alphaMELTS Workshop Home

Please join us for a two day workshop introduction to alphaMELTS and other MELTS software, to be held December 8th - 9th, 2018, at UMD, prior to the AGU Fall meeting in Washington DC.

MAGMA logo: a volcano with a fire fountain based on the Caltech logo

Thermodynamic modeling with alphaMELTS and other MELTS software

This is the home page for the two to three day workshops organized by Caltech, and held in Pasadena, CA, and elsewhere; for the five day MELTS / FPMD training schools, most recently the one held on the island of Milos, please see the MELTS / FPMD workshop page; for MELTS short courses held at Goldschmidt and other conferences see the Goldschmidt 2016 page.

GPS Division Logo

We are pleased to announce a two day workshop, on the use of alphaMELTS, MELTS for MATLAB, and other MELTS software, for calculation of phase equilibria in igneous systems. The workshop will to be held at the University of Maryland, near Washington DC, December 8th and 9th (prior to the AGU Fall Meeting), and is part of an NSF-sponsored series that is being organised by members of the GPS Division at Caltech. The instructors will be Paul Asimow and Paula Antoshechkina.

The MELTS family of algorithms is widely used by petrologists and geochemists to predict the outcomes of melting and crystallization processes, to compare with experiments or to design experimental campaigns, to assess the energy budgets of igneous processes, to teach the principles of igneous petrology, and more. Here, at Caltech we develop and maintain alphaMELTS, a text-based front end to the rhyolite-MELTS, pMELTS, and pHMELTS models. This short course will briefly introduce the underlying thermodynamics, illustrate the capabilities and potential applications of individual MELTS-type models and give participants first hand experience running MELTS programs and tools. We will focus on the newly rewritten alphaMELTS front-end ('alphaMELTS 2' and the underlying libalphaMELTS library) but will also be demonstrating a variety of interfaces supported by Caltech, OFM-Research, and the ENKI group. These will range from the well-established (e.g. the original MELTS graphical user interface, MELTS for Excel) to the new and cutting edge (e.g. MELTS for MATLAB, and interfaces for Python and R).

Latest news

September 28th, 2018: Registration will open on Monday, October 1st, 2018, at about 4PM PST (11PM GMT), and close Wednesday, October 31st, 2018. Latest updates include the following:

  • The December workshop wil be limited to about 40 visitors from out of town, plus some participants local to the Washington DC area. At the moment the workshop is provisionally full. In the meantime we have a waiting list, so it is still worth registering. Once we have confirmed participants and estimated the remaining budget for travel support we will be in touch to offer any remaining spaces.
  • Just to clarify: 'successful registration' does not guarantee a space in the workshop. We will contact you as soon as possible to let you know if a space is available.
  • When you submit your registration for the workshop you will get a link that allows you to make changes to your submitted answers. If you do not have the link and need it, please contact the workshop organizer. Whether you are registering for the first time or editing your entries, please do not forget to press 'Submit'.
  • If you are unable to attend the December workshop, or do not get a place before it fills up, then consider coming to Pasadena, CA, for the second workshop. This will be held at Caltech, sometime in 2019. The dates are to be determined, so let us know if there is a particularly good or bad time of year for you.
  • There will be an ENKI workshop prior to the Goldschmidt 2019 meeting in Barcelona. We will be introducing ENKI towards the end of the workshop, but consider catching up on the latest with the ENKI group next summer as well.

About the workshop

Title: Thermodynamic modeling with alphaMELTS and other MELTS software
Instructors: Paula Antoshechkina, Paul Asimow (Caltech)
Dates: Saturday 8th - Sunday 9th December, 2018, (provisionally 9AM - 5PM)
Venue: University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740, USA
Room: 0220 (Foreign Languages), Jimenez Hall (building 034)
Registration deadline: 31st October, 2018 (early registration recommended)
Deadline for confirmation: Early November, 2018 (exact date TBA)
More details: see Logistics & Registration

In 2012, we were awarded a grant (EAR-1226270) by the Geoinformatics program within the Geosciences division of the U.S. National Science Foundation. This grant funded three years of continued development and user support for alphaMELTS, as well as what was intended to be two workshops. When the first workshop was announced, to be held just before the AGU Fall Meeting in 2014, the response was overwhelming and we quickly exceeded one hundred people registering an interest. We promptly organized additional workshops; in total, we gave four workshops over as many months, reaching a total of 110 scientists. The success of the first series of workshops meant that we were awarded funds for additional workshops in the GeoInformatics grant renewal (EAR-1550934).

