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Prof. Chris Harris

Philipson Stow Professor of Mineralogy and Geology

Igneous petrology and stable isotope geochemistry
Room 311
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, Cape Town precipitation and groundwater.


Selected Recent Publications (last 3 years)

Radu IB, C Harris, BN Moine, G Costin, JY Cottin (2019) Subduction relics in the subcontinental lithospheric mantle evidence from variation in the δ18O value of eclogite xenoliths from the Kaapvaal craton. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 174 (3), 19

Fitzpayne A, A Giuliani, C Harris, E Thomassot, C Cheng, J Hergt (2019) Evidence for subduction-related signatures in the southern African lithosphere from the NO isotopic composition of metasomatic mantle minerals. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 266, 237–257

Troll, V.R., Weis, F., Jonsson, E., Andersson, U., Majidi, S., Högdahl, K., Harris, C., Millet, M.-A., Chinnasamy, S., Kooijman, E., and Nilsson, K. (2019) Global Fe-O isotope correlation reveals magmatic origin of Kiruna-type apatite-iron-oxide ores. Nature Communications 10:1712

Howarth, G.H., Moore, A.E., Harris, C., van der Meer, Q.H.A., le Roux, P.J. (2019) Crustal versus mantle origin of carbonate xenoliths from Kimberley region kimberlites using Sr-Nd-Pb-C-O isotopes and trace elements. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 266, 258–273

Diamond, R.E. and Harris C. (2019) Annual shifts in O- and H-isotope composition as measures of recharge: the case of the Table Mountain springs, Cape Town, South Africa. Hydrogeology Journal 27, 2993–3008

Troch, J., Ellis, B.S., Harris, C., Ulmer, P., Bouvier, A-S., Bachmann, O. (2019) Experimental melting of hydrothermally altered rocks: Constraints for the generation of low-δ18O rhyolites in the central Snake River Plain. Journal of Petrology 60, 1881–1902

Whitehead, B.A., Harris, C. and Sloan, R.A. (2020) Deep infiltration of surface water during deformation? Evidence from a low- δ18O shear zone at Koegel Fontein, Namaqualand, South Africa. Lithos 366–367, 105562

Ashworth, L., Kinnaird, J.A., Nex, P.A.M. Harris C., Müller, A.B. (2020) Origin of rare-element-mineralized Damara Belt pegmatites: A geochemical and light stable isotope study. Lithos 372–373, 105655

de Wet, R.F., West, A.G. and Chris Harris (2020) Seasonal variation in tap water δ2H and δ18O isotopes reveals two tap water worlds. Scientific Reports 10, 13544

Troch, J. Ellis, B.S., Harris, C., Bachmann, O., Bindeman, I.N. (2020) Low-δ18O silicic magmas on Earth: A review. Earth Science Reviews 208, 103299

Ódri, A., Harris, C. and le Roux, P. (2020) The role of crustal contamination in the petrogenesis of nepheline-syenite to granite magmas in the Ditrău Complex, Romania: evidence from O-, Nd-, Sr- and Pb-isotopes, Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 175, 100

Deegan F.M., Martin J. Whitehouse M.J., V.R., 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.

Chase B., Harris C, de Wit M.J., Kramers J., Doel S., and Stankiewicz J. (2021) South African speleothems reveal influence of high- and 1 low-latitude forcing over the past 113.5 k.y. Geology 49, 1353-1357

Harris, C. and Maboane, L. (2021) The Garies wollastonite deposit, Namaqualand, South Africa: high-temperature metamorphism of a low-d18O skarn? Canadian Mineralogist 59, 495-510

Ellis, B. S., Szymanowski, D., Harris, C., Tollan, P.M.E., Neukampf, J. Guillong, M., Cortes-Calderon, E.A. Bachmann, O. (2022) Evaluating the Potential of Rhyolitic Glass as a Lithium Source for Brine Deposits. Economic Geology, 117, 91–105





  • 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 2013-2020
  • 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: Lithos, Journal of the Brazilian Geological Survey, Geochemistry of Ore Deposits (Iran)