A-Team Quarterly Update – 2nd Quarter 2019

It has been another busy and successful time for members of our Research Group which has included three published papers, two grant awards, three invited attendances, several published abstracts and preparing for the next round of world conferences which will include 9 presentations, a short course on alkaline rocks and a session at Goldschmidt 2019.


Riedesel S, King GE, Prasad AK, Kumar R, Finch AA, Jain M (2019) Optical determination of the width of the band-tail states, and the excited and ground state energies of the principal dosimetric trap in feldspar. Radiation Measurements, 125, 40-51.

Borst AM, Waight TE, Finch AA, Storey M Roux PJL (2019) Dating agpaitic rocks: A multi-system (U/Pb, Sm/Nd, Rb/Sr and Ar-40/Ar-39) isotopic study of layered nepheline syenites from the Ilimaussaq complex, Greenland. Lithos, 324, 74–88. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lithos.2018.10.037.

van de Ven M, Borst AM, Davies GR, Hunt EJ, Finch AA (2019) Hydrothermal Alteration of Eudialyte-Hosted Critical Metal Deposits: Fluid Source and Implications for Deposit Grade. Minerals, in press.

Published Abstracts

Riedesel S, King GE, Roberts HM, Duller GAT, Finch AA, Jain M (2019) On the use of the TL signal of feldspar as an indicator for the stability of the IRSL signal. Oral presentation to the UK Luminescence and ESR dating conference, August, Riso, Denmark.

Grant Applications and Awards

Finch AA, Heard H, Allison N, Ashbrook SE, Dawson D (2019) “High-Field 11B NMR Investigation of Boron Speciation in Corals”. We have had a third successful award to the UK High Field NMR facility. The grant awarded 5 days of analytical time to the project. This is the next stage of a state-of-the-art analysis of B coordination states in coral aragonite, including field and cultured specimens covering a selection of modern taxa and fossils. B isotope ratios are a proxy for pH in the oceans – one of the key ways in which we determine how pH in the oceans has changed over geological time. The cultured material has been grown in fixed pH conditions, allowing us to ground-truth the pH-B isotope proxy.

Borst AM, Finch AA (2019) “The Economic Potential of Green Technology Metals in Angola. Stage 1: Scoping“. Anouk has led a successful grant application to the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) for a scoping visit to Angola in September 2019. Two of our graduands, Antonia dos Santos and Geraldine Tchimbali, did honours studies on the Tchivira-Bonga complex in Southern Angola and the samples returned to St Andrews as part of that study have been analysed. We will also meet Professor Aurora Bambi in the Agostinho Neto University in Luanda. The long term intention is to establish a collaboration which will allow a further understanding of these understudied rocks.


Presentations and Outreach Activities

Launch of the Rare Earth Industries Association (REIA), Brussels, 25-27 June 2019

Adrian and Anouk were invited to give presentations to the inaugural meeting of REIA, the industry association for the Rare Earth Industry. The meeting started with the motion to create the association from GloREIA – the ‘Global Rare Earth Industry Association’ which has been established by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) as part of a Horizon 2020 project.

Adrian discussing the work of the SoS RARE and HiTech AlkCarb consortia has part of his talk on the geology of Rare Earth deposits

3rd Critical Metals Conference, Surgeon’s Hall, Edinburgh 30 Apr – 2 May 2019

The Applied Mineralogy group of the Mineralogical Society were hosts for the 3rd Critical Metals Conference in Edinburgh. It was a busy time for the group with five oral presentations; Anouk Borst gave an early career keynote on her work on replacement textures in alkaline and peralkaline silicate rocks and Nicky Horsburgh co-chaired the final session on alkaline igneous magmatic systems. The five talks were:

Finch AA, Hutchison W, Borst AM, Horsburgh NJ & Sokol K (2019) Critical Metal Mineralisation associated with Magmatic Roof Zones.

Horsburgh NJ & Finch AA (2019) Luminescence sorting to reduce energy use during ore processing.

