Research Scientist, Mineralogy

Paula Piilonen.

Contact Information

Email: ppiilonen@mus-nature.ca
Tel: 613.566.4285
Fax: 613.364.4027

Twitter: @Paula_Piilonen

Paula Piilonen studies minerals that contain the Earth's rarest elements, such as zirconium, niobium and titanium, all across the globe.

Specialties

  • Speciation and mobilization of high-field strength (HFSE) in alkaline magmatic and hydrothermal fluorine-enriched systems.
  • Mineralogy and crystal chemistry of zircono-, titano- and niobosilicates in alkaline systems.
  • Mineralogy and crystal chemistry of rare-earth element fluorocarbonates.

Education

  • NSERC Post-doctoral fellowship: Laboratoire des géomatériaux, Université de Marne-la-Vallée (Marne-la-Vallée, France) & Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa. "Structural environment of Nb5+ and Ta5+ in natural compounds and silicate glasses: A combined EXAFS and XANES study", 2002.
  • Ph.D., Earth Sciences: Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa. Thesis title: "Crystal chemistry, Mössbauer spectroscopy and paragenesis of astrophyllite group minerals from over- and undersaturated alkaline intrusions". NSERC-funded for 4 years, 2001.
  • B.Sc. (Hon.), Earth Sciences: Department of Earth Sciences, Laurentian University, 1997.

Profile

Paula specializes in studying the minerals in alkaline rocks that contain rare-earth elements such as zirconium, niobium and titanium. Her work focuses on understanding how these rare elements form minerals, how they behave in different geochemical environments, and what their presence or absence can tell us about the rocks in which they formed. Her work spans the globe, from Norway all the way over to Southeast Asia.

In southern Norway, Paula is studying the mineralogy and origin of the Larvik alkaline complex, which lies at the centre of the Oslo Rift Valley. The Larvik complex is historic from a geological perspective, and has been designated a UNESCO GeoPark.

Meanwhile on the other side of the globe, she can be found trekking across the Cambodian jungle in search of gem zircon (ZrSiO4). Examining the chemistry of the zircon crystals will help shed light on the composition of the Earth's mantle beneath Southeast Asia.

Main Research Project

Professional Services

  • Adjunct Professor and Sessional Lecturer, Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ont.:
    • Introductory Mineralogy I (GEO 2163; crystallography, systematic mineralogy) and Analytical Methods in Mineralogy (GEO 2164; optical mineralogy, XRD, EMPA/SEM, FTIR).
    • Advanced Mineralogy (GEO 4367; mineralogy, geochemistry and petrology of rare elements).
  • Co-Chair, 2008 Canada-Wide Science Fair Host Committee.
  • Facilities and Logistics, Ottawa Regional Science Fair Committee.
  • Member, Canadian Science Writers' Association.
  • New Mineral Editor, American Mineralogist (Mineralogical Society of America).
  • Councillor, Mineralogical Association of Canada.
  • Canadian representative, Commission on Minerals and Museums, International Mineralogical Association.
  • Member, Canadian Science Writers' Association.

Students

  • Allison Enright, University of Ottawa (4th-Year Honours Thesis 2009-2010).

Links

Canada-Wide Science Fair 2008
www.cwsf2008.ca

Canadian Mineralogical Association
www.mineralogicalassociation.ca

Ottawa Regional Science Fair
www.orsf.ca

University of Ottawa, Faculty of Science
www.science.uottawa.ca

Publications

Refereed publications

Piilonen, P.C., Poirier, G. and Tait, K.T. (2008). New mineral names. American Mineralogist 93: 1941-1946.

Piilonen, P.C., Poirier, G. and Tait, K.T. (2008). New mineral names. American Mineralogist 93: 1686-1691.

Poirier, G., Tait, K.T., Ercit, T.S., Rowe, R. and Piilonen, P.C. (2008). New mineral names. American Mineralogist 93: 702-706.

Tait, K., Poirier, G., Rowe, R. and Piilonen, P.C. (2008). New mineral names. American Mineralogist 93: 252-256.

Piilonen, P.C., Pekov, I., Back, M., Steede, T. and Gault, R.A. (2006) Crystal structure refinement of a unique Zn-rich Kupletskite from Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, with comments on the geochemistry of ZINC in peralkaline environments. Mineralogical Magazine 70: 565-578.

Piilonen, P.C., Farges, F., Linnen, R.L., Brown, G.E. Jr., Pawlak, M. and Pratt, A. (2006): Structural environment of Nb5+ in dry and fluid-rich (H2O, F) silicate glasses: A combined XANES and EXAFS study. The Canadian Mineralogist 44: 775-794.

Piilonen, P.C., Farges, F., Linnen, R. and Brown, G.E. Jr. (2005). Sn and Nb in dry and fluid-rich (H2O, F) glasses. Physica Scripta T115: 405-407.

