NERC GW4+ DTP PhD studentship - Magmas, fluids, faults and metals - re-assessing the controls on magmatic-hydrothermal W-Sn-As-Cu-Zn-Pb mineralisation and zonation associated with the Cornubian Batholith, SW England

University of Exeter - College of Life and Environmental Science

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the NERC Great Western Four+ Doctoral Training Partnership (GW4+ DTP). 

At least 4 fully-funded studentships that encompass the breadth of earth and environmental sciences are being offered to start in September 2017 at Exeter. 

The studentships will provide funding for a stipend which is currently £14,296 per annum for 2016-2017, research costs and UK/EU tuition fees at Research Council UK rates for 42 months (3.5 years) for full-time students, pro rata for part-time students.

The W-Sn-As-Cu-Zn-Pb ore field, centred upon the Early Permian Cornubian Batholith, is one of the best known occurrences of magmatic-hydrothermal mineralisation associated with peraluminous granites. It has been used as a global exemplar for this mineralisation style and mineral zonation, whereby there is a progressive change in dominant mineral assemblage with distance from the granite (W-Sn-As proximal and Cu, Zn and Pb distal). 

Such mineral zonation has classically been interpreted as a consequence of sequential precipitation from magmatic-hydrothermal fluids as they flow upwards and outwards from “emanative centres” and undergo cooling - mixing with meteoric waters. However, the heterogeneous distribution of metals and mineralisation styles, across the ore field and individual plutons indicates a more complex relationship.

Recent work has highlighted how the Cornubian Batholith reflects a protracted magmatic construction history in a dynamic intraplate tectonic environment during which changes in source melting and differentiation control the distribution of granite types and metal prospectivity (Simons et al., 2016). This provides a framework in which analyses of melt and fluid inclusions in granite types and associated mineralisation styles can be used to determine: (1) the compositional variability of primary exsolved magmatic-hydrothermal fluids and their control by evolving melt compositions, and (2) the parameters controlling precipitation of ore metals from these solutions (e.g. cooling, phase separation, wall-rock reaction). These data, when combined with an understanding of the evolution of regional syn-magmatic fault systems and historical metal production, will provide a 21st Century re-evaluation of the controls on mineralisation, mineral zonation and the origin of “emanative centres” in this classic province.

The project will utilise material from existing collections at the Natural History Museum, Imperial College London and Camborne School of Mines but will require additional fieldwork to collect samples from areas where cross-cutting relationships between intrusions and vein sets can be documented in detail. Careful sample mineralogy and petrography including the use of SEM and cathodoluminescence techniques will form the basis for fluid inclusion microanalysis using microthermometry and laser ablation ICP-MS. Isotopic analysis of minerals (d18O, dD) and fluids (dD) will be used where possible to evaluate alternative models for the source and evolution of solutions.

We are looking for a well-qualified and highly motivated Earth Sciences/Geology graduate who wishes to carry out a PhD in mineralogy/petrology and economic geology. Excellence in geochemistry and mineralogy are essential; experience of microanalytical techniques and statistical data evaluation are desirable.

The closing date for applications is midnight on 6 January 2017.  

Please see  for more details on how to apply.

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South West England