo and W at high pressures and temperatures: Evidence for late accretion of sulphur to the Earth, Geochim.Cosmochim.Acta, 2012 DOI (10.1016/j.gca.2012.01.010)
Wood, Bernard J., Halliday, Alex N., The lead isotopic age of the Earth can be explained by core formation alone, Nature, 2010 DOI (10.1038/nature09072)
Wood, Bernard J., Turner, Simon P., Origin of primitive high-Mg andesite: Constraints from natural examples and experiments, Earth Planet.Sci.Lett., 2009 DOI (10.1016/j.epsl.2009.03.032)
Wood, Bernard J., Halliday, Alex N., Lead was strongly partitioned into Earth’s core and not lost to space, Geochim.Cosmochim.Acta, 2009
Wood, Bernard J., Wade, Jon, Kilburn, Matthew R., “Core formation and the oxidation state of the Earth: Additional constraints from Nb, V and Cr partitioning”, Geochim.Cosmochim.Acta, 2008 DOI (10.1016/j.gca.2007.11.036)
Wood, Bernard J., Accretion and core formation: constraints from metal-silicate partitioning, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A-Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences, 2008 DOI (10.1098/rsta.2008.0115)