Since the first series of workshops, there have been several developments. The rhyolite-MELTS + mixed H2O-CO2 fluid thermodynamic model was published by Ghiorso & Gualda (2015), and we began calibration of a corresponding pMELTS+CO2 model. The alphaMELTS code was rewritten from the bottom up, using the latest code from Mark Ghiorso, and the Windows Subsystem for Linux (available since late 2017) expanded the options for running MELTS on Windows. ENKI a web-based, community-driven, model configuration and testing portal came online and, at Caltech, we have been developing complementary tools to access MELTS from MATLAB, Python and R. The time is ripe for a short course aimed at new and intermediate MELTS users, but also of interest to those who have previously attended an alphaMELTS short course, or one of the workshops we have held at Goldschmdit meetings — see the tentative schedule.

Who is eligible? Any user or prospective user of alphaMELTS or related software, whether for teaching or research. No previous knowledge of MELTS in general, or alphaMELTS in particular, is required. Participants may be of any nationality, and may be working in the United States or any other country, and all levels from students to senior scientists are invited. Although the workshop is arranged to be close to the AGU Fall meeting, you are welcome to attend whether or not you plan to attend the conference. We will include participants in the order in which they registered an interest, whilst possibly taking into account who may gain the most from the workshop and the flexibility of registrants' schedules (e.g. would it be easier to attend a workshop at Caltech in 2019?).

Workshop programme

We will cover most or all of the following topics during the workshop:

Talks describing the models and software will be kept brief to allow more time for first hand experience with the software. Particular features will be higlighted on the platforms for which they are most convenient (e.g. alphaMELTS for trace elements; MELTS for MATLAB for open system behavior). We will try to make time for Q&A to address participants' particular interests. Please feel free to bring examples that you would like us to look at. This could be a calculation that you have attempted that does seem to work or simply a composition (major elements in wt% or grams of oxides; trace elements, optional for alphaMELTS, in ppm) and conditions that you would see calculated.

Workshop Materials

We will provide a thumb drive (that you can keep) with all the software and sample input files. Some examples, such as MORB crystallization, will be provided for more than one front-end, so that you can see similarities and differences. It is a good idea to have VirtualBox installed so that you can get going with the first day's practical sessions using VM alphaMELTS. Note that it is not necessary to have MATLAB; it is the easiest option but you can use Python as an alternative. We will ask you about your operating system and setup during registration, and send more information about how to install the various MELTS software nearer the time. If you decide to install the software in advance, you can test the installation using the appropriate 'Quick Start using MELTS' tutorial example; otherwise there will be plenty of opportunity during the workshop to install the software of your choice, with help from the organizers.

Workshop Organizers

Photo of Paula Antoshechkina

Paula Antoshechkina (née Smith) is an Associate Research Scientist at Caltech. She is responsible for most of the alphaMELTS front-end, forum and MAGMA website. At the moment she is focused on pMELTS+CO2 and other calibrations, libalphaMELTS and libpHMELTS interfaces, and various projects that fit between the tools available on the ENKI portal and traditional MELTS software.

Photo of Paul Asimow

Paul Asimow is Professor of Geology and Geochemistry at Caltech. He developed pHMELTS and many of the tools since incorporated into alphaMELTS. He has supervised a number of students and postdocs with MELTS-related projects, both to extend and improve the underlying thermodynamic models and to apply the software to real world magmatic processes. He is also involved in shock-wave experiments and theoretical calculations on silicate liquid and minerals.