Rikke Vestergaard

Rikke Vestergaard

PhD Student

Current research

In my PhD project, I am focusing on elucidating the geological evolution and significance of the Paleoproterozoic Ketilidian orogen in South Greenland by combining detailed spatial, chemical and chronological studies, including U-Pb-O-Hf zircon work, on a suite of samples collected during the summer 2020 representing a traverse stretching NW to SW through the Central (Julianehåb batholith) and Southern Domains of South Greenland. The aim is to provide the first thorough geochemical and petrogenetic investigation of the timing, across arc variations, and source components involved in the formation and evolution of South Greenland as well as its contribution in one of the worldwide peaks of continental crustal growth. 

I started working on this PhD project in February 2020 with Tod Waight as main supervisor. I expect to hand in my PhD thesis in January 2023. 

Other activities alongside my PhD project

Other activities on the side of my PhD project, include being a Teaching Assistant, where I have assisted in four different courses amounting in a total hours of 437. I have mentored a MSc student during April to October 2021. Moreover, I have been a highly contributing committee member in the Early Career Association (ECA) during August 2020 to January 2022, which is a committee that aims to continuously discuss and take initiatives to among other improve the well-being and integration of young researchers in the Dept. of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management (IGN) 's professional and collegial communities.

Research interests and experience 

Throughout my studies, my scientific focus has been on the deep earth by the approaches of geochemistry, petrology and remote sensing data. I have completed by bachelor and master degrees at Aarhus University with one semester abroad at the University of Iceland. 

I completed my MSc thesis in June 2019 where research took me in the direction of studying volcanic landforms and landscapes, and diving into records of eruptive activity and potential volcanic hazards. Here the volcano Hekla in Iceland was the point of reference and together with Dr. G. B. M. Pedersen and Prof. C. Tegner, as supervisors, the eruptive record at Hekla was explored by means of remote sensing data, historical reports, petrology and geochemistry. The aim was to illuminate the emplacement histories and estimating bulk volumes and viscosities of the large lava eruptions of 1845-46 and 1766-68 using the well-recorded 1947-48 eruption as a benchmark. You can read more about this work in my paper available here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/351596308_The_1845-46_and_1766-68_eruptions_at_Hekla_volcano_new_lava_volume_estimates_historical_accounts_and_emplacement_dynamics

My BSc project focused on describing two of the most differentiated products of fractional crystallisation (emphasis on analysing feldspars and pyroxenes) within the Sandwich Horizon, which is believed to represent the level where the last residual melt crystallised in the layered Skaergaard intrusion, East Greenland. 

Key research areas:

  • Igneous petrology
  • Isotope geochemistry and geochronology 
  • Geochemical tracers
  • Volcanology
  • Plate tectonics
  • Age and origin of the continental crust
  • Lava morphology and emplacement mechanisms
  • Remote sensing and GIS 
  • Fieldwork

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