GEOCHEMISTRY, BIOGEOCHEMISTRY, AND THE CARBON FUTURE
I am a Co-Founder and Director at Aspiring Materials located in Christchurch, New Zealand. In the past, I have studied and/or worked at Whitman College (BA Geology-Chemistry in 1997), Pomona College, Stanford University (PhD in 2003, Blaustein Fellow in 2014-2015) , Dartmouth College (Obering Postdoctoral Fellow from 2003 to 2005), Bryn Mawr College (Assistant Professor), University of Canterbury in New Zealand (Senior Lecturer), and Occidental College in Los Angeles (Professor and Chair).
My research objectives are broadly divided into two categories:
(1) To investigate the geochemical and biogeochemical evolution of carbon as well as a variety of metals (e.g., Cr, Ni, Au, Ag), isotopes (e.g., C, O, Sr, Os), and gases (e.g., CO2, H2O, CH4) with regards to how they influenced and/or are cycled by soil, magmatic, metamorphic, hydrothermal, ore, and/or weathering processes and how they may ‘contribute’ or ‘fit’ in relation to larger geological, planetary, and engineering processes.
(2) To examine the genesis of elemental hydrogen, methane, and other organic species via water-rock-soil interactions in a variety of earth/martian systems in order to assess key steps potentially leading to: i) the discovery of new energy resources, ii) carbon sequestration and iii) the origins/importance of life through laboratory studies, chemical modeling, and field data.
PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA
THE HUMAN FUTURE ON EARTH AND MARS
MAGNESIUM BINDERS AND CO2 SEQUESTRATION
For the long-term survival of humans on Mars, we need to build. We've been working on olivine-based cement for over 6 years. Turns out this stuff can save Earth.
Patent for olivine-based cement.
Scott, A.N., Oze, C., Shah, V., Yang, N., Shanks, B., Cheeseman, C., Marshall, A., Watson, M. 2021. Transformation of abundant magnesium silicate minerals for enhanced CO2 sequestration. Communications Earth and Environment. 2, 1-6.
Scott, A.N., Oze, C., and Hughes, M.W. 2020. Magnesium based cements for martian construction. In press in Journal of Aerospace Engineering.
Scott, A.N. and Oze, C. 2018. Constructing Mars: Concrete and energy production from serpentinization products. Earth and Space Science, V. 5, 364-370.
From REEs to gold to iron, ores and the processes that create them are critical for the future whether on Earth or Mars or even out in space. Being able to identify and characterize hydrothermal ore systems requires a multifaceted approach from soil assays to core analyses to mineralogical assessment.
Oze, C., Win, N., Horton, T.W., and Gordon, K. 2021. Subsurface hydrothermal redox dynamics in the central crater at White Island, New Zealand. To be submitted to Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research.
Morgenstern, R., Turnbull, R., Ashwell, P., Horton, T.W., Oze, C. 2019. Petrological and geochemical characteristics of REE mineralization in the A-type French Creek Granite, New Zealand. Mineralium Deposita, 54, 935-958.
Cox, T.L., Oze, C. and Horton, T.W. 2017. Iron concretions within a highly altered unit of the Berlins Porphyry, New Zealand: an abiotic or biotic story? Mineralogy and Petrology, 111, 173-181.
Oze, C., Sleep, N. H., Coleman, R. G., and Fendorf, S. 2016. Anoxic oxidation of chromium. Geology, 44(7) 543-546.
We have developed the ability to recreate martian regolith in bulk based on mineralogy, particle size, glass content, and chemistry for civil engineering purposes.
Scott, A.N., Oze, C., Tang, Y., O’Loughlin A. 2017. Development of a Martian regolith simulant for in-situ resource utilization testing. Acta Astronautica. 131, 45-49.
METHANE AND ELEMENTAL HYDROGEN
Both methane and hydrogen can be made on Mars. See the publications below.
Holm, N. G., Oze, C., Mousis, O., Waite, J. H., & Guilbert-Lepoutre, A. 2015. Serpentinization and the formation of H2 and CH4 on celestial bodies (planets, moons, comets). Astrobiology, V.15(7), 587-600.
