Amy Kelly

PhD Project Title: Precious metal concentration in open-system magma chambers: Insights from the halogen concentrations of chromitite

PhD Supervisors: Dr Brian O’Driscoll, Prof. Ray Burgess

Contact email address: amy.kelly@manchester.ac.uk

Project Description

The platinum group elements (PGE: ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium and platinum) are key components in many pieces of modern technology. Their unique chemical properties also make them vital in a variety of industrial processes such as fuel refinement, as well as being important strategic commodities. The majority of the world’s PGE are often found as concentrated layers in fossilised basaltic magma chambers; in fact approximately 75% of the world’s platinum comes from a single large intrusion in South Africa.  However, despite decades of research, the method by which they become concentrated into these layers remains a mystery. Rising global demand, coupled with their scarcity has led to increased interest in how these PGE ore-deposits form.

My project aims to investigate one long-standing theory that halogen-rich fluids transport and consequently enrich PGEs into a layer in these basaltic magma chambers. A key obstacle to progress in the past has been the analytical difficulty of measuring low abundances of the halogens in basaltic intrusions; however this project utilises an innovative method that allows for low-level detection of chlorine, bromine and iodine. In this technique, samples are exposed to neutron irradiation, subsequently converting the halogens to their more stable noble gas counterparts, which can then be measured using the Thermo Scientific Argus VI mass spectrometer located at the University of Manchester.

The focus of my research is the Rum Layered Suite, NW Scotland, which contains PGE-enriched chromite seams (2-3 ppm). Data obtained from analysis of a variety of rocks from different stages of activity in the intrusion, may consequently elucidate the possible role and provenance of halogen-rich fluids in PGE enrichment within basaltic magma chambers.

Publication List

Conference Abstracts:

Amy P. Kelly, Brian O’Driscoll, Patricia L. Clay, Ray Burgess, 2017. Linking precious metal enrichment and halogen cycling in mafic magmatic systems: insights from the Rum layered intrusion, NW Scotland. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, Abstract #251764.  

Amy P. Kelly, Brian O’Driscoll, Patricia L. Clay, Ray Burgess, 2017. Linking precious metal enrichment and halogen cycling in the Rum layered intrusion, NW Scotland. SEES Postgraduate Research Conference, University of Manchester, Abstract.

Amy P. Kelly, Brian O’Driscoll, Patricia L. Clay, Ray Burgess, 2017. Precious metal concentrations in basaltic magma chambers: a role for halogens? Doctoral Training Programme Research Conference, Liverpool, Abstract.

Amy P. Kelly, Brian O’Driscoll, Patricia L. Clay, Luke N. Hepworth, Ray Burgess, 2017. Cycling of halogen-bearing fluids in the Rum Layered Suite, NW Scotland. Tectonic Studies Group, Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group and British Geophysical Association Joint Assembly, Abstract. 

Amy P. Kelly, Brian O’Driscoll, Patricia L. Clay, Luke N. Hepworth, Ray Burgess, 2016. Cycling of halogen-bearing fluids in the Rum Layered Suite, NW Scotland. SEES Postgraduate Research Conference, University of Manchester, Abstract

Amy P. Kelly, Brian O’Driscoll, Patricia L. Clay, Ray Burgess, 2016. Precious metal concentrations in layered mafic-ultramafic intrusions: insights from halogen and noble gas geochemistry. Geological Society of America Penrose Conference: Layered Mafic Intrusions and Associated Economic Deposits Meeting, Abstract

A.P. Parker, B. O’Driscoll, P.L. Clay, R. Burgess, 2016. Precious metal concentrations in layered mafic-ultramafic intrusions: a role for halogens? Geochemistry Group Research in Progress Meeting, Abstract.

Amy P. Parker, Brian O’Driscoll, Patricia L. Clay, Ray Burgess, 2016. Precious metal concentrations in layered mafic-ultramafic intrusions: Uppers, downers or something else entirely? Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group Meeting Dublin, Abstract.

 

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