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Eudialyte and rare earths

[Photo credit: Ole Johnsen]

Much of my research focuses on a rare breed of magmatic rocks known as agpaitic nepheline syenites. These rocks are fascinating to geologists, mineralogists and geeks alike, for many reasons. To me, the most obvious reason is their incredible mineralogical diversity. Hundreds of minerals were first discovered from these rocks; sodalite, aegirine, arfvedsonite, eudialyte are only a few examples. Famous agpaitic complexes that are record holders in terms of mineral discoveries, are Mont St Hilaire in Canada, Lovozero and Khibina in Russia, and Ilimaussaq in Greenland. And when I say mineralogically diverse, I mean that if you pick up any rock from these locations, chances are it contains a mineral that has not yet been named or identified. Also, they’re pretty awesome and colourful (in UV light).

 

Another reason why we are interested in these strange rocks is that agpaitic rocks present one of very few examples where magmatic enrichment processes alone led to the formation of potentially economic ore deposits of elements like Zr, Nb, Ta, Hf, and Rare Earth Elements. For a magma to become so enriched these elements, the melt needs to comprise high contents of sodium and halogens is essential(to be agpaitic, sodium contents must significantly exceed that of aluminium). This in turn requires a rather unique set of conditions, because normally, sodium and halogens are lost as soon as a fluid phase is exsolved from the magma. Only in certain geodynamic settings, such as continental rifts, magmas may be able to retain these fluids until their very last moments of crystallization. This is partly why agpaitic rocks are relative rare in the rock record.

By far the most characteristic mineral of agpaitic rocks is eudialyte. These are complex sodium-rich zirconosilicates with calcium, iron, manganese, niobium, and, importantly, rare earth elements. Where most igneous rocks contain zircon or ilmenite as the main hosts for zirconium and titanium, agpaitic rocks contain complex sodium and halogen bearing minerals like eudialyte, rinkite (Na-REE-Ti-silicate) and aenigmatite (Na-Fe-Ti-silicate). Eudialyte most commonly occur as red to pink crystals, such as on the pictures below, but rare occurrences of orange and yellow varieties are also known.

Eudialyte group minerals were first discovered in 1819, from the layered Ilimaussaq complex where they occur in large quantities. They are now reported from over 100 localities world-wide. Because they occur in such large quantities, eudialyte group minerals are considered as potential alternative resources for a range of technology metals, notably the heavy rare earths and niobium. These metals are indispensable in modern-day technologies, ranging from the permanent magnets used in tiny smart phone speakers, car engines or big wind-turbines [made of NdFeB], to the rare-earth phosphors giving colour to the screens of our electronic devices [using Ce, Eu, Gd, Tb and Y]. Niobium, on the other hand, has the unique property to lengthen the

The difficulty with these metals is that the supply chain is monopolized by single producing countries; most of the world’s heavy rare earths come from China, and most niobium comes from Brazil. Monopoly market positions introduce a significant risk factor, because the restricted supply of these metals could strangle global hi-tech industries. For this reason, governments around the world are working closely with geologists and exploration companies to seek and develop alternative resources.

Eudialyte-hosted REE deposits, such as the agpaitic rocks of the Ilímaussaq complex, form an attractive alternative and current work focusses on developing suitable extraction routes for the REE from these minerals.

My research specifically aims to understand how zoned crystals of eudialyte can be used to trace the evolution of the highly evolved magmas from which they crystallize, how they are replaced by secondary minerals when late-magmatic fluids percolate through the rocks after they crystallize, and how this would affect the ore potential.

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Eudialyte crystals replaced by catapleiite – cross polarized light

In more recent work, I’m trying to work out where the REE sit inside the crystal structure of eudialyte, using synchrotron-based techniques such as XANES and EXAFS. These techniques allow me to probe the type, number and distance of atoms surrounding the REE atoms inside the crystal lattice.

