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European clues to unlocking the ancient ocean record

In April and May EDRG members Li, Luc and PhD candidate Piero conducted a field trip to Scotland, Wales, Portugal and Spain.

The aim of the field trip was to collect samples from oceanic rocks that belonged to two Palaeozoic oceans that separated the southern megacontinent Gondwana from Laurentia, the precursor to North America. This field work is within the larger scope of Piero’s PhD project that aims to investigate the evolution of the geochemical composition of Earth’s mantle using oceanic rocks as a proxy, and the chosen locations were selected for containing samples that might help close a few gaps in our record of the mantle. The rocks in some of these locations displayed an outstanding degree of preservation.

Whilst already in Europe the team also had the opportunity to attend the European Geoscience Union Conference, in which a work based on the compilation of the existing isotopic data for ophiolites (oceanic crust remnants) was presented. This compilation was an important step in deciding the targets for field work.