Magma emplacement and its evolution: deciphering between magmatic and tectonic processes


Magma emplacement and its evolution: deciphering between magmatic and tectonic processes


Project Description


Dr Zoja Vukmanovic, University of East Anglia – Contact me

Professor Jenni Barclay, University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences

Professor Marian Holness, University of Cambridge, Department of Earth Sciences

Dr Eduardo Mansur, Norwegian Geological Survey

Scientific Background

Layered intrusions represent deep-seated magma chambers that never erupted. Not only that layered intrusions provide us with an opportunity to study how magma cools and differentiates in a plutonic environment, but they also host precious metals such as platinum group elements, Ti, and V.

Layered intrusions represent a natural laboratory to study deep magmatic processes, however, some are often affected by tectonic events. In such cases, their primary rock’s microstructure and geochemistry will be modified. The study area, Bjerkreim-Sokndal (BKS) layered intrusion in Southern Norway, provides ample evidence of deformation, representing the best place to study both magmatic and tectonic processes. The main aim of this project is to decipher between magmatic and post-emplacement microstructure to understand the formation and evolution of the intrusion. Additionally, the project will focus on how deformation has affected ore mineralisation hosted in BKS in terms of their microstructure and their geochemistry. The effect of deformation on ore mineralogy is essential for understanding the ore endowment of precious metals, as these metals are critical in the societal transition to greener sources of energy to achieve a carbon-zero future.

Research Methodology

The key objectives are to 1) differentiate between magmatic and post-emplacement microstructure, and 2) identify the effect of deformation on the geochemistry of the main rock-forming minerals. The completion of both objectives will entail a combination of 1) fieldwork and petrography; 2) electron backscatter diffraction analyses (EBSD at UEA); 3) QEMSCAN elemental mapping (University of Cambridge) and 4) microprobe analyses (University of Cambridge). The field trip will be carried out in year 1 (two weeks) and year two (two weeks) in Bjerkeim Lobe of the BKS intrusion.


The student will gain training in the field geology where they learn how to record magmatic texture, mineralogical variations, and deformation structures. The student will be trained to analyse samples by EBSD and electron microprobe.

Person specification

We are looking for applicants that have a degree in Geology or related discipline, enthusiasm for field work, and a strong motivation to succeed.


  • 1 Duchesne, J.C. and Charlier, B., 2005. Geochemistry of cumulates from the Bjerkreim–Sokndal layered intrusion (S. Norway). Part I: Constraints from major elements on the mechanism of cumulate formation and on the jotunite liquid line of descent. Lithos, 83(3-4), pp.229-254.
  • 2 Wilson, J.R., Robins, B., Nielsen, F.M., Duchesne, J.C. and Vander Auwera, J., 1996. The Bjerkreim-Sokndal layered intrusion, Southwest Norway. In Developments in Petrology (Vol. 15, pp. 231-255). Elsevier.Wilson, J.R., Robins, B., Nielsen, F.M., Duchesne, J.C. and Vander Auwera, J., 1996. The Bjerkreim-Sokndal layered intrusion, Southwest Norway. In Developments in Petrology (Vol. 15, pp. 231-255). Elsevier.
  • 3 Bolle, O., Trindade, R.I., Luc Bouchez, J. and Duchesne, J.C., 2002. Imaging downward granitic magma transport in the Rogaland Igneous Complex, SW Norway. Terra Nova, 14(2), pp.87-92.
  • 4 Vukmanovic, Z., Holness, M.B., Monks, K. and Andersen, J.C.Ø., 2018. The Skaergaard trough layering: sedimentation in a convecting magma chamber. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 173, pp.1-18.
  • 5 Holness, M.B., Vukmanovic, Z. and Mariani, E., 2017. Assessing the role of compaction in the formation of adcumulates: a microstructural perspective. Journal of Petrology, 58(4), pp.643-673.

Key Information

  • This project has been shortlisted for funding by the ARIES NERC DTP and will start on 1st October 2024. The closing date for applications is 23:59 on 10th January 2024.
  • Successful candidates who meet UKRI’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship, which covers fees, stipend (£18,622 p.a. for 2023/24) and research funding. International applicants are eligible for fully-funded ARIES studentships including fees. Please note however that ARIES funding does not cover additional costs associated with relocation to, and living in, the UK. We expect to award between 4 and 6 studentships to international candidates in 2024.
  • ARIES students benefit from bespoke graduate training and ARIES provides £2,500 to every student for access to external training, travel and conferences, on top of all Research Costs associated with the project. Excellent applicants from quantitative disciplines with limited experience in environmental sciences may be considered for an additional 3-month stipend to take advanced-level courses.
  • ARIES is committed to equality, diversity, widening participation and inclusion in all areas of its operation. We encourage enquiries and applications from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation and transgender status. Academic qualifications are considered alongside non-academic experience, and our recruitment process considers potential with the same weighting as past experience.
  • All ARIES studentships may be undertaken on a part-time or full-time basis, visa requirements notwithstanding.
  • For further information, please contact the supervisor. To apply for this Studentship follow the instructions at the bottom of the page or click the 'apply now' link.
  • ARIES is required by our funders to collect Equality and Diversity Information from all of our applicants. The information you provide will be used solely for monitoring and statistical purposes; it will remain confidential, and will be stored on the UEA sharepoint server. Data will not be shared with those involved in making decisions on the award of Studentships, and will have no influence on the success of your application. It will only be shared outside of this group in an anonymised and aggregated form. You will be ask to complete the form by the University to which you apply.
  • ARIES funding is subject to UKRI terms and conditions. Postgraduate Researchers are expected to live within reasonable distance of their host organisation for the duration of their studentship. See for more information

Applications open

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