Serpentine Days 2012


3rd edition

2-6 September 2012

Porquerolles Island

_ South France

– News –

Below, you will find the group photo of the Serpentine Days. A full resolution photo can be downloaded here


The organizing committee warmly welcomes your participation at the Serpentine Days Workshop, 3rd Edition, which will be held in Porquerolles Island, France, from the 2nd to 6th of September 2012.


_ Sunday, September 2nd from 18h15:
Ice Breaker Party at the IGESA Centre

Scientific sessions will start on Monday, September 3rd, 2012 at 8:30 and will end on Thursday, September 6th, 2012 at 12:30.

Above, you will find the last version of the program. To download this version in a pdf format, please click here

Please not that schedules of the sessions are susceptible to change.

Sessions will start by invited keynote talks that will provide an overview of the scientific state-of-the-art in each major research field. They will be accompanied by complementary short oral and poster presentations. Plenary discussions are planned during the workshop to identify emerging questions that remain to be addressed in the next years and to initiate and/or strengthen further collaborations and projects.

Theme 1: Mineralogy, crystal chemistry of serpentine-group minerals, and thermodynamics

Keynote speakers: T. McCollom (University of Colorado, USA) and B. Evans (University of Washington, USA)

Serpentine minerals display an amazing crystallographic and chemical variability. Chrysotile, lizardite or antigorite are the mostly known phases, but polygonal serpentine, polyhedral serpentine, cronstedtite or nepouite are also occurring in many settings. Considering the significant role played by serpentinites in various geological contexts, formation and stability of serpentine minerals in general, and of each serpentine variety in particular, are central issues. This session aims at establishing the state-of-the-art on the crystallography and crystal chemistry of serpentine minerals. In addition, formation conditions of serpentines, element partitioning and crystal chemistry, experimental and/or modeling approach of the serpentinisation reaction, will also be addressed given the importance of serpentinites in geochemical cycles.

Theme 2: Physical properties of serpentine and magnesian phyllosilicates

Keynote speaker: I. Katayama (Hiroshima University, Japan)

Beyond outcrop observations, serpentinite occurrence can indirectly be inferred by geophysical methods such as seismology, gravimetry or magnetism. Optimizing the detection of serpentinites by these methods requires a deep knowledge of the physical properties of the serpentinite-forming minerals, i.e. dominantly serpentine, but also of other magnesian phyllosilicates present in serpentinites, such as talc or chlorite. These minerals have also long been viewed as potentially weak materials that participate in reducing yield stress of hydrothermally altered fault zones in the crust and at the subduction interface, with strong implications on seismicity and local hydrodynamic properties. However, no clear picture emerges on the exact deformation laws of phyllosilicates. In addition, those phyllosilicates will also participate to heat and mass exchanges in various geodynamic settings making their transport property an important parameter. In this session, we welcome contributions on experimental and theoretical determinations of the different physical properties of serpentine and associated phyllosilicates. Key issues lie in linking experimental works performed under various conditions of pressure, temperature and/or deformation rates, with natural conditions and observations.

Theme 3: Geodynamics

Keynote speakers: S. Guillot (Université Grenoble, France) and M. Cannat (IPG Paris, France)

Serpentinites occur in many geologic settings where aqueous fluids (i.e., seawater, meteoric fluids, magmatic fluids) interact with ultramafic rocks: in the oceanic lithosphere, in subduction zone, within and above the downgoing slab, along continental and oceanic active faults, within Archean magmatic terrains, in meteorites, on Mars and possibly in the core of icy satellite like Titan. Given their ubiquity and their apparent common association on Earth with fluid flow and deformation, serpentinites certainly play a major role on planet dynamics and associated chemical transfers. Combining the peculiar physical properties and geochemical characteristics of serpentinites with their geological occurrence would clarify their global influence on major processes, like plate tectonic initiation, oceanic lithosphere formation and evolution all the way to subduction zone, orogen formation, and seismic cycle. This session aims at gathering contributions focusing on the role of serpentinites in planet dynamic and in chemical exchanges (i.e., water, C, B, S,…) between the reservoirs (mantle, ocean, hydrosphere) through geological times.

