Matthias VAN GINNEKEN
Since the beginning of my PhD in 2007at the Museo Nazionale dell’Antartide in Siena (Italy), I have developed a wide knowledge in topics related to the petrology and geochemistry of extraterrestrial material. More precisely, I have mainly worked on the petrology and geochemistry of micrometeorites (or cosmic dust).
During my Ph.D., I have learned how to identify, classify and analyze micrometeorites using a wide range of analytical techniques, including Scanning Electron Microscope (for classification), Electron Probe Microanalysis (for chemical composition), and Synchrotron X-ray Diffraction (for mineralogy). My main achievement includes the successful study of “giant” unmelted chondritic micrometeorites. In parallel to his work on micrometeorites, I discovered and first described aggregates of meteoritic ablation spheres from Antarctica using the techniques previously mentioned.
My post-doctoral work include a stay at the Korea Polar Research Center (Republic of Korea), during which I learned how to use the technique of Laser Fluorination coupled with isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) to determine the oxygen isotopic signature of meteorite samples. Other part of this work included the classification of hundreds of meteorites collected during various KOREAMET (Korea Curation of Antarctic Meteorites) expeditions using petrology, mineralogy and oxygen isotopes.
Another post-doctoral position at Imperial College London (United Kingdom) focused on the study of micrometeorites from the newly discovered Larkman Nunatak collection. My main work includes the development of the first weathering scale for micrometeorites, which will prove useful to all researchers working on micrometeorites. Other works include the discovery and characterization of a new type of highly-volatile depleted microtektites from Larkman Nunatak using their geochemistry (major and trace elements) and Ar-Ar dating, and finally a work on oxygen isotopes in micrometeorites from the Atacama Desert.
Currently, my work at the VUB focuses on the study of a new micrometeorite collection discovered at Wideroefjellet, Antarctica.