The global pandemic is changing the way that scientists interact globally, with many international conferences moving to an online presence. On the 27–28 May 2020, the Metamorphic Studies Group (MSG) followed suit, holding our annual Research in Progress (RIP) meeting virtually for the first time. It was originally planned to host the meeting at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, but as this could not go ahead, we instead joined the brave new world of virtual conferencing, and held our meeting online using the Zoom platform.
Hosting the conference online allowed the group to broaden our audience, reaching new colleagues and new audiences from across the globe. 210 delegates registered for our event and at its peak, 170 people were in attendance. The map below shows the locations of our delegates from 25+ countries. Typically, MSG events attract ~40 delegates, so this virtual audience was a significant increase. It was fantastic to provide an international platform to showcase the highlights of metamorphic geology!
There were 29 high-quality presentations, many from people who hadn’t attend our meetings before. Thematically, the RiP meeting covered a broad range of topics. Studies from both classic metamorphic terranes and lesser known and somewhat unusual places were presented. New and intriguing research about the Lewisian of Scotland, Norway’s Western Gneiss Region and the Himalaya were interspersed with studies on metamorphic rocks in the Polar Urals, Mexico, Ecuador and even the Moon, highlighting the global (and even extraterrestrial) abundance of highly interesting occurrences of metamorphic rocks! The metamorphic rock record helps us to understand fundamental processes in the Earth’s past and present, as well as to decipher regional and local aspects of the geological history. Presenters also gave amazing insights into the variety of methodological approaches used to tackle questions in metamorphic geology. These included phase equilibrium modelling, petrochronology of major and accessory minerals, microstructural observations and geochemical analyses of trace elements. Unsurprisingly, garnet was a favourite mineral in many investigations, thanks to its unrivalled ability to record different stages of a rock’s metamorphic evolution, although it was also pointed out that inclusions in garnet are not always a faithful recorder of its history! With many presenters highlighting how studies of metamorphic rocks use analytical and modelling tools at the forefront of geoscience, the foundations in thorough field studies and petrographic observations were equally emphasised, demonstrating the versatility of approaches used in metamorphic geology. A highlight of the RiP meeting was the presentation by Dr Clare Warren, winner of the inaugural Barrow Award, who gave an overview on recent developments calculating the pressure, temperature and time of metamorphism.
The meeting was a fantastic platform for students to present their work; we had 16 student presentations, including both undergraduate and postgraduate students from Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, France, Greece, Mexico, UK and USA! The best student presentation prizes went to Allie Nagurney (Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, USA) and Stacy Phillips (Open University, Milton Keynes, UK).
Allie’s poster presentation was entitled ‘Microstructural Controls on the Crystallization of Garnet: An Example from the Meguma Terrane, Nova Scotia’. Allie used petrographic observations, mineral chemistry, electron back scattered diffraction, X-ray computed tomography and thermodynamic modelling to develop a model of garnet nucleation. She concluded that the energetic barriers of garnet nucleation are lowered through nucleation in specific orientations in relation to chlorite and muscovite that define the foliation of the rock. Allie’s outstanding poster was very well presented, and the judges were impressed with how concise Allie was communicating her points, and how confidently she responded to questions.
Stacy’s talk, entitled ‘Not all kyanite is created equal – The petrogenesis of kyanite migmatites in Eastern Bhutan’, focused on the occurrence of different types of kyanite in migmatites from the Himalaya. Stacy investigated morphologies, cathodoluminescence patterns and trace element characteristics of kyanite grains and put her findings in context of implications for mid-crustal weakening and regional tectonics of the Himalaya. Her talk was very well presented and impressed the judges through its clarity and the thoroughness with which this mineral has been studied to reveal its petrological importance.
The meeting was generally very well received with 95% of people strongly agreeing (4 or 5/5) that “Virtual MSG RiP 2020 was an interesting and engaging scientific meeting” (n=43). Here are some of the feedback comments:
“I’ve wanted to attend for years and this was my first opportunity!”
“As a PhD student, I really appreciated the time more senior scientists took to comment on my online poster – their feedback was really helpful!”
“I think MSG RiP 2020 was an absolute triumph, well done to all those involved in its organisation.”
“I thank you very much for choosing a virtual meeting methodology. This allowed us to participate since it is almost impossible for us to do it physically, for various reasons but especially for the economic one. In Argentina, and I estimate that in many other places in the world, it is very difficult to pay for a trip to a congress or postgraduate course in another country, and less on another continent… The virtual modality has its disadvantages compared to the face-to-face modality, but it is an opportunity for many people, and especially students, who work in metamorphic petrology. Hopefully we can continue participating in these meetings.”
