November 19-22, 2022

General Information

We are pleased to announce Heavy Mineral Analysis in Solving Tectonic Problems, a workshop led by Dr. Luca Caracciolo (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg) and Dr. Sergio Andò (University of Milano Bicocca), who teach the European-based Heavy Mineral School at the University of Milano-Bicocca. This workshop will be organized to maximize the training of participants and allow for open discussions that focus on themes such as the effects of source rock lithologies, climate, hydraulic sorting, weathering, and lithification on detrital signatures, as well as single grain geochemistry and geochronology and future directions of research in these fields. The format of the workshop will include lectures, discussion sessions, and laboratory time on microscopes.

Organizing Committee

Dr. Emily Finzel, University of Iowa

Dr. Bill McClelland, University of Iowa

Dr. David Peate, University of Iowa

Leon Aden, ExxonMobil retired and University of Iowa

Total workshop participants will be limited to 30, with 20 spots reserved for Ph.D. students/post-docs, junior faculty (within 7 years of Ph.D.), and underrepresented groups (defined as the NSF (19-304) categories of Native American, Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, or Asian).

Thanks to funding from the NSF Tectonics and Sedimentary Geology and Paleobiology programs, limited funds are available for reimbursement to subsidize travel costs (prioritized for Ph.D. students/post-docs, junior faculty, and underrepresented groups).

There is a nominal registration fee of $150 for the workshop. The registration form can be found here.

A block of rooms has been reserved at a special rate at the Hilton Garden Inn Iowa City Downtown UniversityGuests can book online to secure the discounted rate.

The class will be held on the University of Iowa campus in Trowbridge Hall, room 134.


* COVID-19 Precautions

In the event of a COVID-19 resurgence, we may adopt new protocols or reschedule the workshop.

Day 1


  • The functioning of sediment routing systems; Tectonic, climatic, and lithologic controls on sedimentation; Connections between tectonic settings, the geology of source rocks, and the mineralogy of sediments; First cycle and polycyclic sediments

Sampling in the field

  • Strategies for collecting sediments in the field for provenance studies

Petrography of siliciclastic detritus

  • Principal components; Textures; Classification of sandstones; Classification of rock fragments; Accessories minerals; Models of provenance

Heavy-mineral studies

  • Historical overview; Heavy minerals in provenance studies; Source rocks of different heavy minerals; Heavy minerals and plate tectonics

Case histories and applications to petroleum geology

  • Applying controlling parameters and compositional biases to exploration; Diagenesis and heavy minerals; Conventional and unconventional reservoirs; Heavy mineral contribution to oil and mineral exploration

Day 2

Physical processes

  • Chemical alteration and mechanical abrasion; Selection entrainment of minerals by size and density; Hydraulic sorting and placer formation; Mineralogical and textural changes during the long-distance transport; Economic implications for strategic elements for exploration

Chemical processes

  • Alteration and dissolution in soils; Diagenesis and intrastratal dissolution; Implications for the analysis of origin of clastic rocks; Geochemical and isotopic tracers in provenance studies; Analysis of different grain size: clay, silt and sand; Geochemical and isotopic analyses of sediment in bulk rock versus single mineral approach; Indices of weathering
  • How to solve the problem of recycling; Case histories and applications

Laboratory time on microscopes in the afternoon for heavy mineral identification

Day 3

Laboratory for heavy mineral separation

  • Sub-sampling criteria; Preparation and separation of sediments and sedimentary rocks; Heavy mineral separation in sand and silt fraction; How to count in provenance: Single grain versus bulk methods; The choice of the counting method; MIRAGEM; Raman counting

Laboratory time on microscopes in the afternoon for heavy mineral identification

Day 4

Statistical analysis of compositional data and heavy mineral data processing

  • Nature of compositional data; Data transformation; Data representation; Big data in provenance studies

Laboratory time on microscopes in the afternoon for heavy mineral identification