School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences


Dr Ian B. Butler


Research Fellow in Experimental Geoscience.

Phone: +44 (0) 131 650 5885
Fax: +44 (0) 131 668 3184

1995 PhD Geochemistry. University of Wales, Cardiff
1990 BSc(Hons), Geochemistry. University of Reading

2006 - present: ECOSSE Research Fellow, School of Geoscience, University of Edinburgh
2002 - 2005: Research Fellow in Geochemistry, School of Earth Science, Cardiff University
2000 - 2002: Leverhulme Special Research Fellow, School of Earth Science, Cardiff University
1998 - 2000: Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Earth Science, Cardiff University
1996 - 1997: Postdoctoral Research Assistant, School of Ocean and Earth Science, Southampton University
1995 - 1996: Geology Research Fellow, School of Ocean and Earth Science, Southampton University
1993 - 1993: Visiting Researcher, School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, SUNY Stony-Brook, NY, USA.


Research Interests in Environmental Aqueous Geochemistry and X-ray Computed Tomography

Experimental geoscience including the design and implementation of novel experimental and analytical equipment.
Isotope geochemistry of S, Fe and Cu in anoxic and sulfidic environments
Metal sulfide chemistry and nanomaterial properties in low temperature anoxic aqueous environments
Hydrothermal processes at mid-ocean ridges and geothermal environments
Prebiotic geochemistry and the origins of life on the early Earth.
Applications of X-ray Computed Tomography to experimental investigations of flow and transport in geology and geochemistry.

Research Funding

2015 - 2018 £437K "International Centre for Carbonate Reservoirs 2 - SatuTRACK II: Saturation tracking and identification of residual oil distributions using X-Ray CT, SEM, and pore-scale modelling techniques" Petrobras/BG funding via ICCR. Principal Investigator.
2015 - 2018 £433K "International Centre for Carbonate Reservoirs 2- GeoMeChem: - Multi-Scale Experimental and Numerical Investigation of Geo-mechanical and Chemical Reservoir Damage of Carbonate Reservoir Rock during Hydrocarbon Production" Petrobras/BG funding via ICCR. Co-Investigator
2015 - 2018 £445K "International Centre for Carbonate Reservoirs 2 - 4D ROCK PHYSICS: Characterisation of 4D fluid/rock physics on pre/post-salt porosity from CT and synchrotron micro-tomography (4DRP)" Petrobras/BG funding via ICCR. Co-Investigator.
2013 - 2014 £96K "Understanding genesis of HREE deposits through Experimental and Spectroscopic measurements and atomistic Simulations (REEXSS)" NERC Catalyst Grant. Co-Investigator
2012 - 2016 £151K "SAFE Barriers a Systems approach for Engineered Barriers" EPSRC COnsortium Grant. Co-Investigator.
2011 - 2014 £183K "SATUTRACK - Saturation tracking and identification of residual oil distributions using X-Ray CT, SEM, and pore-scale modelling techniques" Petrobras/BG funding via ICCR. Principal Investigator.
2011 - 2013 £57K "In-situ X-ray tomographic imaging under extreme conditions: a proof of concept study" NERC Small Grant. Co-Investigator.
2011 - 2013 £172K "Localizing signatures of catastrophic failure (LOCAT)" EPSRC/ERC Project Grant, and part of European Complexity Network. Co-Investigator.
2009 - 2012 Euro2.9M “Co2Solstock - biobased geological CO2 sequestration”. EU Framework 7 Future Emerging Technologies Network. Co-Investigator.
2008 - 2012 Euro440K “IMVUL - Towards improved aquifer vulnerability assessement”. EU Framework 7 MARIE CURIE Initial Training Network. Co-Investigator.
2008 - 2009 £13400 “Sulfur speciation and pyrite formation in Black Sea sediments”. NERC Isotope facility support. IP/1050/0508 Principal Investigator
2008 - 2011 £100K “Validation and verification of discrete fracture flow models for fractured carbonate rocks” EPSRC/Exxonmobil Case studentship (as co-investigator)
2007 - 2008 £16,560 “Voltammetry and Spectroscopic equipment“ ERP Equipment Support via ECOSSE
2007 - 2010 £520,000 “Anoxic Transition Metal Isotope Geochemistry” NERC Standard Grant Principal Investigator
2006 - 2007 £2125 “High Pressure Nanomaterials” University of Edinburgh Small Project Grant Principal Investigator
2005 - 2006 £5300 Daresbury Synchrotron Radiation Source Beamtime " NiS mineralogy and FeS fast precipitation kinetics using X-ray diffraction and X-ray absorption spectroscopy" Co-Investigator
2000 - 2005 £751,000 “Experimental Sulfide Geochemistry” NERC Long Term Grant. Researcher Co-Investigator
2000 - 2002 £28,000 “FeS and the Early Development of Life” Leverhulme Special Research Fellowship. Prinicipal Investigator
1999 £1100 Royal Society Conference Travel Grant.

