A-team Quarterly Update First Quarter 2023

A lot of activity for the group in the last Quarter with Adrian giving evidence depositions to two UK Government calls for expert information. We welcome new PhD student Huanhuan Wu working on the rare element pegmatites in China. Congratulations also to Dr Kris Sokol who successfully submitted and defended his PhD thesis on fluid movement at the Illerfissalik. We have two new Masters students, one on gold mineralisation with Scotgold at Tyndrum, and another on rare earth mineralisation. It has been an exceptionally busy time for Adrian with a number of outreach and impact activities whilst Aayush & Tim have been involved in further OSL lab and field work and have contributed to several new dating and archaeological publications.


Srivastava A, Kinnaird TC, Sevara C, Holcomb JA & Turner S (2023) Dating Agricultural Terraces in the Mediterranean Using Luminescence: Recent Progress and Challenges. Land, 12(3), p. 716.

Brandolini F, Kinnaird TC, Srivastava A & Turner S (2023) Modelling the impact of historic landscape change on soil erosion and degradation. Nature Scientific Reports, 13(1), 4949.

Holcomb JA, Srivastava A, Kinnaird TC & Blong JC (2023) Revisiting Kelly Forks (10CW34): Current and Future Research at a Western Stemmed Tradition Occupation in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, Idaho, USA. PaleoAmerica, p. 1-5

Horsburgh NJ, Finch AA & Friis H (2023) “Lanthanide and Yttrium Substitution in Natural Fluorite”, Physics and Chemistry of Minerals, in press.

Grant Awards

Finch AA & Bruce G (2023) “Deconvolving Fluorescence and Raman for Smart Mineral Sorting”, NERC Discipline Hopping Award, £3k.

Finch AA & Allison N (2023) “Neutron Diffraction of Biogenic aragonite”, two GEM Xpress awards from ISIS, the UK Neutron Spallation Source.

McFall KA, Finch AA et al. (2023) “Identifying the source of metasomatic fluids in the REE-bearing Layered Kakortokites at Ilímaussaq, Greenland”, Grant Award NEIF2577 by the UK National Isotope Facility, £40k.


Hearty congratulations to A-team PhD student Krzysztof (Kris) Sokó­ł for submitting and then successfully defending his PhD thesis entitled “THE NATURE OF FLUIDS ASSOCIATED WITH SUBVOLCANIC ALKALINE MAGMAS AND THEIR ROLE IN ’HI-TECH’ METAL TRANSPORT AND MINERALIZATION“. The thesis was jointly supervised by Adrian with Will Hutchison, Jonathan Cloutier (Tasmania) and Madeleine Humphreys (Durham). The examiners were Professor Iain Samson (University of Windsor, Canada) and Dr Paul Savage (St Andrews). Kris expects to graduate in the summer graduation (June 2023). He is now working as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Oxford.

New Members

Welcome to Huanhuan Wu who has joined the A-team as part of a PhD on rare element pegmatites in China. He has a first degree (BSc, 2015) and Masters (MSc, 2020) from the China University of Geosciences in Beijing and from 2015-2017 worked in the Mineral Resources Survey Centre in Xi’an. His current project looks at mineralisation associated with rare element pegmatites.

Huanhuan Wu, visiting PhD student on the rare element-bearing pegmatites in China

We also welcome two new Masters students working with the A-team Amy Walsh (left) is on a project sponsored by Scotgold Resources Ltd. looking at the petrogenesis of Au-bearing veins in the Scottish deposit. Sebastian Nava De La Peña (right) is working on carbonatite.

Tim & Aayush have also welcomed several visitors to the laboratory: Soetkin Vervust, from VUB, on her Testerep Project, which is exploring the submergence of the Belgium coast since the Medieval period; Sophia Germandiou, from Newcastle, on her HydroMedie Project, examining post-Medieval water management in the Peloponnese; Søren Munch Kristiansen and Jesper Olsen, from Aarhus, to discuss the ongoing geoarchaeological studies in Caesar’s Forum in Rome.

