PhD Position in Investigation of Disequilibrium Crystallisation in Pegmatites
Catholic University of Leuven

The Geology Division from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the KU Leuven (Belgium) invites applications for a 4-year PhD position in pegmatite petrology, mineralogy and ore geology with target date on 1 September 2020. We seek a highly motivated doctoral student who is interested in pursuing fundamental research in Earth Sciences. The candidate should have basic knowledge in the areas of mineralogy, geochemistry and igneous petrology. Required qualifications are an interest in mineralogy, petrology and analytical techniques (SEM, EPMA, Raman, LA-ICP-MS, inclusion microthermometry……) and a degree in Earth Sciences or an associated discipline.


The main, overarching objective of this project is to evaluate and constrain the compositional evolution and fractionation of natural pegmatite melt and the potential associated boundary layer melts or immiscible liquids during disequilibrium crystallisation. Consequently, this research will focuson manifestations of disequilibrium crystallisation, e.g. on indicative mineraltextures such as graphic intergrowths or skeletal crystals, in well-chosenzoned pegmatite bodies enriched in Li, B, P and the rare-metals Nb, Ta and Sn. Examples of such zoned pegmatite bodies are the Black Hills and Emmons LCT pegmatites in the USA. This study will primarily apply high-spatial resolution petrographic and micro-analytical techniques on minerals, melt and fluid inclusions to meticulously track compositional evolutions in mineral growth and associated magma composition. Ultimately, the resulting data will be quantitatively evaluated against theoretical equations for disequilibrium crystallisation.

Tasks will include

  • Fieldwork in United States of America in 2021 and 2022.
  • Operational and method development on a LA-ICP-MS system (mapping and inclusion analyses).
  • Bulk rock analysis of pegmatite rock and minerals via WD-XRF.
  • Mineral micro-analyses via SEM-EDS/WDS, EPMA, LA-ICP-MS and Raman spectroscopy.
  • Measurement of concentration profiles of major and trace elements in different minerals (beryl, tourmaline, micas, etc.) using EPMA and LA-ICP-MS.
  • Fluid and melt inclusions analyses via microthermometry, EPMA, LA-ICP-MS and Raman spectroscopy, synchrotron XRF and XRD.
  • Data interpretation and presentation of results in scientific publications.
  • Contributions to courses in the bachelor and master Geology


  • A MSc degree or equivalent in Earth Sciences (or associated discipline).
  • Strong motivation towards the topic and combination of petrology, mineralogy and micro-analyses.
  • Good written and spoken Dutch and English skills, and the motivation to work in an international team.
  • An interest in technical optimization of equipment and participation in development of analytical and experimental procedures


The position is funded for 4 years and will start with target date on 01.09.2020. Salary and benefits will be according to Belgian Public Service Sector salary group.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Jan Elsen, tel.: +32 16 32 75 81, mail: 

Please send your application as a single pdf document on the vacancy website of the KU Leuven before the 15th of June 2020. Your application must include a motivation letter (1 page), CV (max. 3 pages), all academic diplomas and associated certificates, and names and email addresses of 1 or 2 referees. The review process will proceed until the position is filled.

You can apply for this job no later than June 12, 2020 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: June 12, 2020
  • Tags: Aard- en Omgevingswetenschappen

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Physicaloxy


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