The ECOSSE Experimental Aqueous Geochemistry Laboratory (EEAGL) is equipped for experimental investigations of aqueous metal sulfide mineralogy and geochemistry. Equipment includes a Saffron Alpha anoxic chamber, Freeze drier, reaction ovens and baths, batch chemical reactors and reactant transfer manifolds, automated continuous flow chemostatic reactors, UV-vis spectrophotometry with micro-volume flow cells, solid-state voltammetric analysis, and a range of potentiometric chemical sensors.

Research Associates and students:

Dr Marek Pekala 2007 - 2010. NERC pdra "Experimental Cu and Fe isotope geochemistry"
Dr Romain Guilbaud 2007 - 2011. ECOSSE PhD research student "Experimental Fe isotope fractionation and pyrite diagenesis"
Ms Claudia Fricke (Heriot Watt University) 2008 - present. EPSRC/ExxonMobil research student in "Validation and verification of discrete fracture flow models for fractured carbonate rocks". (As co-supervisor)
Dr Hanna Kurlanda 2009 - 2013. EU Marie Curie PhD student "Transport of metals in bioclogged porous media".
Dr Suyin Yang 2009 - 2011. Eu Marie Curie Research Associate "Novel applications of electrochemical sensors to transport studies in porous media".
Dr Rhian Jones (Cardiff -co-supervisor). 2009 - 2012. Cardiff/Anglo-American PhD research student. "Micro-Analysis of Early Magmatic Sulphide Inclusions and Metallogenic Variation in the Platreef, Northern Bushveld Complex, South Africa."
Dr Derek Martin 2009 - 2012. EU framework 7 postdoctoral research assistant. "Biologically induced CaCO3 precipitation under subsurface conditions"
Mr Kevin Dodds 2009 - 2012. EU framework 7 research technician.
Mr Kit Carruthers 2011 to present. PhD Student "Environmental impacts of CO2 storage in the North Sea"
Dr Tannaz Pak 2011 - 2014. ICCR funded PhD student "SatuTRACK - Saturation tracking and identification of residual oil distributions in carbonate porous media".
Ms Madeleine Berg 2011 - 2015. UoE/NERC funded PhD student "3-D visualization of melts in Earth's deep interior".
Mr Nicola Rigonat 2013 - present. EPSRC Funded PhD Student "M3: Magnetic Material Monitoring".
Ms Alice Macente 2013 - present. UoE funded PhD Student "4-dimensional studies of transport properties in low-grade metamorphic rocks".
Mr Matthew Holloway 2013 - present. NERC Funded PhD Student "Models for hydrothermal REE fluorocarbonate mineralisation in carbonate-bearing systems".
Mr Michael Flynn 2015 - present. ICCR Experimental Technical Officer - X-ray Microtomography and 4D Rock Physics.
Dr Marina Sousani 2015 - Present ICCR Postdoctoral Research Associate "Tracking Multiphase flow in Porous Carbonate Media using x-ray microtomography".