Here are some logistical considerations that we thought about when running the meeting:
- We decided to try to emulate the in-person event where possible so we built a programme in the usual way, with both ‘oral’ and ‘poster’ presentations and published a ‘Programme and Abstracts’ volume.
- We held the sessions from 2.00–5.30 pm (UK time) over two days (followed by a ‘virtual’ social event on both days). This allowed for greater attendance, particularly in Europe and the Americas. We even had an audience from Australia and beyond, even though the talks took place after midnight, their time locally.
- The posters were hosted on the conference webpage in the days before the meeting. Only signed-up delegates were given the password which would allow them to download the posters. They could then post comments (and the presenter could post responses). During the conference itself, we allowed those with posters to give a quick introduction and to take some questions (10 min slot, as opposed to 15 min for talks).
In summary, although MSG did miss the opportunity to visit the Buchan zones on the planned fieldtrip to Scotland (which we will hopefully get to do in a future year!), and to get together with friends and colleagues in the metamorphism world, the virtual meeting provided different and new positive experiences. We broadened our audience, and provided an international platform for particularly students to present their work. The virtual world provides excellent opportunities for participation and learning when travel isn’t possible (as at present) or isn’t affordable (for many people, in other circumstances).
As with all new ventures, we have much to think about and learn but following the success of our event, we resolved that future meetings must, where possible, allow online participation from those who cannot, for whatever reason, make it to the meeting in person so that we can build upon the successes of our first virtual MSG RiP!
The programme and abstracts volume is available from the website.
The programme for the event was as follows:
Wednesday 27th May 2020
The controls on the thermal evolution of continental mountain ranges
Alex Copley and Owen Weller
How did the Archaean crust evolve? Insights from the structure and petrology of the Lewisian of Scotland
S.R. Miocevich, A. Copley, O.M. Weller
Interactions of stress and chemical processes in the Earth
Pre-orogenic upper crustal softening by lower greenschist facies metamorphic reactions in crystalline basement units (example of central Pyrenees)
Laura Airaghi, Nicolas Bellahsen, Benoît Dubacq, David Chew, Claudio Rosenberg, Emilie Janots, Maxime Waldner and Valérie Magnin
Drainage of subduction interface fluids into the fore-arc mantle evidenced by a pristine jadeitite network (Polar Urals)
Samuel Angiboust, Johannes Glodny, Aitor Cambeses, Tom Raimondo, Patrick Monié, Michael Popov, Antonio Garcia-Casco
Mg X-ray map of a jadeitite sample from the Polar Urals showing how the white jadeitite (in blue here) partly re-equilibrates along cracks as omphacite. Note the presence of jadeitite clasts inside the omphacite veins. Note also the oscillatory/dendriti c pattern of the vein-filling material. Warm colors are used for relatively high concentrations and cold colors for relatively low Mg concentrations (original data in counts, acquired at the SEM)
Metamorphism on the Moon Recorded by the Granulite Suite
J. F. Pernet-Fisher and K. H Joy
Behaviour of critical metals in micas during metamorphism
Barbara E. Kunz, Clare J. Warren, Nigel B.W. Harris, Tom W. Argles, Frances E. Jenner
Origin of metasomatic fluids in subducted continental crust and implications for volatile recycling in subduction zones
B.J.R. Harris, J.C.M. De Hoog, S.L. Harley, R. Halama and H.-P. Schertl
From local dewatering to large-scale flushing during burial in the blueschist facies: Insights from a pervasively fractured metamorphic terrane.
Jesús Munoz-Montecinos, Samuel Angiboust, Antonio García-Casco, Johannes Glodny and Gray Bebout
On the origin and geodynamic significance of eclogite in the Brunovistulian terrane at the eastern margin of the Bohemian Massif
Stephen Collett, Pavla Štípská, Karel Schulmann, Jitka Míková and John Hora
Halogens in metasomatic garnet websterite and eclogite from the Western Gneiss Region, Norway: implications for subcontinental mantle metasomatism
R. Burgess, L. Hughes, S.J. Cuthbert, A. Quas-Cohen, A. Pawley and G.T.R. Droop
Retrograde Tectonics of the Stadlandet Peninsula, Western Gneiss Region, Norway
Isabel S. M. Carter, Phillip Gopon, David J. Waters and Andrew Parsons
Spatial variation of deformation in the Western Gneiss Region: implications on UHP exhumation
Joanna Male, Andrew Parsons, Rellie Goddard, Phillip Gopon and David J. Waters
Reflectance spectral features of Koan hornfelses, at Dikeos Massif contact metamorphic aureole, Aegean Sea
M. Kokkaliari, C. Kanellopoulos and I. Iliopoulos
Lawsonite eclogite and blue schist from Syros, Greece: Insights into the fluid pathways in subducted crust and the eclogite-blueschist transition
Thomas Lamont and Richard White
Thursday 28th May 2020
Not all kyanite is created equal – The petrogenesis of kyanite migmatites in Eastern Bhutan
S.E. Phillips, T.W Argles, N.B.W Harris, C.J. Warren, N.M.W. Roberts and B. Kunz
Quantitative automated mineralogy to constrain metamorphic processes using ZEISS Mineralogic
Richard J.M. Taylor
EDS maps of Fe and Ca showing chemical zoning in garnet from the Glenelg gneisses (NW Scotland) from Rich Taylor’s talk ‘Constraining metamorphic processes using ZEISS Mineralogic’.
