Tectonic and climatic controls on porphyry copper enrichment in the Central Andes !
This is a CASE project with the global mining company BHP Billiton. Over the course of the project, the student will work in Chile working on mine properties owned by the company and visit the Copper exploration group in Santiago.
Project goals and methods
This PhD project will investigate the roles of tectonic uplift, exhumation, and climate on supergene enrichment along the western Andean margin in northern Chile. In this area, extensive deposition of fluvial gravels proximal to major sites of mineralisation offers an opportunity to place spatial and temporal constraints on patterns of exhumation, transportation, and deposition of igneous material related to PCDs.
Project goals include:
- Conduct a detrital provenance study of gravels using U-Pb geochronology and (U-Th)/He thermochronometry.
- Use numerical modelling to constrain the exhumation history of igneous clasts in the gravels, from emplacement at depth to exhumation and fluvial transportation on the surface.
- Relate patterns of exhumation and deposition to regional tectonic and climatic constraints.
- Determine how these patterns may affect the formation and preservation of enriched PCDs.
Necessary skills and interests
The project will provide research training in field skills, analytical techniques, and numerical analysis. Applicants should be prepared to work at high elevation in remote and rugged terrain, have a strong interest in large-scale continental tectonic systems, and a willingness to master a number of quantitative techniques.
Primary contact: Frances.Cooper@bristol.ac.uk
Host institution: University of Bristol