Dr Anna Bird

Research interests

Single grain mineral analysis to understand mineral growth and in-situ geochronology. Orogenic processes and climate combining metamorphic petrology and isotopic geochemistry. Applying geochronology to establish the timing(s) of orogenic events.  Sedimentary provenance.


Royal Holloway: University of London

  • Lecturer and demonstrator of Regional Geology, 2012. The Northern and Grampian Highlands of Scotland.
  • Lecturer and demonstrator to MSc Quaternary Science, 2012. Sedimentary provenance, fieldwork and lab work.
  • Lecturer of metamorphic petrology, 2008-2010 full responsibility for 2nd year Metamorphic Petrology, including construction of 7 lectures, 7 practicals, assessments and exam.
  • Practical demonstrator, 2007-2010, 1st and 2nd year classes.

Research interests (continued)

Research experience

  • Dust storms and Chinese loess sources over the last 22 Ma. The source(s) of the dust within the Chinese Loess Plateau are not well understood, thus it is impossible to interpret the atmospheric circulation patterns associated with the monsoons or investigate the climate proxies within the loess in detail. The project has involved two extensive field trips, the first in 2011 focused on the loess plateau, while the second in 2012 looked at deserts to the north west of the Plateau including the Badin Jarim and the source of the Yellow River in the Tibetan Plateau. The techniques used are heavy mineral analysis, rutile U-Pb, zircon Hf-Hf and Nd, Hf, Sr bulk rock analysis.
  • Age resolution of peak metamorphism within the Caledonides of northern Scotland and Shetland.  This project aimed to define the timing of peak metamorphism using Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd analysis of garnets from the poly-metamorphic Caledonides in Scotland and Shetland. Some Rb-Sr dating of micas was also undertaken. Techniques used include LA ICP-MS analyses of REE and Hf zoning in the garnets, MC ICP-MS and TIMS to establish isotopic ratios and concentrations, EPMA used to ascertain garnet end member proportions, SEM to undertake elemental mapping and XRF to determine whole rock major and trace element concentrations. This project included a lot of clean laboratory experience and fieldwork. Sample petrology was a large part of this project in helping to identify suitable samples and observe textures and minerals accurately. Much time was spent on increasing the precision of the column chemistry. This included running calibrations using known standards and various reagents in order to achieve the best split, running blanks and resin maintenance. The project also included comparisons between the various isotopic systems and interpreting the different results.
  • 2 months work experience at the Centre of Exchange and Research in Volcanology in Mexico studying the Volcán de Colima. This included assisting with field and laboratory work, including: collection of water and gas samples, maintenance of installed sensors, geophysical surveys and analysis of data. As part of this project I attended an Earth Hazards Exchange Program which included an online series of lectures on Volcano Instability.
  • Undergraduate independent mapping project was carried out in the island of Kythira in Greece. The area mapped was 12km2 and had not been mapped in detail previously. 

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