Daniel Cox is undertaking doctoral research into the geochemistry of olivine-hosted melt inclusions and their host rocks sampled from the Chilean portion of the Andean Volcanic Arc; samples will be collected in a series of across-arc transects, allowing compositional comparisons to be made within the volcanic arc.
With a particular focus on the volatile (specifically S) and chalcophile elements (e.g., Cu, Au, Ag, Se), Daniel will be using a series of geochemical techniques (e.g., ICP-OES/MS, electron microprobe analysis) to analyse for both major/trace element and volatile contents of these samples, to gain an understanding into the spatial variation in composition of the primitive mantle melt and also the affects post-melting processes (e.g., crustal assimilation) have on this composition.
The chalcophile elements have an affinity for sulphur. Hence, constraining the varying concentrations of both sulphur and the chalcophile elements in melt inclusions across and along the Chilean portion of the continental arc allows us to identify the point at which sulphur becomes saturated in the melt, and therefore ‘strips’ the melt of it chalcophile elements. The result is the possibility of developing an economically viable ore deposit.
Over the duration of the PhD, Daniel will be spending lengthy periods visiting Chile (totalling approximately three months).