Current research projects


Mineral transformations and REE, Th, U, Pb distribution during alteration processes of monazite, xenotime and allanite in nano- and microscale, and analytical improvements of electron probe microanalysis and Raman micro-spectroscopy for these phases

The project aims to determine nano- and microscale mechanisms of monazite, xenotime and allanite alteration, and their impact on isotopic U-Pb record, as well as to improve selected microanalytical methods. The nanoscale observations and analyses provided crucial insights into reconstructions of fluid-mediated coupled dissolution-reprecipitation process, which is the main mechanism of alteration of monazite, xenotime and allanite. Part of the project involves TEM investigations and LA-ICPMS U-Pb analyses of experimentally altered monazite and xenotime, which demonstrate various degree of disturbance of the U-Pb system as a factor of temperature conditions; these results will have crucial implications on the monazite and xenotime petrochronology studies. Read more >>

Funding body: National Science Centre Poland, grant OPUS no. 2017/27/B/ST10/00813

Team members:

Bartosz Budzyń (Principal Investigator),

Fabian Tramm (PetroGen),

Maciej Jaranowski (PetroGen),


Gabriela Kozub-Budzyń (AGH, Kraków),

Grzegorz Rzepa (AGH, Kraków),

Jiří Sláma (CAS, Prague, Czech Republic),

Richard Wirth (GFZ, Potsdam, Germany),

Patrik Konečný (DŠSGI, Bratislava, Slovak Republic),

Hydrothermal system in late Archean – its impact on an abiotic environment composition

The Earth at the end of the Archaean (2.5 Ga) was cooler. What was the hydrothermal system at that time, similar to younger ones, supporting life development? The rocks for the project were collected in Closepet granite, Indian Dharwar, where changes resulting from the action of hot mantle-crust fluids were identified. Minerals domains resulted from igneous crystallization and hydrothermal recrystallization give basis for fluids composition reconstruction. Age of domains can be determined. The optimal choice for such a research is titanite, due to its susceptibility to changes caused by interaction with fluids and the possibility of dating its primary and secondary domains. Read more >>

Funding body: National Science Centre Poland, grant OPUS no. 2018/31/B/ST10/01060

Team members:

Ewa Słaby (Principal Investigator),

Wiktoria Gmochowska (PetroGen),

Robert Anczkiewicz (Isochron),

Milena Matyszczak (Isochron),

Marta Koziarska (Isochron),

Izabela Kocjan (GeoPrep),

Ewa Deput,


Gabriela Kozub-Budzyń (AGH, Kraków),

Richard Wirth (GFZ, Potsdam, Germany),

Hans-Jürgen Förster (GFZ, Potsdam, Germany),

Daniel Harlov (GFZ, Potsdam, Germany),

Sourabh Bhattacharya (Indian Institute of Technology Bhubaneswar, India),

Jiri Sláma (CAS, Prague, Czech Republic),

Łukasz Birski.

A nature of bimodal magmatism associated with Cambro-Ordovician rifting in Gondwana: the NE Bohemian Massif perspective in view of the integrated field data and multiisotopic studies on whole rocks and minerals, specifically zircons

Bimodal magmatism related to Early Palaeozoic thermal event in the northern part of Gondwana has been widely documented in rock successions extending from Spain to Poland. Geochemical studies of acid and mafic rocks, albeit their close occurrence, commonly lead to different conclusions. This bimodal magmatism is either correlated with an intracontinental rifting, oceanic rifting or collisional events in Early Palaeozoic times. This project offers a new, integrated approach for understanding the deep-seated processes related to the Cambrian/Ordovician evolution of the Northern Gondwana from the perspective of the Sudetes (Poland and Czech Republic). Bimodal associations in the Sudetes are the objects of the multimethodological study (field studies, whole rock and Sm-Nd geochemistry, U-Pb dating and Hf and O isotopes in zircons, immobile trace element distribution in zircon). Read more >>

Funding body: National Science Centre Poland, grant OPUS no. 2018/29/B/ST10/01120

Team members:

Mirosław Jastrzębski (Principal Investigator),

Marek Śliwiński,

Bartosz Budzyń (PetroGen),

Andrzej Żelaźniewicz,


Katarzyna Machowiak (Poznań University of Technology).

