Marine Mineral Resources (MMR)

Marine Mineral Resources are metal deposits in the oceans that may become of economic relevance in the near future. The research of the MMR group at GEOMAR focuses on the understanding of ore forming processes, geological exploration of the seafloor and estimating the resource potentials (and where we potentially find marine mineral deposits). The focus of our research are polymetallic massive sulfides and porphyry and epithermal copper-gold deposits. We are using a 'source-to-sink' approach in order to understand all aspects that contribute to the formation of metal deposits at the seafloor.


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Major research projects

  • Marine Mineral Resources (Helmholtz Gemeinschaft)
  • Blue Mining (EU FP7): 2014-2018
  • OASIS, Indian Ocean (BMBF): 2015-2018
  • INDEX, geological mapping along Indian Ocean spreading centres (BGR): 2017-2020
  • BISMArc, in collaboration with GeoZentrum Nordbayern (DFG): 2017-2020
  • Critical Metals (Future Oceans): PhD Stipend, 2014-2017

News from our Canadian cooperation project "Metal Oceans" (part of Metal Earth) that studies the modern ocean to provide insights to ore deposit formation in the ancient rock record.

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Recent research cruises


  • SO283 "DynaMet - geoDYNAmics & METallogeny", New Ireland/Tabar-Lihir-Tanga-Feni island chain in Papua New Guinea with RV Sonne, ROV "Kiel 6000" & AUV "ABYSS", 15.5.-5.7.2021, Chief scientist: P. Brandl; PIs: P. Brandl/M. Hannington, Co-PIs: M. Jegen (GDY), H. Kopp (GDY), S. Petersen (MMR), and K. Haase und C. Beier (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg)


  • Cruises cancelled due to covid-19


  • SO271 "INDEX 2019", Central Indian Rige, BGR licence area with RV Sonne, 26.10.-11.12.2019 (PI: U. Schwarz-Schampera, BGR)
  • POS535 "Loki2GrimseyEM", N' Iceland with RV Poseidon, 09.06.-03.07.2019 (Chief scientist: S. Hölz)


  • SO267 "ARCHIMEDES 1", NE Lau Becken/Fonualei Rifts mit RV Sonne & AUV "ABYSS", 11.12.2018-26.01.2019 (PIs: M. Hannington/H. Kopp (GDY), Co-PI: S. Petersen et al.)
  • "INDEX2018", RV Pelagia, 10.10.-17.12.2018 (PI: U. Schwarz-Schampera, BGR)
  • POS524 "GrimseyEM", N' Iceland with Poseidon, 08.-27.06.2018 (PI: S. Hölz (GDY), Co-PIs: S. Petersen, M. Hannington)
  • MSM75 "REYKJANES", S' Iceland with RV Maria S. Merian, ROV "PHOCA" & AUV "ABYSS", 29.06.-08.08.2018  (PI: C. Devey (MuHS-V), Co-PIs: S. Petersen et al.)
  • IODP Exp. 376 "Brothers Arc Flux", Brothers Smt./Kermadec Arc with DV JOIDES Resolution, 05.05.-05.07.2018 (Participants: P.A. Brandl, K. Strehlow (MuHS-P))



  • SMARTIES, Romanche Fracture Zone (South Atlantic) with RV Pourquoi Pas? & AUV "ABYSS" (PI: M. Maia (CNRS), Co-PI: S. Petersen et al.)
  • HESS DEEP, The dyke/gabbro transition and hydrothermal fault zones at the Hess Deep Rift, equatorial EPR with RV Sonne, ROV "Kiel 6000" & AUV "ABYSS" (PI: J. Köpke (Uni Hannover), Co-PI: S. Petersen et al.)
  • HEXPLORE, Red Sea with RV Sonne, ROV "Kiel 6000" & AUV "ABYSS" (PI: N. Augustin (MuHS-V), Co-PIs: S. Petersen et al.)
  • SPRINTER, Foundation Plume and Pacfic-Antarctic Ridge with RV Sonne & ROV "Kiel 6000"(PIs: C. Beier/P. Brandl/W. Bach)

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Events & Lectures

Talks & Events:

  • Participation at the German Unity Day 2019 - visit of the citizen delegation
  • Participation at the Kieler Woche 2019
  • Public talk at the Society of Natural Sciences of Schleswig-Holstein, "Active volcanism and resource formation at the seafloor", 12th February 2020, Dr. Philipp Brandl


