The chemical and physical evolution of rocks and minerals, particularly igneous and metamorphic rocks, falls under the purview of the Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology Section. Because of the Section’s interest in studying and mitigating the hazards of volcanoes, its work has a direct bearing on public safety and the preservation of life.
Research topics that dominate the Section include isotope and trace element geochemistry, the origin of igneous rocks, metamorphism, volcanology, magma dynamics, and new geochemical methods of research. Though the research interests of VGP members are diverse, they strive to solve cross-disciplinary problems within an effective framework and to make the results of that research widely available.
An important focus is the study of the compositional evolution of the Earth in time and space in relation to the plate tectonic cycle. This includes determining mass exchange rates of chemicals between the various reservoirs of the Earth, such as the atmosphere, the ocean, the continental and oceanic crust, the mantle, and the core, as well as determining their residence times and the mixing scales involved. The development of new experimental techniques is also an issue of ongoing interest. VGP overlaps strongly with other sections, including Planetary Sciences, Tectonophysics, Seismology, Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism, Hydrology, Biogeosciences, Mineral & Rock Physics and Study of the Earth’s Deep Interior.