Mineral Deposits Studies at the Department of Earth Sciences aims to explore the relationships between the pattern of global tectonics and the nature and distribution of the Earth's mineral and energy resources.

Current Research Projects:


Myanmar (Burma) is the largest country sited within the SE Asian peninsula, and has long been known to be rich in tin-tingsten, copper, gold, zinc, gemstones, oil, gas and coal: its long history of exploration includes the development of at least three `world-class' deposits: Bawdwin (lead-zinc), Monywa (Copper) and Mawchi (Tungsten). The country's complex geology reflects its siting within the confluence of a number of tectonic plates, with a collisional history stretching from the Cretaceous to at least Eocene at the eastern end of the Asian-Indian suture. It is due to this long and multiple geological and tectonic history that Myanmar has one of the most diverse and richly endowed collections of natural resources in SE Asia: simply, the distribution of ore deposits can be directly related to the tectonic history.

We are taking a multiple approach: building a GIS database of known outcrops, mines etc in an attempt to relate this to the underlying geology; sampling the metamorphic belts in order to better constrain the P-T-t history and relate this into the regional geology; granite studies and linking this to other work in the SE Asian Tin belts.

Click here for a PDF presentation of our GIS database.

We are working with local scientists in an attempt to better understand this fascinating country.

Malay Tin Granite Belt

Three contrasting granite belts have been defined in South-east Asia across southern Thailand, the Malay peninsula and Sumatra: the Western province (Cretaceous I- and S-types), the Central Main Range province (mainly Triassic S-types) and the Eastern province (mainly Permo-Triassic I-types). The Phuket suite of granites in southwest Thailand includes both hornblende- and biotite-bearing granites and more evolved biotite- and muscovite (± garnet and tourmaline) granites, interpreted as resulting from fractional crystallization of a subduction-related granite melt, subsequently affected by crustal thickening, remobilization and hydrothermal alteration. Abundant pegmatite veins contain tin-tungsten mineralization. This project aims to obtain precise U-Th-Pb zircon and monazite ages from each belt across the Malay tin granite province. We have preliminary ages from the Phuket tin granites in SW Thailand, the Central belt granites from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and the Eastern belt granites from Tioman Island.

Searle, M.P., Whitehouse, M.J., Robb, L.J., Ghani, A.A., Hutchison, C.S., Sone, M., Ng, S.W-P., Roselee, M.H., Chung, S-L. & Oliver, G.J.H. (2012). Tectonic evolution of the Sibumasu–Indochina terrane collision zone in Thailand and Malaysia: constraints from new U–Pb zircon chronology of SE Asian tin granitoids. Journal of the Geological Society, 169(4), 489–500.