University of Toronto
Department of Earth Sciences
22 Russell St., Toronto
Ontario, Canada M5S 3B1
Tel.: 416 978 2975
Fax.: 416 978 3938
The current research program involves both field-based studies of magmatic ore deposits and laboratory investigations as well as theoretical or modelling-based approaches to better understanding of the chemical and physical controls on their formation.
The field component of the research program is mainly devoted to study of intrusion-hosted Ni-Cu-PGE-Cr deposit systems including those of the Paleoproterozoic Cape Smith Fold Belt in Quebec, the Sudbury Igneous Complex, the Bushveld Complex of South Africa, and the newly discovered world-class deposits of the Ring of Fire camp in the Superior Province of Ontario. The goals of each of these projects are to use detailed compositional, textural, and structural analysis of the ore-hosting intrusions to elucidate the processes involved in creating the ores. In addition to these projects we are investigating the origins of enigmatic Fe-oxide lava flows at El Laco, Chile.
Experimental studies include investigations of the behaviour of silicate melt inclusions trapped in chromite crystals in mafic magmas, the phase relations of Fe-P-O-H magmas implicated in the genesis of the El Laco deposits, and the wetting behaviour of sulfide magmas against silicate host rocks.
We run or have access to a full range of experimental petrological apparatus, from one-atmosphere furnaces with controlled gas-mixing to cold-seal hydrothermal bombs, piston-cylinder presses and a Walker-type multi-anvil press. Using this equipment we can reach temperatures and pressures covering essentially the entire range from 1 bar at room temperature to 100 kbar and 2200 C under conditions of controlled oxygen and sulfur fugacity.
Models for the generation of magmatic ore deposits all depend in some way on assumptions regarding melt transport properties, but these properties remain very poorly understood. An important focus of ongoing research is the measurement of basic transport properties (diffusion, viscosity) of silicate melts to allow quantitative modelling of the fluid dynamics of magmatic systems, and the application of this knowledge to detailed models of the time-dependent behavior of complex magmatic systems