Workshop Report: Fourth Serpentine Days in Séte, France

The 4th international 'Serpentine Days' Workshop took place at the Lazaret resort in Sète (Southern France) from 25 to 29 September 2016.

Workshop sponsors included the Société Française de Minéralogie et de Cristallographie (SFMC)Géosciences Montpellier, the CNRS, the Université de MontpellierThe Institut des Origines and the Université de Lyon, the région Occitanie Pyrénées-Méditerranée, and the Deep Carbon Observatory

The workshop convened more than 85 scientists from 13 countries with broad expertise in the geological, physical, chemical, and microbiological processes of serpentinization to share new findings in this exciting field of research.

Marco Scambelluri (University of Genova, Italy), Alexis Templeton (Colorado University at Boulder, US), Alberto Vitale-Brovarone (IMPMC-CNRS Paris, France), Oliver Plümper (Utrecht University, the Netherland) and Nadège Hilairet (Lille University, France) will organize the next Serpentine Days in 2020. 

Sète’s strategic location enabled the group to spend the first mild days of Autumn immersed in a deep discussion on the side products of serpentinization, such as methane and the intriguing but evasive brucite.

The program was divided into 8 sessions:

Session I Serpentines and tectonics
Session II Serpentines and tectonics
Session III Subduction: serpentines and beyond
Session IV Serpentinization: an experimental perspective 
Session V Serpentinization, redox & carbon cycle
Session VI Serpentinization & life
Session VII Ophiolites as field laboratories
Session VIII Serpentinization in extra-terrestrial systems

Two poster sessions complemented the oral discussions:

Session I
Mineralogy, petrophysics and mechanics of serpentinites 
Experimental petrology of serpentinite 
Subduction processes
Session II 
Serpentinization in oceanic settings 
Serpentinization and life 
Ophiolites as field laboratories


Outstanding keynote speakers introduced each session, igniting passionate discussions that continued during coffee breaks and poster sessions, and the participation of colleagues from NASA expanded our views on possible serpentinization on Mars. Participants much appreciated the nearby beach and the splendid weather during spare time between the morning and the afternoon sessions. 

To complete the workshop, Yves Lagabrielle (Univeristy of Rennes, France) and Michel de Saint-Blanquat (Univeristy Paul Sabatier – Toulouse, France) led a two-day field trip to the Pyrénées, assisted by Ricardo Asti and Jessica Uzel. More than 40 participants joined the field trip, where they explored field evidence of mantle denudation associated with a Cretaceous rifting event in the North Pyrenean Zone (Étang de Lers and Bestiac). The group paid special attention to the carbonatation and serpentinization imprint in the lherzolitic bodies, and to its connection with the high-temperature and low-pressure metamorphic event recorded in scapolite-bearing marbles, anorthite-bearing metaevaporites, and intriguing sapphirine-bearing breccias. Beautiful weather allowed the group to enjoy a gentle walk on mantle tectono-sedimentary contacts, precisely illustrated by Yves with talented in situ drawings.


After an intense week, participants gained a fuller appreciation of the complex processes related to serpentinization.

The complete program of Serpentine Days 2016 is available here together with the book of abstracts. Meeting report contributed by Margot Godard and Jose Alberto Padron Navarta.

Further Reading

DCO Research Earth’s First Amino Acids May Have Come From Oceanic Crust

A new study finds that when certain rocks below the seafloor interact with seawater and undergo…

Atlantis Massif Drillsites
DCO Research Subsurface Life in the Atlantis Massif: Just Add Water?

Researchers aboard IODP Expedition 357 collected cores from across the Atlantis Massif, a mountain…

Serpentine balls
DCO Research Organic Carbon Shapes Minerals and Metals at Low Temperature in Serpentinite Rocks

The organic carbon leftover from microbes colonizing cracks in the seafloor along mid-ocean ridges…

blue boron-bearing diamond
DCO Research Origin of Blue Diamonds Discovered

DCO researchers analyzed dozens of rare, expensive blue diamonds to find the origin of these…

Back to top