Dr Eleanore Blereau


As a petrochronologist and metamorphic petrologist I specialise in multidisciplinary analysis in order to constrain and unravel interconnected geological processes or events.

I joined the University of Leeds in September 2021 after being awarded a Marie SkÅ‚odowska Curie Individual Fellowship (MSCA IF; MeltTransport) to better constrain how melt transfer occurs through the Earth’s crust. The MeltTransport project will explore natural examples of melt migration and accumulation by characterising natural samples using an innovative array of multidisciplinary techniques in combination with experimental petrology and numerical modelling to increase our ability to quantify and visualise this critical open system process. This project builds upon and compliments my existing multidisciplinary analytical skill set that I gained through my PhD and Honours research at Curtin University, Western Australia.

From my Honours project (2013) on incipient charnockites I gained experience differentiating between the interplay of fluids and partial melt interaction in accessory minerals such as monazite and zircon, providing new insight into the nature of the charnokitisation process. My PhD research (2014–2018) further build upon this and focused on re-evaluating the tectonic and metamorphic evolution of Rogaland, SW Norway through a combination of U-Pb geochronology, REE geochemistry, phase equilibria modelling, 40Ar/39Ar thermochronology, diffusion modelling and petrology.

Since completing my PhD I worked as a technical assistant with the John de Laeter Centre (2018–2021), specifically on the Sensitive High Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP; Operator), in the SelFrag lab, and clean lab associated with the TIMS. I was also the project manager and contributor to the AuScope funded ‘Preservation of Legacy Collections Project’ which created the McNaughton Legacy Collection, preserving over 20 years of geochronological sample materials for future research. 

I was also a geologist at the Geological Survey of Western Australia (2019–2021) where I created an extensive P–T data set within the South West Yilgarn as a part of the ‘Accelerated Geoscience Program’.

Research interests

As a petrochronologist I have varied research interests; from contraining P–T–t histories, experimenting with thermochronological techniques and systematics to geochronological investigations. Here is list and descriptions of several ongoing areas of my research:

Melt Transportation in the Earth's Crust: An Experimental and Numerical Evaluation of Natural Materials (MSCA IF Project, 101018037)

The Earth’s continental crust is compositionally layered, hosts natural resources and energy sources sustaining our civilization and represents an important record of the Earth through geological time. A fundamental control on the structure and heterogeneity of the Earth’s continental crust is the formation, migration and emplacement of fully and/or partially molten rocks. The upper crust is richer in silica than in the lower crust and these rocks is where many of the elements that are essential for life are concentrated. The required chemical differentiation and measured geochemical signatures suggests they must be sourced from melting of lower crustal and mantle environments. This requires melt transfer through the lower and middle crust. However, compared to the generation of melts, the transport and accumulation of such melts is still poorly documented and understood. The movement of melts in the crust is responsible for mineral resource formation, hazards (e.g. earthquakes, volcanic eruptions) and is a fundamental enabler of plate tectonics – a feature that is unique to Earth.
The ‘MeltTransport’ project will interrogate natural examples of melt migration and accumulation using an innovative combination of multidisciplinary techniques and state-of-the-art analytical facilities, including a one-of-a-kind experimental apparatus, to provide new insights into this fundamental process. This project will investigate melting processes through three main methods: (1) quantitative microstructural and chemical characterisation, (2) physical experimentation and (3) numerical modelling. This combination of methods will permit visualisation and quantification of (i) how the interaction between melts and the host rock (melt–rock) varies with different pressure/temperature/deformation scenarios, (ii) the formation of microstructures and features during melt extraction/migration/emplacement, and (iii) geochemical characteristics associated with particular microstructures.

[Taken from MSCA proposal abstract]

Collaborators: Prof. Sandra Piazolo


Potassium in pyroxene (Funded by a bursary from The Institute of Geoscience Research; TIGeR, Curtin University)

Potassium is an important element within the Earth’s crust as it is a source of radiogenic heat, however, in the mantle, the exact amount of potassium is not well constrained as methods utilising nutrinos are not effective when it comes to potassium. Pyroxene historically has been thought to be unable to accommodate potassium anywhere within its lattice due to the large size of the potassium atom. However, pyroxene has been successfully dated using the 40Ar/39Ar method (Ware et al., 2018), yielding geologically relevant ages, indicating that potassium must be present as a trace element. This ongoing study is utilising modern techniques such as ToF-SIMS and Atom Probe to visualise and quantify the presence and distribution of potassium within clinopyroxene that has previously been successfully dated. The results of this project could have implications for the radiogenic content of the mantle and its evolution.

Collaborators: Prof. Fred Jourdan, Dr Will Rickard, Dr. Denis Fougerous, Dr. Bryant Ware


Other ongoing projects:

  • Constraining the P–T–t evolution of the Natal Belt
  • Evaluating the blueschists of the Banda Arc
  • Metamorphic evolution of the AWCO, Brazil
  • Excess argon systematics

Other research interests:

  • TTG formation (e.g. Pourteau et al., 2020)
  • S-type granite systematics (e.g. Collins et al., 2021; Li et al., 2021)
  • Fluid-rock interaction (e.g. Blereau et al., 2016)
  • Thermochronometer development (e.g. Blereau et al., 2019; Thern et al., 2020)
  • P–T–t evolution of metamorphic rocks and ancient crust (e.g. Blereau et al., 2016, 2017, 2019; Glasson et al., 2019)
  • Accessory mineral systematics (e.g. Blereau et al., 2021)
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD, Applied Geology, Curtin University
  • Honours (First Class), Applied Geology, Curtin University
  • BSc Applied Geology (With Distinction), Curtin University

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics