Marine Mineral Resources (MMR)

Marine Mineral Resources are metal deposits in the oceans that may become of economic relevance in the near future. The goal of research in the MMR group at GEOMAR is to understand the formation of these potential deposits and to advance the exploration of the seafloor in order to estimate the potential of these deposits and predict their occurrence. Research focuses on polymetallic massive sulfides, as well as porphyritic and epithermal copper-gold deposits. In our research, we follow a "source to sink" approach to understand all aspects that contribute to the formation of mineral resources on the seafloor.

Metals in seafloor deposits are not only valuable resources for high-tech and "green energy" products, but some are unfortunately harmful to many marine organisms at certain concentrations. Therefore, as part of the research focus on "Metals in the Ocean", the MMR group is addressing all aspects of trace metals related to mineral deposits in the marine environment, including their concentration, physical and chemical speciation, and bioavailability and toxicity.


Research activities

  • KIMERA – Artificial intelligence applied to mapping of the seafloor and marine spatial planning (01.09.2023-31.08.2026). PIs: P. Brandl/S.Petersen
  • HEXPLORES 2023 (4.10.-1.11.2023) - Hydrothermal EXPLOration of the REd Sea,” The Effect of Spreading Rate on the Frequency Distribution of Hydrothermal Vent Sites and Volcanic Activity in the Red Sea Rift”, Red Sea, RV Meteor, PIs: N. Augustin (GEOMAR)/F. van der Zwan (KAUST)/S. Petersen (GEOMAR)/ C. Devey (GEOMAR).
  • SO299 DYNAMET (6.6.-29.7.2023) - geoDYNAmics & METallogeny, “Arc rifting, metallogeny and microplate evolution: an integrated geodynamic, magmatic and hydrothermal study of the Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea”, offshore Papua-Neuguinea, RV Sonne (SO299), Chief Scientists: P. Brandl/M. Hannington.
  • DOMETRAP, subproject of the SPP2238 "DOME" (DFG): 2020-2023
  • AZORES Hot Vents (29.11.-31.12.2022), “Exploration of hydrothermal systems on the Azores Plateau, Central North Atlantic Ocean”, Central North Atlantic, RV Meteor, PIs: C. Schmidt (GEOMAR)/C. Hensen (GEOMAR)/N. Kaul (Bremen University)/P. Terrinha (Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere, IPMA).
  • **Active production of Fe ligands: How important are benthic microbes for regulating bioavailable iron in the ocean?

** For further information for undergraduate and/or postgraduate involvment in this project, please contact the team assistant (

Recently completed projects

  • IslandImpact (16.11.-17.12.2022) - “Understanding the regional impact of islands (South Georgia) on Southern Ocean biogeochemistry and ecosystem function", South-Atlantic, RV Polarstern (PS133), Chief Scientist: C. Klaas (AWI)/S. Kasten (AWI)/A. Waite (Dalhousie University)/M. Meredith (British Antarctic Survey, BAS).
  • DeepBlue (23.6.-14.7.2022) - “Characterisation and monitoring of serpentine mude volcanoes’ fluid/solid emissions in the Mariana Forearc”, Pacific Ocean, RV Sonne (SO292), PIs: W. Menapace (MARUM)/ E. Albers (MARUM)/ A. Kopf (MARUM).
  • BISMArc (2017-2020), in collaboration with GeoZentrum Nordbayern (DFG).
  • Marine Mineral Resources - funded through the Helmholtz Association.
  • OASIS (2015-2018) - Indian Ocean, funded through BMBF.
  • Blue Mining (2014-2018) - funded through EU FP7.

Events & Lectures

Talks & Events:

  • Resources from the deep sea: Recent developments in Marine Mining. S. Petersen. 28/09/2022. Association for Geography and Geology Bochum, Germany
  • Booth at GEOMAR's Open Day, Ahoi Ostufer – 21.08.2022
  • Raw materials from the deep sea: possible future or science fiction? R.Zitoun 19/6/2022. Kiel Week, Ocean Science Show - Ocean Dome, Kiel, Germany
  • Treasures from the Deep: Raw Materials from the Sea - Future or Science Fiction? R.Zitoun. 28/4/2022. Festival of Sciences - Ocean Science Show, Kiel, Germany

Lectures & Summer Schools:

  • iMAGE CREATE – GEOMAR Seafloor Mapping School (SEA-EU integrated course, 5 ECTS), October 17th-28th, 2022 (virtual)
  • Marine Mineral Resources (MSc Marine Geosciences, CAU Kiel), Lecture, 2 SWS, next date: WS 2021/22
  • Geodynamics & Ore Deposits (MSc Marine Geosciences, CAU Kiel), Practical, 1 SWS, next date: WS 2021/22


Recent Publications

(Peer-reviewed, MMR (co-)author)


