Jiarui (Jerry) Liu

graduate student since Fall 2019

Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences

My research interests are biogeochemical methane, sulfur and iron cycles of marine sediments. Using the large-geometry mass spectrometer Panorama, I employ methane clumped isotopes as a novel tool to probe microbial activity connected to methane cycling. I also explore the cryptic cycling and emission of methane in sediments of the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve. In a forthcoming project on methane seeps, I will examine the role of deep-sea organisms in determining the fate and footprint of methane on Pacific continental margins.

I received my Bachelor’s degree in Geology from China University of Geosciences (CUG, Wuhan). While at CUG, I focused on the formation of authigenic minerals related to biogeochemical methane, sulfur and iron cycling in marine sediments. I also conducted several research visits in the US and Europe to expand my analytical repertoire and more completely elucidate C-S-Fe cycling. Using multiple sulfur isotope analysis at MIT, I investigated pyrite formation associated with organoclastic sulfate reduction, sulfate-driven anaerobic oxidation of methane and oxidative sulfur cycling. In Aarhus and Cambridge, I studied pyritization through coupled iron and sulfur diagenesis, aiming to better understand the local controls on pyrite sulfur isotopes. My research also explored the formation of vivianite (Fe(II)–P) and the role of iron-mediated anaerobic oxidation of methane below the sulfate–methane transition. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, traveling, exploring maps and playing basketball.


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Liu J., Antler G., Pellerin A., Izon G., Dohrmann I., Findlay A.J., Røy H., Ono S., Turchyn A.V., Kasten S. and Jørgensen B.B. (2021) Isotopically “heavy” pyrite in marine sediments due to high sedimentation rates and non-steady-state deposition. Accepted for publication in Geology.

Liu J., Pellerin A., Antler G., Kasten S., Findlay A.J., Dohrmann I., Røy H., Turchyn A.V. and Jørgensen B.B. (2020) Early diagenesis of iron and sulfur in Bornholm Basin sediments: The role of near-surface pyrite formation. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 284, 43-60.

Liu J., Pellerin A., Izon G., Wang J., Antler G., Liang J., Su P., Jørgensen B.B. and Ono S. (2020) The multiple sulphur isotope fingerprint of a sub-seafloor oxidative sulphur cycle driven by iron. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 536, 116165.

Zhuang G.-C., Montgomery A., Samarkin V.A., Song M., Liu J., Schubotz F., Teske A., Hinrichs K.-U. and Joye S.B. (2019) Generation and Utilization of Volatile Fatty Acids and Alcohols in Hydrothermally Altered Sediments in the Guaymas Basin, Gulf of California. Geophys. Res. Lett. 46, 2637-2646.

Liu J., Izon G., Wang J., Antler G., Wang Z., Zhao J. and Egger M. (2018) Vivianite formation in methane-rich deep-sea sediments from the South China Sea. Biogeosciences 15, 6329-6348.