The sixth MAC Foundation Scholarship was awarded to Murray Allan, currently working toward his PhD in geochemistry at the University of Leeds, UK, under the supervision of Prof. Bruce Yardley. He has BSc Honours degrees in applied chemistry and geology from the University of Calgary (2002). Murray Allan’s current research in geochemistry blends his geological and chemical experience.
His 7th grade science fair entry, What affects the growth of crystals?, was perhaps an omen of Murray’s academic career! He left his native Vancouver in 1996, to pursue a cooperative education degree in applied chemistry at the University of Calgary, where he held a Chancellor’s Club Scholarship. Murray’s industrial placements provided him experience in the polymer and pharmaceutical industries and in a university research lab.
Lured by his first geology course in 1997, Murray decided to pursue a BSc in Geology alongside his studies in chemistry. For his undergraduate thesis, under the supervision of Dr. David Pattison, Murray worked on the metamorphic-structural history of a turbidite basin in the Trans-Hudson Orogen of Baffin Island, where he spent the summers of 2001 and 2002 mapping bedrock with the Geological Survey of Canada. Field trips to New Zealand and to Arizona’s Morenci copper Mine sparked an interest in hydrothermal activity and ore formation. Murray received his BSc in geology with first class honours in 2002 and received the Lieutenant Governor’s Gold Medal.
Murray accepted a scholarship from the University of Leeds and began his PhD research with Prof. Bruce Yardley in 2002. His research is a laser ablation ICP-MS study of the hydrothermal fluid chemistry of the Mt. Leyshon subvolcanic complex, Australia. He is attempting to link compositional data from fluid inclusions to mineralization style and distribution in this intrusion-related, breccia-hosted gold deposit. Murray is unraveling some of the chemical processes both at the magmatic-hydrothermal interface and downstream of the magmatic environment, where the transport of ore-forming metals by low-salinity fluids is a predicted, but largely untested, hypothesis. Because trace-element analysis in dilute fluid inclusions poses an analytical challenge, a major portion of Murray’s research has been a statistical assessment of the LA-ICP-MS technique’s precision and accuracy over a wide range of ‘geologically realistic’ fluids.