We apply fundamental geological knowledge and research to help tackle major problems in the exploration and development of mineral and hydrocarbon resources.
Our group applies fundamental geological knowledge and research to develop new tools to tackle major problems in the exploration and development of mineral and hydrocarbon resources.
Our areas of interest include:
- exploration, mining and processing of metals such as the Platinum-Group Elements (PGE), rare earth elements, selenium, tellurium, cobalt and lithium that are essential for renewable power generation and storage
- geochemical and structural geology exploration methods, including prospectivity analysis, for precious metal, base metal, rare metal and gemstone deposits
- magmatic, tectonic and hydrothermal processes that have led to the formation of ore deposits in different geodynamic environments and throughout Earth history
- mass wasting, fault mechanics and salt tectonics and their relationship to flow and trapping of oil and gas in sedimentary basins
- environmental impacts of hydrocarbon exploration and production, CO2 capture, oil spill modelling and mitigation
- application of 3D seismic technology to the analysis of depositional and deformational processes, primarily based on a large archive of data donated through collaboration with the petroleum industry and governments.
McDonald, I. (PI) TeaSe (Tellurium and Selenium Cycling and Supply). NERC Security of Supply of Minerals Programme. NE/M011615/1, £446,868
McDonald, I. (PI) The Platreef magma event at the world-class Turfspruit PGE deposit: Implications for mineralization processes and Bushveld Complex stratigraphy. PhD studentship award, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd, £68,409
McDonald, I. (PI) Isotope record of the Great Oxidation Event recorded in South Africa and implications for contamination and mineralisation in the Bushveld Complex. NERC Isotope Geosciences Facilities Support award IP‐1677‐1116, £22,030
McDonald, I. (PI) Link between magmatism and the volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) hydrothermal system; evidence from the Troodos ophiolite, Cyprus. NERC Isotope Geosciences Facilities Support award IP-1766-1117, £28,000
Alves, T. (Co-PI) PETROBRAS Santos Basin, focused on the study of structural features in pre-salt reservoirs in SE Brazil, £97,000
Alves, T. (PI) RAFTs Consortium (Total plus 5 other companies) – Raft and pre-salt geology offshore West Africa, £301,781
Alves, T. (PI) HUSKY-Paleostructural indicators of North Atlantic rifting, in which seismic and outcrop data were reviewed for this same purpose, £53,324
Alves, T. (PI) NEREIDs project (European Commission) for the study and modelling of oil spills in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, £46,000 (www.nereids.eu)
Alves, T. (PI) HUSKY-Newfoundland Basins, comprising the analysis of the tectono-stratigraphic evolution of outer shelf-upper slope basins offshore the Grand Banks, £74,500
Alves, T. (PI) PETROBRAS Equatorial Margins, focused on the study of the Pará-Maranhão Basin offshore North Brazil, £25,000
Maier, W. (PI) Geochronology of Monchepluton. NERC Isotope Geosciences Facilities Support award IP-1644-0516, £76,000
Alves, T. (PI) Husky – North Atlantic Evolution, reviewing the evolution of breakup sequences in the Mesozoic North Atlantic Ocean, £397,500
Alves, T. (PI) ERASMUS+ Sea4All project, in which education software is being developed to educate school children on how to tackle marine pollution, £43,680
Blenkinsop, T.G. (PI) Formation of the world class copper deposit at Mount Isa, Australia MOUNT ISA MINES, NERC PhD CASE award, £71,878
Blenkinsop T. G. (PI) Mapping and prospectivity analysis of the Tommy Creek Block, Mount Isa, and short courses. MOUNT ISA MINES, £23,000
Blenkinsop T. G. (PI) Prospectivity analysis of the Eastern Fold Belt, Mount Isa. NEWMONT ASIA PACIFIC, £11,000
Blenkinsop T. G. (PI) Prospectivity analysis of Geita gold mine tenements, Tanzania. ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI Ltd, £4,000
Blenkinsop T. G. (PI) Structural Geology of Ngezi Platinum Mine. ZIMPLATS, £9,700
- Van Tuyl, J. , Alves, T. and Cherns, L. 2018. Geometric and depositional responses of carbonate build-ups to Miocene sea level and regional tectonics offshore northwest Australia. Marine and Petroleum Geology 94 , pp.144-165. (10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2018.02.034)
- Alves, T. M. and Abreu Cunha, T. 2018. A phase of transient subsidence, sediment bypass and deposition of regressive-transgressive cycles during the breakup of Iberia and Newfoundland. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 484 , pp.168-183. (10.1016/j.epsl.2017.11.054)
- Alves, T. M. and Cupkovic, T. 2018. Footwall degradation styles and associated sedimentary facies distribution in SE Crete: Insights into tilt-block extensional basins on continental margins. Sedimentary Geology (10.1016/j.sedgeo.2018.02.001)
