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My research falls into two major strands: geological and pedagogic.

Geological research

My geological research concerns the relationship between tectonics, texture development, and pressure and temperature evolution during orogenesis at mid-to-lower-crustal levels. I have completed exhaustive field studies in arctic Scandinavia, and significant field studies in Connemara, Ireland, and Saudi Arabia. My focus now is in detailed study of well-constrained materials from these areas, in particular using the two leading edge Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) in the Microstructures Research Group. By understanding how geological materials behave on the grain scale at different strain rates and PT conditions, it is then possible to understand better how the lithosphere behaves on the mountain belt scale. Current projects concern the controls on inclusions in porphyroblast, and the behaviour of pyrite during deformation under metamorphic conditions. The former is testing the fundamental assumption made by metamorphic petrologists that included phases in porphyroblasts are representative of earlier conditions, while the latter is seeking to provide a better tool for constraining the evolution of sulphide ore bodies.

Since 2009 I have been involved in geopolymer concrete projects funded by the Carbon Trust and NW Development Agency in the UK.

The following pdf versions of conference posters illustrate some of my work:

Research students:

  • David Parratt: Geochemistry of Peruvian Marginal Basin Rocks. 1983-87, thesis successful. Co-supervised with Dr. Atherton, NERC funded. [First destination: Brady Electronics plc, Cambridge - now managing director]
  • Ian Dawes: Structure and Metamorphism in the Dalradian of NW Connemara, Ireland. 1984-88, thesis successful. University funded. [First destination: BP Exploration plc]
  • Keith Westhead: Thermal studies in the Köli Nappes, Central Scandinavian Caledonides. 1987-90, thesis successful. NERC funded. [First destination: British Geological Survey]
  • Ahmad Al-Saleh: Structure and Metamorphism of the Halaban area, Saudi Arabia. 1989-1993. Saudi Arabian Government funded. [First destination: Assistant Professor, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia]
  • Seyed Massoud Homam: Petrology of the Ardara aureole. 1997-2000, thesis successful, Iranian government funded [first destination Lecturer at Damghan University of Sciences, Iran].
  • Maurizio Bartozzi: Grain boundary hierarchical analysis of quartz mylonites.1998-2002 [first destination senior programmer/systems analyst, ledwood UK Ltd.]
  • Aziz Rahimi-Chakdel: Controls on inclusions in porphyroblasts. 1999-2003 [first destination Lecturer at Gorgan University, Iran]
  • Craig Barrie: Microstructural developement of sulphide minerals. 2005-2008 [first destination temprorary Lecuturer at St Andrews University]

Pedagogic research

Since 1993 I have been involved in the development of computer-based learning and assessment materials, together with research into how to implement their use. This has been supported by a series of grants from TLTP, FDTL, JISC and EDRF, as well as the University of Liverpool's L&T Fund. Some key projects include:
  • TRIADS project - computer-based assessment
  • TeLP project - computer-based assessment

    From September 2007 I will be investigating the use of video microscopes to facilitate collaborative learning in mineralogy using a grant of £21,422 from BP plc.

Feedback: apboyle@liverpool.ac.uk.