The high pressure laboratory at the University of Toronto contains specialized equipment which allows researchers to replicate pressures and temperatures at depth in the Earth. Samples subject to such extreme conditions are then retrieved and investigated using a variety of micro-analytical techniques. Experiments of this kind yield important information on the behaviour of materials at depth, including fluid/melt microstructures, phase stability, element partitioning and solubility as well as transport properties, such as diffusion. Such information significantly enhances our ability to place quantitative constraints on the genesis of geological samples.
Professor James Brenan has run the high pressure lab since his initial appointment at University of Toronto in 1996. Over that time, he and his students have conducted hundreds of experiments over a range of conditions with some remarkable results.