Piilonen, P.C., Rancourt, D.G., Evans, R.J., Lalonde, A.E., McDonald, A.M. and Shabani, A.A.T. (2004). The relationships between crystal-chemical and hyperfine parameters in astrophyllite-group minerals: A combined 57Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy and single-crystal X-ray diffraction study. European Journal of Mineralogy 16: 989-1002.

Piilonen, P.C., Lalonde, A.E., McDonald, A.M., Gault, R.A, and Larsen, A.O. (2003). Insights into astrophyllite group minerals I: Nomenclature, composition and development of a standardized general formula. The Canadian Mineralogist 42: 1-26.

Piilonen, P.C., McDonald, A.M. and Lalonde, A.E. (2003). Insights into the astrophyllite group II: Crystal chemistry. The Canadian Mineralogist 42: 27-54.

Piilonen, P.C., McDonald, A.M. and Lalonde, A.E. (2001): Kupletskite polytypes from the Lovozero massif, Kola Peninsula, Russia: Kupletskite-1A and kupletskite-Ma2b2c. European Journal of Mineralogy 13: 973-984.

Piilonen, P.C., Lalonde, A.E., McDonald, A.M. and Gault, R.A. (2000). Niobokupletskite, a new astrophyllite group mineral from Mont Saint-Hilaire, Québec, Canada: Description and crystal structure. The Canadian Mineralogist 38: 627-639.

Piilonen, P.C., McDonald, A.M. and Lalonde, A.E. (1998): The crystal chemistry of aegirine from Mont Saint-Hilaire, Québec. The Canadian Mineralogist 36: 779-791.

Non-refereed publications

Tait, K., Poirier, G., Rowe, R. and Piilonen, P.C. (2008). New Mineral Names. American Mineralogist 93: 253-256.

Poirier, G. and Piilonen, P.C. (2007). New Mineral Names. American Mineralogist 92: 1776-1779.

Locock, A.J., Piilonen, P.C., Ercit, T.S., Rowe, R. and Kolitsch, U. (2006). New mineral names. American Mineralogist. (in press).

Locock, A.J., Piilonen, P.C., Ercit, T.S. and Rowe, R. (2005): New mineral names. American Mineralogist 91: 216-224.

Piilonen, P.C., Locock, A.J. and Grew, E.S. (2005): New mineral names. American Mineralogist 90: 1945-1952.

Piilonen, P.C. and Ercit, T.S. (2005). New mineral names. American Mineralogist 90: 1466-1469.

Piilonen, P.C., Grew, E.S., Ercit, T.S., Roberts, A.C. and Jambour, J. (2005): New mineral names. American Mineralogist 90: 1227-1232.

Piilonen, P.C., Ercit, T.S. and Roberts, A.C. (2005). New mineral names. American Mineralogist 90: 768-773.

Piilonen, P.C. (2004): Astrophyllite-group minerals from Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec: A guide to identification for collectors. Micronews, Canadian Micro Mineral Association: 38: 4-8.

Refereed conference abstracts (resulting in posters or presentations)

Piilonen, P.C., Rowe, R., Grice, J.D., Gault, R.A., Cooper, M.A., Kolitsch, U. and Lechner, B. (2005). Two new sodium rare-earth fluorcarbonates from the Aris phonolite, Namibia. Rochester Mineralogical Symposium, Program with Abstracts.

Piilonen, P.C., Farges, F., Linnen, R., Brown, G.E. Jr., Pawlak, M. and Pratt, A. (2004). Structural environment of Nb in dry and fluid-rich (H2O, F) silicate glasses: A combined XANES and EXAFS study, including a novel approach to ICP-AES analysis of micro-materials. Program with Abstracts, 2004 GAC-MAC Annual Meeting, St. Catherine's, Canada.

Piilonen, P.C., Farges, F., Linnen, R. and Brown, G.E. Jr. (2003). Sn and Nb in dry and fluid-rich (H2O, F) glasses. 12th International Conference on X-ray Absorption Fine Structure, Malmö, Sweden.

Piilonen, P.C., McDonald, A.M., Lalonde, A.E. and Gault, R.G. (2002). Insights into the paragenesis of astrophyllite group minerals. Program with Abstracts, 18th General Meeting, International Mineralogical Association Meeting, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Piilonen, P.C., Farges, F., Linnen, R. (2002). The effects of peralkalinity on the structural environment of Nb and Ta in silicate glasses. Journal of Conference Abstracts. Ninth International Symposium on Experimental Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry, Zurich, Switzerland.

Piilonen, P.C., Lalonde, A.E., and McDonald, A.M. (2000). Chemical variations in astrophyllite group minerals from Mont Saint-Hilaire, Québec. 27th Annual Rochester Mineralogical Symposium. Rochester, N.Y., USA.