Neubeck, A. Nguyen, T.D., Hellevang, H., Oze, C., Bastviken, D., Bacsik, Z., Crill, P., Plathan, J., and Holm, N.G. 2014. Olivine alteration and H2 production in carbonate-rich, low temperature aqueous environments. Planetary and Space Science. V. 96, 51-61.
Oze, C., Jones, L.C., Goldsmith, J.I., and Rosenbauer, R. 2012. Differentiating abiotic and biotic methane genesis in hydrothermally active planetary surfaces. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. V. 109, no. 25, 9750-9754.
Jones, L.C., Rosenbauer, R., Goldsmith, J.I., and Oze, C. 2010. Carbonate control of H2 and CH4 production in serpentinization systems at elevated P-Ts, Geophysical Research Letters, V. 37, L14306.
Oze, C. and Sharma, M. 2007. Serpentinization and the inorganic synthesis of H2 in planetary surfaces. Icarus. V. 186, 557-561.
Oze, C. and Sharma, M. 2005. Have olivine, will gas: Serpentinization and the abiogenic production of methane on Mars. Geophysical Research Letters. V. 32, L10203.
AGRICULTURE ON EARTH AND MARS
Regolith may not be suitable or conducive for plant growth. Consideration of how metals may be incorporated into vegetation and the role of perchlorate needs further consideration.
Oze, C., Beisel, J., Dabsys, E., Dall, J., North, G., Scott, A., Lopez, A.M., Holmes, R. and Fendorf, S., 2021. Perchlorate and Agriculture on Mars. Soil Systems, 5(3), 37.
Vithanage, M., Kumarathilaka, P., Oze, C., Karunatilake, S., Seneviratne, M., Hseu, Z. Y., Gunarathne, V., Dassanayake, M., Ok, Y.S., & Rinklebe, J. 2019. Occurrence and cycling of trace elements in ultramafic soils and their impacts on human health: A critical review. Environment International, 131, 104974.
Kumarathilaka, P., Oze, C., Indraratne, S. P., and Vithanage, M. 2016. Perchlorate as an emerging contaminant in soil, water and food. Chemosphere, V. 150, 667-677.
Kumarathilaka, R., Oze, C. and Vithanage, M. 2016. Perchlorate mobilization of metals in serpentine soils. Applied Geochemistry, 74, 203-209.
CORROSION OF METAL ALLOYS
Getting to Mars is the first step. How metal alloys undergo corrosion with regards to naturally occurring geological materials and leachates is the next.
Oze, C., Cole, J., Scott, A., Wilson, T., Wilson, G., Gaw, S., Hampton, S., Doyle, C., and Li, Z. 2014. Corrosion of metal roof materials related to volcanic ash interactions. Natural Hazards, V. 71(1), 785-802.
Wilson, G., Wilson, T., Cole, J. and Oze, C. 2012. Vulnerability of laptop computers to volcanic ash and gas hazards. Natural Hazards. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11069-012-0176-7.
IDENTIFYING GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES
Besides solar, geothermal energy may be a major source of energy/heat on Mars. Where to find it with minimal effort and drilling can be done with soil gas.
Hanson, M.C., Oze, C., Werner, C., and Horton, T.W. 2018. Soil d13C-CO2 and CO2 flux in the H2S-rich Rotorua Hydrothermal System utilizing Cavity Ring Down Spectroscopy.Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. V. 358, 252-260.
Hanson, M., Oze, C., Horton, T.W. 2014. Identifying blind geothermal systems with soil CO2 surveys. Applied Geochemistry. V. 50, 106-114.
ASPIRING MATERIALS LTD. IN CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND
We have developed a practical method to extract minerals from abundant silicate (i.e., carbon-free) rocks to be used for (1) point source carbon sequestration and (2) a partial or complete replacement for Portland cement. Overall, our methods and processes make substantial use of existing industrial technology, produces commercially useful materials, and have the potential to sequester almost all human-made CO2 from industrial facilities at a scale and time-frame once thought impossible.
Please visit Aspiring Materials for more details.