  • Adam-Beyer, N., Laufer-Meiser, K., Fuchs, S., Schippers, A., Indenbirken, D., Petersen, S., and Perner, M. (2023) Microbial ecosystem assessment and hydrogen oxidation potential of newly discovered vent systems from the Central and South-East Indian Ridge. Frontiers in Microbiology 14: 1173613. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2023.1173613
  • Guo, Z., Rüpke, L., Petersen, S., German, C.R., Ildefonse, B., Hasenclever, J., Bialas, J., and Chunhui, T. (2023) Detachment-parallel recharge explains high discharge fluxes at the TAG hydrothermal field. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 617: 118245, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2023.118245
  • Dura, A., Nomikou, P., Mertzimekis, T.J., Hannington, M.D., Petersen, S., and Poulos, S. (2023) Identifying probable submarine hydrothermal spots in north Santorini caldera using the generalized moments method. Geosciences 13: 269; doi: 10.3390/geosciences13090269(Open Access)
  • Hannington, M., Petersen, S., and Jamieson, J. (2023) Another look at marine minerals. SEG Discovery 134: 19-30. doi: 10.5382/SEGnews.2023-134.fea-01
  • Young, T., Gale, S. L., Ragg, N. L. C., Sander, S. G., Burritt, D. J., Benedict, B., Le, D. V., Villas-Bôas, S. G. and Alfaro, A. C. (2023) Metabolic regulation of copper toxicity during marine mussel embryogenesis. Metabolites 13 (7): 838, doi:10.3390/metabo13070838(Open Access)
  • Polymenakou, P., Nomikou, P., Hannington, M., Petersen, S., Kilias, S.P., Anastasiou, T.I., Papadimitriou, V., Zaka, E., Kristofersen, J.B., Lampridou, D., Wind, S., Heinath, V., Lange, S., and Magoulas, A.N. (2023) Taxonomic diversity of microbial communities in sub-seafloor hydrothermal sediments of the active Santorini-Kolumbo volcanic field. Frontiers in Mircobiology 14: 1188544, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2023.1188544(Open Access)
  • Le Saout, M., Palgan, D., Devey, C.W., Lux, T.S., Petersen, S., Thorhallsson, D., Tomkowicz, A., and Brix, S. (2023): Variations in volcanism and tectonics along the hotspot-influenced Reykjanes Ridge. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 24 (4), e2022GC010788, doi:10.1029/2022GC010788(Open Access)
  • Martin, A.J., Jamieson, J.W., de Ronde, C.E.J., Layne, G.D., Piercey, G. & Brandl, P.A. (2023): Constraining temporal variations in metal and sulfur sources using high‑resolution mineral‑scale analysis of pyrite: evidence from the Brothers volcano, Kermadec arc, New Zealand. Mineralium Deposita (published online). doi:10.1007/s00126-023-01177-9.
  • Jegen, A., Dannowski, A., Schnabel, M., Barckhausen, U., Brandl, P.A., Riedel, M., Beniest, A., Heyde, I., Hannington, M.D., Sandhu, A., Werner, R. & Kopp, H. (2023): Extension dynamics of the northern Fonualei Rift and Spreading Center and the southern Mangatolu Triple Junction in the Lau Basin at 16°S. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 24, e2022GC010550. doi:10.1029/2022GC010550 (Open Access)
  • Baumgartner, R.J., Hu, S., Petersen, S., Liu, S.-A., Li, D., and Kunzmann, M. (2023) The geochemistry of zinc and copper stable isotopes in deep-sea brine pools: perspectives from metalliferous sediments of the Atlantis II Deep, Red Sea. Chemical Geology 619 (3): 121320.
  • Fassbender, M.L., Hannington, M.D., Stewart, M., Brandl, P.A., Baxter, A.T. & Diekrup, D. (2023): Geochemical signatures of felsic volcanic rocks in modern oceanic settings and implications for Archean greenstone belts. Economic Geology 118 (2): 319-345. doi:10.5382/econgeo.4967 (Open Access)
  • Brandl, P.A., Portnyagin, M., Zeppenfeld, H., Tepley III, F.J., de Ronde, C.E.J., Timm, C., Hauff, F. and Garbe-Schönberg, D. (2023): The origin of magmas and metals at the submarine Brothers volcano, Kermadec arc, New Zealand. Economic Geology, published online. doi:10.582/econgeo.4973


