Will Osborne

Will Osborne


  • PhD, University of Leeds (October 2023- ongoing)
  • MSci Earth Science, University of Oxford (2017-2021)

I am a PhD researcher in the Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics, funded by the NERC Panorama DTP.

Research interests

  • Metamorphic Petrology

  • Stable Isotope Geochemistry

  • Fluid-Rock Interaction

Elemental and Isotopic Interactions Within the Deepest Parts of the Oceanic Crust- Atlantis Massif (IODP Expedition 399)

I am currently working alongside scientists from the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) on a 1268m-deep core drilled at the Atlantis Massif during spring-summer 2023 (Expedition 399). By far the deepest hole drilled in in situ serpentinized mantle rocks, these exceptional new samples will provide insights into ongoing water-rock interactions, abiotic organic synthesis reactions, and the extent and diversity of life in the subseafloor in an actively serpentinizing system. See below for a general summary and Scientific Prospectus...


IODP JRSO • Expedition 399 Scientific Prospectus

Slow-spreading ridges commonly expose deep-seated crustal units at the seafloor in massifs known as Ocean Core Complexes. The Atlantis Massif (located just off the Mid Atlantic Ridge) is the best-studied of these structures and hosts the spectacular Lost City Hydrothermal Field. I am studying the alteration processes which affect pristine lower-crustal gabbros and peridotites when these lithologies are exposed to circulating hydrothermal fluids. In particular, I hope to report new estimates of the boron isotopic composition of slow-spread oceanic crust, which is currently poorly constrained. Improving these constraints will greatly enhance the utility of boron as a tracer of fluid behaviour in subduction zones.

Methods will include SEM and EPMA characterisation of alteration phases; whole rock analysis (emphasis on fluid mobile elements: B, Li, As, Sb, Cs, Ba, U, Sr, etc.); Sr, Nd and B isotopes in whole rocks (TIMS and/or MC-ICP-MS); and in situ measurement of B and B isotopes in selected key minerals (LA-ICP-MS and SIMS). I will conduct fieldwork in the Balkan and Troodos Ophiolite massifs in order to compare my results with those obtained from ophiolitic analogues. 

Metamorphic History of Earth’s Oldest Rocks

My masters project centred on a long standing debate regarding the thickness of Earth’s first continents. I investigated the metamorphic evolution of the Nuvvuagittuq Greenstone Belt (Quebec); widely considered to host Earth's oldest rocks. I used petrological phase equilibrium modelling and conventional geothermometry to quantify the pressure-temperature evolution of a suite of amphibolites. My results suggest that these rocks formed part of a coherent Archaean crustal section at least 30km thick.

Supervisors: Dr Richard Palin and Dr Claire Nichols (University of Oxford) and Dr Jonathan O’Neil (University of Ottawa).

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch for any queries or further information! My university email adress is eewjo@leeds.ac.uk 


  • MSci Earth Science (University of Oxford)

Research groups and institutes

  • Geodynamics and Tectonics
  • Rocks, Melts and Fluids
  • Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics