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Dr Juan Diego Rodriguez-Blanco

Assistant Professor

Tel: + 353 1 896 1691 
Office: Museum Building, Office 0.15A


The major purpose of my research is to apply biogeochemistry to manage natural resources in a way that we can preserve the quality of life that we have now into the future generations.

1. Mineral formation and its role in biomineralisation processes: We know that biomineralisation processes are deeply linked to the evolution of past and future ocean chemistry. However, the mechanisms by which biominerals form and transform are poorly understood. I have focused my research on the understanding of the formation mechanisms of carbonates, phosphates and sulphates, using a series of state-of-the-art, in situ synchrotron methods combined with conventional off-line techniques. My results have shed light on the mechanisms of formation of a number of biominerals (e.g., calcite, monohydrocalcite, dolomite), the effects of seawater ions and organics during these processes and the implications for past and future ocean chemistry, CO2 capture and storage and industrial mineral synthesis.

2. Mineral-water interaction processes: I aim to shed light on mineral-water reactions that can be applied to remediate polluted waters and soils, to control the mobility and to find new sources of strategic metals. In particular, I have focused my work on the evaluation of the capacity of carbonates, sulphates and phosphates to remove pollutants and rare-earths (RE) from natural waters. Results include the understanding of thermodynamic and kinetic factors affecting the fate of pollutants and governing the formation of RE-bearing carbonates and phosphates in hydrothermal ore deposits.

More information:

Personal website

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Researcher ID



Senior Freshman
GL2206 Dynamic Earth 2: Structure and Microscopy

Junior Sophister
GL3336 Microscopy and Crystalline Rocks

GLU33934 Introduction to Geochemistry

Senior Sophister
GL4412 Laboratory Project

CH7001-A-SEM101-201819: Introduction to Energy Science (MSc Energy Sciences)
CH7002-A-SEM101-201819: Sustainable Energy Sources and Technology II (MSc Energy Sciences)


Book chapters:

Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Sand, K.K. and Benning, L.G. (2017) ACC and vaterite as metastable intermediates in the solution based crystallization of CaCO3. Chapter 5 of New Perspectives on Mineral Nucleation and Growth.  Eds: Alexander van Driessche, Matthias Kellermeier, Liane G. Benning, Dennis Gebauer. Springer International Publishing. Switzerland. 

Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D. and Tobler, D.J. (2016) Carbonate minerals. In review for the book: Environmental Minerals. Wiley-Blackwell.

Peer-reviewed papers:

Steele, A., Benning, L.G., Wirth, R., Siljeström, S., Fries, M.D., Hauri, E., Conrad, P.G., Rogers, K., Eigenbrode, J., Schreiber, A., Needham, A., Wang, J.H., McCubbin, F.M., Kilcoyne, D., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D. (2018) Organic synthesis on Mars by electrochemical reduction of CO2. Science Advances, 4, eaat5118.

Besselink, R., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Stawski, T.M., Benning, L.G., and Tobler, D.J. (2017) How short-lived ikaite affects calcite crystallisation. Crystal Growth & Design, 17, 6224-6230. DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.7b00743  

Montanari, G., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Bovet, N., Stipp, S.L.S., and Tobler, D.J. (2017) Impact of citrate ions on the nucleation and growth of anhydrous CaCO3. Crystal Growth & Design., 17, 5269-5275.  DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.7b00796. 

Ossorio, M., Stawski, T.M., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Sleutel, M., García-Ruiz, J.M., Benning, L.G., Van Driessche, A.E.S. (2017) Physicochemical and Additive Controls on the Multistep Precipitation Pathway of Gypsum. Minerals, 7, 140. DOI: 10.3390/min7080140

Lorenz, B., Ceccato, M., Andersson, M.P., Dobberschütz, S., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Dalby, K.N., Hassenkam, T., Stipp, S.L.S. (2017) The salinity dependent adhesion response properties of aluminosilicate (K-feldspar) surfaces. Energy & Fuels, 31, 4670–4680.