Theme 4: Origin of life and its environment on Earth and other planets

Keynote speaker: N. Holm (Stockholm University, Sweden), M. Schrenk (University of Greenville, USA)

Moderate to low-temperature serpentinization environments are increasingly emerging as highly valuable candidates to host the emergence of life because they are providing the first energy-harnessing biochemical pathways underpinning microbial growth. Indeed, hydrogen, methane and organic carbon compounds can be produced abiotically during serpentinization, providing a path for the formation of prebiotic molecules. As such, the hydrated mantle could also constitute a prebiotic environment of prime interest and the peridotite-hosted microbial communities may represent an analogous for life on the early Earth. This analogy can also be extrapolated to other planetary bodies. The recent discovery of serpentines on Mars oldest crust may open unexpected scenarios for extraterrestrial life. This session encourages contributions covering the transition from abiotic-to-biotic conditions, including the characterization of primitive environments on Earth or Mars and the study of present-day analogous systems, with an interdisciplinary approach (biological, geological, chemical, …).

Theme 5: Societal implications

Keynote speaker: B. Goffé (CEREGE-CNRS, Université Aix-Marseille)

Serpentinization is the most efficient natural reaction to produces hydrogen abiotically. Interest in understanding optimum conditions of this reaction is growing rapidly since hydrogen might become an alternative vector of C-free energy for societal purposes. In comparison with technologies available for H2 production that mainly consume fossil fuels (> 90% of H2 production by steam reforming), serpentinization is a C-free solution that is worth exploring. When CO2 is present, serpentinization may also trigger the formation of CH4 and/or the storage of CO2 by carbonation of both primary (olivine, pyroxene) and secondary (serpentine) minerals. In addition, large amounts of serpentine wastes are produced worldwide due to the mining of serpentine-rich ore bodies creating thus considerable environmental problems, e.g., asbestos dispersion. Yet, these serpentine tailings have a high capacity for carbonation and are worldwide distributed. Therefore they are viewed as a potential, low cost, CO2 sequestration medium with usable and by-products (aggregates, cementitious phases, high purity silica powder, …). The goal of this session is to gather contributions on environmental issues linked to serpentinization and associated reactions, serpentine mining, and valorisation processes, using various types of approaches (experimental, study of natural sites, modeling, sociologic, and economic).

Oral and poster presentations

Official language of the workshop is English.

Oral presentation will be 20 minutes, including 5 min of questions and discussion.

Poster should be in A0 format (85 cm wide x 120 cm length) and vertically orientated.


The conference will take place at the Hotel Club Igesa ( in Porquerolles Island (South of France). Only double rooms are available at the centre and room reservation will be made when registration payment will be confirmed. You may indicate by e-mail the names of colleagues with whom you would like to share a room.

Internet connection on Porquerolles Island

Porquerolles is a rather isolated island with the consequence that there is no efficient WIFI spot at the meeting place. We initially planned to buy 3G USB keys for participants who attend the entire workshop, but unfortunately, we are not allowed to buy 100 USB 3G keys as resellers need ID to sell them.

We then strongly recommend to all participants to buy 3G USB keys by themselves and before the meeting. SFR provider works rather well on the island (and probably other providers but we have not check them). You will be reimbursed up to 30 euros on site, which is the cost of a SFR 3G USB key ( There are no SFR shops on the island and you may have to anticipate the purchase as SFR reseller can be out of stock. Finally, be careful on the activation date, so you can benefit of free 3G Internet connection during the workshop.

For foreigners only :

Two solutions are possible:
– You may ask one of your French colleagues to buy you one 3G USB key.
– If you really have no way to access the 3G network on your own, send us an email at BEFORE JULY, 30TH so we can buy you a 3G USB key (you will have to return it at the end of the workshop as they would be activated by our personal ID).

