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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 3 years)

Harris C., Buthelezi N., Kahle B., Kahle R., Ramahala K., Smith G. (2019) Stable isotope constraints on the fluid source of hydrothermal breccia pipes in the Tankwa Karoo depocentre, South Africa: Breakdown of authigenic minerals during sill intrusion. Basin Research, 31,114–135.

Yahia NB, Sebei A, Harris C, Boussen S, Chaabani F (2019) Mineralogical and geochemical criteria to identify the origin and the depositional environment of the upper Numidian babouchite siliceous rocks, northwestern Tunisia. Journal of African Earth Sciences 149, 487-502.

Zall, F., Tahmasbi Z., Jiang S.Y., Danyushevsky L.V., Harris C. (2019) Elemental and BOH isotopic compositions of tourmaline and associated minerals in biotite-muscovite granite of Mashhad, NE Iran: Constraints on tourmaline genesis and element partitioning. Lithos 324–325 (2019) 803–820.

Ghazi J.M., Harris C, Mohssen Moazzen, Mohammad Rahgoshay (2019) Combined igneous and hydrothermal source for the Kiruna-type Bafq magnetite-apatite deposit in Central Iran; Trace element and oxygen isotope studies of magnetite. Ore Geology Reviews 105, 590–604.

Troll, V.R., Emeleus, C.H., Nicoll, G.R., Mattsson, T., Ellam, R.M., Donaldson, C.H., & Harris, C. (2019) A large explosive silicic eruption in the British Palaeogene Igneous Province. Scientific Reports 9:494.

Stowe, M-J, Harris, C., Hedding, D.W., Eckardt, F.D., and Nel, W. (2018) Hydrogen and oxygen isotope composition of precipitation and stream water on sub-Antarctic Marion Island. Antarctic Science 30 (2), 83-92

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.

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.

Harris, C., Mulder, K., Sarkar, S., Whitehead, B., Roopnarain, S. (2018) Petrogenesis of low-δ18O quartz porphyry dykes, Koegel Fontein complex, South Africa. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology  173:30.

Meadows, H.R., Reddy, S.M., Clark, C., Harris, C., Martin, L., White A.J.R. (2018) Isotopic constraints on fluid evolution and ore precipitation in a sediment-hosted Pb-Ag-Ba-Zn-Cu-Au deposit in the Capricorn Orogen, Western Australia. Applied geochemistry 96, 217-232.

Geiger H, Troll VR, Jolis EM, Deegan FM, Harris C, Hilton DR, Freda C (2018) Multi-level magma plumbing at Agung and Batur volcanoes increases risk of hazardous eruptions. Scientific reports 8:10547.

Schannor M, Veksler IV, Hecht L, Harris C, Romer RL, Manyeruke TD (2018) Small-scale Sr and O isotope variations through the UG2 in the eastern Bushveld Complex: The role of crustal fluids. Chemical Geology 485, 100-112.

Sarkar T, Dubinina EO, Harris C, Maier WD, Mouri H. (2018) Petrogenesis of ultramafic rocks of komatiitic composition from the Central Zone of the Limpopo Belt, South Africa: Evidence from O and H isotopes. Journal of African Earth Sciences 147, 68-77.

Berg, S.E., Troll, V.R., Harris, C., Deegan, F.M., Riishuus, M.S., Burchardt, S., and Krumbholz, M. (2018) Exceptionally high whole-rock δ18O values in intra-caldera rhyolites from Northeast Iceland. Mineralogical Magazine, 82, 1147–1168.

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

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





  • 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