Summer 2019

Daniel Stubbs, University of Bristol.

Goldschmidt 2019, Barcelona.

As the annual big hitter in the realm of Geochemistry, the Goldschmidt conference is always an important one. It attracts oral presentations and posters from scientists across the globe. Such presentations cover a broad spectrum of geochemical interests; experimental petrology, isotope geochemistry, and biogeochemistry, just to name a few. Sessions at the conference also showcase exciting new advancements in analytical techniques, and how these might be used to answer broad Earth Science questions.

I arrived on what seemed to be the only summer day it has ever rained in Barcelona, but from there onwards the conference was looked upon by glorious sunshine. At the beginning of the week I attended a range of talks covering the early chemical evolution of Earth, through to the tungsten isotope geochemistry of marine sediments. These talks improved my understanding of the implications of my research, and how analytical techniques that I had learnt might be applied to answer a diverse range of questions.

Of particular interest to me were talks and posters discussing the recent discoveries of minute mass independent W isotopic anomalies in geological materials of various ages. Attending the conference allowed me to gain an understanding of the direction this field is moving in, which is invaluable given the typical delay in publishing these ideas and results. These talks have focused my ideas and have allowed me to pinpoint questions that are still currently unresolved. These ideas will shape my research for the remainder of my PhD.

I gave my presentation titled “Tungsten in Mariana arc basalts: Evidence for mobility and isotopic fractionation during subduction” in session 03m: “Subduction Zones and Associated Fluid and Mass-Transfer Processes”. My talk outlined the specifics of Stable isotope geochemistry and gave a sense of how my work fit into the big picture at subduction zones, namely – where subduction zone fluids get their chemical composition from. My talk paved the way for informative discussion with those that are trying to answer similar scientific questions, and was well received.

In what spare time I had during my stay, I explored the city more broadly, seeing many of the architectural highlights designed by Antoni Gaudí. An odd trip to the beach after a busy day at the conference did not go amiss.

I am grateful for the support from the Geochemistry Group for their generosity in awarding me a travel grant, so I could present my work in Barcelona at the Goldschmidt 2019 conference.


Grace Belshaw, University of Nottingham

Goldschmidt 2019, Barcelona

Goldschmidt is the number one conference for geochemistry, and attracts over 4000 delegates from all over the world each year. This year it was hosted in Barcelona, and included a huge number of oral and poster presentations, as well as workshops and networking events for various interest groups.

This was my first international conference, and it was a brilliant experience. On the first Sunday evening I attended the icebreaker welcome reception with the few others from my group attending, and was blown away by the scale of the conference. I could see people interacting with peers and colleagues from all over the world and was looking forward to, if a little nervously, making connections of my own as the week went on.

I completed my 15 minute Oral presentation on the Tuesday morning, entitled ‘Rock-Fluid Interactions in Geothermal Reservoir Systems’, which was in the session called ‘New Advances in Recovery of Geothermal Energy, Natural Gas Hydrates and Unconventional Gas’. I felt it went well, and a few members of the audience approached me afterwards to chat about their interests in my work. I also saw many other talks within my session, which gave me new ideas for my own work. At the evening poster session, I had the chance to meet a few individuals on a more one-to-one basis and began chatting to people within the area of geological carbon storage, which I am hugely interested in. They invited me to a social event for interested parties the next evening, which turned out to be a great opportunity. Through attending this event, I met several research leaders within the area, including those involved in the CarbFix and CarbFix2 projects, as well as other young scientists with similar interests. Over the next few days I met up with several people from these groups on multiple occasions, and have since stayed in touch, discussing both social and scientific subjects. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to attend the next Goldschmidt conference to see them all again in one place, but in the meantime I have invites to visit people in various countries, a wonderful opportunity. 

As well as the time spent at the conference, I also had some time to explore Barcelona itself, making use of the excellent metro system to travel all around the city. The Gaudi architecture present all over the city is beautiful, and a trip to the must see Sagrada Familia was indeed as spectacular as I had been told. I had the chance to eat a range of delicious Catalonian food, a real highlight, and also spent some time on the beach which is always a big attraction for me in sunny countries!

I am extremely grateful for the support from the Geochemistry Group, which enabled me to travel to the conference to present my research and engage with so many people within the field. I am certain that this has been an invaluable benefit to my future career and research ambitions, and I’m very excited to start planning my attendance to next year’s Goldschmidt.