A-team Activities 2nd Quarter of 2018

Another busy and successful time for members of the Research Group. Four papers, a successful PhD thesis, graduation, hosting a conference and presentations to EGU, GGRIP and SoS RARE. Also plans are afoot to open up the scientific sample collections from in Northern Nigeria and Southern Niger collected by St Andrews in the 1980s.


Borst AM, Friis H, Waight TD, Nielsen TFD (2018) Bulk and mush melt evolution in agpaitic systems: Insights from compositional variations in eudialyte-group minerals of the Ilímaussaq complex, South Greenland, Journal of Petrology, 2018, 1-23; doi: 10.1093/petrology/egy038.

Cui M, Zhang Z, Wang Y, Finch AA & Townsend PD (2018) Temperature dependence of bulk luminescence from ZnO. Luminescence, 33, 654-659; DOI: 10.1002/bio.3460.

Allison N, Cole C, Hintz C, Hintz K & Finch AA (2018) Influences of coral genotype and seawater pCO2 on skeletal Ba/Ca and Mg/Ca in cultured massive Porites spp. corals. Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology, 505, 351-358, doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.06.015.

Cole CFinch AAHintz C, Hintz K & Allison N (2018) Effects of seawater pCO2 and temperature on calcification and productivity in the coral genus Porites spp.: an exploration of potential interaction mechanisms. Coral Reefs. 37, 471-481

PhD Completion

Congratulations to Dr Adam Zaniewski who completed his PhD on the petrology and petrogenesis of the Ross of Mull granite complex, Western Scotland. Adam’s was enrolled at University College Cork, and his study was a joint project between UCC and St Andrews, led by Dr John Reavy at USS but involving analytical work at St Andrews and Copenhagen. Adam’s work involved detailed mapping of the Ross of Mull complex, producing an outstanding map, followed by detailed geochemical analysis, particularly combining CL imaging and Pb-Pb isotopes.

Adam with map in John's office 21 Jun 2018
Dr Zaniewski with his map of the Ross of Mull. The extraordinary detail and quality of his map was an important component of his thesis. It now acts as an exemplar at UCC to future mapping students.

Presentations and Outreach Activities


The Frontier Research in Earth Science (FRESH) is the name given to a series of public lectures hosted by the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences. The latest FRESH day lectures was hosted on the 2nd of May 2018 by Will Hutchison and entitled ‘VICES’ – Volcanic Impacts on Climate, Environment and Society. It included invited talks by Prof Kathy Cashman, Samantha Engwell, Heli Huhtamaa, Clive Oppenheimer and a keynote by Will himself.

SoS RARE meeting

Anouk and Nicky attended the SoS Rare Investigators Meeting on the 7-8th June, held at Brighton University. The meeting involved sessions relating to the project work packages and included guest speakers Jindrich Kynicky (Mendel University), Harald Kala (UIT), Jochen Petersen (UCT), and Martin Pittuck (SRK). Anouk presented an overview of the work carried out at St. Andrews, including consequences of eudialyte alteration on REE mobility and recent work using EXAFS on eudialyte and ion adsorption clays. Nicky presented an update on her luminescence work and the implications for smart sorting.

SoS RARE meeting photo 21 Jun 2018
Understanding structural state of rare earths in ore minerals is essential to predicting genesis and how the minerals degrade. Here Anouk presents the results of XAFS data on eudialyte and ion-adsorption clays.


Kris Sokół at EGU 2018 in Vienna, presenting on his work on fenitisation around nepheline syenite complexes in Greenland.

EGU this year (Vienna, 7-12 Apr 2018) was attended by two members of the group: PhD student Kris Sokół , MSc Student Kelly Mackay. Kris Sokół gave two posters on the 7-12 Apr 2018 in Vienna. ; one in the session on “Microstructures as an interpretative tool in igneous and metamorphic petrology” and the other in “Dynamics and Structures of the Tethyan realm: Collisions and back-arcs from the Mediterranean to the Himalayas”. entitled: Sokół K (2018) High-field-strength-elements (HFSE) mobility in late-stage fluids, Gardar Rift Province, South Greenland. Sokół K, Halama R, Meliksetian Kh, Savov IP, Navasardyan G & Sudo M (2018). Alkaline magmas in collision zone settings: Age and petrogenesis of the Tezhsar Alkaline Complex (TAC), Armenia.

PhD student Josh Hughes (enrolled on an Iapetus studentship between Durham and St Andrews Universities) will working for Mkango resources over the summer on their Songwe carbonatite project.

Earlier this month we met with alumnus Dr John Bennett, who had worked for his PhD as part of the Nigeria-Niger granites project in the 1980s. This project was based at St Andrews to map and sample the evolved igneous rocks of Northern Nigeria and Southern Niger. Both areas are of current commercial and scientific interest, but civil unrest in the region has made access difficult. With John’s help, plans are afoot to develop the sample collections from the project for commercial and scientific use and to create a database of the field work and analytical work that was performed. Anyone interested in this region is encouraged to contact Adrian.

Nicky Horsburgh and masters student Kelly Mackay have been at the Electron Probe Microanalysis (EPMA) Facility at Edinburgh University analysing lanthanide-bearing zirconosilicates, fluocarbonates and phosphate minerals.

Adrian Finch and Will Hutchison attended HiTech AlkCarb workshop in Namibia in April 2018 run by Dr Pete Siegfried.

We have two teams of undergraduates mapping and sampling over the summer. A team of four (Austin Scherer, Curtis Rooks, Anthony Clarke and Angus Watson) are working on carbonatite and lamprophyre-cemented breccias north of Narsarsuaq in Southern Greenland. Carbonatite breccias are often hosts for unusual rare element mineralisation and these particular breccias are unstudied since their discovery in the 1960s. This work is partly supported by the Mining Institute of Scotland Trust. Two students (Geraldine Tchimbali and Antonia Santos) are mapping a section of the Tchivira/Bongo carbonatite complex in South West Angola. Tchivira-Bongo is a syenite-carbonatite complex on an extension of the Cretaceous rifting we had seen in Namibia and Brazil. The area has not been studied since the 1990s.

You can follow Nicky Horsburgh who has also been tweeting on her activities.

Finally A-team members Lucy Spindler and George Colleran graduated with honours degrees in Geology, after having completed mapping projects on the Western edge of the Igdlerfigsalik Complex in Southern Greenland. Lucy has a job in industry and George is going on to a Masters. Andrew Whyte completed his MGeol in Earth Sciences and is going on to a PhD at Cambridge with Owen Weller, entitled “Solving a gneiss problem: the structure and origin of the Earth’s oldest crust”. Congratulations and good luck to them all!