Other Academic Activities:

Member of the Geochemical Society
Member of the American Geophysical Union
2012 Co-convenor "Groundwater Vulnerability – Emerging Issues and New Approaches" EU Marie Curie ITN conference. UPMC-Sisyphe, Paris, 9-12 July.
2008 - Geochemistry Editor, Central European Journal of Geoscience.
2008 - present Invited member of the European Science Foundation Peer Review Pool.
2006 - 2009 Member of the committee of the Geochemistry Group of the Geological Society, London and the Mineralogical Society.
Aug 2006 External PhD Examiner, School of Engineering, University of Southampton.
Aug 2003 Co-convenor of the Geological Societies Fermor Flagship Meeting on "World Class Mineral Deposits and Earth Evolution" at Cardiff University and the National Galleries and Museum of Wales, Cardiff.
March 2003 External PhD Examiner, Faculty of Geosciences, University of Utrecht, Netherlands.
Aug - Oct 1994 Sulfide Petrologist, British-Russian Atlantic Vents Expedition, 1994 (BRAVEX94). RV Akademik Mstislav Keldysh.



I. McDonald, A. Boyce, I.B. Butler, D. Polya and R. Herrington (Editors) 2005. World class mineral deposits and Earth evolution. Geological Society Special Publication, 248. pp263.

Peer Reviewed Journals:

H. Kurlanda-Witek, B.T. Ngwenya, I.B. Butler (2015) The influence of biofilms on the mobility of bare and capped zinc oxide nanoparticles in saturated sand and glass beads. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology. 179, 160-170.

Joshi, N, Ngwenya, BT, Butler, IB & French, CE 2015, 'Use of bioreporters and deletion mutants reveals ionic silver and ROS to be equally important in silver nanotoxicity' Journal of Hazardous Materials, vol 287, pp. 51-58.

Bush, T, Butler, IB, Free, A & Allen, RJ 2015, 'Redox regime shifts in microbially-mediated biogeochemical cycles' Biogeosciences Discussions, vol 12, no. 4, pp. 3283-3314.

Pak, T, Butler, IB, Geiger, S, Van Dijke, MIJ & Sorbie, KS 2015, 'Droplet fragmentation: 3D imaging of a previously unidentified pore-scale process during multiphase flow in porous media' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America - PNAS, vol 112, no. 7, pp. 1947 - 1952.

Li, XJ, Yang, WM, Wang, LG & Butler, I 2014, 'Displacement Forecasting Method in Brittle Crack Surrounding Rock Under Excavation Unloading Incorporating Opening Deformation' Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, vol 47, pp. 2211.

Kurlanda-Witek, H, Ngwenya, BT & Butler, IB 2014, 'Transport of bare and capped zinc oxide nanoparticles is dependent on porous medium composition' Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, vol 162-163, pp. 17-26.

Fusseis, F, Steeb, H, Xiao, X, Zhu, W, Butler, I, Elphick, S & Mäder, U 2014, 'A low-cost X-ray-transparent experimental cell for synchrotron-based X-ray microtomography studies under geological reservoir conditions' Journal of Synchrotron Radiation, vol 21, pp. 251-253.

Martin, D, Dodds, K, Butler, I & Ngwenya, B 2013, 'Carbonate precipitation under pressure for bioengineering in the anaerobic subsurface via denitrification' Environmental Science and Technology, vol 47, no. 15, pp. 8692–8699.

S.Yang, B.T. Ngwenya; I.B. Butler; H. Kurlanda & S.C. Elphick (In Press) Coupled interactions between metals and bacterial biofilms: implications for biofilm stability, fluid flow and metal transport in porous media. Chemical Geology

Martin D, Dodds K, Ngwenya BT, Butler IB, Elphick SC (2012) Inhibition of Sporosarcina pasteurii under anoxic conditions: implications for subsurface carbonate precipitation and remediation via ureolysis. Environ Sci Technol. 46 8351-5

Yücel M, Moore WS, Butler IB, Boyce A, Luther GW (2012). Recent sedimentation in the Black Sea: New insights from radionuclides and sulfur isotopes. Deep Sea Research Part I 66, 103-113.

