Dr. Penny King’s research group examines surface and interior processes on planetary bodies. The group aims to understand the fundamental aspects of how materials in the solar system behave. Knowing how materials behave under different conditions allows us to predict planetary environments (in the past and future) and to make better tools to explore our solar system, the deep Earth, and to understand climate change. Dr. King has published over 60 papers and edited one book.
Origin and evolution of planetary interiors and surfaces. Effect of volatiles, pH and oxidation/reduction on materials at high and low temperature. Analysis of astromaterials – especially novel techniques for analyzing light elements, multivalent elements and trace elements – to better constrain past environmental processes.
My current research focuses on the origin and evolution of planetary surfaces; and the roles of volatiles, pH, and gases on minerals and melts/glasses at high and low temperatures. I am particularly interested in the interface between volcanic and sedimentary rocks and the atmosphere. Our group uses techniques in micro-analysis (especially infrared spectroscopy), performs high and low temperature experiments, and examines geology in the field and applies the results to other planets like Mars.