Professor Balz Kamber
Faculty of Science,
School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
BiographyBroad area of research: My group works in the area of elemental and isotopic geochemistry paired with petrology. We study the fascinating history of the Earth's strong differentiation into chemical spheres. Based on insight gained from addressing very fundamental questions about the Earth, its planetary neighbours and their building blocks, we pursue applications of this knowledge to address real-world opportunities and challenges. My google scholar profile gives an idea of the works we publish.
PhD projects available: We are always looking for highly motivated and creative individuals with solid background in the sciences to join our dynamic research team. Most of us have original degrees in Geology or Earth Science but you can become a successful geochemist with backgrounds in Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science, Mathematics or Computer Science. Please contact me for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Current research: Our current main research projects fall into four areas:
1. Thermodynamic modelling of high-T processes: Here we combine the latest thermodynamic modelling capabilities with dynamic incongruent melting models to construct more realistic understanding of igneous processes and chemical differentiation in igneous systems.
2. Analytical geochemistry method development: Using state-of-the-art tandem quadrupole inductively-coupled-plasma mass-spectrometers, our group continues to develop novel methodologies for measuring isotope ratios and trace element concentrations for high throughput real-world applications.
3. Advanced computational chemical image analysis: We are at the forefront of integrating high-resolution optical microscope imagery with electron microscope and elemental images for advanced computer-assisted recognition of phases (e.g. minerals), patterns (features), and spatial relationships between minerals that make up rocks. This work as applications in processing of ore minerals and automated mineralogy in more general terms.
4. Understanding the chemistry of planetary surfaces: As part of QUT's Planetary Surface Exploration team we look back through time to better understand the evolution of the outermost sphere of planets, specifically the interactions between rocks, atmospheric and subaqueous weathering and the chemistry of the oceans.
Full biographyOriginally from Switzerland (MSc and PhD from the University in Bern), I have joined QUT as the Professor of Petrology after a colourful journey around the globe. Between 2011-2018, I held the Chair in Geology and Mineralogy Trinity College Dublin and was Deputy Director of the 23M Euro Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences. Prior to working in Ireland, I was a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair at Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada (2005-2011). Between 1995 and 2005, I was a Research Associate at Oxford and Cambridge and the University of Queensland. I’m returning to Australia with the goal of establishing a strong presence of real-world relevant, high-impact research in earth sciences and geochemistry. I am fascinated by planet Earth. It is undoubtedly the most interesting planet of the Solar System. How did the Earth arrive at its present state? To answer this question, I research the history of the Earth. Specifically, I want to know how the Earth’s surface changed over time. How has its atmosphere evolved? How did life colonise the land and what did this do the rest of planet? Why is it that certain metals are only found in rocks of the distant past? We have countless open questions that keep me and many other Earth Scientists busy. Many of the answers have economic impact and help society supply industry with commodities. But maybe most importantly, the past history of the Earth informs us about the likely future. Earth is highly dynamic and its climate has changed from icehouse to hothouse conditions. By looking at how the Earth responded to climate extremes, we can learn a lot about what’s in store for us in the future.
- Professor in Petrology
Faculty of Science,
School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
Geochemistry, Geology, Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience
Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008
- PhD (University of Bern)
My teaching is within the Earth Science Major, the Geology Extension Minor and the brand new Climate Science Minor, which I helped to develop and design.
Semester 2: From 2022, I will be teaching the new unit Global Change (ERB211), one of the 4 units making up the Climate Science Minor. I coordinate and teach in Petrology (ERB206) together with Scott Bryan and also offer lectures in Evolving Earth (ERB102).
Before joining QUT as Professor in Petrology, I have held the following positions:
2018 - ongoing: Editor-in-Chief of the D1 journal Chemical Geology
2011-2018: Chair in Geology and Mineralogy, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
2005-2011: Professor in Precambrian Geology and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, Laurentian University, Canada
1998-2005: Research Fellow, University of Queensland
1996-1998: Postdoctoral Researcher, Oxford University, UK
1995-1996: Postdoctoral Researcher, Cambridge University, UK
- Tomlinson E, Kamber B, (2021) Depth-dependent peridotite-melt interaction and the origin of variable silica in the cratonic mantle, Nature Communications, 12.
- Kamber B, Schoenberg R, (2020) Evaporative loss of moderately volatile metals from the superheated 1849 Ma Sudbury impact melt sheet inferred from stable Zn isotopes, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 544.
- Suhr N, Schoenberg R, Chew D, Rosca C, Widdowson M, Kamber B, (2018) Elemental and isotopic behaviour of Zn in Deccan basalt weathering profiles: Chemical weathering from bedrock to laterite and links to Zn deficiency in tropical soils, Science of the Total Environment, 619-620, pp. 1451-1463.
- Ubide T, Kamber B, (2018) Volcanic crystals as time capsules of eruption history, Nature Communications, 9, pp. 1-12.
- Ubide T, McKenna C, Chew D, Kamber B, (2015) High-resolution LA-ICP-MS trace element mapping of igneous minerals: In search of magma histories, Chemical Geology, 409, pp. 157-168.
- Kamber B, (2015) The evolving nature of terrestrial crust from the Hadean, through the Archaean, into the Proterozoic, Precambrian Research, 258, pp. 48-82.
- Babechuk M, Widdowson M, Kamber B, (2014) Quantifying chemical weathering intensity and trace element release from two contrasting basalt profiles, Deccan Traps, India, Chemical Geology, 363, pp. 56-75.
- Chew D, Petrus J, Kamber B, (2014) U-Pb LA-ICPMS dating using accessory mineral standards with variable common Pb, Chemical Geology, 363, pp. 185-199.
- Petrus J, Kamber B, (2012) VizualAge: A novel approach to laser ablation ICP-MS U-Pb geochronology data reduction, Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research, 36 (3), pp. 247-270.
- Kamber B, Webb G, (2001) The Geochemistry of Late Archaean Microbial Carbonate: Implications for Ocean Chemistry and Continental Erosion History, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, pp. 2509-2525.