SoS MinErals First Summer School 2016

Incredibly it has been over 6 months since the last meeting of the four SoS MinErals projects at the launch event in November 2015, time really does fly! This week it has been great to hear what the first batch of PhD students have been getting up to so far, and meeting those who are new to the programme, set to begin their PhD adventures in September.

On Monday, after an interesting morning session spent discussing the sustainability of critical metal deposits, we headed out on a mini fieldtrip. The first stop was Gipsy Lane Quarry, an SSSI site tucked away in an industrial estate in the centre of Leicester. The geologists in the group were given the task of explaining how we go about deducing the history of the rocks to the non-geologists. Then divided into groups, we were tasked with developing a plan of how we would go about further exploration of the area. At this point everyone got involved, and it was especially interesting hearing how careful microbiologists have to be when sampling. This group task linked nicely into Tuesday’s workshop on analytical techniques. Here we were introduced to the uses and limitations of Microbeam, SEM, EDS, WDS and XRF analysis, and given demos on the University of Leicester's analytical instruments. After Gipsy Lane we headed to Bradgate Park to search out the oldest macrofossils in the UK, as who doesn't like fossil hunting? The rest of the week was filled with numerous guest lectures, training on Micromine and much more including meeting investigators from the SoS MinErals Programme during an evening poster session.

Thank you to the TeaSe team at Leicester for organising such a varied and enjoyable summer school.

Eva Marquis, 7 July 2016