Mai Sas

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy


PhD Geology, 2016-present  University of Auckland
Provisional thesis: "High resolution isotopic and geochemical records of magmatic processes captured in crystals from Okataina Volcanic Centre, New Zealand"

MSc Geology, 2012-2015  Western Washington University
Thesis: "Petrogenesis of high-Mg basaltic andesites and andesites from the northern Cascade Arc"

BSc Geology, 2008-2012  University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Thesis: "Analysis of crystal size distribution in basaltic lava flows at Lunar Crater, Nevada, USA"

BA Anthropology, 2008-2012  University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Research | Current

Mineral Geochemistry

  • Sr and Pb isotopic compositions in plagioclase  Taupo Volcanic Zone
  • O isotopes in quartz  Taupo Volcanic Zone
  • Sr and REE abundances in clinopyroxene  Cascade Volcanic Arc

Magma Petrogenesis and Processes Research Topics

  • Dominant processes during crystal growth  Taupo Volcanic Zone & Northern Cascade Arc
  • Temporal and spatial isotopic source fluctuations in silicic systems   Taupo Volcanic Zone
  • Identifying slab, mantle and crustal contributions  Taupo Volcanic Zone & Northern Cascade Arc
  • Which processes lead to catastrophic eruptions?  Taupo Volcanic Zone
  • Origin of high-Mg lavas  Northern Cascade Arc
  • Is mantle heterogeneity leading to observed compositional differences in mafic lavas?  Northern Cascade Arc

Teaching | Current


  • Optical Mineralogy, 2019  University of Auckland

Guest Lecturer (individual lectures)

  • Rock genesis, 2018  University of Auckland
  • Igneous and metamorphic petrology, 2015  Western Washington University
  • Mineralogy, 2015  Western Washington University

Teaching Assistant

  • Petrology and Geochemistry of Igneous Systems, 2019  University of Auckland
  • Natural Hazards in New Zealand, 2019-current  University of Auckland
  • Rock genesis/petrography guest tutor, 2017-2018  University of Auckland
  • Earth science introductory course, 2017  University of Auckland
  • Geology field camp, 2015  Western Washington University
  • Igneous and metamorphic petrology, 2015  Western Washington University
  • Introductory geology, 2014  Western Washington University
  • Historical geology, 2013-2014  Western Washington University
  • Physical geology, 2013-2014  Western Washington University
  • Materials science, 2012-2014  Western Washington University 

Postgraduate supervision


  • Outstanding Geology MSc Graduate, 2015-2016  Western Washington University
  • Geology Teaching Assistant of the Year, 2014-2015  Western Washington University
  • Best Undergraduate Poster, Geosymposium, 2012  University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • National Dean's List, 2008-2012  University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Areas of expertise

Igneous petrology, geochemistry, mineral geochemistry, petrography, microanalytical techniques

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • School of Environment Postgraduate Student Committee member, 2018-current, University of Auckland
  • Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology Research Group member, webmaster, and organizer, 2018-current, University of Auckland
  • Secretary and Executive Board member, 2018-2019, Auckland Roller Derby League
  • Home Team Captain, 2013-2014, Bellingham Roller Betties

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Sas, M., Kawasaki, N., Sakamoto, N., Shane, P., Zellmer, G. F., Kent, A. J. R., & Yurimoto, H. (2019). The ion microprobe as a tool for obtaining strontium isotopes in magmatic plagioclase: A case study at Okataina Volcanic Centre, New Zealand. CHEMICAL GEOLOGY, 513, 153-166. 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2019.03.016
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Phil Shane
  • (2017). Using mineral geochemistry to decipher slab, mantle, and crustal input in the generation of high-Mg andesites and basaltic andesites from the northern Cascade Arc. American Mineralogist10.2138/am-2017-5756
  • Cortes, J. A., Smith, E. I., Valentine, G. A., Johnsen, R., Rasoazanamparany, C., Widom, E., ... Ruth, D. (2015). Intrinsic conditions of magma genesis at the Lunar Crater Volcanic Field (Nevada), and implications for internal plumbing and magma ascent. American Mineralogist, 100 (2-3), 396-413. 10.2138/am-2015-4812