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Publications

PEER REVIEWED ARTICLES

A.M. Borst, T.E. Waight, A.A. Finch, M. Storey, P.J. Le Roux (In Press) Dating agpaitic rocks: A multi-system (U/Pb, Sm/Nd, Rb/Sr and 40Ar/39Ar) isotopic study of layered nepheline syenites from the Ilímaussaq complex, Greenland, Lithos, doi: 10.1016/j.lithos.2018.10.037

A.M. Borst, H. Friis, T.E. Waight, T.F.D. Nielsen (2018) Bulk and mush melt evolution in agpaitic systems: Insights from compositional variations in eudialyte-group minerals of the Ilímaussaq complex, South Greenland, Journal of Petrology, 59 (4), p. 589–612, doi: 10.1093/petrology/egy038

A.M. Borst, H. Friis, T. Andersen, T.E. Waight, T.F.D. Nielsen, M. Smit (2016) Zirconosilicates in the kakortokites of the Ilímaussaq complex, South Greenland: Implications for fluid evolution and HFSE-REE mineralisation in agpaitic systems, Mineralogical Magazine 80(1), p. 1-26, doi: 10.1180/minmag.2016.080.046

Kolb, A. Bartels, A.M. Borst, R-M. Bell (2013) Excursion Guidebook: GRE1. Geological Excursion to South Greenland. SGU (Geological Survey of Sweden), 12th Biennial SGA Meeting, Mineral deposit research for a high-tech world, Uppsala Sweden 12-15 August 2013. Chapters: A.M. Borst, The Ilímaussaq Complex, p. 42-50 and A.M. Borst and A. Bartels, Metallogeny of the Gardar Province, p. 50-51

A.M. Borst, B.H. Foing, G.R. Davies, W. van Westrenen (2012) Surface mineralogy and stratigraphy of the lunar South Pole-Aitken basin determined from Clementine UV/VIS and NIR data, Planetary and Space Science 68, Terrestrial Planets 1, p. 76-85, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2011.07.020

B.H. Foing, C. Stoker, J. Zavaleta, P. Ehrenfreund C. Thiel, P. Sarrazin, D. Blake, J. Page, V. Pletser, J. Hendrikse, S. Direito, M. Kotler, Z. Martins, G. Orzechowska, C. Gross, L. Wendt, J. Clarke, A.M. Borst, S.T.M. Peters, M.-B.Wilhelm, G.R. Davies & ILEWG EuroGeoMars 2009 team (2011) Field Astrobiology Research in Moon-Mars Analogue Environment: Instruments & Methods, International Journal of Astrobiology 10(3), p. 141-160

Pletser, V. and EuroGeoMars 2009 team (2010) A Mars Human Habitat: Recommendations on Crew Time Utilization, and Habitat Interfaces, Journal of Cosmology, Vol 12, p. 3928-3945

MANUSCRIPTS IN PREPARATION

A.M. Borst, A.A. Finch, H. Friis, P.N. Gamaletsos, J. Goettlicher, R. Steiniger, T. Geraki, (in prep) Rare Earth Element substitution in eudialyte group minerals

A.M. Borst, M. Smith, A. A. Finch, N.J. Horsburgh, G. Estrade, E. Marquis, K. Geraki, K. Goodenough, J. Kynicky, C. Xu (In prep) Coordination state of heavy REE in lateritic ion absorption clays.

CONFERENCE CONTRIBUTIONS

A.M. Borst, M. Smith, A. Finch, E. Marquis, G. Estrade, J. Kynicky, C. Xu, K. Geraki (2018) Structural state of REE in ion adsorption deposits:  A XANES/EXAFS study of laterites from Madagascar and China, RFG 2018, Vancouver, June 2018, Abstract 2141 (Oral)

A.M. Borst, P.N. Gamaletsos, A. A. Finch, N.J.H. Horsburgh, H. Friis, T. Kasama, J. Goettlicher, R. Steiniger, K. Geraki (2018) Probing the structural state of Y and Nd in eudialyte using X-ray absorption spectroscopy, NGWM Copenhagen (Oral)

