#3 Orogenesis: The Making of Mountains


The recent success of my supervisor’s (Prof. Simon Harley) book has forced me to make a comment or two about it. Not like I’m biased or anything, but this is a pretty awesome companion for any geologist. First and foremost it will find its audience is a grateful mix of penultimate or final year geology undergraduates, masters students, Ph.D students and even academic staff. It may, however, be of appeal to advanced amateur geologists. The figures in the book are simple, clear and concise, matched only by the comprehensive yet straight forward text which is easily followed.

You can usually find a copy on amazon for less than £40 – money well spent if you are interested in this general field of geology. If you are a student of geology, then I would say that this book, if not already, will be a standrad text for many institutions.

#2 Closer to an origin of Norwegian Eclogites


There remains much controversy amongst geologists studying the origins of eclogites in Norway. Once the focus of much study in the 60s right through to the mid 90s, much is understood about their metamorphic history in terms of pressure and temperature. However, there remains no clear consensus on the nature of their protoliths and the implications this may have for their entrainment in the country rocks. Recent explorations of their REE geochemistry by myself at the NERC ICP-MS facility have revealed that most have volcanic arc affinities, with a significant minority having N-MORB affinities. For now, it seems like the basalts were created in an oceanic arc with a back-arc spreading ridge. Investigations to prove this are currently underway, but so far it seems likely.

#1 ICP-MS: Not a new fusion preparation technique


The tetragonal structure of rutile.

The tetragonal structure of rutile, a heavy accessory mineral.

Eclogites, although pretty rocks, can provide analytical challenges due to their unique mineralogy. This post discusses one of those problems and how I tried to overcome it… before I realised the problem wasn’t actually a problem.

The Problem
Eclogites typically contain rutile. Some, such as the Engebøfjellet eclogite in Norway contain economic deposits of the stuff. Rutile can contain up to 95 % of the whole rock’s inventory of important trace elements (e.g. Nb, Ta, HFSEs) useful in fingerprinting the igneous protolith. The refractory nature of eclogite, however, means that it is somewhat hard dissolve and melt. Thus, when dissolving whole rock eclogite powders for ICP-MS analysis, using a series of powerful acids, how does one know you are actually dissolving the rutile? I needed to find an alternative method that I thought would potentially increase the dissolution of rutile during preparation. Continue reading

Welcome to my blog!


Thanks for visiting! I’ve created this blog after seeing and hearing the great benefits my peers have had with blogging. Attempting to diverge away from the old fashioned approach to self promotion operated by many in my field of the older generation, I hope this blog will reach the people whom I want to reach most.

But Darren, what on Earth will you blog about?
As the header of this page suggests, I class myself under a number of professions. First and foremost I am a geologists and so that will be the main theme of this blog. The blogs will be, however, so much more. I will blog on software techniques, news and findings relevant to everyone in the field of Earth Science and beyond.

So here goes!