  • Hansen, C.T., Kleint, C., Böhnke, S., Klose, L., Adam-Beyer, N., Sass, K., Zitoun, R., Sander, S.G., Indenbirken, D., Dittmar, T., Koschinsky, A. and Perner, M. (2022) Impact of high Fe-concentrations on microbial community structure and dissolved organics in hydrothermal plumes: an experimental study. Scientific Reports 12, 20723.
  • Brandl, P.A., Portnyagin, M., Zeppenfeld, H., Tepley III, F.J., de Ronde, C.E.J., Timm, C., Hauff, F. and Garbe-Schönberg, D.: The origin of magmas and metals at the submarine Brothers volcano, Kermadec arc, New Zealand. Economic Geology, published online. doi:10.582/econgeo.4973
  • Chiswell, S.M., Boyd, P.W., Sander, S.G., Ellwood, M.J., and Milne, A. (2022) Mesoscale eddies and the impact of coastal iron supply on primary production in the South Pacific Subtropical Front. Deep Sea Research Part I 188: 103852. DOI 10.1016/j.dsr.2022.103852.
  • Hatje, V., Sarin, M., Sander, S.G., Omanovic, D., Ramachandran, P., Völker, C., Barra, R.O. and Tagliabue, A. (2022) Emergent interactive effects of climate change and contaminants in coastal and ocean ecosystems. Frontiers in Marine Sciences 9: 936109, DOI 10.3389/fmars.2022.936109. (Open Access)
  • Vinkovic, A., Laptyev, G., Yaprak, G., Slavova, K., Joksimovic, D., Troskot-Corbic, T., Frontasyeva, M., Duliu, O.G., Bylyku, E., Shyti, M., Humbatov, F., Nuhanovic, M., Smjecanin, N., Nonova, T., Dobrev, L., Pashalidis, I., Melikadze, G., Ioannidou, A., Tsabaris, C., Aidarkhanova, A., David, D., Zinicovscaia, I., Kamnev, A., Horvat, M., Necemer, M., Jacimovic, R., Yucel, H., Kalayci, Y., Dirican, A., Sert, I., Plotsen, M., Korychenskyi, K., Khatir, S.M.A., Sander, S.G., Deufrains, K., Fajkovic, H., Klanjscek, T., Vdovic, N., Legovic, T. and Obhodas, J. (2022) Could atmospheric carbon be driving sedimentation? Journal of Soils and Sediments, DOI 10.1007/s11368-022-03282-0
  • Allen, D., Allen, S., Abbasi, S., Baker, A., Bergmann, M., Brahney, J., Butler, T., Duce, R.A., Eckhardt, S., Evangeliou, N., Jickells, T., Kanakidou, M., Kershaw, P., Laj, P., Levermore, J., Li, D., Liss, P., Liu, K., Mahowald, N., Masque, P., Materić, D., Mayes, A.G., McGinnity, P., Osvath, I., Prather, K.A., Prospero, J.M., Revell, L. E., Sander, S.G., Shim, W.J., Slade, J., Stein, A., Tarasova, O., and Wright, S. (2022) Microplastics and nanoplastics in the marine-atmosphere environment. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment (2022) DOI: 10.1038/s43017-022-00292-x. (Open Access)
  • Nomikou, P., Polymenakou, P.N., Rizzo, A.L., Petersen, S., Hannington, M., Kilias, S.P., Papanikolaou, D., Escartín, J., Karantzalos, K., Mertzimekis, T.J., Antoniou, V., Krokos, M., Grammatikopoulos, L., Italiano, F., Caruso, C.G., Lazzaro, G., Longo, M., Scappuzzo, S.S., D'Alessandro, W., Grassa, F., Bejelou, K., Lampridou, D., Katsigera, A., and Dura, A.: SANTORY: SANTORini's Seafloor Volcanic ObservatorY. Frontiers in Marine Science 9: 796376, 1-16. doi:10.3389/fmars.2022.796376 (Open Access)
  • Haase, K.M., Schoenhofen, M.V., Storch, B., Beier, C., Regelous, M., Rubin, K., and Brandl, P.A.: Effects of the hydrous domain in the mantle wedge on magma formation and mixing at the Northeast Lau Spreading Centre, SW Pacific. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 23: e2021GC010066. doi:10.1029/2021GC010066 (Open Access)
  • Stewart, M.S., Hannington, M.D., Emberley, J., Baxter, A.T., Kraetschell, A., Petersen, S., Brandl, P.A., Anderson, M.O., Mercier-Langevin, P., Mensing, R., Breker, K., and Fassbender, M.: A new geological map of the Lau Basin reveals crustal growth processes in arc-backarc systems. Geosphere 18(2): 910-943. doi: 10.1130/GES02340.1(Open Access)
  • Kleint, C., Zitoun, R., Neuholz, R., Walter, M., Schnetger, B., Klose, L., Chiswell, S.M., Middag, R., Laan, P., Sander, S.G., and Koschinsky, A. (2022) Trace Metal Dynamics in Shallow hydrothermal plumes at the Kermadec Arc. Frontiers in Marine Science 8: 782734, 1-18. (Open Access)
  • Barhoumi, B., Sander, S.G., and Tolosa, I. (2022) A review on per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs) in microplastic and food-contact materials. Environmental Research Letters, 206: 112595.
  • Barhoumi, B., Sander, S.G., Driss, M.R., and Tolosa, I. (2022) Survey of legacy and emerging per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances in Mediterranean seafood from a North African ecosystem. Environmental Pollution 292.

The full list of MMR publications can be found here.