MSG RiP 2020 Report


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
Oral Session

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
John Wheeler

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

Poster Session

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
Oral Session

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
C. Warren

Poster Session

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).

2021 meeting

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:

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We as the Metamorphic Studies Group stand in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter and with our Black colleagues.

In our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity statement we write that we aim to create a ‘supportive environment where all in the community are welcome and valued’.

Yet we know that this is not always the case and words are not enough. We must listen and learn about our biases and structural hindrances that exist within our community, which prevent people from feeling welcome and/or valued. As they say, it takes a village, and while we are only a small organization, each and every one of us can make a difference by challenging ourselves and others to actively make changes towards building a fairer and inclusive academic community.

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Announcement of the Barrow Award

The Metamorphic Studies Group are pleased to announce the winner of the inaugural Barrow Award, 2020, to

Dr. Clare Warren

The Open University


The Metamorphic Studies Group committee introduces a new award, named after George Barrow (1853-1932), geologist with the Geological Survey of Great Britain and the first to assign index minerals to zones of progressive metamorphism, Barrow Zones.

“The Barrow Award is awarded annually to a scientist who has made an outstanding contribution to metamorphic studies. Publications, teaching, outreach and other activities leading to the promotion of metamorphic geology, in the broadest sense, are taken into account in making the award.

Clare is an outstanding scientist who has demonstrated consistent excellence in and commitment to not only doing first-rate research in metamorphic geology, but in inspiring others to do the same through personal example and constructive engagement in her own community and beyond. She is someone who creates opportunities for herself, her students, and the geological community at large. In short, she is an ideal awardee for the MSG Barrow Award.

Dr. Clare Warren is a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, UK, where she has been based since 2011 as a NERC Postdoctoral and Advanced Postdoctoral Fellow, Senior Research Fellow, and Senior Lecturer. Clare completed her undergraduate studies and PhD entitled ‘Subduction of the Arabian continental margin beneath the Semail Ophiolite, Oman: insights from U-Pb geochronology and metamorphic modelling’ at the University of Oxford. Subsequently, Clare was a Killam Fellow at Dalhousie University, Canada.

Clare’s contribution to metamorphic petrology is that of a multi-method and multi-scale thinker and versatile researcher. She has made significant contributions to more than one topic in metamorphic petrology from mineral scale processes (Ar diffusion) to large-scale tectonics (exhumation of UHP rocks or evolution of the Himalayas). She has challenged existing paradigms and made a significant indent in “established” methodologies showing, for example, that other mechanisms have to be considered when interrogating Ar-Ar data.  Similarly, her work on UHP exhumation has proposed potential mechanisms that do not rely on the usual suspects (e.g. slab break off).

Her profile represents that of a modern petrologist, who can work with multiple tools and strategies including textures, isotopes, numerical modeling, field work, geochronology, tectonics and geodynamics. This breath of expertise is rare and she manages this exceptionally well. She is a well-recognised Earth Scientist within and across fields and a great role model for the whole community.

Clare is an energetic and effective ambassador for Earth Science in general and metamorphic geology in particular. Clare is a terrific catalyst – someone who will plunge in and organise seminars, workshops, field trips, and weekly tennis games as appropriate.

Clare is dedicated to serve the science community through organisation of groups, workshops and conferences, and as an editor. Her contribution to the Metamorphic Studies Group goes well beyond the call of duty and service, where she has served for over 10 years on the committee including as secretary and treasurer. Her educational achievements and high standards are reflected in the award of the Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. Through service and education, she has touched and improved the science experience of many colleagues, both junior and senior.

Clare’s outstanding scientific record in metamorphic geology, her excellent efforts in supervising students of metamorphic processes and her highly commendable activities in support of the metamorphic community make her a well-deserved awardee of the Barrow Award. Clare demonstrates the importance of female scientists for the entire Earth science community, and we believe that the Barrow Award is a fitting recognition of Clare’s tireless work promoting metamorphic geology for the whole science community.

Words of support adapted from Daniela Rubatto, Becky Jamieson, Matthias Konrad- Schmolke and Ralf Halama.

The Barrow Award 2020 was judged by: Daniela Rubatto, Bernado Cesare, Bruce Yardley, Matthias Konrad-Schmolke and Nick Rogers. Clare was nominated for the award by Ralf Halama and her application was supported by Rebecca Jamieson and Jan Wijbrans.


Barrow Award 2020-2021

We are now accepting nominations for the next Barrow Award. We are hoping for a strong pool of nominees for The Metamorphic Studies Group 40th Anniversary in 2021.

Nominees do not have to be Members of the Mineralogical Society, Fellows of the Geological Society of London or nationals of Great Britain and Ireland. The award is open to a scientist at any stage of their career (early, mid or late).

Nominations should include a statement on the merits of the candidate, a summary curriculum vitae and a list of the nominee’s more important contributions. Letters of support may be submitted from up to two additional people.

