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Building on the successful ‘Frontiers in Mineral Sciences 2007’ meeting held in Cambridge, UK, the second such meeting will be held in Aberystwyth, Wales, from 21–24 June 2011 (previously listed for 22–25 June 2010). The scientific focus of the meeting will be on recent advances in research into environmental mineralogy, geochemistry, biosystems and toxicology, under the overall theme of ‘Frontiers in Environmental Geoscience’.

Date: 21.06.2011 - 24.06.2011
National/International: International
Language: English
Type: Conference
Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, UK
Contact: Local: Nick Pearce (Aberystwyth), meeting convenor njp@aber.ac.uk
Bill Perkins wwp@aber.ac.uk; and Ruth Warrender rtw@aber.ac.uk
Conference web site at:   http:⁄⁄www.minersoc.org⁄pages⁄meetings⁄frontiers-2

Scientific Sessions planned:

(please check the conference website frequently for updates)

(1) Reactivity and Toxicity of Nano- and Micro-Particles in Natural and Contaminated Environments

Convenors: Karen Hudson-Edwards, Birkbeck, University of London, UK; Kevin Taylor, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK Keynote speaker: Eva Valsami-Jones, Natural History Museum, UK The cycling of nutrients, metals, metalloids and organics through surface Earth systems plays a major role in climate and weathering systems, sediment, particulate and water fluxes, and impacts significantly the quality of ecosystems and human health. Elements and compounds can be fixed and transported in natural and contaminated environments by particulate matter of nano- and micrometre-size. This session will focus on recent advances in the characterisation and impacts of nano- and microparticles, including: (i) characterization techniques and case studies; (ii) structures, crystallinities and stabilities; (iii) mechanisms of incorporation of contaminants; (iv) reactivities in natural and man-made systems; and (v) toxicity and impacts.

(2) Applied Mineralogy of the Critical Zone: metal reactions at mineral surfaces

Convenors: John Bowles, Manchester; A Other, Bristol; Caroline Peacock, Leeds; Hazel Prichard, Cardiff; Pacal Reiller, CEA, France.
Keynote speaker: To be announced

The sorption of metals onto mineral surfaces is a controlling factor in the fixation of metals in the surface environment (the Critical Zone). The resilience of this sorption to changes in soil conditions is fundamental to the movement or stability of metals within the soil. These studies are applied to mineral exploration, waste management and contamination clean-up.

(3) Mine Drainage – Mineralogy, Geochemistry, Remediation

Convenors: Nick Pearce, Bill Perkins, Aberystwyth University, UK; Ruth Warrender, SRK Consulting, Cardiff, UK; E. Dinelli, University of Bologna, Italy
Keynote: To be announced

This session seeks current and topical research papers and posters in the area of mine drainage and remediation, with a particular emphasis on the mineralogical and geochemical aspects of such work. Passive remediation of coal and metal mine drainage is increasingly focusing on novel and cost effective methods, with growing pressure to use low cost or waste materials to remove contaminants from solution. Understanding the mineralogical, geochemical and biogeochemical processes by which these contaminants are removed is important for the effective design and construction of any remediation plants and for determining the stability of any phases formed during remediation. This is particularly important for problem metals such as Zn or Cd which remain in solution to high pH, where many "conventional" methods may be relatively ineffective. This session welcomes/encourages papers on studies of laboratory-based or field-based systems at a range of scales.

(4) Shining Synchrotron Light on the Natural Environment: metals, microbes and minerals

Convenors: Sam Shaw, Caroline Peacock, University of Leeds
Keynote: To be announced

Over the past 10 years there has been a large increase in the number of new generation synchrotron research sources (e.g. Diamond Light Source, Swiss Light Source). The development of these facilities has led to dramatic advances in beam flux, size and stability which have enabled significant improvements in time resolution, data quality, detection limits and spatial resolution using micro-focus techniques.

This session will focus on recent developments in the applications of synchrotron-based techniques for the study of environmental systems including but not limited to biogeochemistry, geomicrobiology, mineral/solution/bio interface studies, metal and metalloid speciation studies in natural and contaminated environments, aqueous geochemistry, nanoparticles, environmental radiochemistry and carbon sequestration. The session will cover research using all types of synchrotron-based techniques including, XAS, X-ray microscopy (e.g. STXM), tomography, XPS, XRF, X-ray microprobe, scattering/diffraction (e.g. SAXS/WAXS) and XPEEM.

(5) Geochemical and Biogeochemical behaviour of radionuclides and toxic elements in the environment

Convenors Ian Burke, Sam Shaw, University of Leeds
Keynote: To be announced

Mobility and bioavailability/bioaccessibility of a contaminant metals, metalloids and radionuclides in the environment are often controlled by the exact chemical species present and their reactions with microorganisms and minerals. Geochemical and biogeochemical processes such as adsorption and redox changes can often affect the long-term behaviour of contaminants and their impact to ecosphere. This session will explore recent findings on the mechanisms controlling the behaviour of radionuclides and toxic elements in both natural and contaminated systems.

(6) Ash and aerosol emissions from active volcanoes: characterizations, processes and impacts

Convenors: Tamsin Mather, University of Oxford, UK; Rob Martin, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
Keynote: To be announced

Active volcanoes are a major natural source of particles (ash and aerosol) to the atmosphere and environment. The potential impacts of such emissions were recently illustrated with the closure of European airspace due to the ash cloud from the eruption of Eyjafjallajvkull volcano in Iceland. Technological advances in analysis and remote observation have enabled more detailed characterisations of volcanic particles from both quiescently degassing and explosively erupting volcanoes. New insights into the processes that form a range of volcanic particles (e.g., ash, soluble aerosols) have also been gained. These studies, along with field assessments, offer a better understanding of the atmospheric and environmental impacts of volcanic particles. This session will provide an integrated view of the topic by highlighting recent work in volcanic particle characterisations, their dispersion and processing in the atmosphere and their impacts.

(7) Biological mineralization: palaeo-archives, natural functional materials and bacterial mineralization processes

Convenors: Erika Griesshaber and Wolfgang Schmahl, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, LMU Munich, Germany
Keynote: to be announced

This session will highlight the interplay of organic and inorganic components in the diverse mineralized materials formed under biologic control. We would like to bring together a broad scientific community involved in biomineralisation and bio-induced mineralization studies. The formation and dissolution of these hybrid organic/inorganic composits is an important factor in global geochemical budgets, and the conserved fossil biomineral record still forms the essential archive for evolutionary and paleoclimatic studies. Evolutionary adaptations of biomineral structures have also lead to solutions for natural functional materials with distinct hierarchical architectures and spectacular material properties. Research over the last years has revealed the important role of metabolic control of isotopic and trace element composition of biominerals, the so called vital effect. The organic components direct crystal nucleation, they act as templates for mineral morphology and form a matrix for the entire hierarchical structure. New tools of molecular biology are now employed to study the rates and patterns of evolution, integrating genetic data from the living organisms and the fossil record.

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