A.M. Borst, A. A. Finch, H. Friis, N.J.H. Horsburgh, P.N. Gamaletsos, J. Goettlicher, R. Steiniger, K. Geraki (2018) Structural state of Y and Nd in eudialyte using X-ray absorption spectroscopy, MDSG Brighton (Oral)

M. van de Ven, A.M. Borst, G. Davies, A. Finch (2018) Trace element and Nd-isotope data of eudialyte from the Kakortokite sequence of the Ilímaussaq complex suggest subsolidus remobilization of rare earth elements by magmatic fluids, NGWM Copenhagen, Abstract

A. Finch, A. M. Borst, W. Hutchison, N. J. Horsburgh, T. Andersen, S. Simonsen (2018) The Spatio-Temporal Evolution of Hf isotopes in the Gardar: Evidence for Mid-Proterozoic Crustal Recycling? NGWM Copenhagen

N. Gamaletsos, A.M. Borst, T. Kasama, A. A. Finch, J. Goettlicher, R. Steiniger, B. Wenzell, Z.I. Balogh, A. Godelitsas (2018) Thorium in eudialyte ore deposits from Greenland studied by synchrotron radiation (μ-XRF/-XAFS) and electron microscopic techniques (SEM, TEM), NGWM Copenhagen

G.R. Davies, Q. van der Meer, M. Klaver, A.M. Borst, B. Davidheiser, T.J. Meulemans, S. de Jong, C.S. Nooitgedacht, C.M. de Heij (2017) The genesis and evolution of the subcontinental lithosphere beneath Botswana and N. South Africa, 11th International Kimberlite Conference 2017, Gabarone Botswana

Nason, M. Smith, A. Borst, A. Finch, G. Estrade, E. Marquis, T. Geraki, (2017) REE enrichment processes in the Ambohimirahavavy Complex ion adsorption deposit, Madagascar using Y-Nd μ-XANES Spectroscopy, Goldschmidt 2017, Paris

Hutchison, A.A. Finch, A.J. Boyce, H. Friis, A. M. Borst, N. J. Horsburgh (2017) New insights into magma ascent and emplacement from alkaline roof zones of Southern Greenland, VMSG 2017 Leeds

A. Finch , A. M. Borst, W. Hutchison, N. J. Horsburgh, T. Andersen, S. Simonsen, (2017) The Spatio-Temporal Evolution of Rift Magmatism: Insights from Hf in Gardar Magmas, VMSG 2017 Leeds

A.M. Borst, H. Friis, A.A. Finch, (2016) Optimising the REE-Zr-Nb potential of eudialyte and its alteration products in the Ilímaussaq complex, South Greenland, MDSG 2016 Abstract, Bristol (Poster), Applied Earth Science, 126:2, 43-44, DOI: 10.1080/03717453.2017.1306233

A.M. Borst, H. Friis, T.E. Waight (2015) Fractionation of agpaitic magmas from compositional zoning in kakortokite-hosted eudialyte, Ilímaussaq Complex, Greenland. Goldschmidt Prague, Abstract 2384 p. 347 (Oral presentation)

A.M. Borst, H. Friis, T. Andersen, T.E. Waight, T.F.D. Nielsen, M. Smit (2015) Chemographic modelling of secondary zirconosilicates: Implications on late-stage fluid evolution in agpaitic nepheline syenites of the Ilímaussaq Complex, South Greenland, Dansk Geologisk Foregning General Assembly (Poster presentation, Best PhD Poster)

A.M. Borst (2014) REE mineralisation in the Ilímaussaq Complex, South Greenland, IGN PhD Conference, Copenhagen University, November 2014 (Oral presentation)

A.M. Borst, M. Smit, H. Friis, T.E. Waight, T.F.D. Nielsen (2014) Alteration of eudialyte and implications on the REE, Zr, and Nb resources of the layered kakortokite sequence in the Ilímaussaq Complex, South West Greenland, ERES Conference, Milos Greece, September 2014, Book of Abstracts p.36/Conference Proceedings p.325-332 (Oral presentation)

