Deutsch Intern
    Institut für Geographie und Geologie

    Prof. Dr. Hartwig Frimmel

    Lehrstuhl Geodynamik und Geomaterialforschung

    Petrologie metamorpher Gesteine
    Geochemie von Hydrothermalsystemen

    Geographiegebäude (ehemaliges Mineralogiegebäude)
    Zimmer 330

    während des Sommersemesters 2017 am Dienstag von 14.00 bis 15.00 Uhr

    Telefon: (0931) 31 85420
    PC-Fax: (0931) 31 87344
    Telefon: (0931) 31 85421 (Sekretariat)

    Institut für Geographie und Geologie
    Am Hubland
    97074 Würzburg


    Economic geological analyses of the future availability of mineral resources

    Production cycles of non‐renewable georesources are being modeled – both into the future and the past - and the total mineable amount of a given georesource and the prediction of future availability of such resources are being approximated on a regional and global scale. This research is aimed at aiding decision makers with regard to formulating policies on securing the future supply of critical georesources.
    Models refer to both likely future production cycles as well as historic production.
    Concrete examples include golduranium, copper, crude oil, and mercury.

    Genesis of gold deposits

    Several projects on the genesis of the world’s largest accumulation of gold in the Mesoarchaean Witwatersrand Basin in South Africa and similar Witwatersrand-type deposits elsewhere (Brazil, Canada, India, Australia).

    In spite of the enormous economic significance of the Witwatersrand gold, its genesis has remained for more than a century "the most disputed issue in the history of economic geology". Our results made a significant contribution to the on-going debate on the origin of the Witwatersrand gold. Although in its present form most of the gold appears late in the paragenetic sequence and thus to be the product of hydrothermal precipitation, overwhelming evidence exists for an autochthonous, detrital source of the gold within the conglomeratic metasedimentary host rocks. Thus a modified palaeoplacer model is preferred to explain the available data/observations on this real giant amongst gold districts.

    In a follow-up study, the source of the huge amounts of detrital gold particles in the Witwatersrand Basin is being evaluated. To this effect the pre-Witwatersrand basement rocks are being studied. First results point to a sulphidic IOCG-style low-grade gold enrichment in some of these rocks, formed during a major gold event at about 3 billion years, when the dominant crust-forming regime changed from a plume-driven to plate-tectonically driven Earth.

    In a further project, the distribution of gold in the Earth’s crust has been evaluated with the aim of pinpointing the first-order controls on the concentration of gold into ore bodies within the continental crust.

    Sediment-hosted base metal deposits

    Study of the genesis, fluid characteristics and tectonic as well as palaeoclimatic setting of a variety of sediment hosted Cu-, Pb-, and/or Zn-sulphide deposits. Examples include the following ore districts: Otavi Mountainland, northern Namibia, Rosh Pinah, southern Namibia, and Bushmanland, northern Namaqualand, South Africa

    Geodynamic evolution of southwestern Gondwana

    Correlation of Pan-African orogenic belts in southwestern and central Africa with their counterparts in South America gives insights into the birth of a supercontinent (Gondwana) and the relationship between tectonics, palaeoclimate, ocean water chemistry, evolution of life and metallogeny. Special emphasis has been on the Gariep and Saldania Belts in southern Africa and the Congo Belt in central Africa. This work forms part of two International Geoscience Programmes (IGCP 478 and 512) and the DFG-supported priority programme onSouth Atlantic Margin Processes and Links with Onshore Evolution (SAMPLE).

    Precambrian palaeoclimate

    Using sedimentary geochemistry and style of mineralization as proxies, the evolution of the atmosphere and hydrosphere are being reconstructed. Special focus of this research is on the Archaean, the time before the big oxygenation of the atmosphere, and on the Neoproterozoic to Early Cambrian, when our planet experienced some extreme climate changes. Study targets include Archaean sedimentary successions, such as those in the Witwatersrand Basin, Palaeoproterozoic sedimentary successions in Guyana, Neoproterozoic sequences in the former West-Gondwana, and black shale deposits on the Yangtze Platform in South China.

    High-grade metamorphic terranes in Antarctica

    Meso- to Neoproterozoic tectonic belts exposed in isolated nunataks on the periphery of the huge East Antarctic ice mass play a pivotal role in the palaeogeographic reconstruction of an inferred supercontinent that existed prior to Gondwana, commonly referred to as Rodinia or Palaeopangaea. As part of the South African National Antarctic Programme, we studied the tectono-thermal evolution recorded by one of these belts, which is closest to Africa, i.e. the Maud Belt in Western and Central Dronning Maud Land.

    Similar studies have been conducted as part of the DFG-supported priority programme on Antarctic research on rocks from the Shackleton Range. The results revealed the presence of three distinct terranes that became juxtaposed during multi-stage Pan-African tectonothermal events in the course of Gondwana amalgamation. Our single zircon data also gave new insights into the behavior of Hf isotopes in zircon during metamorphism.

