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Name: Gary O’Sullivan

Gary O'Sullivan

Contact Details

Tel: +353 (0)1 8961440
Fax: +353 (0)1 6711199

Title of Project

Microanalysis of detrital apatite as a provenance proxy in sedimentary systems

Project details

It has recently become feasible to accurately and precisely U-Pb date the mineral apatite via LA-ICP-MS. Apatite is a ubiquitous mineral in sandstones and is therefore an excellent mineral for detrital provenance analysis. Apatite also has many potential advantages over more commonly used minerals in detrital provenance studies such as zircon; it is more likely to represent first-cycle detritus, its trace-element composition can be traced back to specific parageneses, it crystallises in a wide range of basic, felsic and metamorphic rocks, and its U-Pb closure temperature (375°C-550°C) makes it sensitive to regional metamorphic processes in orogenic belts.  My project aims to establish that detrital apatite faithfully records the isotopic signature of its source region, and to establish the extent to which apatite is recycled in sedimentary systems, by micro-analysis of detrital apatite samples using LA-ICP-MS.

Name of supervisor

Dr David Chew

Postgraduate personal details

I graduated from geology in Trinity College Dublin in June 2014. For my undergraduate dissertation I made a geological map of northern Syros, Greece, which is a preserved blueschist-facies meta-ophiolitic melange, and for which I won the Cunningham prize for best undergraduate mapping project in Ireland. Following graduation I started my PhD in Trinity College Dublin in September 2014.

Project Start Date

September 2014


Science foundation Ireland

Science without Borders – Brazil