James Darling

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Integrated field to nanoanalytical study of ore-deposit geology, meteorite impact processes and planetary evolution. Numerous projects are available to study solar system evolution as recorded by lunar, martian and asteroidal meteorites, or the formation of major metal deposits on Earth. Please contact james.darling@port.ac.uk to discuss project ideas.

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Personal profile


I am a geologist who specialises in the application of geochemical and microstructural techniques to Earth and planetary science. My research group aims to understand the origin and evolution of planetary crusts, and how they have been shaped by meteorite impacts through time. Recently, this has involved studying meteorite impact structures, some of Earth’s oldest rocks and meteorites from the Moon, Mars and the asteroid belt. We also apply the analytical tools developed for this research into the study of processes that lead to major ore deposits, particularly of metals that are required for the transition to low-carbon economies.

Research Interests

  • Dating solar system processes via combined imaging, EBSD and U-Th-Pb isotope analysis of achondritic meteorites
  • Shock metamorphism and its effects on key chemical records of planetary evolution, especially the isotopic systematics of volatile and moderately volatile elements
  • The formation and differentiation of meteorite impact melt sheets
  • Origin and evolution of Earth's early crust, through study of sites such as the >3.8 billion year old Nuvvuagittuq greenstone belt, Superior Province, Canada
  • Development of novel techniques for in-situ geochemical and isotopic measurements by atom probe tomography, SIMS in-situ ID-TIMS and Laser Ablation ICP-MS
  • Application of novel isotopic and structural tools to the dating and tracing of ore-formation

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


  • QE Geology
  • TN Mining engineering. Metallurgy
  • Q Science (General)
  • QD Chemistry


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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