Katie Smart was born in 1982 in St. Albert, Alberta, and completed her BSc (honors) in geology at the University of Alberta in 2004, receiving the APEGGA Gold Medal in Geology and a Dean’s Silver Medal in Science upon graduation. After taking some time off to travel, Katie worked in the oil and gas industry in Calgary until the summer of 2006. She then returned to the University of Alberta to begin an MSc project with Drs. Tom Chacko and Larry Heaman on eclogite xenoliths from the Jericho kimberlite.
In 2007, after a very successful mine visit and sample acquisition, Katie transferred into the PhD program. Katie’s PhD research focuses on the petrological, geochemical, and isotopic characteristics of eclogite xenoliths from three kimberlites located in the northern Slave Craton, including a spectacular diamond-rich suite from the Jericho kimberlite. Eclogite xenoliths, commonly found in kimberlites worldwide and often a host of diamonds, provide information on the evolution of the mantle in which the diamonds resided before being entrained in kimberlite. To study the xenoliths, Katie uses novel in situ techniques to determine Sr and Pb isotope and trace element compositions, as well as conventional and laser-fluorination stable oxygen isotope analyses.
Of particular importance to Katie’s research, the suite of extremely diamond-rich eclogite xenoliths have geochemical and isotope compositions unlike those of any other diamondiferous eclogite suite worldwide. Katie recently published an article on the origin of these xenoliths and is currently working on why these unusual eclogites are so diamond rich and on how the diamonds formed. To address these problems, she will investigate the content and aggregation state of nitrogen impurities in the diamonds, as well as the carbon isotope composition.