Petrology and Genesis of Felsic Magmatism Associated with VMS Deposits, Abitibi greenstone belt

The Post-Doctoral Fellowship project being offered at Memorial University of Newfoundland is part of Metal Earth's Thematic VMS project. Metal Earth, a $104M research project, is a strategic consortium of outstanding Canadian researchers from academia and allied Canadian and international research centres, government, and industry led by the Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC) at Laurentian University.

Overview of the Metal Earth VMS thematic project

The current genetic model for volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposits provides explanations for district scale features and controls on ore location. However, we do not know why seemingly geologically similar volcanic centres, assemblages within greenstone belts, or greenstone belts themselves have such variable VMS (and metal) endowment. The Metal VMS thematic project will address differential endowment at the assemblage to greenstone belt scales through three integrated and complementary projects that will provide a quantitative comparison, using defined geological attributes, of volcanic assemblages in the well, but variably VMS endowed Abitibi Greenstone Belt (AGB). This will involve 7 researchers, 4 PhD students and 2 postdocs distributed at Laurentian University, the University of Ottawa, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Colorado School of Mines, Saint Mary's University, the Geological Survey of Canada, and INRS.

The PDF subproject at Memorial University

The PDF subproject will be focused on using felsic magmatism as probes of crustal residency, magmatic processes, tectonics, and their relationships to VMS endowment in greenstone environments. There will be two main foci of the PDF both will focus on using the textures, mineral assemblages, chemistry, and isotopic signatures (Nd-Hf-U-Pb) of heavy mineral phases (zircon, monazite, apatite) in felsic rocks.

Foci #1 will be aimed at understanding the residence of felsic magmas, crustal architecture, and crustal residence history and their potential role in controlling metal endowment in greenstone terrains. It will involve cathodoluminescence (CL) and scanning electron microscopic (SEM) imaging to evaluate zircon growth zoning and presence of inherited cores, which will then be followed laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) to undertake U-Pb mapping of inherited cores from various greenstone environments in the Superior Province. This work will provide age spectra of crustal inheritance and determine the relative role that crustal age and inheritance plays in potential metal budgets in the metal endowment of various deposits as a function of time and space across the Superior Province.

Foci #2 will focus on heavy minerals resistant to hydrothermal fluid alteration, namely zircon, monazite, and apatite, and use the mineral chemistry, tracer isotope, and mineral geochronology to understand the timing, nature of crust-mantle interaction, composition and nature of crustal substrate, physicochemical conditions of magma formation, and potential metal budgets of the magmas and the variations in both space, time, and as a function of metal endowment across the Superior Province. The work will utilize CL-SEM methods for imaging, electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) and LA-ICP-MS for mineral chemical work, and involve in situ U-Pb geochronology and tracer isotopic work (Nd-Hf) using both LA-ICP-MS and laser ablation multi-collector inductively coupled mass spectrometry (LA-MC-ICP-MS).

Supervision and funding

The PDF project will be supervised by Stephen Piercey at Memorial University and co-supervised by Thomas Monecke (Colorado School of Mines). The project will also involve coordination and collaboration with a parallel PhD-level study on melt inclusions in the above mineral phases supervised by Jacob Hanley at St. Mary's University, as well as parallel thematic studies at Laurentian University, University of Ottawa, INRS, and the Geological Survey of Canada. The position comes with an attractive salary and all field, analytical, and travel costs covered by the project.

Profile of the candidate and how to apply

The ideal candidate will have a PhD in earth sciences or geology with expertise in micro-analytical methods (SEM, EPMA, LA-ICP-MS, LA-MC-ICP-MS) applied to heavy mineral phases as applied to understanding magmatic processes; expertise in processing of mineral chemical, tracer isotopic, and geochronological data; strong writing skills and demonstrated history of productivity, ideally through publication of international peer reviewed publications; and passion for science and discovery. Experience in applications of micro-analysis to economic geology and related problems is considered an asset. Motivated candidates should submit a CV, cover letter, and the names and complete coordinates of three referees to Stephen Piercey at

Memorial University is committed to employment equity and encourages applications from qualified women and men, visible minorities, Aboriginal people, and persons with disabilities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.

Further information

The Department of Earth Sciences at Memorial University ( has ~30 faculty members and active research programs focusing on petrology and economic geology; petroleum resources, sedimentology and stratigraphy; geophysics; and environmental geoscience. The chosen candidate will have access modern analytical facilities within the Department of Earth Sciences ( and Memorial University's CREAIT network ( The candidate will also have access to facilities at the Colorado School of Mines and at Laurentian University and other partner institutions.

Memorial University of Newfoundland is the largest university in Atlantic Canada. As the province's only university, Memorial plays an integral role in the educational and cultural life of Newfoundland and Labrador. Offering diverse undergraduate and graduate programs to over 18,000 students, Memorial provides a distinctive and stimulating environment for learning in St. John's, a safe, friendly city with great historic charm, a vibrant cultural life, and easy access to a wide range of outdoor activities (

published: 14 September 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.