A.M. Borst, T.E. Waight, T.F.D. Nielsen, P. Kalvig (2014) Eudialyte decomposition and REE – HFSE fractionation in the kakortokite series of the peralkaline Ilímaussaq Complex, South Greenland, 31st Nordic Geological Winter Meeting Lund, 2014, Abstract, p.52 (Poster presentation)

A.M. Borst, B. Davidheiser, T. Meulemans, M. Klaver, G. Davies (2012), The origin and evolution of the lithospheric mantle beneath the Makondi Fold Belt in Botswana; an extensive geochemical study on peridotite xenoliths from the Letlhakane diamond mine, 10th International Kimberlite Conference, India, Extended Abstract (Poster presentation)

Meulemans, A.M. Borst, B. Davidheiser, G.R. Davies (2012) The origin and modification of the subcontinental lithospheric mantle of Botswana: constraints from peridotite xenoliths of the Orapa mine Botswana, 10th International Kimberlite Conference, India, 2012 (Oral presentation by G. Davies)

Hendrikse, B. H. Foing, E. Monaghan, C. Stoker, J. Zavaleta, F. Selch, P. Ehrenfreund, L. Wendt, C. Gross, C. Thiel, S. Peters, A.M. Borst, P. Sarrazin, D. Blake, L. Boche-Sauvan, J. Page, V. Pletser, P. Mahapatra, D. Wills, C. McKay, G. Davies, W. van Westrenen, P. Batenburg, G. Drijkoningen, E. Slob, P. Poulakis, G. Visentin, A. Noroozi, E. Gill, M. Guglielmi, M. Freire, R. Walker, ExoGeoLab Team, EuroGeoMars Team (2010), Highlights from Remote Controlled Rover for EuroGeoMars MDRS Campaign, 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Abstract #2435

Boche-Sauvan, B. H. Foing, C. Stoker, P. Ehrenfreund, L. Wendt, C. Gross, C. Thiel, S. Peters, A.M. Borst, J. Zavaleta, P. Sarrazin, D. Blake, J. Page, V. Pletser, E. Monaghan, P. Mahapatra, A. Noroozi, P. Giannopoulos, A. Calzada, R. Walker, T. Zegers, ExoGeoLab, ILEWG ExoHab Team, EuroGeoMars Team (2010), ILEWG ExoHab & EuroGeoMars Campaigns: Habitability & Human Operations, 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Abstract #1759

B.H. Foing, L. Boche-Sauvan, C. Stoker, P. Ehrenfreund, L. Wendt, C. Gross, C. Thiel, S. Peters, A.M. Borst, J. Zavaleta, P. Sarrazin, D. Blake, J. Page, V. Pletser, E. Monaghan, P. Mahapatra, D. Wills, A. Noroozi, R. Walker, T. Zegers, Exolab and Exohab Team EuroGeoMars Team (2010), Exohab and EuroGeoMars Campaigns: Human Exploration and Astrobiology, Astrobiology Science Conference, Abstract # 5625

Foing B. H. Mahapatra P. Boche-Sauvan L. Som S. Page J. Stoker C. Zhavaleta J. Sarrazin P. Blake D. Poulakis P. Visentin G. Noroozi A. Ehrenfreund P. Barton A. Lebreton J. P. Zegers T. Koschny D. Peters S. Borst A.M. Monaghan E. Wills D. Thiel C. Wendt L. Gross C. Nijman F. Pletser V. McKay C. Davies G. van Westrenen W. Batenburg P. Drijkoningen G. Slob E. Gill E. Guglielmi M. Freire M. Walker R. ExoGeoLab Team (2010),  ExoGeoLab Test Bench for Landers, Rovers and Astrobiology Instrument, Astrobiology Science Conference, Abstract #5477

