- Research Assistant
David Kaeter is a PhD researcher in the iCRAG raw materials research challenge. David graduated with a BSc in geosciences from University of Hannover and an MSc with specialisation in mineralogy and petrology from University of Potsdam. He joined iCRAG under the supervision of Dr. Julian Menuge in April 2016, where he will investigate rare element enrichment processes in LCT pegmatites. His research involves major and trace element analysis as well Sr-Nd-O isotopic studies of samples from the Leinster LCT suite to understand pegmatite formation and draw conclusions for geochemical exploration. General research interests include economic geology, geochemistry and petrology.
An increasing demand for consumer electronics and unconventional energy sources generates an increasing demand for rare elements like lithium for Li-ion batteries and other high-technology elements like tin, caesium, and tantalum. LCT (lithium-caesium-tantalum) pegmatites are an important source for such elements. Pegmatites form where small bodies of magma crystallize in the crust as rocks with unusually large crystals. I study the chemistry of a suite of LCT pegmatites from Leinster, SE Ireland, to understand how these rocks formed and where certain rare elements were enriched. This will help in finding LCT pegmatites elsewhere and in identifying their most fertile parts.
Project title: Rare element enrichment processes in LCT pegmatites and implications for geochemical exploration
The aim of this project is to understand the crystallization history and rare element enrichment in a suite of Li-Cs-Ta (LCT) pegmatites emplaced in the East Carlow Deformation Zone along the margin of the Leinster Granite, SE Ireland. With significant amounts of lithium and potentially economic caesium, tantalum, and other rare elements, LCT pegmatites are important exploration targets.
Major and trace element variations within zoned crystals; between crystals of the same mineral representing successive crystallization stage in the same pegmatite; and in different pegmatites will be determined. The focus will be on minerals that record variation in Ta, Nb, Cs, Rb, and in Mn/Fe ratio which accompanies rare metal fractionation. The exploration usefulness of these minerals in this context will be assessed. The mineral chemistry data will be used to test a variety of petrogenetic models of pegmatite crystallization, testing for Rayleigh fractionation, constitutional zone refining and immiscibility, focusing on the causes of rare metal enrichment and depletion. New petrogenetic models will be tested and refined with LCT pegmatite samples from Brazil Lake, Nova Scotia, Canada.
International Lithium Corporation, currently exploring for Li in Counties Carlow and Wexford, provides access to drill core and exploration data needed for this project.
- Specialist Staff
- Earth Resources
- Mineral Exploration