Ted is interested in the development of metamorphic terrains, in particular with respect to the interaction between metamorphic rock and fluid. The scope of his studies ranges from field-scale to grain-scale. He has mapped regional-metamorphic and contact-metamorphic terrains to determine the petrogenesis of low-pressure metamorphic rocks. He has studied both pelitic schist and calc-silicate rock to understand how the rocks record the flow of aqueous fluid through them. Descriptions of some of the field projects can be found in the section on Metamorphic Geology.

He is interested in how the compositions of minerals and their abundance indicate fluid flux. Ted has been studying rocks from well characterized field localities, Notch Peak, Utah, and Death Valley, California, to learn about the influence of rock composition and geologic structure on fluid flow. He is also studying the properties of aqueous fluids and reactions with minerals in the laboratory in an attempt to determine quantitative information about the rate of reaction and fluid flow. Some examples of these studies can be found on the page describing Metamorphic Fluids.

The interaction between rock and fluid is fundamental at the atomic scale in minerals. Whether it is the exchange of O or C isotopes between fluid and mineral, the exchange of cations between fluid and mineral, or the replacement of one mineral by another as a result of fluid–mineral interaction, the process involves reaction and transport at an interface. Ted has been studying the rates and mechanisms of reactions across the mineral interface in the laboratory. Examples of this work can be found on the page describing Experimental Mineralogy.

The experimental studies are the result of a fruitful collaboration with nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

© Theodore C. Labotka 2017