Fluids inside bubbles and bubbles inside fluids: ECROFI 2017

Dec 13, 2017 No Comments by 886 views

With the support of EAG, last summer I was able to attend the biennial international conference of European Current Research On Fluid Inclusions (ECROFI), organized in Nancy (France). The ECROFI conference series is a leading international forum for the presentation of fluid and melt inclusion research. Fluid and melt inclusions provide the most direct information about the chemical and physical properties of the fluids involved in a wide range of fluid-mediated processes in the Earth’s crust and mantle. Attending this conference was a great opportunity to meet experts of the field and learn about the state-of-the-art techniques used in the study of fluid and melt inclusions.

I have been studying in the States for almost two years, thus a conference in Europe provided an opportunity to visit my relatives in Hungary. After spending some energizing but intense days with my family and completing some measurements for my PhD in the Alma Mater, I was ready to head to the conference. Since I have never been to France before, I felt excited about the trip and I was glad that I had a few hours between the arrival of my airplane to Paris and the departure of the train to Nancy. Heading to the city center of Paris, I had my first amazing experience in the subway: an orchestra playing classical music in the metro that almost had the acoustics like a concert hall. As soon as I got to the surface, I started to feel the vibrant multi-cultural atmosphere of Paris, and I was sorry that I could only spend a few hours to discover the beauty of this city.

Marcasite at the Mineral & Gem International Show in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines.

The first day of the conference started with a fieldtrip to Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines where we learned about medieval mining techniques in an abandoned silver mine from the 16th century. It was impressive to see all the narrow tunnels that miners had to dig by hand to extract the ore, moving forward by only 5-10 cm per day in the sparse light of an oil-lamp. In the afternoon, we visited the famous Mineral & Gem Show, which amazed all of us with its incredibly diverse and giant exhibition of minerals, gems and fossils.

Demonstration of freezing and heating experiments in the microthermometry lab in order to determine the salinity, composition and minimum trapping temperature of the fluid inclusions.

The second day was dedicated to a workshop about the fundamentals of fluid inclusion studies, taught by Professor Larryn W. Diamond form University of Bern. In the workshop, we learned about the origin and classification of fluid inclusions, the protocols for data collection and basic thermodynamics and phase equilibria commonly used to interpret phase transitions observed under the microscope during microthermometry. In the following day, we also had the opportunity to visit the laboratories of GeoRessources and CRPG in Nancy, with a demonstration of the tools used for fluid and melt inclusion characterization (experimental petrology lab, petrography lab, mictothermometry lab, Raman and infrared spectrometry, ion probe, LA-ICP-MS, stable isotope lab).

Giving my first English talk

By the first day of the talks and poster presentations, we already learned a lot, and during the next four days of the conference, our knowledge about the wonderful world of fluid and melt inclusions just continued to grow. The conference had about 120 participants with four sessions addressed to studies in diverse geologic environments, such as diagenetic, metamorphic, magmatic and volcanic settings and an additional session dedicated to innovative approaches in fluid and melt inclusion studies. This was my first conference where I gave a talk in English, so I was excited about the opportunity to present my work in front of the community and get feedback from prominent researchers in the field. Since my presentation was on the first day, the coffee and lunch breaks on the following days provided an excellent opportunity to discuss my research with experts and get inspiring comments and new ideas.

Demonstration of champagne manufacturing processes during a tour in the Nicolas Feuillatte vineyard.

Social events are important part of every conference, and we had many of them during ECROFI. On the fifth day, we had a mid-conference fieldtrip to the Champagne region, with champagne tasting and scientific explanations of bubble nucleation and behavior in champagne bottles. We also gained insights of the champagne manufacturing processes during a tour in the Nicolas Feuillatte vineyard. In addition, in the last evening of the conference, we visited the famous Place Stanislas in Nancy after the gala dinner, where we witnessed a splendid sound and light show.

Overall, I really enjoyed the conference and learned a lot during the presentations, workshops and lab visits. The visit in the Raman and experimental petrology lab were especially important for me, since I work mainly with these two techniques and the lab in Nancy is one of the leading laboratories in the field of fluid inclusions. The networking opportunities were also great and since the community was relatively small, I got to know many people that I am sure I will run into at many future conferences and possibly collaborate with in future research. Furthermore, I think the ECROFI conference was an ideal place to present my research in a friendly environment and receive insightful questions regarding my work and great suggestions how to progress in the future.

Splendid light show accompanied by audio at Place Stanislas in Nancy after the gala dinner.

 

About the author:

Eszter Sendula is a second year PhD student at the Fluids Research Group in the Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech. She is working on experimental determination of reaction rates for conversion of olivine to magnesite using synthetic fluid inclusions as micro-reactors. Her supervisor is Professor Robert J. Bodnar.

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