Guilbaud, R., Butler, I.B., Ellam, R.M., 2012. Response to Comment on “Abiotic pyrite formation produces a large Fe isotope fractionation”. Technical Comment, Science, 335, 538.

M. Pękala, D. Asael, I.B. Butler, A. Matthews, D. Rickard. (2011) Experimental study of Cu isotope fractionation during the reaction of aqueous Cu(II) with Fe(II) sulfides at temperatures between 40 and 200°C. Chemical Geology 289 31-38.

R. Guilbaud, I.B. Butler, and R.M. Ellam, 2011. Abiotic Pyrite Formation Produces a Large Fe Isotope Fractionation. Science, 332, 1548-1551.

R. Guilbaud, I.B. Butler, R.M. Ellam, D. Rickard and A. Oldroyd, 2011. Experimental determination of the equilibrium Fe isotope fractionation between Fe2+aq and FeSm (mackinawite) at 25oC and 2oC. Geochim. Cosmochim. Act., doi:10.1016/j.gca.2011.02.023.

Rickard D., Hatton B., Murphy D.M., Butler I.B., Oldroyd A., Hann A. (2011) FeS-Induced Radical Formation and Its Effect on Plasmid DNA. Aquatic Geochemistry DOI 10.1007/s10498-010-9116-x

Guilbaud R., Butler I.B., Ellam R.M. and Rickard D. (2010) Fe isotope exchange between Fe(II)aq and nanoparticulate mackinawite (FeSm) during nanoparticle growth. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 25, 174-183.

Holwell D.A., McDonald I., Butler I.B., (2010) Precious metal enrichment in the Platreef, Bushveld Complex, South Africa: Evidence from homogenised magmatic sulfide melt inclusions. Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. DOI 10.1007/s00410-010-0577-0.

Guilbaud R., Ellam R.M., Butler I.B., Gallagher V. and Keefe K., (2010) A procedural development for the analysis of 56/54Fe and 57/54Fe isotope ratios with new generation IsoProbe MC-ICPMS. J. Anal. At. Spectrom. 25, 1598–1604

Rapp J.F., Klemme S., Butler I.B. and Harley S.L. (2010) Extremely high solubility of rutile in chloride and fluoride-bearing metamorphic fluids: An experimental invetigation. Geology, 38, 323-326.

Channing A. and Butler I.B. (2007) Cryogenic Silica Precipitation at Yellowstone Hot Springs, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 257, 121-131. pdf.

Rickard D., Grimes S.T. , Butler I.B., Oldroyd A. and Davies K.L. (2007) Botanical Constraints on Pyrite Formation. Chemical Geology. 236, 228-246

Wolthers M., Butler I.B. and Rickard D (2007) Influence of arsenic on iron sulfide transformations. Chemical Geology. 236, 217-227

Rickard D., Griffith A., Oldroyd A., Butler I.B., Lopez-Capel E., Manning D.A.C. and Apperley D.C. (2006) The composition of nanoparticulate mackinawite, tetragonal iron(II) monosulfide. Chemical Geology, 235(3-4), 286-298

Butler I.B., Archer C., Vance D., Oldroyd A., and Rickard D. (2005) Fe isotope fractionation on FeS formation in ambient aqueous solution. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 236(1-2), 430-442.

Wolthers M., Butler I.B., Rickard D., and Mason P. R. D. (2005) Arsenic uptake by pyrite at ambient environmental conditions: A continuous-flow experiment. In Advances in Arsenic Research, American Chemical Society Symposium Publication Vol. 915, pp. 60-76.

Butler I.B., Bottcher M.E., Rickard D. and Oldroyd A. (2004) Sulphur isotope partitioning during pyrite formation: implications for the interpretation of sedimentary and hydrothermal pyrite sulfur isotope compositions. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 228, 495-509.

Erlich S., Butler I.B., L.Halicz, D.Rickard, A.Oldroyd and A.Matthews. (2004) Experimental study of the copper isotope fractionation between aqueous Cu(II) and covellite, CuS. Chemical Geology, 209, 259- 269.

