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Professor Benjamin Tutolo


Environmental Geochemistry
Fellow type
Visiting Fellow

Visiting Fellow


Benjamin M. Tutolo is an Associate Professor at the University of Calgary, Canada. He received his B.S. from the Pennsylvania State University in 2010 and his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 2015. From 2015 to 2017, he worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Oxford, UK. Ben’s research has ranged widely, from geologic CO2 Capture, Utilization, and Storage to lacustrine geochemistry and hydrothermal processes in ultramafic rocks. The driving questions that unite Ben’s research revolve around the reactive transport of fluids, solutes, and heat in geologic systems. To answer these questions, he integrates physical and chemical characterization of laboratory, outcrop, and drill core samples with thermodynamic, kinetic, and fully-coupled reactive transport models. He is currently a Participating Scientist on NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover mission.

Areas of Research

Hydrothermal processes on the ancient and modern Earth, Mars, and beyond
Oceanic and continental hydrothermal systems have profoundly impacted the chemical composition and oxidation state of Earth’s lithosphere-hydrosphere-atmosphere system and shaped biological evolution throughout its history. Furthermore, they provide key societal benefits by producing ore deposits and concentrating geothermal energy. Understanding terrestrial hydrothermal systems can help in deciphering the habitability of other planets and moons in our solar system and beyond.

Diagenesis and the history of life and surface conditions on Earth and Mars
Diagenesis -i.e., the burial, heating, and chemical transformation of sedimentary rocks – has been occurring on Earth and Mars for billions of years. Using a combination of laboratory experiments, field measurements, and numerical models, we can quantitatively constrain these processes and detail the history of life on Earth and Mars throughout both planets’ history.

Carbon Dioxide Management and Removal
In order to address the global climate crisis, we are working with collaborators across Canada and the US on several CO2 management projects in both the basaltic oceanic crust and sedimentary reservoirs. In this research, we are working to quantify the kinetics and mechanisms of CO2-water-rock interaction using novel experimental reactors and a combination of traditional geochemistry, nontraditional stable isotopes, and hydrogeologic measurement tools.

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