Philipson Stow Professor of Mineralogy and Geology

Igneous petrology and stable isotope geochemistry
Room 311
Department of Geological Sciences
Ph:  +27 (0)21 650 2921
Fax:  +27 (0)21 650 3783

Cell: 0762960344


Websites:  Stable Isotope Laboratory, Stable Light Isotope Laboratory (Archaeology)


The application of stable isotopes to igneous petrology, hydrology, and economic geology. The Bushveld Complex, the Karoo large igneous province, Mesozoic igneous complexes in Namibia and Madagascar, low δ18O magmas, calcrete and lake sediments as palaeoclimate proxies, Koegel Fontein igneous complex. Breccia pipes, peralkaline granites, O-isotope composition of magmatic garnet, Cape Town precipitation and groundwater, the Phalaborwa Complex.


Selected Recent Publications (last 3 years)

Whitehead, B.A., Harris, C. and Sloan, R.A. (2020) Deep infiltration of surface water during deformation? Evidence from a low- δ18O shear zone at Koegel Fontein, Namaqualand, South Africa. Lithos 366–367, 105562

Ashworth, L., Kinnaird, J.A., Nex, P.A.M. Harris C., Müller, A.B. (2020) Origin of rare-element-mineralized Damara Belt pegmatites: A geochemical and light stable isotope study. Lithos 372–373, 105655

de Wet, R.F., West, A.G. and Chris Harris (2020) Seasonal variation in tap water δ2H and δ18O isotopes reveals two tap water worlds. Scientific Reports 10, 13544

Troch, J. Ellis, B.S., Harris, C., Bachmann, O., Bindeman, I.N. (2020) Low-δ18O silicic magmas on Earth: A review. Earth Science Reviews 208, 103299

Ódri, A., Harris, C. and le Roux, P. (2020) The role of crustal contamination in the petrogenesis of nepheline-syenite to granite magmas in the Ditrău Complex, Romania: evidence from O-, Nd-, Sr- and Pb-isotopes, Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 175, 100

Deegan F.M., Martin J. Whitehouse M.J., V.R., Geiger H., Jeon H., le Roux P., Harris C., van Helden M. & González-Maurel, O (2021) Sunda arc mantle source δ18O value revealed by intracrystal isotope analysis. Nature Communications, 12:3930.

Chase B., Harris C, de Wit M.J., Kramers J., Doel S., and Stankiewicz J. (2021) South African speleothems reveal influence of high- and 1 low-latitude forcing over the past 113.5 k.y. Geology 49, 1353-1357

Harris, C. and Maboane, L. (2021) The Garies wollastonite deposit, Namaqualand, South Africa: high-temperature metamorphism of a low-d18O skarn? Canadian Mineralogist 59, 495-510

Ellis, B. S., Szymanowski, D., Harris, C., Tollan, P.M.E., Neukampf, J. Guillong, M., Cortes-Calderon, E.A. Bachmann, O. (2022) Evaluating the Potential of Rhyolitic Glass as a Lithium Source for Brine Deposits. Economic Geology, 117, 91–105

Ellis B.S., Neukampf J., Bachmann O., Harris C., Forni F., Magna T, Laurent O. and Ulmer P. (2022) Biotite as a recorder of an exsolved Li-rich volatile phase in upper-crustal silicic magma reservoirs. Geology 50, 481-485

H Tsikos H., M Siahi M., S Rafuza S., XR Mhlanga XR, Oonk PBH, Papadopoulos V, Boyce A.J., Mason P.R.D., Harris C., D.R. Gröcke D.R., Lyons T.W. (2022) Carbon isotope stratigraphy of Precambrian iron formations and possible significance for the early biological pump. Gondwana Research 109, 416-428

Tulley CJ, Fagereng Å, Ujiie K, Diener JFA, Harris C (2022) Embrittlement within viscous shear zones across the base of the subduction thrust seismogenic zone. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 23

Ódri A, Amaral Filho, Smart M, Broadhurst J, Harrison STL, Petersen J, Harris C, Edraki M, Becker M (2022) Sulfur and oxygen isotope constraints on sulfate sources and neutral rock drainage-related processes at a South African colliery. Science of the Total Environment 846, 157178

Heap MJ, Troll VR, Harris C, Gilg HA, Moretti R, Rosas-Carbajal M Komorowski JC, Patrick Baud P (2022) Whole-rock oxygen isotope ratios as a proxy for the strength and stiffness of hydrothermally altered volcanic rocks. Bulletin of Volcanology 84 (8), 1-14

Cortes-Calderon E.A., Ellis B.S., Harris C., Mark D.F., Neukampf J., Wolff J.A., Ulmer P. and Bachmann O. (2022) Generation and field relations of low-d18O silica-undersaturated and mildly saturated alkaline magmas: A case study from the Fataga Group, Gran Canaria. Journal of Petrology 63, 1–22



  • MA Oxford University, 1984
  • DPhil Oxford University 1982
  • BA (Hons) Geology, Oxford University 1979


  • Professor, University of Cape Town, 2008-present
  • Head, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Cape Town 2006-2010 and 2013-2020
  • Associate Professor, University of Cape Town 2003-2007
  • Professeur, Universite Jean Monet, St-Etienne, France 2000-2003
  • Associate Professor, University of Cape Town 1999-2000
  • Senior Lecturer University of Cape Town, 1994-1999
  • Researcher University of Cape Town 1984-1993
  • Departmental Demonstrator in Mineralogy, Oxford University 1984
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, CRPG, Nancy, France, 1983

Professional Affiliations

  • Fellow, Geological Society of South Africa
  • Member of Society of Economic Geologists
  • Member of Royal Society of South Africa
  • Editor/Editorial boards: Lithos, Journal of the Brazilian Geological Survey, Geochemistry of Ore Deposits (Iran), Geofluids