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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)

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.

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.

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. (2016) Magma reservoir dynamics at Toba caldera, Indonesia, recorded by oxygen isotope zoning in quartz. Scientific Reports 7:40624.

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

Harris, C., Fourie, D.S. and Fagereng A. (2013) Stable isotope evidence for impact-related pseudotachylite formation at Vredefort by local melting of dry rocks. South African Journal of Geology 116, 101-118.

Jonsson, E., Troll, V.R., Hogdahl, K., Harris, C., Weis, F., Nilsson, K.P., Skelton, A., (2013) Magmatic origin of giant ‘Kiruna-type’ apatite-iron-oxide ores in Central Sweden. Scientific Reports 3, 1644

Curtis, C.G., Harris, C., Trumbull, R.B., de Beer, C., Mudzanani, L. (2013) Oxygen isotope diversity in the anorogenic Koegel Fontein Complex of South Africa: a case for basement control and selective melting for the production of low-18O magmas. Journal of Petrology 54, 1259-1283.

Ganino, C., Harris, C. Arndt, N.T., Prevec, S.A., Howarth, G.H. (2013) Assimilation of carbonate country rock by the parent magma of the Panzhihua Fe-Ti-V deposit (SW China): evidence from stable isotopes. Geoscience Frontiers 4, 547-554.

Klein E.L., Angélica R.S., Harris C., Jourdan F., Babinski M. (2013). Mafic dykes intrusive into Pre-Cambrian rocks of the São Luís cratonic fragment and Gurupi Belt (Parnaíba Province), north-northeastern Brazil: geochemistry, Sr-Nd-Pb-O isotopes, 40Ar/39Ar geochronology, and relationships to CAMP magmatism. Lithos 172-173, 222-242.



  • 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