- Huthmann, F. et al., 2018. Geochemistry and PGE of the lower mineralized zone of the Waterberg Project, South Africa. Ore Geology Reviews 92 , pp.161-185. (10.1016/j.oregeorev.2017.10.023)
- Maier, W. and Hanski, E. J. 2017. Layered mafic-ultramafic intrusions of Fennoscandia: Europe's treasure chest of magmatic metal deposits. Elements 13 (6), pp.415-420. (10.2138/gselements.13.6.415)
- Alves, T. M. et al. 2017. An incomplete correlation between pre-salt topography, top reservoir erosion, and salt deformation in deep-water Santos Basin (SE Brazil). Marine and Petroleum Geology 79 , pp.300-320. (10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2016.10.015)
- McDonald, I. et al. 2017. Cu-Ni-PGE mineralisation at the Aurora Project and potential for a new PGE province in the Northern Bushveld Main Zone. Ore Geology Reviews 80 , pp.1135-1159. (10.1016/j.oregeorev.2016.09.016)
- Lambert-Smith, J. S. et al. 2016. The Gounkoto Au deposit, West Africa: Constraints on ore genesis and volatile sources from petrological, fluid inclusion and stable isotope data. Ore Geology Reviews 78 , pp.606-622. (10.1016/j.oregeorev.2015.10.025)
- Ward, N. , Alves, T. M. and Blenkinsop, T. G. 2016. Reservoir leakage along concentric faults in the Southern North Sea: implications for the deployment of CCS and EOR techniques. Tectonophysics 690 (A), pp.97-116. (10.1016/j.tecto.2016.07.027)
- Maier, W. D. et al. 2016. Petrogenesis and Ni–Cu sulphide potential of mafic–ultramafic rocks in the Mesoproterozoic Fraser Zone within the Albany–Fraser Orogen, Western Australia. Precambrian Research 281 , pp.27-46. (10.1016/j.precamres.2016.05.004)
- Holwell, D. A. et al., 2015. Extreme enrichment of Se, Te, PGE and Au in Cu-sulfide microdroplets: evidence from LA-ICP-MS analysis of sulfides in the Skaergaard Intrusion, east Greenland. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 170 53. (10.1007/s00410-015-1203-y)
- Hayes, B. et al. 2015. Sulfide immiscibility induced by wall-rock assimilation in a fault-guided basaltic feeder system, Franklin Large Igneous Province, Victoria Island (Arctic Canada). Economic Geology 110 (7), pp.1697-1717. (10.2113/econgeo.110.7.1697)
- Blenkinsop, T. G. 2015. Scaling laws for the distribution of gold, geothermal, and gas resources. Pure and Applied Geophysics 172 (7), pp.2045-2056. (10.1007/s00024-014-0909-5)
Professor in Earth Science
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Lecturer in Exploration and Resource Geology
- +44 (0)29 2087 4323
Honorary Visiting Professor
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ELEMENT Facility for Geochemical Fingerprinting of Earth Materials
The facility was originally set up under NERC award NER/H/S/2000/00862 (£546k) and has recently been upgraded by a new award from Cardiff University Research Infrastructure Fund.
The suite of instruments comprises: two Thermo iCAP RQ quadropole ICP-MS spectrometers, a Thermo iCAP ICP-OES spectrometer, a New Wave Research 213nm laser ablation system, a micromill and microbalance, and an Olympus Delta Pro portable XRF spectrometer.
Dedicated fire assay laboratory
The laboratory supports analysis of precious metals in rocks, ores and other environmental samples using a dedicated fire assay facility. There is also a wet geochemistry laboratory for preparation of samples in liquid form for ICP analysis.
Zeiss Sigma HD Field Emission Gun Analytical SEM
This facility specialises in high-resolution imaging and X-ray element mapping as well as quantitative analysis of major, minor and trace elements. FEI XL30 Field Emission Gun Environmental SEM for high-resolution imaging and semi-quantitative X-ray element analysis of samples. Philips PW1710 Automated Powder X-ray diffractometer.
3D Seismic Lab
The development of new quantitative methods in seismic interpretation is a key research topic within the 3D Seismic Lab. The Lab comprises a state-of-the-art seismic interpretation and visualisation facility that supports research into diverse aspects of sedimentary basins, with an emphasis on continental margins.
The key emphasis of the 3D Seismic Lab is on the development of 3D seismic methods and technology to the analysis of depositional and deformational processes. Research students base their research on the large archive of data in the 3D Seismic Lab donated through collaborations with the petroleum industry and governments.
Software licensing and support to the lab is commercially costed as >£10M. The value of grants and PhD scholarships (some funded by industry) awarded to the 3D seismic lab since 2008 totals more than £2.04M.
Recent developments include seismic analyses of diagenesis and fluid flow on a basin scale, studies on the distribution of gas hydrates on continental margins, fluid-flow modelling through faults and structures, and the investigation of main geological controls on submarine landslides and channels.