The Warren Research Lab at Stanford University studies the geochemistry and rheology of the Earth’s upper mantle, using samples of peridotite collected on land and at sea. Peridotite, the dominant lithology of the upper mantle, consists of olivine, orthopyroxene and clinopyroxene, with minor amounts of spinel and trace amounts of sulfides. In the oceans, peridotites are collected by dredging, diving or drilling at mid-ocean ridges and subduction zones. On land, peridotites are found as xenoliths and as orogenic peridotites and ophiolites.
We use a range of techniques to analyze peridotites, including field work, petrography, electron backscatter diffraction, electron microprobe, thermal ionization mass spectrometry, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, ion probe, and synchrotron μ-XRF.