A.M. Borst, S. Peters, B.H. Foing, C. Stoker, L. Wendt, C. Gross, J. Zhavaleta, P. Sarrazin, D. Blake, P. Ehrenfreund, L. Boche-Sauvan, J. Page, C. McKay, P. Batenburg, G. Drijkoningen, E. Slob, P. Poulakis, G. Visentin, A. Noroozi, E. Gill, M. Guglielmi, M. Freire, R. Walker, M. Sabbatini, V. Pletser, E. Monaghan, R. Ernst, J. Oosthoek, P. Mahapatra, D. Wills, C. Thiel, J.P. Lebreton, T. Zegers, A. Chicarro, D. Koschny, J. Vago, H.Svedhem, G. Davies, A. Westenberg, J. Edwards, ExoGeoLab team & EuroGeoMars team (2009) Geochemistry of Utah Morrison formation from EuroGeoMars campaign, Int. Conf. Comparative Planetology: Venus – Earth – Mars, ESA-ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands (Oral Presentation)

A.M. Borst, F. Bexkens, B. Foing, D. Koschny, G. Davies and W. van Westrenen (2009) Geological and geochemical analysis of stratigraphic units in the South Pole – Aitken Basin, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 11, EGU General Assembly, Abstract  12255-2 (Oral presentation)

B.H. Foing, S. Peters, A.M. Borst, L. Wendt, C. Gross, C. Stoker,  J. Zhavaleta, P. Sarrazin, D. Blake, P. Ehrenfreund, L. Boche-Sauvan, J. Page, C. McKay, P. Batenburg, G. Drijkoningen, E. Slob, P. Poulakis, G. Visentin, A. Noroozi, E. Gill, M. Guglielmi, M. Freire, R. Walker, V. Pletser, E. Monaghan, R. Ernst, J. Oosthoek, P. Mahapatra , D. Wills, C. Thiel, J.P. Lebreton, T. Zegers, A. Chicarro, D. Koschny, J. Vago, H.Svedhem, G. Davies, A. Westenberg, J. Edwards, ExoGeoLab team & EuroGeoMars team (2009). Geology and geochemistry highlights from EuroGeomars MDRS campaign, Int. Conf. Comparative Planetology: Venus – Earth – Mars, ESA-ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands

P.A.W. Batenburg,  B.H. Foing, G.G. Drijkoningen, E.K.A. Gill, P. Poulakis, G. Visentin, J. Page, V.  Pletser, S. Peters, A.M.Borst, P. Mahapatra,  ExoGeoLab Team, EuroGeoMars Team (2009), “Reflection Seismology Systems for Planetary Geology: First Tests at ESTEC ExoGeoLab and MDRS, Utah”, 40th Lunar and Planetary Science Congress, Abstract #2536

B.H. Foing, J. Page, P. Poulakis, G. Visentin, A. Noroozi, E. Gill, P. Batenburg, G. Drijkoningen, E. Slob, M. Guglielmi, M. Freire, R. Walker, M. Sabbatini, V. Pletser, E. Monaghan, L. Boche-Sauvan, R. Ernst, J. Oosthoek, S. Peters, A.M. Borst, P. Mahapatra, D. Wills, C. Thiel, L. Wendt, C. Gross, J.P. Lebreton, T. Zegers, C. Stoker, J. Zhavaleta, P. Sarrazin, C. Blake, C. McKay, P. Ehrenfreund, A. Chicarro, D. Koschny, J. Vago, H.Svedhem, G. Davies, ExoGeoLab team & EuroGeoMars team (2009) ExoGeoLab lander and rover instruments, Int. Conf. Comparative Planetology: Venus – Earth – Mars, ESA-ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands

Hendrikse, B.H. Foing, C. Stoker, J. Zavaleta, F. Selch, P. Ehrenfreund, L. Wendt, C. Gross, C. Thiel, S. Peters, A.M. Borst, P. Sarrazin, D. Blake, L. Boche-Sauvan, J. Page, V. Pletser, E. Monaghan, P. Mahapatra , D. Wills, C. McKay, G. Davies, W. van Westrenen, P. Batenburg, G. Drijkoningen, E. Slob, P. Poulakis, G. Visentin, A. Noroozi, E. Gill, M. Guglielmi, M. Freire, R. Walker, ExoGeoLab team & EuroGeoMars team (2009). Highlights from Remote Controlled Rover for EuroGeoMars MDRS Campaign, European Planetary Science Congress, EPSC Abstracts, Vol. 4

