A-Team Quarterly Update – Final Quarter 2021

A busy time for the research group. We have had a major publication on the fluid movement associated with alkaline igneous intrusions by Kris is now out in the top-rated journal “Geology”. Three new members have joined the group including postdoc Michael-John Treanor and two new MSc by Research Students, Curtis Rooks and Rob Webster. Tim and Aayush have been involved in fieldwork following the relaxation of travel restrictions. Congratulations also to Lot Koopmans who completed his MSc by Research and successfully defended his thesis.

Curtis Rooks completing fieldwork near Narsarsuaq in Greenland in 2018.


Sokó­ł K, Finch AA, Hutchison W, Cloutier J, Borst AM, Humphreys M (2021) Quantifying metasomatic HFSE-REE transport from alkaline magmas, Geology, doi.org/10.1130/G49471.1.

New MSc by Research

Congratulations to Lot Koopmans who successfully defended his MSc by Research.

New Members of the Group

It’s a welcome to three new group members. Dr Michael-John Treanor has worked in the Chemistry department at St Andrews on graphene, but is working as a postdoc within the group on the EPSRC-IAA impact grant “Smart Sorting for the Sustainable Production of Critical e-Tech Elements”. Michael-John will bring his expertise in Raman to look at the IR excitation of ore minerals as a route to identify them. Curtis Rooks is starting an MSc by thesis with looking at the distribution and mineralogy of rare earth minerals at the Motzfeldt Complex, South Greenland. This is part of a collaborative programme involving my group with UK-based company Stallion Resources, who are the current licence holders to Motzfeldt. We are also welcoming Rob Webster, who is working with our colleagues Nivea Magalhães and Will Hutchison on the sulfur isotope evolution of global rare earth deposits.

Masters and PhD Studentship Opportunities

We are always interested in hearing from candidates who would like to complete studies of the mineralogy, petrography and petrogenesis of alkaline igneous rocks and/or critical metal resources. The University also runs taught Masters programmes including Masters in Strategic Earth Resources and the Masters in Geochemistry. Adrian and the research group contribute several aspects to the delivery and content of these programmes and frequently supervise Masters projects.


Adrian was part of a presentation with colleagues from Aberystywth, Risø and Köln on feldspar luminescence: Riedesel S, Bell AM, Duller GAT, Finch AA, King GE, Jain M, Pearce NJG, Roberts HM (2021) Exploring variability in the luminescence properties of feldspars. German Luminescence and ESR Meeting, Hannover, 18 Oct 2021.

Adrian gave a public lecture as part of the St Andrews Centre for Climate, Energy, Environment and Sustainability (StACEES) on Wednesday 24th November. The talk was entitled “Mantle to Mine to Magnet – the Challenges Facing 21st Century Critical Materials” and a recording has been archived.


Tim and Aayush have been busy, taking advantage of the lifting of restrictions on travel to catch up international fieldwork programmes related to their research. It began in October with a tour of Denmark, starting in the North looking at the Celtic fields (with University of Århus), and finishing in the south, scouting sites for a new project with VUB (Brussels) as part of the project ‘Shedding light on medieval landscape transformation in the North Sea coastal plain‘. He also worked in Vetto, Italy, to work with Filippo Brandolini on the HiLSS project, and then to Rome for archaeological work at Caesar’s Forum. Then Tim and Aayush worked together in Croatia on the TerraSAgE project with Newcastle University.


Aayush is an Early Career Scientists (ECS) rep for EGU and organised a webinar, “Meet the Editors” on October 13th, 2021. There are more EGU activities planned but in 2022, so watch this space.

The University gave a Press release to coincide with the publication of Kris’s paper, which was mirrored by several news agencies around the world.

The new findings at Britain’s prize archeological sites regularly involve Tim these days since he is leading some of the UK’s cutting edge dating work in his luminescence lab at St Andrews. His work was part of a documentary “Stonehenge: Land of the Dead” and “The Stonehenge Enigma: What Lies Beneath” which are essentially the same documentary but cut in different ways for UK and US audiences.

“The Stonehenge Enigma” and “Stonehenge: Land of the Dead” feature Tim’s research on the OSL dating of the Stonehenge Site.

This work was also aired in France and attracted publicity in the UK and US media.

And Finally….

Goodbye to Nicky Horsburgh who worked as a part of the team for over 5 years but has now moved on to work for geotechnics company GeoRope.

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