4th International Workshop on Highly Siderophile Element Geochemistry

Sep 09, 2016 No Comments by 1366 views

The 4th International Workshop on Highly Siderophile Element Geochemistry was hosted by Durham University, United Kingdom, from July 11th-14th 2016. This meeting was attended by 75 delegates from all over the globe; and their 73 abstracts offered broad and exciting science for the week.

Attendees of the 4th International Workshop on Highly Siderophile Element Geochemistry

Attendees of the 4th International Workshop on Highly Siderophile Element Geochemistry

The scientific programme covered a range of topics in Earth and Planetary Sciences, exploring mineralogical and textural observations, highly-siderophile-element abundances and their fractionation, stable and radiogenic isotope systematics, and chalcophile element data including S-Se-Te variations and isotopic compositions. These data were shown to trace low-temperature processes related to environmental contamination, Earth’s geochemical cycles and erosion processes, and high-temperature processes linked to ore formation, mantle melting on Earth, and some of the major phases of planetary evolution. A full day was devoted to the presentation of new findings arising from meteoritical and lunar studies and a number of related posters were presented during the mid-week poster session. A public talk titled “How do meteorites tell us the story of our Solar System” was delivered by the workshop’s keynote speaker, James M. D. Day (SCRIPPS, UC San Diego), and effectively advocated for the collection and study of planetary materials; it was well received by a mixed audience of workshop delegates, academics from the wider University, members of the Royal Astronomical Society, and general members of the public.

From left to right: Kate Horan (Best Poster), Leanne Staddon (Highly-Commended Poster), President of the Geochemical Society Laurie Reisberg, Fienke Nanne (Best Talk), and Luke Daly (Highly-Commended Talk).

From left to right: Kate Horan (Best Poster), Leanne Staddon (Highly-Commended Poster), President of the Geochemical Society Laurie Reisberg, Fienke Nanne (Best Talk), and Luke Daly (Highly-Commended Talk).

Twelve student travel bursaries were awarded totalling approximately £3,500 in funding provided by the Meteoritical Society, Geochemical Society, and the European Association of Geochemistry. Three of these students travelled from Australia, North America, and India; all others came from continental Europe and the UK and all presented their research findings at the workshop. Two student talks supported by the Meteoritical Society provided interesting new tungsten stable isotope data for a range of meteorite types along with innovative atom probe tomography results for refractory metal nuggets in chondrites. The best and highly-commended student talks and posters were judged by a body of external volunteers, and the prizes were presented by Laurie Reisberg, President of the Geochemical Society.

Isle of Rum field party, 4th International Workshop on Highly Siderophile Element Geochemistry. Expert field leader, Brian O’Driscoll, is second from the left on the front row.

Isle of Rum field party, 4th International Workshop on Highly Siderophile Element Geochemistry. Expert field leader, Brian O’Driscoll, is second from the left on the front row.

The successful post-conference field trip to the Isle of Rum was coordinated by Pierre Bouilhol, Durham University, and involved a party of approximately 30 delegates and workshop committee members. The excursion was very ably led by Brian O’Driscoll, University of Manchester. Harrisites and their textures were examined and their mode of formation formed a basis for debate among the group. Chromitites of the eastern layered series, rich in platinum-group-elements, sparked great interest and the stoic field party made the climb to these outcrops despite heavy rain and high stream waters. Amy Riches, Geoff Nowell, Kevin Burton and an army of helpers ensured that the field party could dry-out after each excursion and kept everyone fed and watered. The return trip to the mainland across glassy-waters on a warm and bright day was inspiring and capped the adventure.

The workshop’s sponsors are thanked for their support and include: The Meteoritical Society, The Geochemical Society, the European Association of Geochemistry, Engineering Design Plastics, Thermo, Nu Instruments, the UK’s Geochemistry Group, Applied Mineralogy Study Group, Mineral Deposits Study Group and the Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group. Gratitude is offered to the organising committee and voluntary team for their tireless efforts that ensured the success of the workshop and its fieldtrip. Edward Inglis and Katie Schweitzer arranged an excellent ice-breaker, and Fienke Nanne coordinated a highly-successful and very memorable banquet complete with ceilidh! Geoff Nowell contributed much and provided a number of informative laboratory tours. Chris Ottley is thanked for coordinating the panel of judges and supporting some of the student prizes. Chris Dale and Alex McCoy-West were responsible for the scientific aspects of the programme. Chris Dale is also thanked for scheduling volunteers and session chairs during the workshop itself. Marc-Alban Millet and Paul Savage formed the bursary committee and their input during workshop preparation, throughout the meeting, and in the field is much appreciated. Kevin Burton, Helen Williams, and Dave Selby are thanked for their encouragement and advice.

Alexandra Witze, 2016 winner of AGU’s David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism, wrote a feature article in the Aug 6th edition of science news which also dominated the cover page and explored the constraints iron-loving elements place on Earth’s evolution. Prior to our meeting, a successful affiliate session titled ‘Tracing Ocean Circulation – Past and Present’ was convened by Ruza Ivanovic, Tina van de Flierdt and David Wilson at the 2016 Annual Goldschmidt Meeting. Following the HSE workshop, Fienke Nanne and Thomas Kruijer chaired a special session titled ‘Planetary evolution: Advances in meteoritical and lunar isotopic analyses’ at the 79th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, which was well-attended and engaged a broad scientific audience.

In relation to this workshop a Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta special issue, provisionally titled “Highly Siderophile Element [and closely-related] Constraints on Low- and High- Temperature Earth and Planetary Processes”, is in preparation and enables the timely publication of pertinent contributions of new research findings. We are soliciting relevant high calibre contributions from workshop delegates and the wider community, and the deadline for submission is midnight (GMT) on October 28th 2016. All prospective authors must meet the fundamental criteria for publication in GCA. This includes a high degree of novelty and broad geochemical significance as well as quality of data and presentation. Further information: http://www.hseworkshop.co.uk/special-issue-gca


About the author:

This report was kindly written by Amy Riches, Durham University.

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