12 December, 2017

Reynolds Cup 2018 registration is now open

It is time for the Reynolds Cup again! Today I got the official announcement by email from the organisers. Anyone interested in quantitative analysis of natural rocks and clay minerals by X-ray diffractions and other methods ought to take a look! 
Dear colleagues,

The 9th biennial Reynolds Cup competition for quantitative mineral analysis is now open. You can register your interest in participating in the contest by sending an email to Rieko Adriaens radriaens@qmineral.com. The competition is open to anyone interested in quantitative mineral analysis, with particular emphasis on clay mineralogy. Information about the competition including guidelines and previous winners can be found at http://clays.org/Reynolds.html . The competition is free for all to enter, however, those that are not members of the CMS are encouraged (but not obliged) to become members (see http://clays.org/join_benefits_of_membership.html).
Please use the following format when registering: 
Subject: Please put "Reynolds Cup 2018 registration" in the subject line in your email request. In the body of the email please put the following information:
Shipping address: (that works for DHL/Courier delivery, e.g. physical address not Postal Box)
Phone number (for delivery):
Email address:

A total of approximately 90 sets of samples will be available for distribution. Each set comprises three samples of approximately 3-4 g with mineral mixtures commonly found in clay bearing rocks. All sets of samples will be distributed in the order of registration. Samples are expected to be shipped at the latest at January 22nd 2018 with the deadline for submission of results by April 16th 2018. The top three contestants with the most accurate results will be announced at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Clay Minerals Society (June 11-14, 2018, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois). Only the names of the top three contestants will be published. The names of the other participants will remain strictly confidential.

Because of the popularity of the Reynolds Cup and the enormous amount of work put into its preparation, potential participants are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and only request samples if they are sure they can complete the analysis and return results to the organizers by the due date. Those who request samples and do not send in results or fail to return the samples unopened WELL BEFORE the due date will not be eligible to participate in future Reynolds Cups. A waiting list will be kept to offer returned samples to other potential participants.

To ensure an even wider exposure, we encourage you to forward this announcement to your national mailing lists and mineralogy associations, colleagues and friends who might be interested in participating.

We look forward to your participation!
Rieko Adriaens
Gilles Mertens
Reynolds Cup 2018 organizers

11 December, 2017

9th Mid-European Clay Conference in Zagreb

The Mid-European Clay Conference (MECC) has always been an interesting and worthwhile event during my doctoral student years. Therefore I am especially excited that the 9th MECC is being co-organised by a good friend of mine from the Croation Geological Survey. It will be on 17th to 21st September in the beauiful city of Zagreb in Croatia. 

Follow the banner to the conference website


Here is a quick overview of important information about the 9th MECC:

13 October, 2016

Bentonite has its faults, too.

While writing and compiling the doctoral thesis (two chapters complete, hurrah!) I have been screening through many photographs taken during fieldwork. This one was pretty nice because it shows a tiny fault! The fault is almost vertical, strikes almost North, shows almost no displacement (arrows) - recognisable only by relict sedimentary (too pale to be seen on the picture) layers and the occasional root molds (white dotted lines), amounting to maybe 1 cm of movement. Unfortunately this was the only occasion in 5 years of work that I managed to find a fault in the Bavarian bentonite, and I almost missed this one because I thought that it was related to the on-going mining activities.

Front view of the tiny fault in silified bentonite. Hammer for scale. :-)

13 August, 2016

A view of the geothermal plant Oberhaching-Laufzorn

One of the fascinating aspects of our profession is that the geosciences, especially their practical applications, can often be found (almost) in front of your home. Enjoying today's excellent summer day and a bicycle tour through the south-eastern outskirts of Munich unexpectedly lead me to a geothermal plant of Erdwärme Grünwald at Oberhaching-Laufzorn. The plant entered full production capacity in December 2014 and is used for district heating, and minor power generation.

The doublet wells reach a production depth of 4032 m and a re-injection depth of 4453 m below surface. The well taps into the karstified Upper Jurassic Malm aquifer and has a capacity of 140 to 160 l/s at 128 to 130°C; generating about 20 to 50 MW of district heat.

Field impressions:
Rural outskirts of Munich
A look in the other direction reveals the geothermal plant!
Entry and main building.
That is where the thermal waters reach the surface!
Just a minute further down the road. Rural Munich No. 2!

Details and information taken from the local signs at the goethermal plants and the following websites:

Erdwärme Grünwald

Informationsportal Tiefe Geothermie

27 June, 2016


I have been very busy with another publication as part of my doctoral thesis during the last weeks/months. So posting was quiet here and will probably continue to be so for a while.

But I recently noticed another open access resource related to clay science that might be of interested especially to the folks interested in porosity, permeability and fluid flow in shales and clays. This is the CMS Workshop Lecture series vol. 21: Filling the gaps – from microscopic pore structures to transport properties in shales. It is freely available on the CMS website, just follow the link above.

Here is an except from the preface:
This CMS Workshop Lecture Series (WLS) volume is intended to give a summary of the current state-of-the-art of different spectroscopy and microscopy methods, as presented during a workshop held in conjunction with the EUROCLAY 2015 conference in Edinburgh, UK, on the 5th of July 2015. This workshop was initiated by the NEA Clay Club, The Clay Minerals Society, and the Euroclay conference series. This EUROCLAY 2015 workshop is a continuation of the very successful workshop “Clays under Nano- to Microscopic resolution”  which took place from 6th–8thSeptember 2011 in Karlsruhe and documents new developments and the progress made over the past four years concerning research in low-permeability, clay-rich, geological formations (NEA-CLAY- CLUB, 2013). The workshop also provided an excellent opportunity for exchange of knowledge with research communities concerned with the safe long-term management of radioactive waste within argillaceous sediments, and with shale gas and oil exploration.