Trainees

June Cho

MSc student
University of British Columbia

Mafic layered intrusions have served as a testing ground for our understanding of key petrologic paradigms for almost a century. Some of these intrusions are also precious and base metal repositories, and their economic significance make them an important resource for both the scientific (ore-forming processes) and industrial (high-value commodities) communities.

I first started working on layered intrusions after I completed my BSc degree in Geological Sciences at UBC. I received an NSERC undergraduate student research award with Drs. Weis and Scoates at PCIGR for the summer. My project involved the detailed identification and characterization of symplectites (reactive microstructures that develop during the last stages of crystallization) in the Kiglapait layered intrusion (Labrador, Canada), using petrographic observations and major/minor element geochemistry to tease out the late-stage processes required to form these enigmatic microstructures.

With my curiosity in magmatic systems piqued, I started an MSc project with the same advisors, studying mafic cumulates of the Skaergaard intrusion (Greenland). The Skaergaard intrusion is a name familiar with most students who have taken an igneous petrology course, and for good reason… it is a spectacularly preserved and well-exposed intrusion that formed from a single pulse of magma and cooled as a closed system. The Skaergaard intrusion is overlain by the vast East Greenland Flood Basalts (~65,000 km2), and there is still debate concerning the genetic links between the Skaergaard and the basalts; in particular: can the Skaergaard be matched with certainty to a particular horizon in these basalts? My MSc project aims to resolve this question using lead isotope compositions of plagioclase from the Skaergaard intrusion obtained by split stream laser ablation ICP-MS, a newly set-up method at PCIGR.

Participating in MAGNET as first, an undergraduate trainee, and now, a graduate trainee, has provided a wealth of experiences and opportunities. MAGNET has been incredible in allowing us to gain a better understanding of the applications of geochemistry in a variety of industrial and academic contexts, to develop our teaching skills in unique, outdoor classroom settings, and to connect us with a diverse group of geochemists from across Canada. I will definitely take what I’ve gained from this wonderful program onto my next geochemistry adventure!