Home > People > Academic Staff > Petrus Le Roux

Dr. Petrus Le Roux

Chief Research Officer

Igneous petrology/archaeometry

Office room 301
 Laser Ablation MC-ICP-MS Facility room 150
Department of Geological Sciences

Ph:  +27 (0)21 650 4139 (office)
Ph:  +27 (0)21 650 4806 (lab)

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ORCID: 0000-0002-5930-4995


My geological research interest is in the use of light elements (Li, B) in igneous rocks, especially subduction zone and oceanic basalts, to understand the geochemical cycling of material, as well as the possible shallow-level magma assimilation, contamination and/or degassing systematics beneath mid-ocean ridges.

The development of new MC-ICP-MS isotopic analytical methods and novel applications, especially in situ Sr, Pb, Hf, B or Li isotope analysis using laser ablation.

I have a significant multi-disciplinary research focus on the use of Sr (and Pb) isotopes in palaeoanthropological, palaeontological and biological studies to place constraints on origins, landscape use or migration patterns of plants, hominins, early human societies, extinct animals or dinosaurs.

Selected Publications

Godoy B, Taussi M, González-Maurel O, Hübner D, Lister J, Sellés D, le Roux P, Renzulli A, Rivera G, Morata D (2022) Evolution of the Azufre volcano (northern Chile): implications for the Cerro Pabellón Geothermal Field as inferred from long-lasting eruptive activity. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research

Nikita E, Mutri G, Le Roux P, Pilides D (2022) Human mobility in Byzantine Cyprus: A case study from the Hill of Agios Georgios, Nicosia. Quaternary International DOI 10.1016/j.quaint.2021.12.015

Pontesilli A, Brenna M, Mollo S, Masotta M, Le Roux P, Nazzari M, Scarlato P (2022) Trachyte-phonolite transition at Dunedin Volcano: Fingerprints of magma plumbing system maturity and mush evolution. Lithos, 408–409 (2022) 106545 DOI 10.1016/j.lithos.2021.106545

Will TM, Gaucher C, Ling X-X, le Roux PJ, Li X-H, Li Q-L (2021) Ediacaran bimodal volcanism in the southernmost Dom Feliciano Belt, Uruguay: Implications for the evolution of SW Gondwana. Lithos, 406-407 DOI 10.1016/j.lithos.2021.106539

Fernández MV, Gordón F, le Roux PJ, Winocur D, Lucero G, Benítez A, Rindel D, Della Negra C, Bernal V, Barberena R (2021) Scale of Human Mobility in northwestern Patagonia: An Approach Based on Geological Variation and Strontium Isotopes in Human Remains. Geoarchaeology DOI 10.1002/gea.21881

Grantham GH, Bumby A, Moabi NG, Elburg MA, le Roux P, Reinke C, Marschall H (2021) The genesis and age of the Grunehogna Granite and Rb–Sr and Sm–Nd chemistry of the Annandagstoppane Granite, Ahlmanryggen, Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. Polar Science 100717 DOI 10.1016/j.polar.2021.100717

Pontesilli A, Brenna M, Ubide T, Mollo S, Masotta M, Caulfield J, Le Roux P, Nazzari M, Scott J, Scarlato P (2021) Complex intraplate basaltic crystal cargoes reveal alkalinity modulated by a lithospheric mantle filter at Dunedin Volcano (New Zealand). Journal of Petrology, egab062, DOI 10.1093/petrology/egab062

Ingman T, Eisenmann S, Skourtanioti E, Akar M, Zech J, Gnecchi Ruscone G, le Roux P, Shafiq R, Krause J, Roberts P, Yener A, Stockhammer PW (2021) Human mobility at Tell Atchana (Alalakh) during the 2nd millennium BC: integration of isotopic and genomic evidence. PLoS ONE, 16, e0241883 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0241883

Deegan FM, Whitehouse MJ, Troll VR, 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 DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-24143-3

Macey PH, Smith HP, Thomas RJ, Frei D, le Roux PJ (2021) Lithostratigraphy of the Naros Granite (Komsberg Suite), South Africa and Namibia. South African Journal of Geology, 124, 795-804 DOI 10.25131/sajg.124.0040

Barberena R, Cardillo M, le Roux PJ, Tessone A, Lucero G, Gasco A, Llano C, Méndez C, Nuevo-Delaunay A, Frigolé C, Marsh E, Winocur D, Benítez A, Cornejo L, Falabella F, Sanhueza L, Durán VA (2021) Bioavailable Strontium across a Southern Andean Transect: Archaeological and Methodological Insights applying a Machine Learning Approach. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution – Paleoecology, 9, DOI 10.3389/fevo.2021.584325

