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Information on Symposia per Science Theme

Theme No.

Theme Title

Number of Symposia proposed

Symposia Title

Symposia Conveners

Biographical sketch of the Conveners




Advances in Geochemistry

Dr. Y. J. Bhaskar Rao


Dr. B. Sreenivas


Dr. Andrey Bekker



Geochemical and Chronological Perspective of Stars to Planets

G. Srinivasan (India)

Dr. G. Srinivasan is geochemist/ cosmochemist and has worked extensively on accretion and evolution of planetesimals, production of short-lived radionuclides and differentiation of asteroids. His work on primitive meteorites led to the discovery of 41Ca in early solar system and his work on differentiated meteorites established the role of 26Al as a heat source for planetary melting.

Nucleosynthesis, Chondrites, solar nebula, accretion, asteroids, planets

The astrophysical evolution of the Universe is mirrored in the bulk elemental abundances in the Solar System. More than 99% of the Solar System is composed of remnants from the Big Bang - hydrogen (H) and helium (He) and trace amounts of Li, Be, and B. The remainder of the elements in the material inventory is the product of nucleosynthesis from variety of stellar sources, e.g., supernovae, late-stage stars, and novae. The nearly uniform elemental and isotopic composition of planetary bodies suggests that nebular parent material was well mixed. However, vestiges of various stellar sources are manifest in the isotopic composition of presolar grains, Ca-Al-rich inclusions in primitive meteorites and heterogeneities in bulk meteorites. These heterogeneities pose a challenge for interpretation and modelling the geochemical evolution of terrestrial planets. At the same time the variable isotopic composition provide insight into the astrophysical setting in which our solar system formed and the processes that prevailed. The gas-solid chemical fractionation of elements in the nebula drove the compositional variation in primitive meteorites. The accretion and growth of planets and large asteroids was followed by their large scale melting resulting in metal-silicate fractionation, a process that resulted in core-mantle formation. The differentiation of mantle and the formation of crust led to further fractionation of elements based on their compatibility. The Earth as a planet or our solar system as a whole cannot be viewed in isolation but have to be understood in the context of other planetary systems around distant stars. This symposium invites abstracts covering all these aspects.

Geochemistry of Earth’s Crust and Crustal Evolution

Allen Nutman


Professor Nutman extensively worked on Archaean and Palaeoproterozoic crustal evolution via high-grade gneiss complexes mostly in Greenland and Australia, but also in China, Brazil, Russia and India. He has vast experience on SHRIMP ion microprobe U-Pb geochronology.

Crust, evolution, composition

The 1970s marked a revolution in the Earth sciences with the growing availability of accurate and precise absolute geochronology and the acceptance of the plate tectonic mechanism to explain major features of the lithosphere. Over the last fifty years, there has been continuous debate regarding the extent to which the modern tectonic processes are compatible with the ancient geological record. This is particularly so for the Archaean and Proterozoic, which encompass 3.5 billion yeas (~75%) of Earth’s history – with continuing debates centred around first-order questions: (i) What was the volume of continental crust through time and how did it form; (ii) when did ‘modern’ plate tectonics start and (iii) the significance of hydrosphere – atmosphere interactions on the lithosphere and the emergence and spread of life. This multidisciplinary symposium draws together contributions from the diverse realms of trace element and isotope geochemistry and geochronology, integrated with tectonics, metamorphic and sedimentary geology. The key aim of this symposium is to explore how deep in Earth’s time does James Hutton’s ‘The present is the key to the past’ hold true.

Evolution of Earth’s Atmosphere and Ocean: Geological and Geochemical Perspective

Andrey Bekker

Prof. Bekker is widely known for his contributions to our understanding of atmospheric oxygen evolution during the Precambrian. He has provided the first timing constraints of Great Oxidation Event. He has worked on Lomagundi excursion events, S, O, Fe, Ti and U isotope systematics in understanding the redox evolution.

Atmospheric oxygen, ocean, redox evolution

Earth underwent the most dramatic environmental changes in the early Paleoproterozoic and late Neoproterozoic when supercontinents assembled and broke-up, multiple Large Igneous Provinces were emplaced, major perturbations in the biogeochemical carbon cycle took place, atmosphere and oceans were oxygenated, multiple global glaciations occurred, and major innovations in the evolution of life happened. Bracketed by these two time periods of environmental turmoil, the ‘Boring Billion’ has also been in focus of the recent research with the emphasis on whether low oxygenation of the oceans or shallow-marine settings played a key role in the delayed evolution of life. Leading to the Great Oxidation Event in the early Paleoproterozoic, localized oxygenated settings or short-lived, transient oxygenation events has been inferred in the otherwise anoxic surface environments. There has been significant progress in our understanding of these events, yet cause and effect relationships among them are poorly constrained and remain highly speculative. Early Earth’s plate tectonics and geodynamics are also poorly understood, yet they provide a backdrop for all these evolutionary changes. New state-of-the-art geochemical and geological proxies has been developed and applied to constrain these events and their relationships. High-precision geochronology provides precise ages to calibrate these events and correlate globally. Geochemical modelling matured to address uncertainties in our understanding of the biogeochemical carbon cycle, nutrient cycling, and chemistry and redox state of the atmosphere and oceans in the Precambrian. Early Earth’s history also provides now an insight into exploration for life on other planets. Contributions dealing with any of these aspects will be welcome to this symposia.

