José Alberto Padrón-Navarta: Medal for Research Excellence 2023

José Alberto Padrón-Navarta

The recipient of the 2023 Research Excellence Medal of the European Mineralogical Union is Dr. José Alberto Padrón-Navarta from the Andalusian Earth Science Institute (IACT), Spain.

Dr. Padrón-Navarta completed his PhD thesis at the University of Granada, Spain. After undertaking postdoctoral research fellowships in Australia and France, he joined the French CNRS at Géosciences Montpellier. In 2021, he returned to IACT (Granada) under the prestigious Ramón y Cajal fellowship.

Dr. Padrón-Navarta has made outstanding contributions to mineralogy and petrology by providing novel and detailed insights into the cycle and fate of volatiles on planet Earth through subduction zones into the deep mantle. He has integrated methods from several disciplines to discover ‘invisible’ oceans within Earth’s deep interior. He has published several landmark papers on the mineralogy, phase relations, experimental petrology, rheology, microstructure, and the geochemical consequences of subducting hydrated mafic-ultramafic lithologies. He played an instrumental role in significant papers on the importance of serpentinite in the cycling of water, sulfur, and carbon, and in the thermodynamic modelling of chromite alteration.

Dr. Padrón-Navarta published a pioneering experimental and thermodynamic study on the critical role of Tschermak’s solubility in antigorite, related to the stability of serpentinites. His research also encompasses the mechanisms and thermodynamic modelling of hydrogen in Nominally Anhydrous Minerals (NAMs) and their role in recycling water in the Deep Earth. In this emerging field, he has made essential contributions on site-specific hydrogen diffusion rates and hydrogen incorporation in forsterite.

Dr. Padrón-Navarta has been invited as a keynote speaker to many prestigious international meetings (e.g., American Geoscience Union, European Geosciences Union, Goldschmidt, International Geological Conference) and has convened many sessions on the cycling of volatiles and NAMs (e.g., EGU meetings, Goldschmidt, IMA). He has established collaborations with leading researchers and institutions in these fields in Europe and worldwide. He is the recipient of prestigious European research funds such as Marie Curie and ERC Consolidator (2022) grants, reflecting the significance, excellence, and European embeddedness of his research and achievements. He leads the IACT high-pressure experimental research group, equipped with FTIR facilities to track oxygen, water, or hydroxyls and assess volatile recycling at subduction zones.

Dr. Padrón-Navarta’s research achievements are game-changers in mineralogy and petrology, providing fundamental contributions to our understanding of volatile cycles at subduction zones. This makes him a highly deserving recipient of the 2023 Research Excellence Medal of the European Mineralogical Union.