Sulfide differentiation and enrichment in metals at the lower oceanic crust and crust-mantle transition zone: ICDP OmanDP holes

We investigate a long section of the lower oceanic crust, Moho Transition Zone, and upper mantle recently drilled from the Semail Ophiolite in the frame of International Continental Scientific Drilling (ICDP) program (OmanDP project). Our project will help to identify key magmatic processes for pre-concentration of metals in higher levels of the lithosphere, where they can be efficiently leached by hydrothermal fluids leading to the formation of large-scale seafloor (SMS; oceans) or volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS; land) deposits. Read more >>

Funding body: National Science Centre Poland, grant OPUS no. 2019/33/B/ST10/03016

Team members:

Jakub Ciążela (Principal Investigator).

Towards understanding ore formation on Mars: new data from ExoMars/TGO and geochemical fingerprinting of meteorites

Ore-forming processes on Mars resemble those on Earth but little is known about the distribution and chemical composition of Martian metal deposits. Precious metals are excellent electrical conductors and will be indispensable in the development of future bases. This project brings us closer to understanding the metallogenic processes on the red planet by combining large-scale geological orbital data with high-resolution mineralogical data from a variety of Martian meteorites. Read more >>

Funding body: National Science Centre Poland, grant OPUS no. 2020/37/B/ST10/01420

Team members:

Jakub Ciążela (Principal Investigator),

Marta Ciążela (PetroGen),

Weronika Patalas.

Metal migration and ore formation in the slow-spread oceanic lithosphere: an insight from the Central Sudetic Ophiolite, Poland

Although seafloor metal deposits occur directly at the ocean floor, they form due to the migration of hot fluids transporting metals from the Earth's mantle. During the partial melting of the mantle, these metals pass into magma and then into hot hydrothermal fluids that carry them to the ocean floor. The sulfide deposits appear to be the largest, where their source is related to plutonic rocks of the lower crust and upper mantle. Therefore, large deposits of massive sulfides are formed within the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, characterized by slow spreading, where plutonic rocks are most often exposed on the ocean floor. Deep-sea drilling in such zones would thus be the best way to understand the relationship between the ocean floor metal deposits and their primary source in the oceanic lithosphere. However, due to the high cost, such drilling is rarely performed. Alternatively, these can be accessed on land via so-called ophiolites. Ophiolites are remnants of the ancient oceanic lithosphere tectonically emplaced onto continental margins. Ophiolites related to slow spreading have not yet been investigated regarding metal migration. However, luckily there is such a well-preserved ophiolite in Poland. The Central Sudetic Ophiolite is exposed around the Ślęza Massif near Wrocław. In the project, we will focus on the migration of metals between the mantle and ocean floor and its role in the subsequent ore-forming processes by investigating 235 representative rock samples from the CSO. The fruition of this project will allow us to identify critical processes causing rock enrichment in ore minerals and determine their role in shaping the global distribution of seafloor massive sulfides (SMS). This advancement is vital for the ongoing Polish research expeditions to search for SMS in the North Atlantic. Read more >>

Funding body: National Science Centre Poland, grant OPUS no. 2021/43/B/ST10/03343

Team members:

Jakub Ciążela (Principal Investigator),

Maciej Fitt (PetroGen),

Eman Elsherif (PetroGen),

Wojciech Woźniak.

Understanding very small (<200 m in diameter) and small (<1.5 km in diameter) impact craters on Earth in order to determine the degree of environmental damage induced by such events by studying their proximal ejecta blankets


Funding body: National Science Centre Poland, grant SONATA no. 2020/39/D/ST10/02675

Team members:

Anna Łosiak (Principal Investigator).

