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Student Spotlight: Javier Matos


What sparked your interest in geology?

My interest in geology started when I was a child (my father is also a geologist). I saw collections of rocks at home of all colors, shapes, and compositions and they became familiar to me as I grew older. I also remember being fascinated by certain tools that geologists use like compasses, maps, magnifiers, etc. I don't remember exactly when I decided to study geology, but it was a couple of years before I graduated from high school. I knew I wanted to study something that could keep me active, traveling and in nature, and seeing my father doing that sparked a genuine interest in me about geology. I always liked igneous rocks, particularly basalts and granites. The idea of studying A-type granites for a master's was exactly what I was looking for, and I got to enjoy every single thing about it.

What is the main objective of your thesis?

The objective of my thesis is to comprehend more about the role of crustal contamination in mantle-derived magmas from two A-type granites located in the White Mountain Batholith, New Hampshire, and to determine the origin of the magmas that formed these two granites. Even though we are studying just two granites from the batholith, they are the most representative and their understanding will provide insightful characteristics of the formation of the entire batholith.

What is the contribution of your research to the geology community?

The origin of A-type magmas is still the subject of continued research. Petrogenetic interpretations divided A-type magmas into different major concepts. The interaction between mantle and crust is not clear in this type of granites. Our research provides more evidence of the origin of A-type magmas, the role of crustal contamination, and the isotopic characteristics of this type of granites.

What challenges did you have to overcome?

We made plans to conduct the isotopic analyses of the granites in another University. Just when we were ready to mail the samples to be analyzed, the COVID-19 pandemic started. We had to wait about 6 months until laboratories were able to conduct analyses again. Luckily, those months of waiting helped me learn more about the analytical techniques applied in the analyses of granites.

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What are your plans for research and work now?

After completing my master's degree in geology at BYU, I plan on working for a few years in a geology-related job and gain experience before obtaining a Ph.D. My plan is to become a professor and continue my research in igneous petrology.

What do you wish you would have known about doing a thesis before you started? Any advice?

I wish I have known that a thesis requires reading many papers that sometimes are not completely related to the subject of study but are necessary to obtain the big picture and further continue with the research.