ISCR 2024 conferences - Alexander Van Driessche

From plasterboard to natural wonder: exploring the formation of (giant) gypsum crystals
From plasterboard to natural wonder: exploring the formation of (giant) gypsum crystals

The Rennes Institute of Chemical Sciences (ISCR) is pleased to welcome in Rennes Alexander Van Driessche (Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra (IACT), CSIC, Granada, Spain) on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The conference will take place at 11:00 am in Grandjean Amphitheater, building 10 B, Beaulieu campus.
Gypsum is a naturally occurring mineral found on both Earth and Mars, extensively used in various industrial processes such as wallboard manufacturing and the production of Plaster of Paris. Given suitable geological conditions, gypsum can develop into massive crystals, towering over 10 meters in height and weighing more than 55 tons. These colossal gypsum crystals are scattered across various regions globally, including Spain, Chile, and Mexico. Notably, the Naica mine in Mexico houses some of the most extraordinary specimens (see picture). Beyond their visual appeal, these formations serve as unique natural laboratories, offering insights into mineral formation under conditions that are challenging to replicate in a typical laboratory setting due to the considerable time required for the growth of crystals of such immense proportions. This presentation will explore various sites featuring giant gypsum crystals and investigate potential mechanisms behind their formation. Additionally, it will discuss novel fundamental insights and technologies stemming from the study of these large crystals.

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Valérie Demange, Univ Rennes, ISCR-CNRS UMR 6226, F-35000 Rennes, France