Reaction Affinity Patterns in Rocks with Porphyroblasts
C. T. (Tom) Foster, Jr.
LA-ICP-MS mapping of granulite-facies monazite: textural insights and implications for petrochronology
Owen Weller, Simon Jackson, William Miller, Marc St-Onge and Nicole Rayner
Microtectonic analysis of the Teziutlan metamorphic complex, Puebla State, Mexico: Mylonitic deformation in the late Paleozoic
Luis Javier Gutiérrez-Trejo, Mario A. Ramos-Arias, Edgar Ángeles-Moreno, José Martín Yáñez-Limón, Adair Jiménez-Nieto and Teresa Pi-Puig
Barrow Award Winner 2020: Dating metamorphism and other stories: Travels through PTt space
Microstructural Controls on the Crystallization of Garnet: An Example from the Meguma Terrane, Nova Scotia
Allie Nagurney and Mark Caddick
P-T path determination using phase equilibria modelling with multiple fractionation of garnet in a metapelite
Carlos Iván Lembo Wuest, Samanta Serra-Varela, Sebastián O. Verdecchia, Juan A. Murra, Manuela E. Benitez, Gladis Palacio Balderramo
Post-kinematic and matrix-dependent garnet nucleation and growth in the inverted Barrovian metamorphic sequence of the Sikkim Himalaya
Freya R. George and Fred Gaidies
Prograde UHP metamorphism in felsic and mafic lithologies and clues to pre-Himalayan metamorphism in the Tso Morari dome, Ladakh, Himalaya
A.K. Bidgood, D.J. Waters and M.P. Searle
Leucogranites in the Garhwal Himalaya: The story according to zircon
Charlie J. Oldman, Clare J. Warren, Christopher J. Spencer, Tom W. Argles
Provenance and geochemistry of metasedimentary rocks in the basement of the Sierra Madre terrane, Mexico: Implications of deposition along the western margin of Pangea
Sonia Alejandra Torres Sánchez, Carita Augustsson, Uwe Jenchen, José Rafael Barboza Gudiño, Andreas Gärtner, Mandy Hofmann, Ulf Linnemann, Carlos Mario Morales Bautista
Juxtaposed high- and low-pressure metamorphic field gradients rocks and its tectonic implications, a study case of Turvo-Cajati Formation, Ribeira Belt, Brazil
B.S. Ricardo, R. Moraes, F. M. Faleiros, O. Siga Júnior, G. Campanha, C.M. Mottram
A detailed petrological study of the metamorphic retrogression textures of the granulitic Oaxacan Complex, México
M.M. Almazán-López, F. Ortega-Gutiérrez and V. Colás
The Raspas Complex (Ecuador): A fragment of a J-K melange belt in the NW corner of the South American plate
M.C. Arrieta-Prieto, C.A. Zuluaga-Castrillón, O.M. Castellanos-Alarcón and J.D. Hernández-Montenegro
The MSG is grateful to Catherine Mottram, Barbara Kunz, Owen Weller, Ralf Halama, Rich Palin, Sophie Miocevich and Kevin Murphy for their efforts in putting the meeting together. Even Clarence the cat enjoyed it…..
Many thanks also to Dick White of St Andrews who had organised a great meeting back in March of this year but which had to be postponed (probably until 2022).
The 2021 meeting will see the MSG celebrate its 40th anniversary. This meeting will be held at the University of Cambridge from 29–31 March 2021, with the first two days consisting of a conference, followed by a one-day workshop on ‘Phase Equilibria Modelling’.
Details available at: https://www.minersoc.org/msg-rip-2021.html