Surface Geochemistry Past and Present

Albert Galy


Prof. Galy has worked extensively on the major river fluxes, especially the Himalyan rivers. He has introduced new non-traditional stable isotopes such as Mg and Ca in estimating the fluxes.

Topics covering geochemistry of weathering processes, soil formation in the past and present, rivers, element cycling, proxies to linkages between erosion, climate and tectonics shall be encouraged. Broadly the symposia will focus on interactions among lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere.


R. Baskar


Prof. R Baskar from India has worked extensively in the field of Geomicrobiology and has made significant scientific contributions. He has been striving towards seamless integration of microbiology and geology in India.

Geomicrobiology, geobiology, earth-life interactions

This symposium intends to focus on the co-evolution of life and environment on the Earth. Major geological events in the Earth history correlating with the biological evolution that can be traced by geochemical proxies will be of interest. Influence of biological activities on the Earth processes and the influence of the geological processes in the biological evolution are other toipics of discussion. Besides, microbial metabolic activities that influence water-rock interaction and microbes as geochemical agents influencing chemical transport between the major geochemical reservoirs etc. are other topics to be covered including analytical tools to recognize the ancient and current microbial activities in the rock record. Extreme environments analogous to other planets, such as deep subsurface environments or hydrothermal vents, which harbour diverse microorganisms will also be discussed.

Environmental Forensics of the Transport and Fate of Contaminant in Soil and Freshwater Systems

Prosun Bhattacharya (Sweden),

Manish Kumar (India)

Environmental Geochemistry,

Over the past decades, environmental forensic/ archaeological geochemistry has come up as one of the most vital zone of environmental studies. This symposia will provide a prestigious platform for the young dynamic scientific investigators, who are involved in addressing various issues of environmental contamination owing to its source and in relation to historical reconstruction of the release of these contaminants into the environment. Although the data furnished by traditional EPA approach can be very much useful and handy for monitoring purpose, but its importance is diminished when investigators aims at determining the source of contaminants/ point of release and migration pathways.

The present symposium intends to address the unanswered question relating to identifying the sources/ point of release of contaminants, by integrating a variety of analytical techniques or tools, analysis of the acquired data into a unified comprehensive data set. The symposium will give emphasis on: Contaminant Fingerprinting for source identification and/or age-dating, including chemical, isotopic, chiral, mineralogical /microscopy techniques, DNA and tree-ring fingerprinting. Specific Evaluative Techniques for source identification and/or age-dating including historical document and aerial photography review, signature chemicals, atmospheric tracers and markets forensics, background concentration evaluations.

Advances in Analytical Geochemistry

Martin Whitehouse


Dr. Martin Whitehouse is senior researcher primarily responsible for the ion microprobe facility, Nordsim, which operates a large geometry CAMECA ims1280 instrument as a joint Nordic infrastructure between the museum, the Swedish Research Council and the University of Iceland. His interests are in applying radiogenic and stable isotopes to the evolution of the terrestrial planets, including the Earth.

This symposoim intends to address advancements in analytical capabilities defined the development of Geochemistry. Frontier developments in analytical capabilities both in situ and ex situ will be covered.

Challenges and Opportunities of Global-Scale Geochemical Mapping (4th Arthur Darnley Symposium)

David B. Smith (USA),

Katherine Knights (Ireland),

Patrice de Caritat (Australia),

Xueqiu Wang (China),

Alecos Demetriades (Greece)

David B. Smith: Scientist Emeritus, U.S. Geological Survey. Co-Leader, IUGS Commission on Global Geochemical Baselines. Secretary, Association of Applied Geochemists.

Katherine Knights: Geochemistry Manager, Tellus Program; Co-Leader, IUGS Commission on Global Geochemical Baselines; Fellow, Association of Applied Geochemists.

Patrice de Caritat: Secretary, IUGS Commission on Global Geochemical Baselines; Fellow, Association of Applied Geochemists.

Xueqiu Wang: Co-Leader, IUGS Commission on Global Geochemical Baselines; Executive Director, UNESCO International Centre for Global-Scale Geochemistry.

Alecos Demetriades: Treasurer, IUGS Task Group on Global Geochemical Baselines; Fellow, Association of Applied Geochemists.

Geochemical mapping, global scale, environmental geochemistry, geochemical baselines, geochemical surveys

Global-scale, or continental-scale, geochemical surveys cover millions of square kilometers of the Earth’s surface generally at a very low sample density (1 site per 1,000 to 10,000 km2). Geochemical patterns produced from these low-density surveys are connected to processes related to many factors including tectonics and climate and in turn to weathering, geochemical and mineralogical composition of the original soil parent material, continental-scale glaciation, topography, regional-scale alteration and mineralization, and in some cases, human activity. Over the past 15 years, several global-scale geochemical surveys have been conducted (Australia, China, Europe, India, Mexico, United States) and the data and maps are being used as a tool to aid in environmental and resource management. This symposium aims to focus on case histories from global-scale geochemical mapping programs, the lessons learned from the surveys, and the opportunities for utilizing the data for the benefit of humankind. In addition, presentations of results from higher-density geochemical surveys conducted at national to local scales.