Travel to Porquerolles Island

Porquerolles Island is an ideal meeting place located about 5 km south of the Presqu’île de Giens, in the Mediterranean sea.


Two shuttle buses will be waiting for participants to reach Tour Fondue harbor:

Shuttle service 1: Bus will leave the Hyères-Toulon Airport at 14:30 (meeting point will be at 14:15 at the main entrance of the airport) and will be at the Hyères train station at 15:00 (meeting point will be at the main entrance, outside of train station) to reach the « Tour Fondue » harbor.

Shuttle service 2: Bus will leave the Hyères-Toulon Airport at 17:30 (meeting point will be at 17:15 at the main entrance of the airport) and will be at the Hyères train station at 18:00 (meeting point will be at the main entrance, outside of train station) to reach the « Tour Fondue » harbor.

A few city buses can also transport you to the Tour Fondue harbor (Bus number 67 from Hyeres train station). You can find the bus timetable here. Depending on your arrival time, you may have to take a taxi (phone number of taxi company « Taxi Hyérois » is +33(0)494 006 000) to go to Tour Fondue. Taxi cost is about 30 euros.

At the « Tour Fondue », daily boat connection will bring you to Porquerolles Island. Timetables can be found here ( Ticket will be bought in advance and you will have to give your name and present an ID to get it. Then, the Igesa Hotel is then located at a 10 minutes walk distance from Porquerolles harbor (see a map here)


Two shuttle buses will be waiting for participants to leave Tour Fondue harbor on Thursday afternoon.

Shuttle service 1: You can take the boat at 14:00 and shuttle bus will leave the Tour Fondue Harbor at 14:30 in direction of Hyères train station and Hyères-Toulon Airport. Stop at the airport will be at 15:00 and stop at the train station will be at 15:30.

Shuttle service 2: You can take the boat at 16:00 and shuttle bus will leave the Tour Fondue Harbor at 16:30 in direction of Hyères train station and Hyères-Toulon Airport. Stop at the train station will be at 17:00 and stop at airport will be at 17:30.

Serpentine Picture Exhibition

A serpentine/serpentinites pictures exhibition will be organized during the conference thanks to the initiative of P. Garcia Del Real (Standford University).

All participants of the Serpentine Days workshop are invited to share their most outstanding photographic work on serpentine or serpentinites. From atomic to field scale, photographs provide an excellent medium to integrate science and art. As such, the workshop will include a showcase of selected photographs that encompass the breath and beauty of serpentine science.
The photographs may portray almost anything related to serpentine and should be chosen for both their aesthetic and scientific contributions. The categories include but are not limited to: landscapes, geologic features, abstract images (e.g. patterns, data, photomicrographs, satellite imagery), and phenomena (e.g. soil, dissolution, surface processes).

The submitter must 1) have taken the photograph and 2) own the rights to use the work.

By submitting a picture, the submitter provides full authorization to use of the photographs by the Serpentine Days workshop.

Details on the exhibition (picture size and submission) will be soon given on this page.

Organizing Committee

_ Anne Line Auzende (IMPMC, Paris)
_ Muriel Andreani (Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon)
_ Isabelle Daniel (Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon)
_ Adélie Delacour (Géosciences Environnement Toulouse)

Scientific Committee

_ Muriel Andreani (Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon)
_ Anne Line Auzende (IMPMC, Paris)
_ Valérie Chavagnac (GET, Toulouse)
_ Isabelle Daniel (Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon)
_ Adélie Delacour (Géosciences Environnement Toulouse)
_ Bertrand Devouard (LMV, Clermont-Ferrand)
_ Javier Escartin (IPGP, Paris)
_ Philippe Gouze (GM, Montpellier)
_ Bénédicte Menez (IPGP, Paris)
_ Bruno Reynard (Laboratoire de Géologie, Lyon)


e-mail :