GMPV Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology & Volcanology
The 2024 Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Early Career Scientists is awarded to Yanhao Lin for groundbreaking research on lunar magma ocean crystallisation, and experimental and theoretical work to quantify water contents and volatile cycling from deep mantle to near surface.
Yanhao Lin is a remarkably productive early career scientist whose work has shaken and revised thinking on the water cycles on the Moon and Earth. His early high-pressure experimental work produced the first quantitative constraints on the effect of water on the crystallization of the lunar magma ocean, giving us an early ‘wet moon’. His further work established the partitioning of hydrogen between plagioclase and lunar melt permitting tracing of magma ocean water on crystallization.
Lin discovered that dense hydrous silica, as the high-pressure mineral stishovite, carries water into the deep mantle. His revolutionary work shows that up to ~3.5 wt% water can be carried to depths reaching the core-mantle boundary through deeply subducted slabs. Subsequent dehydration has the potential to alter physicochemical properties of the lower mantle, including reducing melting points and locally enhancing the mantle’s oxygen fugacity.
The far-reaching implications of Yanhao Lin’s ideas and his startling experimental results lead to disruptive concepts and controversial inferences regarding deep Earth structure and whole Earth water cycling, tectonics, and magma generation. The oxygen abundance and fugacity profoundly control volatile speciation during planetary outgassing and thereby atmospheric compositions. In deep Earth, he showed that dissolved water was primarily preserved as molecular H2O whose ultimate disassociation fed Fe to the core and oxygen to LIPS.
Just five years out from his PhD, Lin is among very few who has published 15 first-authored and highly impactful papers, all in prestigious journals. Not surprisingly, he has taken his ground-breaking work in volatile cycling to Mercury, where he and colleagues are probing deep mantle structure in another rocky planet.
The accomplishments of Yanhao Lin, his creativity, and his provocative science featuring new and controversial hypotheses for lunar and planetary interior volatile cycling, have solidly earned him the Early Career Scientist Award for the Geochemicstry, Mineralogy, Petrology and Volcanology (GMPV) Division. He is most deserving.