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Mineral scale platinum-group-element osmium isotope constraints on planet formation ‘late’ accretion

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PGE-PLANETS (Mineral scale platinum-group-element osmium isotope constraints on planet formation ‘late’ accretion)

Reporting period: 2015-07-20 to 2017-07-19

This Fellowship sought to develop new and transferable techniques for the study of highly siderophile elements (HSEs) in small sample fractions and at mineral scales, while preserving the crystallographic context of the the extracted materials. The work also sought to combine these approaches in novel ways with compositional mapping and major element data for studied phases. The Fellow focused on applying her new methods to meteorites to provide important new data with which to address major questions concerning the birth and evolution of planetary bodies that ultimately led to the habitable Earth.

The HSEs (Ir, Pt, Pd, Ru, Rh, Os, Re, and Au) are precious metals that are critically important to the needs of society, and of high economic value thereby potentially effecting the health and wealth of millions. To enhance the impact of the research the Fellow conceived and led an international meeting attended by ~75 international delegates from all over the globe. She also led a Special Issue of a major international journal, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, the journal of the Geochemical and Meteoritical Societies that resulted in the publication of 22 research articles to further disseminate knowledge and new techniques among academic, government, and industrial scientists and other interested parties.

This Fellowship concluded by successfully implementing new methods of sample preparation and study for meteorites, and producing initial data for the application of microdrilling techniques and their future development. These new methods and their related findings have been presented at an international conference and transferred to a PhD student working on rocks from Mars. The results of the Fellow's work on diogenite meteorites will overturn hypotheses that suggested that the HSE systematics of these ancient materials formed over 4.5 billion years ago provide a direct record of the mantle of the 4-Vesta asteroid. This finding is important in that it raises new questions as to the early stages of planetary formation and models of Solar System evolution. The many and varied activities undertaken during this Fellowship have successfully raised the international profile of the Fellow such that she is positioned to potentially realise highly competitive 5-year Fellowship that will propel her into a permanent position, and help her to realise a major new laboratory dedicated to HSE science through which she can address a number of further major research questions and train teams of young scholars.
1a) Chair, 4th International Workshop on Highly Siderophile Element Geochemistry
U of Durham, UK. >75 international delegates (~2 × 3rd HSE WS). £20.5k budget including bursaries and field trip.
1b) Affiliate session at the preceding Goldschmidt Conference - 16a: Tracing Ocean Circulation - Past and Present. Conveners: Dr. Ruza Ivanovic (U of Leeds), Dr. Tina van de Flierdt (Imperial), and Dr. David Wilson (Imperial)
1c) Supported student Convener/Chair, Miss Fienke Nanne, 79th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society
Berlin, Germany. 1 of 5 Special Sessions: Planetary Evolution: Advances in meteoritical and lunar isotopic analysis
Dr. Thomas Kruijer (also an emerging early career scientist) was engaged to Co-Chair this session.
1d) Student travel bursaries and sponsorship raised from: The Meteoritical Society, European Association of Geochemistry, Geochemical Society Meeting Assistance Program (1 of only 3 grants awarded in 2016), (UK) Geochemistry Group + Applied Mineralogy Group + UK Mineral Deposits Studies Group + VMSG, ThermoFisher Scientific, Engineering Design Plastics (UK), Nu instruments. All for the 4th International Workshop on Highly Siderophile Element Geochemistry - 100 % funding success

2) Managing Guest Editor, Special Issue with Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (GCA)
Title: Highly Siderophile Element constraints on Earth and Planetary Processes. Volume 216.
Role: As lead Guest Editor I conceived this Special Issue, its scope, aims and section dedicated to Hazel Prichard, drove the associated international workshop, engaged the wider community when soliciting contributions to this SI, set the schedule, and recruited and managed the handling of papers and the entire guest editorial team (n = 16) along with all corresponding authors. I handled four manuscripts myself and assisted with at least three others.

3a) Elected Marie Sklodowska-Curie IF Fellow of the week.
3b) Elected Fellow of the Geological Society of London
3c) Elected Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (UK)

4) Published article: van der Meer, Q., Klaver, M., Reisberg, L., Riches A.J.V. and Davies, G.R. 2017. Preservation of an Archaean whole rock Re-Os isochron for the Venetia lithospheric mantle: evidence for rapid crustal recycling and lithosphere stabilisation at 3.3 Ga. Published in the GCA Special Issue (Vol.216).
Role: I contributed data and aided in interpretations and the clarity of their presentation as co-author.

5) Published article: Riches, A.J.V. 2017. Preface to Highly Siderophile Element Constraints on Earth and Planetary Processes. Published in the GCA Special Issue (Vol.216) that I led.
Role: Sole author.

6) 3 published meeting reports (detailed in the publications section)

7) Article in preparation: Riches A.J.V. Burton K.W. Nowell G.M. and Ottley C. J. Diogenite highly siderophile element systematics do not provide a direct record of the mantle of the 4-Vesta asteroid. For publication in GCA or EPSL

8) Training courses - Preparing to Supervise Science (I and II), ERC applicant training course provided by the UK Research Office, Equality and diversity training at university and department levels.

9a) Member, Athena SWAN Action Group, U of Durham, UK. Advocating for the postdocs and Fellows and assisting the department’s delivery of the Athena SWAN action plan.
9b) Founding member, Dept. Research Staff Team/Committee. U of Durham, UK.
9c) Panel member, assessing and short listing of MSc and Ph.D scholarship applications, U of Durham, UK.
Ranking and recommendations: IAPETUS Doctoral Training Partnership, the Durham Doctoral Studentships and Chinese Scholarship Council. Shortlisting, interviewing, and final ranking of MSc applicants for Durham’s Earth Science Dept’s Charles Waites Scholarship.

12) Outreach: Durham Café Scientifique 2017. ‘How and what we learn from planets and asteroids.’

13) Grants submitted: ~€3.5M of total funds applied for.
New methods for the study of HSEs at sub-sample and mineral scales have been developed and applied to chosen meteorites. These approaches are being further advanced and then transferred to others and applied to more diverse problems including those of more direct societal interest in terms of natural resource exploration, and environmental monitoring in space and on Earth.

This Fellowship has had significant impact on the scientific community and the Fellow's trajectory and potential future career. The international workshop Chaired by the Fellow was highly successful and generated a high calibre special issue in an international journal that the Fellow has delivered in under a year since the submission deadline, while also managing a team of 16 guest editors and liasing with the Executive Editor, journal staff, and the amassed authors/reviewers.