  • Marine Mineral Resources (course 061081/mageoMaCMP-01a - L; MSc Marine Geosciences, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel), Lecture, 2 SWS, 28.11.-19.12.2019: Thu 8:00-11:15, Dr. Philipp Brandl
  • Geodynamics & Ore Deposits (course 061084/mageoMaCMP-01a - PE; MSC Marine Geosciences, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel), Practical, 1 SWS, 28.11.-19.12.2019: Thu 11:15-12:00, Dr. Philipp Brandl

Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences

The Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences involving Dr. SvenPetersen as an editor has been published recently with Springer.

Harff, J., Meschede, M., Petersen, S. und Thiede, J., eds. (2016) Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Springer, Dordrecht, XXXIII, 961 pp. ISBN 978-94-007-6237-4

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Recent Publications

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


  • Guo, Z., Rüpke, L. H., Fuchs, S., Iyer,K., Hannington, M. D., Chen, C., Tao, C., and Hasenclever, J. (2020) Anhydrite-assisted hydrothermal metal transport to the ocean floor — Insights from thermo-hydro-chemical modeling. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 125, paper e2019JB019035, 1-18. doi:10.1029/2019JB019035. (Open Access)
  • Schmid, F., Kopp, H., Schnabel, M., Dannowski, A., Heyde, I., Riedel, M., Hannington, M.D., Engels, M., Beniest, A., Klaucke, I., Augustin, N., Brandl, P.A., Devey, C. (2020) Crustal Structure of the Niuafo'ou Microplate and Fonualei Rift and Spreading Center in the Northeastern Lau Basin, Southwestern Pacific. J. Geophys. Res. 125, e2019JB019184, 1-21. doi:10.1029/2019JB019184. (Open Access)
  • Wind, S.C., Schneider, D.A., Hannington, M.D., and McFarlane, C.R.M. (2020) Regional similarities in lead isotopes and trace elements in galena of the Cyclades Mineral District, Greece with implications for the underlying basement. Lithos 366-367, paper 105559, 1-17. doi: 10.1016/j.lithos.2020.105559.
  • Brandl, P.A., Hannington, M.D., Geersen, J., Petersen, S. & Gennerich, H.-H.: The submarine tectono-magmatic framework of Cu-Au endowment in the Tabar-to-Feni island chain, PNG. Ore Geology Reviews 121, paper 103491, invited. doi:10.1016/j.oregeorev.2020.103491.(Open Access)
  • Baxter, A.T., Hannington, M.D., Stewart, M.S., Emberley, J.M., Breker, K., Krätschell, A., Petersen, S., Brandl, P.A., Klischies, M., Mensing, R. & Anderson, M.O.: Shallow seismicity and the classification of structures in the Lau back-arc basin. G3 - Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems (published online). doi:10.1029/2020GC008924.
  • Dura, A., Mertzimekis, T.J., Bakalis, E., Nomikou, P., Gondikas, A., Hannington, M.D., and Petersen, S. (2020): CTD data profiling to assess the natural hazard of active submarine vent fields: the case of Santorini Island. Bulletin Geological Society of Greece 56(1): 70-83.
  • Hamada, M., Iwamori, H., Brandl, P.A., Ushikubo, T., Shimizu, K., Ito, M., Li, H. & Savov, I.P (2020): Temporal evolution of proto-Izu-Bonin-Mariana arc volcanism over 10 Ma: Constraints from statistical analysis of melt inclusion compositions. Journal of Petrology, egaa022 (published online). doi:10.1093/petrology/egaa022
  • Milinovic, J., Dias, A.A., Janeiro, A.I., Pereira, M.F.C., Martins, S., Petersen, S., and Barriga, F.J.A.S. (2020) XRD identification of ore minerals during cruises: refinement of extraction procedure with sodium acetate buffer. Minerals 10(2): 160, 1-19. doi:10.3390/min10020160(Open Access).
  • Brandl, P.A., Schmid, F., Augustin, N., Grevemeyer, I., Arculus, R.J., Devey, C.W., Petersen, S., Stewart, M., Kopp, H. & Hannington, M.D. (2020): The 6-8 Aug 2019 eruption of 'Volcano F' in the Tofua Arc, Tonga. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 390: 106695, 1-9. doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2019.106695
  • Grant, H.L.J., Hannington, M.D., Hardardóttir, V., Fuchs, S.H., and Schumann, D. (2020): Trace metal distributions in sulfide scales of the seawater-dominated Reykjanes geothermal system: Constraints on sub-seafloor hydrothermal mineralizing processes and metal fluxes. Ore Geology Reviews 116: 103145. doi:10.1016/j.oregeorev.2019.103145. (Open Access).


