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Department of Mineral Sciences

Izalco Volcano

  • Jeffrey E. Post
  • Department Chair - Geologist - Curator-in-Charge, Mineral Collection
  • Phone:   (202) 633-1814
  • Fax:   (202) 357-2476
  • E-mail Address:   postj atsiedu
  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 119
    Washington, DC 20013-7012
  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th & Constitution NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0119


  • Ph.D. Arizona State University (1981)
  • Research Interests

    For the past several years I have coordinated a research effort into the study of mineral structures and behaviors, with a focus on environmentally significant minerals. Mineral groups such as clays, manganese oxides and iron oxides tend to accumulate in soils and sediments and on rock surfaces where they interact directly with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Many of these minerals are chemically active, readily participating in oxidation-reduction reactions, serving as cation-exchange agents, and absorbing a variety of heavy metal cations, and many form as a result of biological mediation. They typically are fine-grained, and consequently even small quantities exhibit large surface areas and can significantly affect the chemistry of the local environment. Many of the phases and their synthetic analogues are also subjects of intense research as possible catalysts, battery materials and chemical sieves for a variety of industrial and pollution abatement applications. Their fine-grained nature has made it difficult to study the structures and behaviors of these minerals using traditional laboratory methods. We have taken advantage of recent advances in powder and single-crystal X-ray and neutron diffraction, as well as a variety of spectroscopic and sophisticated computer modeling procedures to attempt to provide a first order understanding of the structure and chemical properties of many of these phases.

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