Ongoing research of the petrology group at Tübingen University focusses on the mineralogical, petrological, and geochemical evolution of magmatic and hydrothermal systems relevant to rock formation and ore deposition.
Our projects typically combine field work with microscopic investigations and state-of-the-art geochemical analytics such as XRF and ICP-MS (whole-rock major and trace elements), SEM, EPMA and LA ICP-MS (spaced-resolved mineral analysis), fluid inclusion analysis, liquid ion chromatography (cations and anions in liquids), combustion ion chromatography (halogens and sulfur in solids) and stable and radiogenic isotope analysis.
Our current projects involve field work in Germany (e.g., Schwarzwald, Hegau, Bayerischer Wald, Lausitz), other European countries (e.g., Sweden, Greenland), Africa (e.g., Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa) and Australia. All projects aim at the integration of field data, mineral assemblages and macro- and microtextures with compositional data to develop detailed petrogenetic models for various geologic processes related to magmatism and ore formation.
The Tübingen petrology group was also part of an EU-funded collaborative research project on alkaline rocks and carbonatites called HiTech AlkCarb. The project brought together industry partners involved in exploration, geophysics, and environmental assessment in a team with geological surveys and university academics. This project resulted in a step-change in exploration models for alkaline and carbonatite provinces, establishing methodologies by which mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, and geophysics are combined. This included the state-of-the-art interpretation of high-resolution geophysics and downhole measurement tools that can be used to make robust predictions about mineral prospection at depth. The project conducted field studies at seven key natural laboratories (Germany, Italy, Greenland, Malawi, Mongolia, Namibia, South Africa). The outcomes where integrated into new geomodels on multiple scales and comprised a world catalogue as well as deposit models.
Increasing demand of raw materials necessitates a better understanding of the processes involved in ore formation of all kinds of ore deposits. The Tübingen petrology group focusses on three types: liquid-magmatic sulfide deposits, skarn deposits and vein-type hydrothermal deposits.
Due to their metal content needed for the increasing battery demand, processes involved in ore formation are investigated in magmatic Ni-Co-Cu-(PGE) sulfide deposits of the Lausitz area (Saxony) and from Western Australia. Metamorphosed SEDEX-type sulfides are comparatively investigated in the Bavarian Forest of Southeast Germany. In all massive sulfide occurrences, the mineralogy, petrology, and geochemistry of sulfide- and sulfide-silicate textures are studied. These textures are the key to understand sulfide infiltration, sulfide crystallization and fractionation, as well as upgrading processes to change subeconomic sulfide melts into an ore deposit. Methods involved are detailed transmitted and reflected light microscopy, stable and radiogenic isotope analyses, microprobe and scanning electron microscopy investigations as well as micro-XRD studies.
Skarn and greisen deposits in the Erzgebirge (Saxony, Germany) are the focus of Sn, W, and Li exploration activity, again for industrial metal demand. The aim of this study is to understand how tin and other elements like iron, fluorine and aluminium are distributed during late-magmatic cooling and fluid evolution between silicate minerals (malayaite, titanite and others), oxide minerals (cassiterite), skarn-forming and greisen-forming fluids. Methods involved are detailed transmitted and reflected light microscopy, fluid inclusion studies, and microprobe and scanning electron microscopy investigations.