James Madison University


Elizabeth A. Johnson
Assistant Professor
Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences
Research Page

Education, Honors, Awards

  • Assistant Professor, James Madison University (2008-present)
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, James Madison University (2006-2008)
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor and Researcher, University of California, Los Angeles (2004-06)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution (2003-04)
  • Ph.D. California Institute of Technology (2003)
  • M.S. California Institute of Technology (1999)
  • B.A. Rice University (1997)

Research Interests

  • Infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of hydrous species in minerals and anisotropic solids
  • Diffusion behavior of hydrous species in minerals
  • Thermally-induced structural changes in synthetic cation-exchanged birnessite
  • The role of magmatic water in volcanic eruptions

Research Description

I study interactions between the hydrosphere (water) and the lithosphere (solid materials that make up Earth).  Some of my current and recent projects include:

  • Evaluating the role of magmatic water in the explosive eruptions of Mount St. Helens using structurally-bound hydroxyl in the mineral feldspar;
  • Determining the rate and mechanism of diffusion of hydrogen through the feldspar crystal structure (will the hydroxyl be retained in the feldspar during eruption?);
  • Using the crystal chemistry of rutile (TiO2) to determine the oxidation state of piston-cylinder experiments, subduction zones and the ancient crust;
  • Learning about the structure and stability of interlayer water molecules in birnessite (Mn oxide).  Birnessite-type materials are used in industrial oxidation-reduction reactions and lithium manganese oxides are used as cathodes in Li-ion batteries.   

The principal tool I use in my research is infrared spectroscopy. Infrared spectroscopy is sensitive to the vibrations of hydrous species (H2O, OH, and NH4+, for example) and can be used to quantify the amount of hydrous species in as well learn about the bonding environment of hydrogen in a solid.  Other analytic tools I have used in my research include electron and ion microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and optical spectroscopy.

Selected Recent Publications

    • Johnson, E.A. and Rossman, G.R.  (Submitted) Diffusion of hydrogen in plagioclase feldspar. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.
    • Johnson, E.A. (2006) Water in nominally anhydrous crustal minerals: speciation, concentration, and geologic significance. In H. Keppler and J.R. Smith (Eds.) Water in Nominally Anhydrous Minerals. Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 62, 117-154.
    • Johnson, E.A. and Post, J.E. (2006) Water in the interlayer of the Mn oxide birnessite: importance in cation exchange and structural stability.  American Mineralogist, 91, 609-618.
    • Johnson, E.A. and Rossman, G.R. (2004) An infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance study of strong hydrogen bonding in ussingite, NaAlSi3O8(NaOH). Physics and Chemistry of Minerals, 31, 115-121.
    • Johnson, E.A. and Rossman, G.R. (2004) A survey of hydrous species and concentrations in igneous feldspars.  American Mineralogist, 89, 586-599.
    • King, J.L., Johnson, E.A., and Post, J.E. (2003) A comparison of three historic blue diamonds. Gems and Gemology, 39(4), 322-325.
    • Johnson, E.A. and Rossman, G.R. (2003) The concentration and speciation of hydrogen in feldspars using FTIR and 1H MAS NMR spectroscopy.  American Mineralogist, 88, 901-911.
    • Johnson, E.A., Rossman, G.R., Dyar, M.D., and Valley, J.W. (2002) Correlation between OH concentration and oxygen isotope diffusion rate in diopsides from the Adirondack Mountains, New York.  American Mineralogist, 87, 899-908.

      PUBLISHER: JMU Center for Materials Science
MSC 4310, Harrisonburg, VA 22807
PHONE: (540) 568-2723 | FAX: (540) 568-2955
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Last Modified: 07/21/08