Home > Students > PhD Students

PhD Students

Chad Peel

Project title: Petrology and geochemistry of olivine-phyric shergottites and the implications for their petrogenetic history on Mars

Supervisor: Dr. Geoffrey Howarth

Contact details: Room 507 - 3, Geological Sciences Building

Email address: /

Research interests: geochemistry, mantle petrology, planetary science, mineral chemistry


Camila Riera-Soto

Project Title: Where do the raw materials come from?: Geochemical and petrographic study of ceramics at Iluga Túmulos site, Tarapacá region, northern Chile. FONDECYT Project Nº1181829: “Monumentos arqueológicos y memorias materiales: Historias andinas de larga duración en Pampa Iluga, Tarapacá (900 AC-1600 DC)”. PI: Dr. (c) Mauricio Uribe.


Supervisor: Dr. Petrus le Roux


  • Geologist (2015), Universidad Católica del Norte, Chile.
  • Master in Anthropology, mention Archaeology (2019), Universidad Católica del Norte, Chile.

Research interests:

  • Geochemistry, petrography, mineralogy and radiogenic isotopy.
  • Archaeometry in ceramics pastes and other archaeological materials (lithics and constructive materials), circulation of ceramics, reconstruction of the operational chain from the study of raw materials.
  • Analytical methods in archaeology and Earth sciences (Optical Microscopy, QEMSCAN, XRD, µXRF).

Contact details:

Merrily Tau

Project title: Testing the use of olivine as a diamond indicator mineral and in defining kimberlite/orangeite sampling depth and craton margins

Supervisor: Dr. Geoffrey Howarth

email address:

Interests: geochemistry, mantle petrology, igneous layering, Archaean magmatism and geodynamics


Ansa Nke

Thesis title: Impact of the Great Oxidation Event on South African marine basins

Supervisors: Dr Rosalie Tostevin and Associate Professor Harilaos Tsikos

Contact details:

Room 302, Geological Sciences Building

Email: /

Research interests:

Precambrian Geochemistry, Geochemical Proxies, Great Oxidation Event, Banded Iron Formations



Jessica Von Der Meden

Thesis Title: U-Th dating tufas at Ga-Mohana Hill, Northern Cape, South Africa: a new late Pleistocene palaeoenvironment record relevant for human occupation

Supervisors:Dr Robyn Pickering (Geology), Dr Jayne Wilkins (Archaeology) and Dr Rosalie Tostevin (Geology)

Contact Details:

Room 302, Geological Sciences,

Research Interests: Quaternary Geology, Palaeoclimate, Stable Isotope Geochemistry, U-series dating




Howard Head

Thesis title: Climate change in the Early Jurassic: cyclicity and fluvial-aeolian interactions in the ancient desert system of southern Africa (Clarens Formation, Karoo Sgr.)

Superisor:  Associate Professor Emese Bordy

Contact details:

Room 507 - 2, Geological Sciences Building

Email: /

Research interests: Aeolian Sedimentology and Fluvial Sedimentology



  Martin Giger

Thesis Title: Trace element based thermobarometry for peridotite xenoliths from the Kaapvaal craton

  Supervisor:  Associate Professor Phil Janney

  Contact details

  Room 309, Geological Sciences Building


   Research interests: geochemical evolution of the mantle, geochemistry and ore geology 

Marvel Makhubele

Thesis Title:  Sequence stratigraphy of the post-Jurassic in the Algoa and Gamtoos Basins: Implication for hydrocarbon potential in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Supervisor/s:  Associate Professor Emese Bordy

Contact details:
 Room 503, Geological Science

Research Interests:  Exploration geophysics, play-based exploration, seismic interpretation, seismic attributes, sequence stratigraphy and basin analysis


Sichumilesanda Spelman

Thesis Title:  The Geological Library of the Main Karoo Basin: A Preliminary 3-D geo-model

Supervisor/s:  Associate Professor Emese Bordy

Contact details:
Room 503, Geological Science
Ph:  +27 71 491 8520

Interests:  Sedimentary basins (Karoo Basin), 3D modeling, GIS and remote sensing

Organizations:  Geological Society of Southern Africa, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers