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Postdoctoral and Affiliated Researchers

Postdoctoral Researchers

Joseph Madondo

Joseph is a geologist whose research interests include the geology and geochemistry of fossil manganese deposits. He is currently working on the hydrothermal upgrading of the Wessels-type manganese ore in the Kalahari Manganese Field (KMF) using geochemical and mineralogical analyses.

Joseph completed his PhD in geology at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), where he studied the genesis of sedimentary and hydrothermal manganese deposits.

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Victoria Stevens

Vicky is a geologist / geophysicist who studies continental tectonics. She is currently working on faults and earthquakes in stable continental regions to see how they differ from those in active regions. She is also interested in seismic hazard. 

Vicky studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge before completing her PhD in geology at Caltech, where she studied the relationship between frequency and size of earthquakes, and strain rate build-up on faults.

Office: Room 407 Geological Sciences



Robert Muir

Robert is a geologist with broad research interests, but a soft spot for understanding how a changing landscape affects the life that occupies it. He is currently working on recalibrating the tectonic events that occurred during the breakup of Gondwana and determining how African landscapes have changed through time. Typically, he uses radiogenic isotopes in conjunction with field-observations (sedimentological, structural or palaeontological) to answer research questions, either by dating important stratigraphic units, exposed surfaces, or determining a rock’s thermal history. 

Office: Room 407 Geological Sciences







Honorary Research Associates

Hartwig Frimmel

After having joined UCT in 1989 as lecturer in metamorphic geology, my research interests have been on low grade metamorphism in general, with regional focus on the Gariep and Saldania belts in southern Namibia/South Africa and the Witwatersrand Basin. While working at UCT full-time I was also leader of the geoscience component of the South African National Antarctic Programme and as such involved in studies on the structural evolution of medium- to high-grade terrains in Western Dronning Maud Land with comparative studies on the Namaqua-Natal metamorphic belt. Since taking up a professorship at the University of Würzburg in 2004, this work has been continued with further projects on the Shackleton Range and currently on ultrahigh-temperature metamorphism in the Southern Granulite Terrane of India.

As co-leader of the IGCP 478 on “Neoproterozoic-Early Palaeozoic Events in SW-Gondwana", initially started from UCT, I became involved in a number of projects on the interplay between tectonics, climate change and metallogenesis. The study areas range from eastern South America, central and southern Africa to China. A follow-up to that project has been the still on-going work on the reconstruction of the main lithospheric anisotropies that led to the opening of the modern South Atlantic within the framework of the German Priority Programme SAMPLE (“South Atlantic Margin Processes and Links with onshore Evolution”) in cooperation with UCT.

My main research interests have been in the field of economic geology and mineral deposit research. This has included studies on the genesis of carbonate-hosted magnesite and siderite deposits, several sediment-hosted base metal ore districts, and foremost the genesis of the Witwatersrand gold deposits and similar styles of mineralization elsewhere in the world. More recently, this has been augmented by studies on different types of uranium deposits, and on economic geological forecasts. The latter includes mineral potential mapping for certain commodities as well as forecasts on future availability of non-renewable mineral resources.

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Christie Rowe

Dr Christie Rowe is structural field geologist, specializing in the rock record of earthquakes, including some types of ore deposits. She was lecturer of Structural Geology at UCT from 2006 to 2009 during which time she was involved with many research projects all over subsaharan Africa and locally in the Cape, with detailed studies into the nature of deformation within the Cape Fold Belt and associated rocks. Her projects in the Naukluft of Namibia have been ongoing with UCT students often providing field and research support on her visits.

Dr Rowe is currently Assistant Professor and Robert Wares Faculty Scholar in Economic Geology at McGill University in Canada. A link to her research group can be found here.

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Roger Smith

Roger Smith was born in Cambridge, England and came to South Africa in 1976 after graduating in Geology and Zoology from Manchester University. He joined the South African Museum in 1983 and gained his doctorate through the University of Cape Town in 1990. Since then he has been a researcher/curator in the Department of Karoo Palaeontology, working on numerous projects under the general title of “Palaeoecology of Gondwana”. Roger’s research is mainly field-based and integrates palaeontological and sedimentological data into palaeoenvironmental reconstructions of ancient landscapes- especially in dramatic changes that took place in the Karoo Basin during the End-Permian mass extinction event.  

Over the past 10 years Roger has participated in several collaborative research expeditions to Eritrea, Niger, Lesotho, Namibia, Madagascar, Antarctica, Zambia and Tanzania, mostly funded by the American National Science Foundation and the National Geographical Society. This has allowed him to extend the search area for Karoo fossils out of the main Karoo basin of South Africa into the peripheral rift valleys. These studies are ongoing with field projects in Argentina (Patagonia) and Brazil currently in progress 

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Wendy L. Taylor

Dr. Taylor is a Honourary Research Associate in UCT's Department of Geological Sciences where she conducts palaeontological research on the Devonian Bokkeveld and Nama Groups in South Africa.  She is also part of Digermulen Early Life Research Group through the Tromsø University Museum, Tromsø, Norway, studying the evolution of early life across the Ediacaran-Cambrian boundary in Finnmark Norway. At UCT she is co-supervisor of two MSc projects and works with the UCT Schools Development Unit and the Iziko South African Museum to design elearning geoscience programs. 

Wendy is also a Faculty Research Associate in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and a Curriculum Developer for the Immersive Virtual Field Trips (iVFT) project at the Center for Education Through Exploration (ETX). She has been employed at ASU since 2006, where she served as an Instructional Specialist for NASA missions to the Moon and Mars and as the Education and Public Outreach Lead for ASU's Astrobiology Program and the Center for Meteorite Studies. She also worked as the Education and Public Outreach Coordinator for the EarthScope National Office at ASU. Wendy began her career in research and collections at several major natural history institutions including the Paleontological Research Institution, The Field Museum and the University of Chicago.

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