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Hello! I’m Rachel Havranek

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About Me

I am a low temperature geochemist, and I love to work both in modern soils and paleosols in the geologic record. Head on over to my research tab to learn more about the projects I've worked on

When I'm not in the field, lab or at my desk I love to swim, run, bake and play board games! 



University of Colorado Boulder

PhD, Geological Sciences 
Thesis advisor: Dr. Kathryn Snell


University of Colorado Boulder

MSc, Geological Sciences
Thesis advisor: Dr. Rebecca Flowers

2010- 2014

Pomona College

BA Geology
Thesis advisor: Dr. Jade Star Lackey

The Geochemical Tools I Love


Terrestrial stable isotope geochemistry

Isotopes are two (or more) nuclear species that occupy the same space on the periodic table of elements, and stable isotopes don't decay over geologic timescales. We can exploit the natural sorting of isotopes through physical and chemical processes to better understand all sorts of  .

In modern soils, soil water isotopes can teach us about processes like infiltration, evaporation, and plant water use dynamics. 

In the geologic record, use both traditional (single) stable isotopes of materials like volcanic glass and carbonate as well as carbonate clumped isotope thermometry to learn about climate in the geologic past. 

(U-Th)/He Thermochronology

(U-Th)/He thermochronology exploits the build up helium in the crystal lattice that is produced during the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium. At high temperatures, helium readily diffuses out of the mineral. At lower temperatures, helium is partially lost to the mineral’s surroundings, a temperature range referred to as the partial retention zone (PRZ). At still lower temperatures, He is fully retained in the crystal. Using this tool, we can understand burial and unroofing histories of crustal rocks

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