Large-scale global copper deposit exploration using satellite data

The aim of the project is to find new sites for the copper deposits exploitation on Earth. Analysis are based on the Sentinel, Landsat 8 and ASTER imaginary used for large-scale prospecting of copper deposits in hard-to-reach areas with no or sparse vegetation. During the two-weeks stay in the mine area we will make geological mapping to identify ore minerals. The research area is the Sierra Gorda open-pit mine located in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Sierra Gorda is one of the most important mining areas in the world and one of the largest copper ore mines. The mine is the flagship project of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. The methodology contains: 1) image processing in GIS software, 2) image operations including: a) creating RGB combinations from selected satellite channels, b) spectral coefficients calculations, e.g. ASTER 4/6 in the mid-infrared (SWIR) used to search for hydrothermal areas, c) use of logical operators, e.g. operation on ASTER channels: (4 + 6) / 5 indicates zones rich in alunite and kaolinite, d) mineral indexes. These techniques enhance desirable geological features such as high concentrations of hydrothermal minerals associated with ore minerals including alumite, jarosite, kieserite, hydrated silica and hematite.

Funding body: National Science Centre Poland, grant MINIATURA no. 2021/05/X/ST9/01314

Team members:

Marta Ciążela (Principal Investigator).

The application of the EBSD (backscattered electron diffraction) technique in Poland for the mantle rocks study on the example of peridotite xenoliths from Mount Bar (Devès Volcanic Field, Massif Central, France)

The main goal of the project is to develop the application of the EBSD ("electron back-scattered diffraction") technique in Poland in relation to the study of lithospheric mantle xenoliths from Mount Bar (Devès volcanic field, Massif Central, France). The EBSD method enables the study of minerals crystal preferred orientations (CPO) and the investigation of minerals microstructure. This method allows to reconstruct the deformation styles in Earth's mantle and, in combination with geochemical studies, to recognize the detailed processes of mantle peridotites evolution.

Funding body: National Science Centre Poland, grant MINIATURA no. 2021/05/X/ST10/01318

Team members:

Anna Kukuła (Principal Investigator).

(MIRORES) Multiplanetary far-infrared spectrometer for prospecting deposit minerals

The project aims to build a test version of a far-infrared spectrometer to detect deposit minerals on rocky celestial bodies. The spectrometer uses the excellent spectral features of sulfides and oxides in the far-infrared, which have not yet been explored on Mars and the Moon. In the first stage of the project, the measuring system will be tested in the laboratory on a 20-meter optical path, using an optical table to dampen vibrations and a climatic chamber to control humidity, temperature, and pressure. In the second stage, tests of the terrestrial prototype of the device intended for remote detection of specific ores and minerals (including pyrite, pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite, hematite, and ilmenite) will be carried out. Its compact form (12 cm in diameter, <2 kg) allows installation on drones to scan the ground at a height of 50–200 m. The first tests will be carried out with pyrite-rich metamorphic shales from the "colorful lakes" area in the Rudawski Landscape Park. In the third stage, we will work on a version of the device for launch into space in 2028. It will be equipped with seven detectors and will have a larger diameter (32 cm) and a greater mass (10 kg) than the Earth's prototype.

Funding body: European Space Agency, ESA Space Resources FS, project no. ESA AO/1-10824/21/NL/RA

Team members:

Jakub Ciążela (Principal Investigator),
Marta Ciążela (PetroGen).

Sulfide differentiation and enrichment in metals in the lower oceanic crust: IODP Holes 735B & U1473A, Atlantis Bank, Southwest Indian Ridge

We correlate sulfide–oxide rich intervals found in the lower crust section of two International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Holes 1473A and 735B located 2 km away from each other. Such an extensive magmatic horizon of ore minerals may be a source of metals for SMS deposits, and explain why SMSs with the highest metal grades occur on top of oceanic core complexes where lower crustal rocks can be effectively mined by hydrothermal fluids.

Funding body: InterRidge

Team members:

Jakub Ciążela (Principal Investigator).