Taylor W, Hart I, Jones EL, Brenner-Coltrain J, Thompson Jobe J, Britt BB, McDonald HG, Li Y, Zhang C, Le Roux P, Shield Chief Gover CQ, Schiavinato S, Orlando L, Roberts P (2021) Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Lehi Horse: Implications for Early Historic Horse Cultures of the North American West. American Antiquity DOI 10.1017/aaq.2020.109

Leggett S, Rose A, Praet E, Le Roux P (2021) Multi-tissue and multi-isotope (δ13C, δ15N, δ18O and 87Sr/86Sr) data for early medieval palaeoecology. Ecology, e03349 DOI 10.1002/ecy.3349

Ventresca Miller AR, Johnson J, Makhortykh S, Gerling C, Litvinova L, Andrukh S, Toschev G, Zech J, le Roux P, Makarewicz C, Boivin N, Roberts P (2021) Re-evaluating Scythian lifeways: Isotopic analysis of diet and mobility in Iron Age Ukraine. PLoS ONE, 16, e0245996 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0245996

House M, Sealy J, Chirikure S, le Roux P (2021) Investigating cattle procurement at Great Zimbabwe using 87Sr/86Sr. Journal of African Archaeology, 8, 1–13 DOI 10.1163/21915784-20210008

van Gend J, Francis ML, Watson AP, Palcsu L, Molnár M, Macey PH, le Roux P, Clarke CE, Miller JA (2021) Saline groundwater in the Buffels River Catchment, Northern Cape, South Africa: A new look at an old problem. Science of the Total Environment DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143140

Yu H, Spyrou MA, Karapetian M, Shnaider S, Radzeviciute R, Naegele K, Neumann G, Penske S, Zech J, LeRoux P, Roberts P, Pavlenok G, Buzhilova A, Posth C, Jeong C, Krause J (2020) Paleolithic to Bronze Age Siberians Reveal Connections with First Americans and across Eurasia. Cell, 181, 1-14 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.04.037

González-Maurel O, Deegan FM, le Roux P, Harris C, Troll VR, Godoy B (2020) Constraining the sub-arc, parental magma composition for the giant Altiplano-Puna Volcanic Complex, northern Chile. Scientific Reports, 10, 1-10

Scott M, le Roux P, Sealy J, Pickering R (2020) Lead and strontium isotopes as palaeodietary indicators in the Western Cape of South Africa. South African Journal of Science, 116, art. #6700, DOI: 10.17159/sajs.2020/6700

Barberena R, le Roux PJ, Menéndez L, Tessone A, Luyt J, Sealy J, Marsh EJ, Cardillo M, Durán V, Novellino P, Lucero G, Gasco A, Guevara D, Llano C, Winocur D, Benítez A, Cornejo L, Cortegoso V, Da Peña G, Falabella F, Frigolé C, Méndez C, Nuevo Delaunay A, Sanhueza L, Santana Sagredo F, Troncoso A, Zárate S (2020) Multi‐isotopic and morphometric evidence for the migration of farmers leading up to the Inka conquest of the southern Andes. Scientific Reports, 10, 21171 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-78013-x

González-Maurel O, Godoy B, le Roux P, Rodríguez I, Marín C, Menzies A, Bertín D, Morata D, Vargas M (2019) Magmatic differentiation at La Poruña scoria cone, Central Andes, northern Chile: evidence for assimilation during turbulent ascent processes, and genetic links with mafic eruptions at adjacent San Pedro volcano. Lithos, 338-339, 128-140

González-Maurel O, le Roux P, Godoy B, Troll VR, Deegan FM, Menzies A (2019) The great escape: petrogenesis of low-silica volcanism of Pliocene to Quaternary age associated with the Altiplano-Puna Volcanic Complex of northern Chile (21º10’-22º50'S). Lithos, 346-347, 105162

Schulting R, le Roux P, Min Gan Y, Pouncett J, Hamilton J, Snoeck C, Ditchfield P, Henderson R, Lange P, Lee-Thorp J, Gosden C, Lock G (2019) The ups & Downs of Iron Age animal management on the Oxfordshire Ridgeway, south-central England: a multi-isotope approach. Journal of Archaeological Science, 101, 199-212

Isaakidou V, Styring A, Halstead P, Nitsch E, Stroud E, le Roux P, Lee-Thorp J, Bogaard A (2019) From texts to teeth: A multi-isotope study of sheep and goat herding practices in the Late Bronze Age (‘Mycenaean’) polity of Knossos, Crete. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 23, 36-56

Lehmann SB, Levin NE, Braun DR, Stynder DD, Zhu M, le Roux PJ, Sealy J (2018) Environmental and ecological implications of strontium ratios in mid Pleistocene fossil teeth from Elandsfontein in southwestern South Africa. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 490, 84-94