Aayush has been working exhaustively on our AHRC-funded TerraSAgE project, building chronologies for terrace construction across our case studies in Granada, Catalonia, Greece, Croatia. He has also been involved in many collaborative projects on ancient and contemporary aspects of historic landscapes in various parts of the UK, Europe, Asia and Africa.


This quarter Tim has been on fieldwork in:

  • Oman as part of the Society of Antiquaries of London’s Terraces in the Jabal Akhdar project, with colleagues from Newcastle and Milan;
  • Northumberland, selecting sites for investigation in 2024 with the Trimontium Trust, Newcastle, Stirling and Manchester; and
  • SW Wales, as part of the Portalis project, investigating the earliest connections between Ireland and Wales, with University of Wales Trinity St David.
Tim in Sudan, at Ash Sharayjah in the Jabal Akhdar region

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.

The A-team have joined a Centre for Doctoral Training called “InCEntiF” which stands for “Innovative Chemical and Energy Solutions for a Sustainable Future” and includes scientists across the University working on the engineering science side of energy and sustainability. In due course, it is hoped that funded studentships will be available through the InCEntiF scheme.


We will have contingents at most of Europe’s major geological conferences this summer, including Goldschmidt (Lyon) and SEG (London).

Goldschmidt Conference in Lyon, France

Submitted to Session 7f: Critical raw materials for the renewable energy revolution
Beard CD, Finch AA, Borst AM, Hutchison W, Goodenough KM, Millar I, Andersen T, Williams HM & Weller O (2023) Mantle sources for Europe’s largest REE belt (Gardar Province, SW Greenland): Insights from Nd-Hf isotopes.

Borst AM, Finch AA, Siegfried PR & Bambi A (2023) Mixing, mingling and metasomatism: Late-stage HFSE mobility and carbothermal alteration the Nejoio alkaline silicate complex, Angola.

Submitted to Session 14a. Metal traces and their isotopes in carbonate minerals as tools for environmental reconstructions
Alvarez MCC, Penkman K, Kroger R, Finch AA, Clog MD, Hathorne E & Allison N (2023) Controls on Sr partitioning in aragonite under simulated biogenic conditions.

SEG (London) August 2023

Beard CD, Borst AM, Finch AA, Hutchison W & Webster R (2023) Mantle Source and Enrichment in the Evolution of the Gardar Province, South Greenland – one of Europe’s Largest Rare Metal Provinces.

Szreter A, Finch AA, Friis H, Liu X-M & Stuart FM (2023) How fluids make or break critical metal deposits: the Ivigtut Cryolite Body, SW Greenland.

Outreach and Impact

Adrian has been involved in several outreach and advising activities. In February and March he gave evidence to two Westminster UK Parliament calls for evidence, one on battery materials and the other on critical metals. He was also an invited member of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) funding panel for the DOME2 Ore funding which met in Berlin at the end of March 2023.

Adrian is running a short course on luminescence in minerals associated with the SEG2023 conference in London, sponsored by the Applied Mineralogy Group of the Mineralogical Society. The course will include UV and cathodoluminescence methods and is entitled “Applied Mineralogy: Luminescence Applied to Gems and Ore Minerals“.

Adrian has also been invited to write a paper on luminescence of minerals for a thematic set of the journal Elements, which is due to be published in October 2024.

Adrian also became Chairman of the Directors of Lochaber Geopark, taking over in the role from his erstwhile mentor Professor Ian Parsons. Geoparks are important ways of preserving and promoting the geological heritage of the highlands, which have been some of the most important areas in advancing geological thinking since the beginning of geology as a science. Adrian is one of five new appointments to the Board of Directors, each of whom come from the Scottish Universities who teach geology and Earth Sciences. He hopes to bring his understanding of igneous processes and resources to develop and promote the Lochaber Geopark project.

Adrian hosted the exploration team from Amaroq Minerals, providing two short courses on critical metal resources. Amaroq currently hold the licence to the Paatusoq area in Southern Greenland, which Adrian visited with Nuna Minerals in 2013. He was able to advise the group on his experiences in the area. This led to two press releases as the markets learned of their intention to develop the licence (first and second press releases).

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