Foing B. H. Koschny D. Grieger B. Josset J.-L. Beauvivre S. Grande M. Huovelin J. Keller H. U. Mall U. Nathues A. Malkki A. Noci G. Sodnik Z. Kellett B. Pinet P. Chevrel S. Cerroni P. de Sanctis M. C. Barucci M. A. Erard S. Despan D. Muinonen K. Shevchenko V. Shkuratov Y. Ellouzi M. Peters S. Borst A.M.. Bexkens F. Boche-Sauvan L. Mahapatra P. Almeida M. Frew D. Volp J. Heather D. McMannamon P. Camino O. Racca G., (2009) SMART-1 Results and Targets for LRO, LRO Science Target Meeting, Abtract #6049

Wendt, L., Mahapatra, P., Gross, C., Borst, A.M., Foing, B. H., ExoGeoLab Team, EuroGeoMars Team (2009), Raman investigations of the EuroGeoMars Campaign, EPSC, Abstract #457

S.T.M. Peters, A.M. Borst, L. Wendt, C. Gross, C. Stoker, J. Zhavaleta, P. Sarrazin, E. Slob, V. Pletser, B. Foing, and the ExoGeoLab team & EuroGeoMars Team (2009) EuroGeoMars mission and techniques: First results for geology and geochemistry, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 11, EGU2009-13353, EGU General Assembly

Le Gac, K. Ammon, N. Gortsas and the Orange Team (2009) PALISA-Observation and Sample Return Mission to the M-Type Asteroid (216) Kleopatra, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 11, EGU2009-8828, EGU General Assembly

Ammon and the Orange Team (2009) PALISA-OBSERVATION AND SAMPLE RETURN MISSION TO THE M-TYPE ASTEROID (216) KLEOPATRA, 59th International Astronautical Congress 2008, IAC-08.A3.2.INT25, Abstract #2748

A.M. Borst, F. Bexkens, B.H. Foing, D. Koschny, S.T.M. Peters (2008) Geochemical analysis of units within the South Pole-Aitken Basin, EPSC, Muenster, Germany, Abstract 00129, (Oral presentation)

S.T.M. Peters, B.H. Foing, A.M. Borst, F. Bexkens, D. Koschny, A. Rossi, J.L. Josset, S. Beauvivre, (2008) Smart-1/Clementine Study of Humorum, Procellarum & South-Pole Aitken Basins: Coupling between impacts, volcanism and tectonics, LPSCI, Abstract #2115

F.S. Bexkens, A.M. Borst, B.H. Foing, S.T.M. Peters, D. Koschny (2008), The Global Geological context and impact signatures in the Lunar SPA Basin; the biggest cataclysm in the solar system, ESLAB abstract, ESRIN Frascatti Italy,

B.H. Foing, D. Koschny, B. Grieger, J.-L. Josset, S. Beauvivre, M. Grande, I. Crawford, B. Swinyard, J. Huovelin, L. Alha, H.U. Keller, U. Mall, A. Nathues, A. Malkki, G. Noci, Z. Sodnik, B. Kellett, P. Pinet, S. Chevrel, P. Cerroni, M.C. de Sanctis, M.A. Barucci, S. Erard, D. Despan, K. Muinonen, J. Naranen, V. Shevchenko, Y. Shkuratov, M. Ellouzi, S. Peters, F. Bexkens, A. Borst, C. Odum, L. Boche-Sauvan, E. Monaghan, D. Wills, M. Almeida, D. Frew, J.Volp, D. Heather, P. McMannamon, O. Camino, G.Racca, (2008) SMART-1 RESULTS AND LESSONS LEARNED FOR PREPARING FUTURE EXPLORATION, LEAG-ICEUM-SRR, Florida, Abstract #4099

 

