Skip to content

Toggle service links


Research Isotope geochemistry of the Earth system with The Open University. Rare gas laboratory (photo: James Schwanenthal).

Geochemistry is a key theme in the Dynamic Earth Research Group and has been a major focus of the research carried out at The Open University for nearly 40 years.

Academics and researchers from Earth sciences use cutting-edge geochemical techniques, such as laser ablation (LA) inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and solution ICP-MS, to study a very diverse range of problems in the Earth and environmental sciences. Our research interests include ore formation and the evolution of the Earth's mantle and crust, water-related alteration processes, impact cratering and the early Earth, magmatism and metamorphism related to mountain building.

Qualifications available:



For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent)

Potential research projects

We encourage enquiries from prospective students on any geochemical or geochronological aspect of Earth evolution and ore formation. Lists of postgraduate research projects likely to be available for a 2018 start will become available towards the end of 2018.

Please also see further opportunities.

Current/recent research projects

  • Understanding the Earth's mantle-to-crust volatile cycle (Mantle Volatiles: Contemporary Processes, Reservoirs and Fluxes)
  • From Arc Magmas to Ores (FAMOS): a mineral systems approach
  • Te and Se Cycling and Supply (TeaSE)
  • Hydrous and hydrothermal evolution of impact craters
  • Eclogites, amphibolites and argon: tracing Ar through a metamorphic cycle
  • Understanding excess argon in volcanic tuffs by 40Ar/39Ar laserprobe geochronology

Potential supervisors

  • Dr Tom Argles – Senior Lecturer in Earth Science. The evolution and provenance of highly deformed and metamorphosed rocks in orogenic belts.
  • Professor Nigel Harris – Professor of Tectonics. Links between tectonics and magmatism, the role of mountains in the Earth system, comparative tectonics along the Tethyan orogenic belts, how mountain building impacts on global climate.
  • Dr Frances Jenner – global cycling of elements during evolution of the Earth's mantle and crust.
  • Dr Susanne Schwenzer – water-related alteration processes, impact-cratering and Early Earth processes.
  • Dr Sarah Sherlock – Senior Research Fellow. 40Ar/39Ar geochronology.
  • Dr Clare Warren – Senior Lecturer in Earth Science U-Pb geochronology.

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Administrative support
+44 (0)1908 332943

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.