A-Team Quarterly Update – Final Quarter 2020

It has been an important quarter with a major award for Anouk Borst and several important manuscripts moving towards publication, which we hope to have out in 2021. We are welcoming five new members of the team, including Lot Koopmans, who is working on a research degree with Adrian and Will McCarthy on the magnetic evolution of the Younger Giant Dyke Complex in Southern Greenland. We are also welcoming four MSc Geochemistry students (Hassan Bera, Janice Caldwell, Laura Lis, Tizian Führer) to complete Masters projects with us in 2021.

Fieldwork has been possible within the UK: Tim, Aayush and Sarah Boyd in North Fife looking for potential sites for the Coastal Zone project. [Photo courtesy of Sarah Boyd]


Anouk has been awarded the Max Hey Medal by the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland. The award is given annually to a candidate “to recognise existing and on-going research of excellence… [by an early career researcher] evidence of which is provided in the form of work published in highly-regarded, international scientific journals“. She was given the award in recognition of her work on the mineralogy of critical metal deposits.

Anouk received the award of the Max Hey Medal in recognition of her work on the mineralogy and petrology of Critical Metal Deposits.

New Members

Lot Koopmans originally completed his Bachelor’s dissertation with the A-team and M3Ore lab at St Andrews looking at layering in the Younger Giant Dyke Complex in the Gardar province of SW Greenland. Inspired by this work, he is currently a MSc (Res) student focusing on understanding the architecture of these giant dykes. To do this, he uses structural, petrographic, and geochemical techniques, linking into broader petrogenesis studies from the Gardar Province.

Lot during Fieldwork in Southern Greenland

We are fortunate also to have four new Masters (MSc Geochemistry) students working in the lab. Janice Caldwell and Tizian Führer are working with Nicky and Adrian on the lifetime-resolved fluorescence of mineral systems. Janice is working on fluorite and Tizian is studying the responses of sodium zirconosilicates, attempting to isolate the signals from manganese(ii) in these structures. Hassan Bera will be studying the petrology and petrogenesis of alkaline igneous rocks from the Bayuda Desert region in Sudan and Laura Lis will be using geochemical and mineralogical methods to identify the provenance of rare earths.


Munyikwa K, Kinnaird TC & Sanderson DCW (2020) The potential of portable luminescence readers in geomorphological investigations: a review. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, DOI: doi.org/10.1002/esp.4975.

Anouk Borst is guest editor for a special issue of the journal Crystals on “The Role of Mineralogy and Crystallography in Transition to Low-Carbon Economy“.

Tim and Aayush are involved in a Special Publication of Geosciences – Application of Geoscience Methods in Landscape Archaeology.

Masters and PhD Studentship Opportunities

The group advertised two PhD programmes as part of the Iapetus Doctoral Training programme. Candidates are being assessed and interviewed in the next weeks.

We are always interested in hearing from candidates who would like to complete studies of the mineralogy, petrography and petrogenesis of alkaline igneous rocks.

The University is also launching its Masters in Strategic Earth Resources to go alongside its very successful Masters in Geochemistry. Adrian and the research group contribute several aspects to the delivery and content of these programmes and frequently supervise Masters projects.


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, 6-9 October 2020.

Murphy A, Mathieson LM, Koopmans L, Webster R & Changleng R (2020) The research group working on the Younger Giant Dyke Complex in Southern Greenland gave a presentation on the 12 Nov 2020 for the Edinburgh Geological Society ESA which now available on You-Tube:

Hutchison W, Finch AA, Borst AM, Stüeken EE, Zerkle AL & Boyce AJ (2020) Using S isotopes of alkaline magmas to unlock long-term records of crustal recycling on Earth. Geol Soc of London Sulfur Conference (online) Dec 2020.

Hutchison W, Finch AA, Borst AM, Marks MAW, Zerkle AL, Stüeken EE & Boyce AJ (2020) Mantle Sources and Magma Evolution in Europe’s Largest Rare Earth Element Belt: Gardar Province, SW Greenland. AGU Innovative Session (online).


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 took 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 (2020) Building capacity for low-level environmental radioactivity measurements in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. St Andrews Restarting Research Funding Award (£18k).

Bates CR, Kinnaird TC et al. (2020) The Fife Sustainable Natural and Cultural Coastal Zone – a blueprint for the sustainability of communities & the protection of natural and cultural heritage. St Andrews Restarting Research Funding Award (£18k).

And Finally….

Congratulations for ex-A-team member Callum Reekie who was a masters student in the Group in 2016 and has now just completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge.

Congratulations to Egidio Lopes of the Universidade Agostinho Neto in Luanda, Angola, who worked with us for his undergraduate dissertation on the petrology and petrogenesis of the Nejoio Complex in Angola and graduated with his honours degree.

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