200 mineral and geoscientists gathered in Edinburgh in late-August/early September for the MicroAnalysis, Processes, Time meeting, the annual meeting of the Mineralogical Society, jointly organized with the Société Française de Minéralogie et de Cristallographie and the Deutsche Mineralogische Gesellschaft, and attended by representatives of no fewer than 23 countries. There was a busy programme with two field-trips and two short courses as well as three days of oral and poster presentations.
On Sunday a hardy group set off on foot to examine some of James Hutton’s famous localities and enjoy the Carboniferous igneous delights of Salisbury Crags and the Arthurs Seat Volcano. That afternoon, led by Prof. Godfrey Fitton of the School of GeoSciences, they took a bus to Siccar Point, the famous site of the ‘Hutton’s unconformity’ between underlying steeply-dipping Silurian greywackes and overlying sub-horizontal Carboniferous strata – another classic geological locality significant for demonstrating the immensity of time.
On the same day, Prof. Michael Wiedenbeck, a representative of the International Association of Geoanalysts (http://geoanalyst.org), led a short course on ‘Quality Assurance in Microanalysis’. Courses such as this are an initiative of the IAG, and the Edinburgh workshop was the second largest such course to date. See http://geoanalyst.org/temp/geoanalysis2012.html for details of their next International Geoanalysis Meeting in 2012. Feedback from the 20 delegates attending this workshop was very positive indeed. Michael’s slides from the workshop are available here.
Registration on Sunday afternoon was followed by an enjoyable ice-breaker reception in Pollock Halls of Residence.
The scientific sessions began on Monday morning. Four parallel sessions, embracing metamorphic and igneous petrology and geochemistry, subduction, mountain building and demise, microbeam chemical and isotopic analysis, advances in electron microscopy, advances in understanding mineral deposits, and nuclear mineralogy, were run throughout the day. On Tuesday, four plenary lectures were delivered by John Brodholt, Ben Harte (the Mineralogical Society’s 39th Hallimond Lecturer), Andreas Audetat, and Alain Baronnet. The scientific sessions concluded with a further set of four parallel sessions on the Wednesday. These sessions covered themes such as accessory minerals and crustal evolution, mantle processes and deep earth mineral physics, magmatic processes viewed from microtextures and microanalysis, and the use of mineral microstructures in geoscience. The full range of sessions encompassed some 106 oral presentations, complemented by a dedicated Poster Session, held on the Tuesday afternoon following the plenary lectures, in which 64 posters were displayed and discussed. The full programme is available here.
The conference banquet, held on Tuesday, was in the magnificent Royal College of Surgeon’s Hall in Edinburgh. Wonderful food and wine were enjoyed by many conference delegates in the superb dining hall, overlooked by original portraits of illustrious doctors, surgeons and dignitaries from Edinburgh’s rich and colourful medical history.
The Mineralogical Society’s awards were presented in a short post-dinner ceremony. Prof. John Brodholt of University College London received the Mineralogical Society’s Schlumberger Award, and Dr Andrew Walker, of the same institution, received the Max Hey Medal. Michael Carpenter introduced Prof. Brodholt on behalf of citationist, Prof. David Price. Kate Wright introduced Dr Walker.
On the Thursday following the main conference scientific sessions, nearly sixty of the delegates attended a full-day field trip to the Scottish glens to the north of Edinburgh and Fife to examine features of Barrow’s Zones – the classic sequence of metamorphic zones identified in pelites by George Barrow, which increase in grade from chlorite zone to sillimanite zone (via biotite, garnet, staurolite, and kyanite zones!) northwards from the Highland Boundary Fault. This trip was expertly led by Ben Harte, Neil Hudson and Tim Dempster, and despite the day being truly ‘dreich’ (Old Scottish for ‘a combination of dull, overcast, drizzly, cold, misty and miserable weather) – and certainly the worst for rain this year (~50 mm fell on the hardy participants) – those who attended it were treated to excellent examples of the results of Barrovian metamorphism in a truly memorable setting!
Also on Thursday, and in far less inclement conditions (being held indoors!), the second short course of the conference, on the Ion Microprobes and related microanalytical facilities in Edinburgh, was led by Richard Hinton. This Microanalysis Workshop covered trace element, stable isotopic and U-Pb radiogenic isotopic analysis on the SIMS instruments and electron microprobe Th-U-Pb microanalysis of monazite, with an emphasis on in-situ analysis controlled by high-quality microtextural characterisation. This workshop continued on the Friday morning.
The conference was convened by Prof. Simon Harley of the School of GeoSciences at Edinburgh, who is also chairman of the Metamorphic Studies Group (joint special interest group of the Mineralogical and Geological Society). The many sessions were convened by a wide range of people from the Metamorphic Studies and other special interest groups of the Mineralogical Society and from the French and German Societies. Staff from the Mineralogical Society successfully handled much of the administration associated with the meeting.
It is becoming clear that there is a desire and a willingness of the national mineralogical societies to collaborate on meetings such as this, which has been organised in much the same manner as the very successful ‘Frontiers in Mineralogy’ meeting (Cambridge) in 2007. The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland has plans to continue with such collaborations for future meetings and welcomes proposals for joint meetings from any interested groups. ‘Boutique’ meetings such as these, with 150-250 participants, have a variety of distinct advantages over the much larger events which fill the meetings calendar each year – and support for the more intimate events is undoubtedly growing amongst the science community.
Finally, many thanks to all for their participation and support of the MAPT meeting. We look forward to your continued interest in the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland and support for the meetings and events arranged and organised under its auspices.
Thanks also to the following groups who kindly supported the conference by means of donation or in other ways. Please show your support for them by visiting their websites.
Crystal defects in omphacites from eclogites of the Tauern Window, Lago di Cignana, CCSD (China) and from deformation experiments: Similarities and differences. Wolfgang Friedrich Müller, Frank E. Brenker, Roberto Compagnoni, Gerhard Franz, Nicolas Walte and Zhiquin Xu
Micro-Computed Tomography applied to mineralogical samples. C. Terry Williams, Richie Abel and Robin Armstrong (best viewed using Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.0, which is available free of charge)
The redox state of glasses in mantle xenoliths: an EMPA investigation. C. Wagner, M. Fialin and M.-L. Pascal
Development of pseudotachylyte in quartzite. Michel Bestmann and Giorgio Pennacchioni
Deformation mechanisms in quartzitic rocks precursor to seismic slip. Michel Bestmann and Giorgio Pennacchioni
Electron microscopy in biomineral research. Wolfgang W. Schmahl, Erika Griesshaber, Klemens Kelm, Andreas Ziegler, Rolf D. Neuser, Andreas Götz, N. Sanchez-Pastor and Werner Mader
Microscale phase and texture analysis of aragonite and calcite biomaterials: brachiopod shell calcite and fish otoliths. Erika Griesshaber, Tanja Schulz-Mirbach, Andreas Götz and Klemens Kelm
Reading Nanostructures by TEM in Geo- and Bio-Minerals. Alain Baronnet