POPULAR SCIENCE/OUTREACH

  • Featured in book on MDRS simulations (as part of the EuroGeoMars Team 2009) ‘On To Mars’ Nov 2017 by Vladimir Pletser (Ed. Springer Singapore, 256 p. ISBN 9789811070303)
  • Blog for SOSRARE page ‘Brazilian symposium on rare-earth elements’ Nov 2017
  • News item in Daily Record on ‘Women shaping Scotlands’ environment’, Oct 2017
  • EGU-GMPV blog ‘The Fractional Crystallization Freak Zone’, with Will Hutchison, 2017
  • Article ‘Petrology and mineralogy of the Ilímaussaq complex’ for student newsletter – 2015– Stockholm University Student Chapter
  • Article in Dutch magazine for amateur geologists and mineral collectors: Anouk Borst (2010) ‘Op Mars expeditie in Utah, VS’, GEA ‘Stichting Geologische Activiteiten’ 43, p. 40-43
  • Interview in Natuur, Wetenschap en Techniek Magazine (Nature, Science and Technology): Stefan Peters and Anouk Borst (2009) ‘Martians in the desert’, nr. 5, p. 42-46,
  • Online blog on the MDRS Campaign. Anouk Borst (2009) ‘Students on Mars’, VU University webpage (www.falw.vu.nl)
  • Skype interview live from MDRS on Dutch popular scientific television program ‘Nieuwslicht’ (VARA), 2009
  • Co-operated in a documentary (1 hour) of our crew rotation at MDRS, aired on a Belgian popular scientific television program. Directed by Francois Hubert

MEMBER OF TEAMS

EuroGeoMars Team (ESA/MDRS 2009)

ExoGeoLab Team (ESA/ESTEC 2008-2010)

The Orange Team (Alpbach Summer School 2008)

 

About me

I’m currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of St Andrews, working on the mineralogy and geochemistry of alkaline rocks and associated rare metal deposits.

I was born and raised in a small town called Rijpwetering in the Netherlands. I went to high school in Leiden and studied Earth Sciences at the VU University Amsterdam, where I completed both my BSc and MSc degrees in 2012. Immediately after graduating I started my PhD at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland and the University of Copenhagen, under the supervision of Prof. Tod Waight, Dr Troels Nielsen, and Dr Henrik Friis.

For the next 3 years I spent my days studying the magmatic and hydrothermal evolution of nepheline syenites in the rift-related Gardar province in South Greenland, focussing specifically on eudialyte-hosted REE-Zr-Nb mineralisation. I defended my thesis in June 2016, shortly after which I moved on to a 3-year postdoctoral position with Prof. Adrian Finch at the University of St Andrews in beautiful Scotland.

As a postdoc at St Andrews I continued to work on eudialyte-hosted REE deposits in South Greenland, and various other REE deposits, as part of the NERC funded SoS RARE consortium. The SoS RARE project is a UK-based consortium with partners at the University of Brighton, Leeds, Sheffield, Exeter (Camborne School of Mines) and the BGS. The aim of the project was to bring together mineralogists, geochemists and metallurgists to improve our understanding of REE mineralising systems, and to use this information to develop environmentally friendly and economically viable ways to process REE resources.

I am particularly interested in how late-magmatic fluids evolve and modify the primary mineralogy, and how this influences the processing steps required to extract the metals from the rock. I use radiogenic isotopes (U-Pb, Sm-Nd, Rb-Sr, Lu-Hf) to trace subsolidus mobility of elements and to fingerprint the source of critical metal enrichment. I also use various mineral chemical techniques, such as EMP, XRD, and synchrotron-based X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy, to characterize primary and secondary REE-minerals.

I’m currently also working on heavy rare earth enriched Ion Adsorption Clay Deposits from Madagascar and China with collaborators from the University of Brighton.

I also enjoy undertaking teaching activities, including an MSc level economic geology course, lab practicals in optical microscopy, fieldmapping courses, and supervision of MSc dissertation projects at the University of St Andrews and the VU University Amsterdam.