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Prof. Chris Harris

Philipson Stow Professor of Mineralogy and Geology

Head of Department

Igneous petrology and stable isotope geochemistry
Room 352
Department of Geological Sciences​
Ph:  +27 (0)21 650 2921
Fax:  +27 (0)21 650 3783


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.


Selected Recent Publications (last 5 years)

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

Troch, J., Ellis, B.S., Harris, C., Ulmer, P. and Bachmann, O. (2018) The effect of prior hydrothermal alteration on the melting behaviour during rhyolite formation in Yellowstone, and its importance in the generation of low-δ18Omagmas. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 481, 338–349.

Fagereng, A., Diener, J.F.A., Meneghini, F., Harris, C., and Kvadsheim, A. (2018) Quartz vein formation by local dehydration embrittlement along the deep, tremorgenic subduction thrust interface. Geology 46, 67–70.

Olianti, C.A.E., and Harris, C. (2018) A low-δ18O intrusive breccia from Koegel Fontein, South Africa: Remobilisation of basement that was hydrothermally altered during global glaciation? Lithos 300–301, 33–50.

Smart K.A. Tappe, S., Simonetti, A., Simonetti, S.S., Woodland, A.B., and Harris, C. (2017) Tectonic significance and redox state of Paleoproterozoic eclogite and pyroxenite components in the Slave cratonic mantle lithosphere,Voyageur kimberlite, Arctic Canada. Chemical Geology 455, 98-119.

Budd, D.A, Troll, V.R., Deegan, F.M., Jolis E.M., Smith, V.C., Whitehouse, M.J., Harris, C., Freda, C., Hilton, D.R., Halldórsson, S.A., Bindeman, I.N. (2017) Magma reservoir dynamics at Toba caldera, Indonesia, recorded by oxygen isotope zoning in quartz. Scientific Reports 7:40624 | DOI: 10.1038/srep40624.

Ellis, B.S., Szymanowski, D., Wotzlaw, J. F., A. K. Schmitt, A.K., Bindeman, I.N., Troch, J., Harris, C., Bachmann, O., and M. Guillong (2017) Post-caldera Volcanism at the Heise Volcanic Field: Implications for Petrogenetic Models. Journal of Petrology 58, 115-136.

Howarth, GH and Harris, C (2017) Discriminating between pyroxenite and peridotite sources for continental flood basalts (CFB) in southern Africa using olivine chemistry Earth and Planetary Science Letters 475, 143–151.

Stroncik, NA, Trumbull RB, Marc-Sebastian Krienitz, M-S, Niedermann, S, Romer, RL, Harris, C and Day, JMD (2017) Helium isotope evidence for a deep-seated mantle plume involved in South Atlantic breakup. Geology 45, 827-830.

Clemens, J.D., Elburg, M.A. and Harris, C. (2017) Origins of igneous microgranular enclaves in granites: the example of Central Victoria, Australia. Contrib Mineral Petrol 172:88, DOI 10.1007/s00410-017-1409-2

Stowe, M-J, Harris, C., Hedding, D.W., Eckardt, F.D., and Nel, W. (2017) Hydrogen and oxygen isotope composition of precipitation and stream water on sub-Antarctic Marion Island. Antarctic Science (in press)

Koegelenberg, C., Kisters, AFM and Chris Harris, C (2016) Structural controls of fluid flow and gold mineralization in the easternmost parts of the Karagwe-Ankole Belt of north-western Tanzania. Ore Geology Reviews 77, 332–349

Mthembi,P. Roberts, D.L. and Harris C. (2016) Chemical stratigraphy of lake deposits from the Kalkkop Impact Crater, South Africa, and its palaeoenvironmental Significance. South African Journal of Geology 119, 215-230.

Shirzadi, A., Sheykhzakariyi, S.J., Asiabanha Rezayi, A., Nasrabady, M and Harris C (2016) Mineralogical constraints on the petrogenesis of subvolcanic intrusions in Sabzevar ophiolite (NE Iran). Carpathian Journal of Earth and Environmental Sciences, 11, 221 – 234

Geiger, H., T. Mattsson, F. M. Deegan, V. R. Troll, S. Burchardt, O. Gudmundsson, A. Tryggvason, M. Krumbholz, and C. Harris (2016). Magma plumbing for the 2014–2015 Holuhraun eruption, Iceland, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst.(G-cubed) 17, doi:10.1002/2016GC006317.

Simmonds, V; Mohssen, V., Harris, C. (2016). Stable isotope (O, H and S) studies on the vein-type Cu–Mo–Au mineralization in Qarachilar area, Qaradagh pluton (NW Iran). Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie - Abhandlungen: Journal of Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 193, 283-294

Deegan F.M., Whitehouse M.J., Troll V.R., Budd D.A., Harris C., Geiger H., Hålenius U. (2016) Pyroxene standards for SIMS oxygen isotope analysis and their application to Merapi volcano, Sunda arc, Indonesia. Chemical Geology 447, 1–10.

Ashwal L.D., Torsvik, T., Horvath, P., Harris, C., Webb, S., Werner, S. and Corfu, F. (2016). A Mantle-derived Origin for Mauritian Trachytes. Journal of Petrology, 57, 1645–1675.

Farber K., Dziggel, A. Meyer, F.M. and Harris, C. (2016) Petrology, geochemistry, and fluid inclusion analysis of altered komatiites of the Mendon Formation in the BARB4 drill core, Barberton greenstone belt, South Africa. South African Journal of Geology 119, 639-654.

Riishuus, M.S., Harris, C., Peate, D.W., Tegner, C., Wilson, J.R. and Brooks, C.K. (2015) Formation of low-δ18O magmas of the Kangerlussuaq Intrusion by addition of water derived from dehydration of foundered basaltic roof rocks. Contrib Mineral Petrol 169, 41

Harris, C., le Roux, P.J., Cochrane, R., Martin, L., Duncan, A.R., Marsh, J.S., le Roex, A.P. and Class, C. (2015) The oxygen isotope composition of Karoo and Etendeka picrites: High δ18O mantle or crustal contamination? Contrib Mineral Petrol 170, 8

Jolis, E.M., Troll, V.R, Harris, C., Freda, C., Gaeta, M., Orsi G, Siebe, C. (2015) Skarn xenolith record crustal CO2 liberation during Pompeii and Pollena eruptions, Vesuvius volcanic system, central Italy. Chemical Geology 415, 17–36

Samadi, R., Miller, .N.R., Mirnejad, H., Harris, C., and Kawabata, H. (2014) Origin of garnet in aplite and pegmatite from Khajeh Morad in northeastern Iran: A major, trace element, and oxygen isotope approach. Lithos 208–209 378–392

Harris, C., Hlongwane, W., Gule, N. and Scheepers, R. (2014) Origin of tanzanite and associated gemstone mineralization at Merelani, Tanzania. South African Journal of Geology 117 (1), 15-30





  • 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 currently
  • 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
  • Editorial boards of South African Journal of Geology, Lithos, Cogent Geoscience