Nominations will remain on the table for three years. Previous recipients of the award, and members of the MSG Committee (at the time of nomination and adjudication) will not be eligible for the award.

Nominations for the 2020-2021 medal should be sent to the Chair of the Metamorphic Studies Group committee, to arrive not later than 31st October 2020.

For more details see:

Submissions should be compiled as a single package in pdf format, to include the nomination statement, CV of the candidate and the optional additional letters of support. The nomination package should be attached to an e-mail with a title which identifies the name of the award and the name of the nominee. The e-mail address to use is

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MSG AGM 2020

Due to the cancellation of the MSG RiP meeting we will be holding our AGM online. The Annual General Meeting of the Metamorphic Studies Group will be taking place on Tuesday March 31st 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM (IST).

The meeting will be hosted on GoToMeeting, which is available for computer, tablet or smartphone. It can be accessed by this link:

New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts:

If you are dialling in by phone please see the following numbers. For supported devices, tap a one touch number below to join instantly.

Access Code: 130-819-069

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Following a virtual MSG committee meeting late last week the committee have decided that it would be best to cancel outright the MSG RiP this year rather than reschedule for later in the year. We are looking into having at least a keynote talk presented remotely, possibly some other talks as well. Look out for updates on this website and via email and our social media channels.

Next year is the 40th anniversary of the MSG, so we are planning a two day meeting, which will in part make up for the loss of this one. Anyone who registered as a student this year will still be able to register as a student next year regardless of their status.


With all the current issues, the finance people at the University of St Andrews and Richard White have been flat out with rearranging teaching and assessments etc. Once they have some time they will start processing reimbursements. For the conference, we expect a full reimbursement to be made. For the field trip, I am still waiting on information from our accommodation as to any charges outstanding. We are expecting to be able to reimburse most of those costs.

The MSG Committee thank you for your understanding on these matters and hope you will be able to join us in 2021 for our 40th Anniversary meeting. Stay safe and well everybody.

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MSG RiP 2020 Postponed


Following the intensifying of the corona virus threat, the likely change in the government’s position from contain to delay stages and the advice on travel from several universities, the MSG committee has decided it would be prudent to postpone the upcoming Research in Progress meeting at St Andrews until the threat of infection has passed.

The MSG committee is looking at options for alternative times, likely in the Autumn and will update you all as to the new dates once they have been decided. In addition, we will endeavour to reschedule the field trip but cannot guarantee that this will be possible. Once the new dates are decided, we will ask each registered attendee if they are still available to attend the rescheduled meeting.

We realise that this will inevitably have financial implications for the attendees with respect to travel costs. For those unable to attend the rescheduled meeting we will make a reimbursement of all or most of the registration fee. For the Field trip, we will make whatever reimbursement we can after committed costs have been covered.

It is disappointing to have to postpone the meeting, but we hope we can still go on to have a fruitful meeting later this year.

MSG committee

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Registration for the MSG RiP 2020 is now open!

The Metamorphic Studies Group Research in Progress Meeting 2020 will be taking place at the University of St Andrews, with the conference meeting being on March 24th, followed by a field trip March 25-26th.

Please head over to our event page to register and find out full information about the meeting.

We look forward to seeing you in St Andrews!

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Metamorphosis of Metamorphism 2020 Summer School

The University of Pavia will hold the first international summer school on disequilibrium processes in rocks from the 6th-11th July 2020.  During the summer school 23 leading scientists will cover five high impact topics: mechanical equilibrium barometry; stress driven reactions; fluid rock interactions; seismicity and fault rocks. There is also a 1 day fieldtrip on the pseudotachylytes of the ophiolitic Lanzo Massif, Western Alps.

The provisional program can be found on the summer school website here.

If you are interested please pre-register on the website so the organisers can get an idea of numbers (pre-registration is non-binding)

Please contact Matteo Alvaro for further info.
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New MSG Barrow Award

The Metamorphic Studies Group is delighted to introduce a new award, named after George Barrow (1853-1932), geologist with the Geological Survey of Great Britain and the first to assign index minerals to zones of progressive metamorphism, Barrow Zones.

“The Barrow Award will be awarded annually to a scientist who has made an outstanding contribution to metamorphic studies. Publications, teaching, outreach and other activities leading to the promotion of metamorphic geology, in the broadest sense, will be taken into account in making the award. Nominees do not have to be Members of the Mineralogical Society, Fellows of the Geological Society of London or nationals of Great Britain and Ireland. The award is open to a scientist at any stage of their career (early, mid or late).”

Further information can be found on this page.

Barrow Award_small-02.jpg

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Save the date! MSG RiP 2020

StAs save the date-01.jpg

Save the date!

The Metamorphic Studies Group Research in Progress Meeting 2020 will be taking place at the University of St Andrews, with the conference being on March 24th, followed by a field trip March 25-26th.

More details to come, check this website and our social media feeds to keep up to date!

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