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PhD position in igneous petrology/economic geology

University of Nevada


PhD position in igneous petrology/economic geology:

“Tracing lithium enrichment in the McDermitt caldera (Nevada/Oregon) using melt inclusions and in situ oxygen isotopes”

Description of the PhD position:

The University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) seeks a highly motivated candidate to carry out a PhD project on the McDermitt Li-bearing caldera (Nevada/Oregon), one of the most important Li deposits in the U.S. currently under exploration by Lithium Americas Corporation (LAC: The research project aims to determine how Li was progressively enriched in the McDermitt magmatic system and to investigate the possible role played by degassing of Li-rich magmatic fluids to form Li mineralization hosted in intracaldera sedimentary basins.

Aufgaben und Einsatzfelder

Specifically, the PhD candidate will document and analyze melt inclusions in various types of peraluminous to peralkaline volcanic rocks from the McDermitt caldera (ca. 16.5 Ma-old) to trace Li enrichment during the long-lived (ca. 1 Ma) lifetime of the magmatic system. The project will involve field work and significant analytical work, including in-situ chemical and isotopic analyses of melt inclusions by EPMA and LA-ICP-MS for major and trace elements, and SIMS for oxygen isotopes.

There is a potential opportunity for an internship with LAC prior to enrolling at UNR helping to introduce the selected candidate to the company’s research team and to gain deeper insight into the geology of the McDermitt caldera and to collect samples from the available resources (including drill cores).

The selected candidate will work in a large and diverse group of graduate students working on various projects in geosciences at the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering (DGSE) of UNR. The selected candidate will be supervised by Dr. Philipp Ruprecht at UNR in collaboration with Dr. Thomas Benson from LAC. This PhD project is funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a duration of 3 years. Starting date for the project will be January 2023 or shortly thereafter depending upon the availability of the successful candidate.

Kenntnisse und Fähigkeiten

Preferred qualifications:

Preference will be given to candidates with academic experience in field-based studies working in volcanic environments, especially those with excellent knowledge in igneous petrology, hydrothermal systems, and geochemistry. Previous experience working with melt inclusions and geochemical tools (EPMA, LA-ICP-MS, SIMS) will be an asset. Women and underrepresented demographic groups are encouraged to apply and will be given preference in case of appropriate qualifications and aptitudes.


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