Roncal-Herrero, T., Astilleros, J.M., Bots, P., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Prieto, M., Benning, L.G., Fernandez-Diaz, L. (2017) Reaction pathways and textural aspects of the replacement of anhydrite by calcite at 25 °C. American Mineralogist, 102, 1270–1278.

Nielsen, M.R., Sand, K.K., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Bovet, N., Generosi, J., Dalby, K.N., and Stipp S.L.S. (2016) Inhibition of Calcite Growth: Combined Effects of Mg2+ and SO42–. Crystal Growth & Design, 16, 6199–6207.

Tobler, D.J., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Sørensen, H.O., Stipp, S.L.S., Dideriksen, K. (2016) Effect of pH on Amorphous Calcium Carbonate Structure and Transformation. Crystal Growth & Design, 16, 4500-4508.  

Voigt, M., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Vallina, B., Benning, L.G., Oelkers, E.H. (2016) An experimental study of hydroxylbastnasite solubility in aqueous solutions at 25 °C. Chemical Geology, 430, 70-77.

Stawski, T., Van Driessche, S., Ossorio, M., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Besselink, R., Benning, L.G. (2016) Formation of calcium sulfate through the aggregation of sub-3 nanometre primary species. Nature Communications, 7, 10177.

Andersson, M.P., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Stipp, S.L.S. (2016) Is bicarbonate stable in and on the calcite surface? Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 176, 198-205.

Vallina, B., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Brown, A.P., Blanco, J.A. and Benning, L.G. (2015) The role of amorphous precursors in the crystallization of La and Nd carbonates. Nanoscale, 7, 12166-12179.

Hodson, M.E., Benning, L.G., Demarchi, B., Penkman, K.E.H., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Schofield, P.F., Versteegh, E.A.A. (2015) Biomineralisation by earthworms – an investigation into the stability and distribution of amorphous calcium carbonate. Geochemical Transactions, 16, 4.
Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Shaw, S. and Benning, L.G. (2015) A route for the direct crystallization of dolomite. American Mineralogist, 100, 1172-1181.

Tobler, D.J., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Dideriksen, K., Bovet, N., Sand, K.K., Stipp. S.L.S. (2015) Citrate Effects on Amorphous Calcium Carbonate (ACC) Structure, Stability, and Crystallization. Advanced Functional Materials, 25, 3081-3090.
Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Vallina, B., Blanco, J.A. and Benning, L.G. (2014) The role of REE3+ in the crystallization of lanthanites. Mineralogical Magazine, 78, 1373-1380.

Vallina, B., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Blanco, J.A. and Benning, L.G. (2014) The effect of heating on the morphology of crystalline neodymium hydroxycarbonate, NdCO3OH. Mineralogical Magazine, 78, 1391-1397.
Tobler, D.J., Rodriguez Blanco, J.D., Dideriksen, K., Sand, K.K., Bovet, N., Benning, L.G., and Stipp, S.L.S. (2014) Effect of aspartic acid and glycine on amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC) structure, stability and crystallisation. Procedia Earth and Planetary Science, 10, 143–148.

Cobourne, G., Mountjoy, G., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Benning, L.G., Hannon, A.C. and Plaisier, J.R. (2014) Neutron and X-ray Diffraction and Empirical Potential Structure Refinement Modelling of Magnesium Stabilised Amorphous Calcium Carbonate. Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, 401, 154-158. 

Vallina, B., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Brown, A.P., Benning, L.G. and Blanco, J.A. (2014) Enhanced magnetic coercivity of α-Fe2O3 obtained from carbonated 2-line ferrihydrite. Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 16, 2322.

Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Shaw, S., Bots, P., Roncal-Herrero, T., and Benning, L.G. (2014) The role of Mg in the crystallisation of monohydrocalcite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 127, 204-220.
Hubbard, G.H., West, L.J., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Shaw, S. (2014) Laboratory study of spectral induced polarization responses of magnetite — Fe2+ redox reactions in porous media. Geophysics, 79, D21-D30.

