Tanya Patel, Scotland

Tanya is currently studying for an MGeol in Earth Sciences at the University of St Andrews, and is due to graduate in June 2015. Her Masters thesis has focused on the potential for groundwater contamination from agricultural activities in the San Luis Valley, Colorado. She will be presenting this work at the annual European Geosciences Union (EGU) conference in Vienna this year. In addition to this, Tanya has recently completed a field project, funded by the Mining Institute of Scotland, looking into the formation, distribution and industrial potential of anorthosite in Laerdal, Norway.

Tanya has accepted a place on a graduate scheme with RSA Insurance Group based in London, and is due to start in September. She had previously undertaken an internship with RSA looking at the financial impact or rising water tables in the UK.

Working the Blue Seam: The Tanzanite mines of Merelani

Originally thought of as a cheaper alternative to sapphire, the price of Tanzanite has soared in recent years, and it has become a desirable gemstone in its own tight, mainly due to its rarity. Mining companies are fond of promoting the romantic notion of a sapphire-like gemstone only found in one locality at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, and the phrase 'one in a million' has become a commonplace in the industry.

A review of published literature suggests that the conditions that led to the formation of Tanzanite are not unique. Similar depositional, deformational and metamorphic histories noted in eastern Antarctica, Kenya, Madagascar and elsewhere in Tanzania suggest the factors contributing to the mineralisation of Tanzanite have occurred elsewhere. For this reason, new sources of Tanzanite may well be found in the future.


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