GMPV Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology & Volcanology
The 2023 Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award is awarded to Xin Zhong for outstanding research in the field of elastic thermobarometry, resulting in many novel applications including the characterization of frictional melts formed during faulting, metamorphism in the deep crust, and the timing of kimberlite ascent.
Xin Zhong’s work has resulted in a detailed understanding of pressurized mineral inclusions, with significant advances in the field of elastic thermobarometry. He has investigated the post-entrapment modification of pressures associated with mineral inclusions, ground-truthing his theoretical advances with petrological and field observations, advanced phase equilibria modelling and a consideration of multicomponent chemical diffusion, together with laboratory experiments. This broad range of expertise sets him apart from others working in the field.
Among notable advances, Xin Zhong developed an entirely novel application of the quartz-in-garnet elastic barometric method to pseudotachylites, demonstrating the presence of highly pressurised frictional melts in the lower crust. He undertook experimental and theoretical analysis of the zircon-in-garnet elastic thermometer and applied it to study the entrapment conditions in the eclogites of the Bergen Arc in Norway. Making use of the time-dependent process of viscous relaxation, he provided a new kind of chronometer, applicable to very short events such as kimberlite magma ascent. His theoretical work has encompassed an analysis of the effect of residual stress drop in thin sections due to the proximity of mineral inclusions and the free surface, the development of a novel approach to account for the effects of any mechanical anisotropy of an inclusion phase on residual stresses, and an understanding of post-entrapment viscous relaxation.
Xin Zhong is an exceptionally talented and enthusiastic early career researcher, who is always ready to share his knowledge with students and his collaborators; even at this early stage in his career he has actively co-supervised several MSc and BSc students. The above achievements, the multidisciplinary breadth, and his unstoppable enthusiasm and effort to advance the field make him a very well-deserved recipient of the Early Career Scientist Award of the Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology & Volcanology Division.