Borst AM (2019) Peralkaline-hosted Critical Metal Deposits: From Magmatic Enrichment to Hydrothermal Mineralisation. (Keynote)


Anouk Borst giving her Early Career Keynote presentation on REE deposits hosted in Peralkaline Igneous Rocks

Beard C… Finch AA, Hutchison W (2019) deposit-Scale geomodels for REE and HFSE exploration in Carbonatite and alkaline silicate magmatic systems

Smith M… Finch AA, Borst AM (2019) Ion Adsorption Deposits: A comparison of deposits in Madagascar and China.

SoS Minerals Meeting, Royal Society, London, 9 May 2019

The Final SoS RARE meeting was held at the Royal Society in London in May 2019. Almost all of the SoS RARE community were there alongside a selection of invited industry and government participants. St Andrews presented one talk and two posters.

Talk: Goodenough KM, Smith M, Estrade G, Marquis E, Villanova de Benavent C, Borst AM, Finch AA & Barnett M (2019) Ion Adsorption deposits: alternative resources of REE for a low-carbon future.

Poster – Nano- to Macro- scale characteristics and genesis of REE ion adsorption deposits. Martin Smith, Eva Marquis, Cristina Villanova de Benavent, Anouk Borst, Adrian Finch

Poster – Luminescence as a Smart Sorting Tool for REE Minerals. Nicky Horsburgh and Adrian Finch

SGA2019 Short Course – Resources in Carbonatite and peralkaline rocks: Everything you wanted to know but were too shy to ask.

We will be taking part in this year’s SGA conference in Glasgow in August. As part of the programme Adrian and Frances Wall from Camborne School of Mines will be offering a short course entitled “Resources in Carbonatite and peralkaline rocks: Everything you wanted to know but were too shy to ask“. The purpose of the short course is to provide a background to the geology behind critical metal deposits hosted in these unusual rocks.

Frances giving presentation

Fieldwork Greenland 2019

We have six students working in Southern Greenland this summer. They include Rory Changleng, Lot Koopmans, Lucy Mathieson, Alasdair Murphy and Rob Webster and they will be joined by PhD student Krzysztof (Kris) Sokół. The group will work first on the NE end of Tuttutoq (Tugtutoq) Island near Narsaq, and then on the Eastern margin of the Illerfissalik (Igdlerfigssalik) Intrusion near Igaliku (Igaliko). The group are in the field now and expect to return in early August.

Future Presentations

Goldschmidt 2019

Will Hutchison is one of the organisers of a session “Alkaline rocks and carbonatites: From mantle to mine (and everything in between)” to be held at the 2019 Goldschmidt Conference in Barcelona (18-23rd August).

Session I.D.: 1417 (06i) Session Title: Alkaline rocks and carbonatites: From mantle to mine (and everything in between) Theme: 06; Magmas and Volcanoes
Conveners: Michael A. W. Marks (Universitaet Tuebingen), William Hutchison (University of St. Andrews), Charles D. Beard (British Geological Survey), Gianluigi Rosatelli (Gabriele d’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara), Benjamin F. Walter (Universitaet Tuebingen). Additional information on this session can be found here:

Contributions to this year’s Goldschmidt 2019 from St Andrews include:

Beard CD, Goodenough KM, Broom-Fendley S, Borst AM, Roberts NMW, Finch AA, Deady EM (2019) Subducted sediments as a source for REE in mineralised post-collisional alkaline-carbonatite systems.

Hutchison W, Babiel RJ, Finch AA, Marks MAW, Markl G, Boyce AJ, Stuecken EE, Friis H, Borst AM, Horsburgh NJ (2019) Sulphur isotopes of alkaline igneous suites: new insights into magmatic fluid evolution and crustal recycling.

Allison N, Cole C, Hintz C, Hintz K, Rae J, Finch AA (2019) The role of calcification fluid pH in the precipitation of coral aragonite under future climate change scenarios.

Other Activities

Mull Fieldtrip

It has become a tradition for the A-team to join me on our 3rd year undergraduate fieldtrip to Mull. The students reconstruct the geological history of the Ross of Mull area, which includes Moinian metasediments, the Lewisian foreland complete with the Torridonian sediments unconformably on top, and the Ross of Mull granitoid intruded between.

Group selfie on Staffa, the Dutchman’s Cap (Bac Mor) in the distance.

And finally….

Congratulations to A-team member Will Hutchison who married his partner Tess at the Oxford Oratory on the 8th June. A great day was had by all…