Towards prospecting ore deposits on Mars: remote sensing of the planetary field analogue in the Rio Tinto mining area, Spain

A testbed has been established in the Rio Tinto post-mining area in Spain to evaluate the feasibility of detecting metal deposits from orbit using near-infrared method. Our goal is to determine the concentration of ore minerals in the bedrock needed to detect them from Mars' main orbit and to identify the main spectral features that can be expected from ore minerals. To this end, ore concentrations during in situ geologic mapping will be compared with satellite spectra obtained. Systematic studies such as this will help to make more efficient use of the infrared spectrometers currently already operating in orbit and will help to design new spectrometers for detecting ore minerals on Mars. These results will make new methodological contributions to the rapidly growing field of space mining.

Funding body: Europlanet 2024-research infrastructure, grant no. 20-EPN2-020

Team members:

Jakub Ciążela (Principal Investigator),

Marta Ciążela (PetroGen).

Burning heaps as "modern volcanoes" and pyrometamorphism in archaeological materials

Processes occurring within burning post-coal-mining waste heaps of Upper and Lower Silesia are studied in the IGS PAS since 2010. They are pyrometamorphic, exhalative and weathering processes. The objects mentioned are, as shown by our research, potential models for many often unrelated natural geological environments and object: volcanism + basalts, fumaroles and geothermal fields; meteorites and other extraterrestrial objects; and zones of contact metamorphism. Since 2014 the research was directed towards geochemistry of exhalations and environmental impact of the heaps. Also, few monography chapters in thematic books arisen. Recently we study relations of the heaps and local biosphere and hydrosphere.

Team members:

Łukasz Kruszewski (Principal Investigator),

Marta Wojewódka-Przybył (PALEO),

Jacek Stienss (LUT).

Development of new reference materials for boron and sulphur isotope analyses of apatite

Minerals of the apatite group can incorporate minor or trace amounts of sulphur and boron in their crystal structure, making them useful isotope archives with a special focus on biogenic materials. The aim of this project is to develop homogeneous, well-characterized reference materials for sulphur (δ34SVCDT) and boron (δ11BSRM951) isotope measurements to enable high-quality in situ investigations, expanding SIMS and LA-ICP-MS methods applications to a wide range of paleoenvironmental and (paleo)ecological studies of vertebrate inorganic tissues. This project takes advantage of existing apatite specimens that are available in large amounts, and therefore, when fully characterised for δ34S or δ11B data calibration would last for many years to come.

Funding body: International Association of Geoanalysts, Geoanalytical Research and Networking Grant (2023-2025)

Team members:

Alicja Wudarska (Principal Investigator)


Michael Wiedenbeck (GFZ, Potsdam, Germany),

Frédéric Couffignal (GFZ, Potsdam, Germany),

Johannes Glodny (GFZ, Potsdam, Germany).

Accessory minerals, megacrysts and xenolites from mafic sources of great igneous provinces - their origins and transformation processes

Mafic dykes and silles associated with the Large Igneous Province are an excellent carrier of information useful in the reconstruction of palaeogeographic migrations of continents. Due to the composition of the magma mantle from which they crystallize, the dominant accessory phases are apatite and baddeleyite. Thanks to the precise methods of U-Pb baddeleyite dating, it is possible to use the area correlation method called the mafic barcode, which allows for the reconstruction of the position of palaeocontinents.

Funding body: Statutory research grant IGS PAS 2022-2023

Team members:

Ewa Słaby (Project Coordinator)



Petrochronology and alteration processes of REE phosphates and silicates in reconstructions of metamorphic and igneous processes

The project aims to expand our understanding of the influence of metasomatic processes that induce the transformation of REE-bearing phosphates and silicates (monazite, xenotime, apatite, zircon, allanite), which are used in U-Pb dating of magmatic and metamorphic processes. One of the tasks involves petrochronology and geochemistry of apatite and zircon in eclogites from Norway and Sweden, using EPMA measurements and LA-ICPMS U-Pb dating and trace element measurements.

Funding body: Statutory research grant IGS PAS 2021-2023

Team members:

Bartosz Budzyń (Project Coordinator),

Maciej Jaranowski (PetroGen),

Fabian Tramm (PetroGen),


Gabriela Kozub-Budzyń (AGH, Kraków),

Jarosław Majka (Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; AGH, Kraków),

Jiří Sláma (CAS, Prague, Czech Republic).

