A-Team Quarterly Update – Third Quarter 2020

It has been an important quarter with several important manuscripts moving forwards into the public domain. It has seen the publication of major papers by Anouk Borst and Will Hutchison as well as EPSRC grant success for Nicky Horsburgh. This has been a particularly productive time for Tim Kinnaird, whose research group focussing on landscape dynamics determined from mineral luminescence dating, has received national and international recognition in the press for their work on Stonehenge.

With lockdown in the UK, our visits and conference presentations have been curtailed but we look forwards to completing these once travel restrictions are lifted.

Models of equilibrium fractionation of sulfur isotopes between sulfide and sulfate in alkaline igneous deposits (a–c) compared to data from natural systems (d–f). The data show large variations in redox as a function of temperature in alkaline igneous fluid systems (see Hutchison et al. (2020) for a fuller description).


Hutchison W, Finch AA & Boyce AJ (2020) The sulfur isotope evolution of magmatic-hydrothermal fluids: insights into ore-forming processes. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 288, 176-198.

Borst AM, Smith MP, Finch AA, Estrade G, Villanova-de-Benavent C, Nason P, Marquis E, Horsburgh NJ, Goodenough KM, Xu C, Kynický J & Geraki K (2020) Adsorption of Rare Earth Elements in Regolith-Hosted Clay Deposits, Nature Communications, 11, 4386.

Kellock CCI, Cole CS, Penkman K, Evans DBI, Kroger R, Hintz C, Hintz K, Finch AA & Allison N (2020) The Role of Aspartic Acid in reducing Coral Calcification under Ocean Acidification Conditions. Nature Scientific Reports, 10, 12797.

Bello S, Blinkhorn E, Needham A, Bates M, Duffy S, Little A, Pope M, Scott B, Shaw A, Welch M, Kinnaird TC, Millar L, Robinson RAJ & Conneller C (2020) Artists on the edge of the world: An integrated approach to the study of Magdalenian engraved stone plaquettes from Jersey (Channel Islands). PlosONE 15(8).

Munyikwa K, Kinnaird TC & Sanderson DCW (2020) The potential of portable luminescence readers in geomorphological investigations: a review. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, in press.

Gaffney V, Fitch S, Bates MR, Ware RL, Kinnaird TC, Gearey B, Hill T, Telford R, Batt C, Stern B, Whittaker J, Davies S, Ben Sharada M, Everett R, Cribdon R, Kistler L, Harris S, Kearney K, Walker J, Muru M, Hamilton D, Law M, Finlay A, Bates CR & Allaby RG (2020) Multi-proxy characterisation of the Storegga Tsunami and its impact on the early Holocene landscapes of the southern North Sea. Geosciences 10, 270

Gaffney V, Baldwin E, Bates M, Bates CR, Gaffney C, Hamilton D, Kinnaird TC, Neubauer W, Yorston R, Allaby R, Chapman H, Garwood P, Löcker K, Hinterleitner A, Sparrow T, Trinks I, Wallner M & Leivers M (2020) A massive, Late Neolithic pit structure associated with Durrington Walls Henge. Internet Archaeology 55. doi:10.11141/ia.55.4.


Keynote: Goodenough KM, Wall F, Deady E, Beard C, Borst AM, Finch AA, Smith MP, Estrade G and Marquis E (2020) “Primary rare earth element resources: a decade of research and development” European Rare Earth Resources 2020, (now online) 6-9 October 2020.


The research group has had a lot of publicity for its work over the last quarter. Tim Kinnaird’s group has been interviewed for its research at Stonehenge, Anouk Borst’s paper on Ion Adsorption Clays was picked up by the Rare Earth Industries Association (REIA) the Diamond Synchrotron and Physics.org whereas Nicky Horsburgh’s PhD results were covered by REIA and Ancient TL.

BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-53132567 Also reported on ITV, STV, Herald, Independent, Daily Mail, Metro, Sun, National etc…

Podcast, The Economist; Also https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2020/07/11/measuring-luminescence-helps-to-date-a-remarkable-new-discovery-at-stonehenge

Diamond Synchtrotron: https://www.diamond.ac.uk/Home/News/LatestNews/2020/02-09-2020.html

Phys.org New source for rare metals vital in modern technology. https://phys.org/news/2020-09-sources-rare-metals-vital-modern.html

Rare Earth Industries Association: Nature of Ion Adsorption Deposits (https://mailchi.mp/94f488701c2f/reia-weekly-newsletter-4152857?e=4608875878) and Smart Sorting for REE deposits (https://us3.campaign-archive.com/?u=52ee85551a6651024711ad0da&id=70a9c8f4bb).


Nicky Horsburgh has been working for the GeoBUS project for the last months and put together a series of outreach events. This has included a short fieldtrip by Adrian on “Ancient Volcanoes and Elie Rubies” which will take place on Sunday 11 Oct 2020.

Grant Awards

Finch AA & Horsburgh NJ (2020) Smart Sorting for the Sustainable Production of Critical e-Tech Metals. EPSRC-Impact AA (£29.4k).

Kinnaird TC & French C (2020) Palaeo-landscape reconstruction of Neolithic Drenovac and its environs in the middle Morava valley, Serbia. The British Academy (£10k).

Kinnaird TC & Tipping R (2020) Early cultivation on Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh. Antiquities of Scotland, (£2.5k).

And Finally….

Geraldine Tchimbali (left) and Egidio Lopes (right) during fieldwork on the Nejoio complex in Southern Angola. Geraldine graduated from St Andrews in 2019 and Egidio is currently a final year student at the Agostinho Neto University in Luanda.

Ex-A-team member Geraldine Tchimbali, who led the group during fieldwork in Southern Angola in 2019, has just been appointed junior geologist with Pensana Rare Earths on their Longonjo project in Angola. We wish her luck with her new career.

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