Harris C, Dreyer T, le Roux PJ (2018) Petrogenesis of peralkaline granite dykes of the Straumsvola Complex, Western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 173, 8

Dixon J, Bindeman I, Kingsley R, Simons K, Le Roux P, Hajewski C, Swart P, Langmuir C, Ryan J, Walowski K, Wada I, Wallace P (2017) Light Stable Isotopic Compositions of Enriched Mantle Sources: Resolving the Dehydration Paradox. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 18, 3801-3839

Coutu A, Sealy J, le Roux P, Whitelaw G (2016) Earliest evidence for the ivory trade in southern Africa: isotopic and ZooMS analysis of 7th-10th century AD ivory from KwaZulu-Natal. African Archaeological Review, 33, 411-435

Copeland SR, Cawthra HC, Fisher EC, Lee-Thorp JA, Cowling RM, le Roux PJ, Hodgkins J, Marean CW (2016) Strontium Isotope Investigation of Ungulate Movement Patterns on the Pleistocene Paleo-Agulhas Plain of the Greater Cape Floristic Region, South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews, 141, 65-84

Harris C, le Roux P, Cochrane R, Martin L, Duncan AR, Marsh JS, le Roex AP, Class C (2015) The oxygen isotope composition of Karoo and Etendeka picrites: High δ18O mantle or crustal contamination? Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 170, 1-24

le Roux PJ, Lee-Thorp JA, Copeland SR, Sponheimer M, de Ruiter DJ (2014) Strontium isotope analysis of curved tooth enamel surfaces by laser-ablation multi-collector ICP-MS. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 416, 142-149

Copeland SR, Sponheimer M, de Ruiter DJ, Lee-Thorp JA, Codron D, le Roux PJ, Grimes V, Richards MP (2011) Strontium isotope evidence for early hominin landscape use. Nature, 474, 76-79

le Roux PJ (2010) Lithium isotope analysis of natural and synthetic glass by laser ablation MC-ICP-MS. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 25, 1033-1038

Copeland SR, Sponheimer M, le Roux PJ, Grimes V, Lee-Thorp JA, de Ruiter DJ, Richards MP (2008) Strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr) of tooth enamel: a comparison of solution and laser ablation multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry methods. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 22, 3187-3194

Tomascak PB, Langmuir CH, le Roux PJ, Shirey SB (2008) Lithium isotopes in global mid-ocean ridge basalts. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 72, 1626-1637

le Roux PJ, Shirey SB, Hauri EH, Perfit MR, Bender J (2006) The effects of variable sources, processes and contaminants on the composition of northern EPR MORB (8–10°N and 12–14°N): Evidence from volatiles (H2O, CO2, S) and halogens (F, Cl). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 251, 209-23

le Roux PJ, Shirey SB, Benton L, Hauri EH, Mock TD (2004) In-situ, multiple-multiplier, laser ablation ICP-MS measurement of boron isotopic composition (δ11B) at the nanogram level. Chemical Geology, 203, 123-138

le Roux PJ, le Roex AP, Schilling J-G (2002) MORB melting processes beneath the southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge (40-55ºS): a role for mantle plume-derived pyroxenite. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 144, 206-229

le Roux PJ, le Roex AP, Schilling J-G (2002) Crystallization processes beneath the southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge (40-55ºS), evidence for high-pressure initiation of crystallization. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 142, 582-602

le Roux PJ, le Roex AP, Schilling J-G, Shimizu N, Perkins WT, Pearce NJG (2002) Mantle heterogeneity beneath the southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge: trace element evidence for contamination of ambient asthenospheric mantle. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 203, 479-498



  • PhD (Geochemistry) University of Cape Town, 2000
  • BSc Honours (Geochemistry) University of Cape Town, 1994
  • BSc (Geology) University of Cape Town, 1993


  • Chief Research Officer, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Cape Town, 2020-present
  • Senior Research Officer, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Cape Town, 2011-2019
  • Senior Research Officer, AEON EarthLAB, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Cape Town, 2008-2011
  • Senior Scientific Officer, AEON EarthLAB, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Cape Town, 2006-2008
  • Research Geologist, Danish Lithosphere Centre/Geological Institute, Copenhagen University, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2003-2005
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, DC, USA, 2001-2003

Professional Associations

  • American Geophysical Union (since 1999)
  • Geochemical Society (since 2002)
  • Geological Society of South Africa (since 2003)
  • South African Heritage Resource Agency, permit committee (meteorites) 2008 – 2011
  • International Association of Geoanalysts (since 2015)