Reconstructions of orogenic processes based on studies of selected objects

We carry basic research aimed at the reconstruction of geological processes, in particular, those that had been recorded in crysstaline rocks of the SW Poland. In 2021, the project focuses on mineralogical and tectonic phenomena manifested in various scales in the earth's mantle and the crust. In particular, the project aims to shed more light on the genesis and evolution of the Sudetic Ophiolite, and to identify processes that led to a probable heterogeneity of the Earth's mantle under the eastern edge of the Central European Volcanic Province.

Funding body: Statutory research grant IGS PAS 2019-2023

Team members:

Mirosław Jastrzębski (Project Coordinator),

Anna Kukuła (PetroGen),

Jakub Ciążela (PetroGen),

Łukasz Kruszewski (PetroGen)

Aleksandra Jaźwa.

Crystal chemistry of secondary sulfates from fire zones - working-out the research methodology

The "SULFIRE" task, running from 2022, is devoted to refinement of a study of exhalative processes, and its products, of fire-encompassed post-coal-mining heaps in Poland. One of its goals is a precise determination of crystallochemistry of exhalative minerals, that are mainly sulfates. They represent an analytically challenging material due to its instability. However, in the course of the research, it was possible to gain data for godovikovite-sabieite-steklite-yavapaiite solid solution from sulfate crust from Czerwionka - [(NH4)0.94K0.04Ca0.01Mg0.01]Σ1.00(Al0.90Fe0.09Ti0.01)Σ1.00[(SO4)1.99(SeO3)0.01]Σ1.00·2.14H2O (n=24). So is true for millosevichite-mikasaite solid solution from a similar object of Radlin - (Al1.73Fe0.19Ca0.07K0.02Na0.01Mg0.01Ti0.01)Σ2.04[(SO4)2.97

(PO4)0.01(SeO3)0.01]Σ2.99·10.95H2O (n=16). An important find from the same heap concerns discovery of few new mineral phases, of which one - a copper selenite-sulfate, possibly (Cu3.85Fe0.15)Σ3.00O1.33(SeO3)0.96(SO4)1.93 providing its similarity to the associated rare species dolerophanite - will be further studied with a purpose of approval as a new species. The dolerophanite, (Cu1.96Fe0.03)Σ1.99O1.03(SO4)0.98, is stabilized by iron ions. Associates are low-iron tenorite and chalcanthite. Further plans encompass similar research of an ammonium iodobismuthate, and a copper iodide-sulfide.

Funding body: Statutory research grant IGS PAS 2022-2023

Team members:

Łukasz Kruszewski (Project Coordinator).


Determination of the relative age of fossil teeth using the fluorine dating method

The main component of teeth and bone is hydroxylapatite Ca10(PO4,CO3)6(OH,CO3)2 , whose chemical and isotopic composition is an important indicator in paleoenvironmental studies. The structure of apatite allows numerous isomorphic substitutions, and its composition may be altered after deposition in sediment. One of the transformation processes of bioapatite is F substitutions in the (OH) position, the quantification of which has been used in the past to determine the age of fossil bones. However, due to the complex crystallochemistry of apatite and complex sub-deposition processes, a number of problems have been identified in the interpretation of results not only when comparing samples from different locations, but also within a single site. With the development of research methods used in the reconstruction of palaeoenvironments, infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and Raman microscopy have become increasingly important as tools for assessing the degree of diagenetic alteration of fossils (e.g. by determining CI crystallinity and C/P ratio). The main goal of this research is to test suitability of both methods for determining the age of fossil teeth based on the F contents in their structure.

Funding body: Statutory research grant IGS PAS 2022-2023

Team members:

Alicja Wudarska (Project Coordinator),

Maciej Krajcarz (LIS),

Małgorzata Lempart (ClayLab),

Anna Mulczyk (LUT),


Magdalena Krajcarz (UMK, Toruń),

Maciej Manecki (AGH, Kraków).