    More recently, this work has been extended to southern India, where in a DFG-supported project, in cooperation with Indian partners, ultrahigh-temperature metamorphic rocks are being studied both in the "Grenvillian" Eastern Ghats Belt and the "Pan-African" Madurai Block.




    PhD University of Vienna, Austria (Geology and Petrology) 1987


    2007-                Professor, Chair: Geodynamics and Geomaterials Research, Institute of Geography and Geology, University of Würzburg

    2004-2007         Professor of Mineralogy and Petrology, Head of Institute of Mineralogy, University of Würzburg

    1989-2004         from lecturer to associate Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Cape Town

    1987-1989         Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Vienna

    Additional posts held:

    Since 2013        Advisor to the European Commission´s "European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials"

    since 2013        Dean for student affairs, Faculty of Philosophy I, Univ. Würzburg

    since 2012        Voting member of the Cryogenian subcommission and corresponding member of the Ediacaran subcommission of the international Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS)

    2012-2014        Municipal council member of Leinach, Germany

    2012                 Co-ordinator of the 1st SGA-SEG-UNESCO-IUGS Short Course on African Metallogeny in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

    since 2011        Member of the Academy of Geosciences and Geotechnologies, Germany

    since 2011        Founding member of the Bavarian Georesources Centre (BGC)

    since 2011        Goodwill ambassador of the Geological Society of Africa (GSAf)

    since 2010        Executive Council member of the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits (SGA), Promotion Manager 2010-2011, Treasurer since 2012

    since 2010        Member of the interdepartmental advisory board for the Bavarian government on mineral resource strategies

    2007-                Honorary Research Associate, University of Cape Town

    2007                 Member of Organising Committee of the 9th Biennial SGA Meeting, Dublin

    2007                 Chairman: Distinguished Lecturer Committee, Soc. Econ. Geol. (SEG)

    2006-2007         President of the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits (SGA)

    2006-                Guest Professor, University of Science and Technology, Hefei, China

    2004- 2007        South African representative on the Geoscience Scientific Standing Committee of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR)

    2004-2005         Vice-president of the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits (SGA)

    2004-                Member of the Ediacaran subcommission of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS)

    2003-2007         Co-leader of International Geoscience Programme IGCP 478, Organiser of international field workshop in South Africa/Namibia in 2003

    2002-2005         Council member of the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits (SGA)

    2000-2004         Council member of the Mineralogical Association of South Africa

    2000-                Member of the Committee for South African Stratigraphy

    1999-2004         Chairman of the Western Cape Branch of the Geological Society of South Africa

    1998-2005         Project Leader of the Earth Sciences subprogramme within the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP)

    1999                 Member of Organising Committee of the 11th International Conference of the Geological Society of Africa

    1998-2003         Council member of the Geological Society of South Africa

    1995-2001         SGA (Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits) Regional Vice-President for Africa

    1994-1995         Guest-lecturer at the Department of Petrology and the Department of Geochemistry, University of Vienna

    Membership of editorial boards of professional journals

    Mineralium Deposita (since 1999)

    Brazilian Journal of Geology (since 2012)

    The Open Geology Journal (since 2007, Chief Editor 2010)

    Mineralogy and Petrology (1996-2002)

    Africa Geoscience Review (1994/95, since 1999)

    South African Journal of Geology (1996-98)

    Mitt. Ges. Geol. Berg­baustud. Österr. (1984-85)

    Guest-editor for international professional journals

    2009                 Co-editor of a book in the series Developments in Precambrian Geology
                             (Elsevier, v.16)

    2008                 Co-editor of a Special Issue of Gondwana Research

    2004                 Co-editor of a Special Issue of Gondwana Research

    1999                 Editor of a Special Issue of Mineralogy and Petrology on Witwatersrand and
    1999                 Editor of a Special Issue of Journal of African Earth Sciences

    1995                 Guest-editor of a Special Issue of the South African Journal of Geology

    Reviewer for 26 leading international professional journals (incl. Nature, Science) and national research agencies from 10 countries.


    2003 - 2008 National Research Foundation (South Africa) - B1 rating ("Researchers who enjoy considerable international recognition by their peers for the high quality of their recent research outputs and who are considered by some peers as leading international scholars in their field")

    2000-2003 University of Cape Town Merit Award

    1998-2002 National Research Foundation (South Africa) - B2 rating

    Since 1998 Listed in Marquis'Who's Who in the World and Who's Who in Science and Engineering

    1995 South Africa's Foundation for Research Development President's Award

    1991 SGA Daum Prize


    Total of 92 research articles in peer-reviewed international journals, 22 chapters in peer-reviewed books, 25 conference proceedings, 86 conference abstracts, 38 papers in local journals and unrefereed reports, 8 theses and major reports, and 5 excursion guidebooks.

    Post-graduate training

    Chief supervisor of 23 BSc Honours, 24 MSc and Diploma, 8 PhD students, and co-supervisor of 5 PhD students.


    List of publications




    Institut für Geographie und Geologie
    Am Hubland
    97074 Würzburg

    Tel. +49 931 31-82432
    Suche Ansprechpartner