Piilonen, P.C., Rancourt, D.G., Lalonde, A.E. and McDonald, A.M. (1999). Mössbauer spectroscopy of astrophyllite group minerals from Mont Saint-Hilaire, Québec. Program with abstracts. International Conference on the Application of the Mössbauer Effect, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Piilonen, P.C., Rancourt, D.G., Lalonde, A.E. and McDonald, A.M. (1999). Mössbauer spectroscopy of astrophyllite group minerals from Mont Saint-Hilaire, Québec. Program with Abstracts, 1999 GAC-MAC Annual Meeting, Sudbury, Canada.

Piilonen, P.C., Lalonde, A.E., and McDonald, A.M. (1998). The crystal chemistry of astrophyllite group minerals from Mont Saint-Hilaire, Québec. Program with Abstracts, 17th General Meeting, International Mineralogical Association Meeting, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Piilonen, P.C., McDonald A.M., and Lalonde, A.E. (1998). The crystal chemistry of aegirine from Mont Saint-Hilaire, Québec. 25th Annual Rochester Mineralogical Symposium. Rochester, N.Y., USA. (also see Rocks and Minerals (1999). 74: 188).

Piilonen, P.C., McDonald A.M., and Lalonde, A.E. (1997). The crystal chemistry of aegirine from Mont Saint-Hilaire, Québec. Program with Abstracts, 1997 GAC-MAC Joint Annual Meeting, Ottawa, Canada.

Seminars and invited presentations

Piilonen, P.C. (2005). a. Minerals in everyday life. b. Introduction to mineral identification. c. From rags to riches: Diamonds in Canada. Invited presentations (20), Simply Science program (Coral Harbour, Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove, Nunavut, Nov. 12-19th). Sponsored by Nunavut Research Institute through a Promoscience NSERC grant.

Piilonen, P.C., McDonald, A.M., Dahlgren, S. and Larsen, A.O. (2004). Mineral collecting in the Larvik Alkaline complex, Oslo Rift Valley, southern Norway. Ottawa Lapsmith and Mineral Club Lecture (November 11th, 2003), Canadian Museum of Nature Seminar Series (January 24th, 2004), Scarborough Mineral Club Banquet (October 5th, 2005).

Piilonen, P.C. (2003). Hidden treasures in the mineral world. Hands-On Science (Canadian Museum of Nature, November 29).

Piilonen, P.C. (2003). A guide to identification of astrophyllite-group minerals from Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec. 23rd Annual Mont Saint-Hilaire Symposium (Oct. 17-21, 2003).

McDonald, A.M. and Piilonen, P.C. (2003). Mont Saint-Hilaire Unknowns. 23rd Annual Mont Saint-Hilaire Symposium (Oct. 17-21, 2003).

Piilonen, P.C. (2003): a. Minerals in everyday life. b. Introduction to mineral identification. c. From rags to riches: Diamonds in Canada. d. Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya. Invited presentations (20), Simply Science program (Ataguttaaluk Elementary and High schools, Igloolik, Nunavut, March 24th – 29th).

Piilonen, P.C. (2003). a. Rocks, under investigation. b. Introduction to mineral identification. Invited talks to the Macoun Field Club (Canadian Museum of Nature, January 17th and February).

Piilonen, P.C. and Picard, M. (2003). Marvelous minerals: A guide to collecting and identification. Adult Workshop (Canadian Museum of Nature, January 16th).

Piilonen, P.C. (2002). Rocks, under investigation. Hands-On Science (Canadian Museum of Nature, November 30th).

Piilonen, P.C. (2002). Turning the "lights" on to synchrotron radiation research: An introduction to synchrotron techniques and their use in the natural sciences. Canadian Museum of Nature Seminar Series (Natural Heritage Campus, October 2).

Piilonen, P.C. (2001). Canada's Mineral Resources. Invited talk for the International Federation of University Women Conference (Canadian Museum of Nature, August 15th).

Lalonde, A.E. and Piilonen, P.C. (1999). Encounters With Minerals/De l'atome au mineral. Christmas Science Lectures (University of Ottawa, lectures for the general public given to approximately 600 people, December 27th and 28th).

Piilonen, P.C. (1999). Astrophyllite group minerals from Mont Saint-Hilaire (Québec), Kola Peninsula (Russia), and the Langesundsfjord Area (Norway): An introduction to their identification, crystal chemistry and paragenesis. Invited talk to the Walker Mineralogical Club (Toronto, Ont., September 10th).

Piilonen, P.C. (1999). A geological tour of the southwest USA, from the Badlands of South Dakota to the Grand Canyon. Invited talk to the Ottawa Valley Lapsmith and Mineral Club (Ottawa, Ont.).

Piilonen, P.C. (1998): Introduction to mineral identification. Invited talk to the Ottawa Valley Lapsmith and Mineral Club (Ottawa, Ont.).