Vallina, B., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Brown, A.P., Blanco, J.A. and Benning, L.G. (2013) Amorphous dysprosium carbonate: characterization, stability and crystallization pathways. Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 15, 1438.

Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Shaw, S., Bots, P., Roncal-Herrero, T., and Benning, L.G. (2012) The role of pH and Mg on the stability and crystallization of amorphous calcium carbonate. Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 536, Suppl1, S477-S479.

Bots, P., Benning, L.G., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Roncal-Herrero, T., and Shaw, S. (2012) Mechanistic insights into the crystallization of amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC). Crystal Growth and Design,12,3806-3814.

Sand, K.K., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Makovicky, E., Benning, L.G., and Stipp, S.L.S. (2012) Aragonite growth in water-alcohol mixtures: classical or nonclassical crystallization? MRS Proceedings, 1419, mrsf11-1419-nn01-08.

Van Driessche, A.E.S., Benning, L.G., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Ossorio, M., Bots, P., García-Ruiz, J.M. (2012) The Role and Implications of Bassanite as a Stable Precursor Phase to Gypsum Precipitation. Science, 336, 69-72.

Sand, K.K., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Makovicky, E., Benning, L.G. and Stipp, S. (2012) Crystallization of CaCO3 in water-ethanol mixtures: spherulitic growth, polymorph stabilization and morphology change. Crystal Growth and Design, 12, 842-853.

Csákberényi-Malasics, D., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Kovács Kis, V., Rečnik, A., Benning, L.G., and Pósfai, M. (2012) Structural properties and transformations of precipitated FeS. Chemical Geology, 294-295, 249-258.

Roncal-Herrero, T., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Oelkers, E.H. and Benning, L.G. (2011) The direct precipitation of rhabdophane (REEPO4·nH2O) nano-rods from acidic aqueous solutions at 5 to 100 °C. Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 13, 4049-4062.

Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Shaw, S. and Benning, L.G. (2011) The kinetics and mechanisms of Amorphous Calcium Carbonate (ACC) crystallization to calcite, via vaterite. Nanoscale, 3, 265-271.

Astilleros, J.M., Godelitsas, A., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Fernandez-Diaz, L., Prieto, M., Lagoyannis, A., Harissopulos, S. (2010) Interaction of gypsum with lead in aqueous solutions. Applied Geochemistry, 25, 1008-1016.

Roncal-Herrero, T., Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Benning, L.G., Oelkers, E.H. (2009) Precipitation of Iron and Aluminum Phosphates Directly from Aqueous Solution as a Function of Temperature from 50 to 200°C. Crystal Growth & Design, 9, 5197-5205.

Rodriguez-Blanco, J.D., Shaw, S. and Benning, L.G. (2008) How to make ‘stable’ ACC: protocol and preliminary structural characterization. Mineralogical Magazine, 72, 283-286.

Rodríguez, J.D., Jiménez, A., Prieto, M., Torre, L., and García-Granda, S. (2008) Interaction of gypsum with As(V)-bearing aqueous solutions: Surface precipitation of guerinite, sainfeldite, and Ca2NaH(AsO4)2×6H2O, a synthetic arsenate. American Mineralogist, 93, 928-939.

Rodríguez-Blanco, J.D., Jiménez, A., and Prieto. M. (2007) Oriented Overgrowth of Pharmacolite (CaHAsO4×2H2O) on Gypsum (CaSO4×2H2O). Crystal Growth & Design, 12, 2756-2763.

Köhler, S., Cubillas, P., Rodríguez-Blanco, J.D., Prieto, M. (2007) Removal of cadmium from wastewaters by aragonite shells and the influence of other divalent cations. Environmental Science and Technology, 41, 112-118.

Jimenez, A., Rodríguez, J.D., Torre-Fernandez, L., Prieto, M., and García-Granda, S. (2006) Crystal structure of dicalcium sodium monohydrogen diarsenate hexahydrate, Ca2Na[HAsO4][AsO4]·6H2O. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie - New Crystal Structures, 221, 241-242.