Grimes S.T., Davies K.L., Butler I.B., Brock F., Edwards D., Rickard R., Briggs D.E.G. and Parkes R.J. (2002) Fossil plants from the Eocene London Clay: the use of pyrite textures to determine the mechanism of pyritisation, Journal of the Geological Society 159 493-501

Rickard D., Butler I.B. and A. Oldroyd (2001) A novel iron sulphide mineral switch and its implications for Earth and planetary science, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 189 85-91

Pike J., Bernhard J.M., Moreton S.G. and Butler I.B. (2001) Microbioirrigation of marine sediments in dysoxic environments: implications for early sediment fabric formation and diagenetic processes, Geology, 29, 923-926

Butler I.B. and Rickard D. (2000) Framboidal pyrite formation via the oxidation of iron (II) monosulphide by hydrogen sulphide, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 64 2665-2672

Butler I.B. & Nesbitt R.W. (1999) Trace element distributions in the chalcopyrite wall of a young black smoker chimney: insights from laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 167 335-345. pdf

Butler I.B., Fallick A.E. & Nesbitt R.W. (1998) Mineralogy, Sulphur Isotope Geochemistry and the Development of Sulphide Structures at the Broken Spur Hydrothermal Vent Site, 29°10’N Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Journal of the Geological Society London 155 773-785. pdf

Nesbitt R.W., Hirata T., Butler I.B. & J.A. Milton (1998) UV laser ablation ICPMS; some applications in the Earth Sciences. Geostandards Newsletter 20 231-243.

Butler I.B., Schoonen M. A. A., and Rickard D. T. (1994) Removal of Dissolved-Oxygen from Water - a Comparison of 4 Common Techniques. Talanta 41(2), 211-215.

Other Publications:

Butler, I.B. and Nesbitt, R.W. Hydrothermal sulphides from the Broken Spur Vent Field, 29o10'N, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, BRIDGE Newsletter, 9, 1995, 24-28.

Butler, I.B. and Nesbitt, R.W. Trace metal distributions in Broken Spur sulphides revealed by laser ablation ICPMS techniques, BRIDGE Newsletter, No. 11, 1996, 40-44.

Recent Conference Abstracts:

Rapp J., Klemme S. and Butler I.B. (2007) Experimental Studies on Rutile Solubility. AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts

Asael D., Butler I.B., Matthews A., Rickard D. Bar-Matthews M. and Halicz L. (2006) 65Cu/63Cu fractionation during copper sulphide formation from iron sulphides in aqueous solution. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 70 (18, Suppl.1), A23

Butler I.B., Archer C., Erlich S., Vance D., Matthews A & Rickard D. (2004) Transition metal isotope fractionation on sulfide mineral precipitation. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 68, A219.

Butler I.B. & Rickard D. (2003) An anoxic chemostat for controlled sulfide mineral synthesis, Applied Earth Science (Trans. Inst. Min. Metall. B) 112, 181-182

Butler I.B., Archer C., Rickard D., Vance D. & Oldroyd A. (2003) Fe isotope fractionation during Fe(II) monosulfide precipitation from aqueous solutions at ambient temperatures, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 67, A51

Butler I.B., Bottcher M.E., Rickard D. & Oldroyd A. (2003) Sulfur Isotope Partitioning during pyrite formation, Abstr. Pap. Am. Chem. Soc. 225 GEOC12

Butler I.B., Rickard D., Grimes S.T. & Oldroyd A. (2003) Nucleation and growth of pyrite on pyrite seeds, Abstr. Pap. Am. Chem. Soc. 225 GEOC11

Butler I.B., Rickard D. & Oldroyd A. (2001) The effect of aldehydic carbonyls on iron sulfide biomineral formation, EOS Transactions of the American Geophysical Union 82(47) (2001) Abstract B22D-0177

Leisure Interests
Hill walking in the Lake District and Wales, landscape and panoramic photography, the incomparable game of cricket (Kent and England), rugby union (Harlequins and England), real ale, single malt and decent tucker. Not necessarily in that order!