School: School of Earth Sciences
Address: The University of Western Australia, (M006) 35 Stirling Highway Perth WA 6009
Office Phone: +61 86488 5805
Originally trained as a chemist, Brian switched to geology for his PhD (University of Maryland, College Park) and became fascinated with the tiny pockets of fluid (fluid inclusions) that are found in minerals in virtually every hydrothermal environment on Earth (and beyond actually). These inclusions are often ignored as “holes” or “blemishes” to be avoided, but actually provide us a window into the rapidly changing hydrothermal environments of short and long-lived geologic systems. With recent micro-analytical advancements, they can even be quantified to nearly the same precision as rock and mineral samples. My research is focused on using these inclusions to understand the interplay between hydrothermal ore deposits, geothermal reservoirs, and volcanic degassing.
His long-term research goal is to build much stronger links between interpretation of hydrothermal alteration, ore geology, geothermal reservoir modelling, and volcanic hazard monitoring. Each of these disciplines captures part of the “mineral-hydrothermal” system but all can benefit from a more synergistic view of the complex and rapidly changing hydrothermal fluids involved. Connecting magmatic fluid evolution across these disciplines is also vital to a true “source to surface” understanding of hydrothermal fluids and improving our treatment of extreme fluids in our mineral systems models and distal exploration programs for hydrothermal ore deposits.
Brian completed his PhD in 2012 examining the ability of high-temperature magmatic fluids to scavenge and transport ore metals. His research had since expanded to understand the interface between high-temperature fluids and minerals/melts “from source to surface”. This includes understanding the generation of hydrous melts, various processes that control volatile degassing from magmas, fluid-rock interactions at both the magmatic and hydrothermal stage, and the deposition and fingerprint of ore mineral precipitation. He examines both natural and synthetic systems in order to understand these processes and have pioneered a number of experimental and analytical techniques to improve how we can characterize fluids in these extreme environments. His research utilizes a mineral systems approach that is aimed at improving our understanding of extreme (e.g. high-temperature, hypersaline) hydrothermal fluids across scales in order to improve our ability to vector towards high-grade ore within deposits, model large hydrothermal and geothermal fluid reservoirs, and evaluate the arc-scale processes that generate metalliferous magmatic fluids.