The history of the Dream Team

~ as seen by Hilary Downes ~

   The first activity of a type that would later become part of the Dream Team activities was the collaboration between Hilary Downes (London University) and Antal Embey-Isztin (Natural History Museum, Budapest). This included a visit to Hungary by Hilary in summer 1986 and a visit to London (funded by a Soros Fellowship) by Antal in 1990. They worked together on the alkali basalts and mantle xenoliths of the Western Pannonian Basin.
   In September 1990, a meeting of IAVCEI was held in Mainz (Germany) which was the first international volcanology meeting which Eastern European scientists had been able to attend, following the political changes. Hilary and Antal prepared a poster on the Pannonian Basin alkali basalts, which attracted the attention of many colleagues. Among the participants were: Orlando Vaselli, Csaba Szabo, Szabolcs Harangi, Ioan Seghedi (Nino), Alex Szakacs (Sanyi) and Peter Marchev. Thus the nucleus of the Dream Team was born.
   The next major move forward was the extension of the area of interest from Hungary into Romania, where Hilary undertook field work with Nino and Sanyi, in collaboration with Gabor Dobosi in May 1991. Orlando and Csaba had also visited the Romania with the idea of studying the mantle xenoliths, and Orlando arrived in London in summer to work on the project at the Royal Holloway (Egham) radiogenic isotope lab.Nino, Sanyi and Hilary also decided to co-supervise a British PhD student to work on the petrology and geochemistry of the calc-alkaline volcanic rocks of the Eastern Carpathians. The result was a 3-year study (1992-1995) by Paul Mason (now at the University of Utrecht).
   Until this point, PANCARDI did not exist. It came into existence at a EUROPROBE meeting in Bad Herrenalb. Its first meeting was in Csopak in November 1993 and only Antal and Hilary were invited to attend (in fact, Hilary had to insist to the organisers to send her an invitation!). Marge Wilson also attended and helped to write the science plan for the . Sub-project on magmatism and xenoliths., which laid out the type of work which was going to be undertaken by petrologists and geochemists within the framework of PANCARDI.
   Subsequent meetings of PANCARDI took place in Covasna (Romania) in 1994 and Stara Lesna (Slovakia) in 1995, Zakopane (Poland) in 1996, Lindabrunn (Austria, in1997 and Vienna in1998, Tulcea - Romania (1999), Dubrovnik. Croatia (2000) and finally in Sopron (Hungary) in 2001. Slowly, the importance of the magmatism and xenolith work became apparent to the organisers of PANCARDI, and with each subsequent meeting, a greater amount of time was allotted to our presentations. At each meeting, more colleagues became involved in the DT activities, including groups from Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia and Greece.
   In fact, Hilary visited Serbia and met Milivoje Jovanovic in September 1989, but it was not until 1999 that the Serbian team joined us fully. Another major milestone in the history of the Dream Team was another IAVCEI meeting in Ankara (Turkey) in September 1994, attended by many DT members. The geochronology team of Zoltan Pecskay and Kadosa Balogh (Debrecen, Hungary) was accreted to the DT around that time too.
   Many visits between colleagues took place over the years, particularly funded by Travel Grants from EUROPROBE, which enabled people to spend up to a month in an overseas laboratory (often Egham). NATO funding also enabled SzabolcsHarangi to spend a year in London, working on the Western Carpathian calc-alkaline volcanism. British Council/ Hungarian OMFB funding has also helped, as has the Royal Society (UK) and MURST (Italy). Papers from all the work performed during these visits are still being published or in preparation.
   One of the early highlights of DT work was the Special Issue of Acta Vulcanologica, volume 7 which included papers covering all aspects of our work in the Pannonian and Carpathian area. A second special issue on the Rhodope magmatism was also published later, and a third (on the Tertiary magmatism of the Dinarides) is going to be published soon.
   Fieldwork has always been a big part of the DT's 'mission'. Thus, to fill in blank spots, a British-Hungarian-Romanian team went to the Ukraine for fieldwork in July 1996 and fieldwork has also been undertaken in Serbia. The fact that new occurrences of mantle and lower crustal xenoliths have been recently found in the Graz Basin and in the Balaton Highlands indicates that there may be other xenolith localities that have not yet been discovered.
   The DT has always had several strands to its research: (a) geochronology; (b) volcanology; (c) petrology and geochemistry. There is still much to be done, particularly in the detailed petrology of xenoliths, the extension of our area of interest into the Balkan Peninsula, and in physical volcanology. The topic of our interest is not yet exhausted and undoubtedly many surprises still await us.