  • Caratori Tontini, F., Bassett, D., de Ronde, C.E.J., Timm, C. and Wysoczanski, R. (2019) Early evolution of a young back-arc basin in the Havre Trough. (Open Access)Nature Geoscience 12: 856-862.
  • Schumann, D., Martin, R. F., Fuchs, S. und de Fourestier, J. (2019) Silicocarbonatitic melt inclusions in fluorapatite from the Yates Prospect, Otter Lake, Quebec: Evidence of marble anatexis in the central metasedimentary belt of the Grenville Province. The Canadian Mineralogist, 57 (5): 583-604.
  • Szitkar, F., Dyment, J., Petersen, S., Bialas, J., Klischies, M., Graber, S., Klaeschen, D., Yeo, I., and Murton, B.J. (2019) Detachment tectonics at Mid-Atlantic Ridge 26°N. (Open Access). Scientific Reports 9: 11830.
  • Gartman, A., Findlay, A.J., Hannington, M., Garbe-Schönberg, D., Jamieson, J., and Kwasnitschka, T. (2019) The role of nanoparticles in mediating element deposition and transport at hydrothermal vents. (Open Access). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 261: 113-131.
  • Anderson, M.O., Hannington, M.D., McConachy, T.F., Jamieson, J.W., Anders, M., Wienkenjohann, H., Strauss, H., Hansteen, T., and Petersen, S. (2019) Mineralization and alteration of a modern seafloor massive sulfide deposit hosted in mafic volcaniclastic rocks. (Open Access)Economic Geology 114(5): 857-896.
  • de Ronde, C., Humphris, S. E., Hofig, T. W., Reyes, A. G.the IODP Expedition 376 Scientists (including Brandl, P.A., Cai, L., Cai, Y, Caratori Tontini, F., Deans, J.R., Farough, A., Jamieson, J.W., Kolandaivelu, K.P., Kutovaya, A., Labonté, J., Martin, A.J., Massiot, C., McDermott, J.M., McIntosh, I.M., Nozaki, T., Pellizari, V.H., Roberts, S., Rouxel, O., Schlicht, L.E.M., Seo, J.H., Straub, S.M., Strehlow, K., Takai, K., Tanner, D., Tepley III, F.J., Zhang, C.) (2019). Critical role of caldera collapse in the formation of seafloor mineralization: The case of Brothers volcano. Geology 47, 762–766.
  • Fuchs, S., Hannington, M.D., and Petersen, S. (2019) Divining gold in seafloor polymetallic massive sulfide systems. (Open Access). Mineralium Deposita 54(6): 789-820.
  • Wysoczanski, R., Leonard, G., Gill, J., Wright, I., Calvert, A., McIntosh, W., Jicha, B., Gamble, J., Timm, C., Handler, M., Drewes-Todd, E., and Zohrab, A. (2019) Ar-Ar age constraints on the timing of Havre Trough opening and magmatism. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics. doi: 10.1080/00288306.2019.1602059.
  • Gehrmann, R.A.S., North, L.A., Graber, S., Szitkar, F., Petersen, S., Minshull, T.A., and Murton, B. J. (2019) Marine mineral exploration with controlled-source electromagnetics at the TAG hydrothermal field, 26°N Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Geophysical Research Letters 46(11): 5808-5816.
  • Schmid, F., Peters, M., Walter, M., Devey, C., Petersen, S., Yeo, I., Köhler, J., Jamieson, J.W., Walker, S., and Sültenfuß, J. (2019) Physico-chemical properties of newly discovered hydrothermal plumes above the Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge (13°-33°S). Deepsea Research I 148: 34-52.
  • Timm, C., de Ronde, C.E.J., Hoernle, K., Cousens, B., Wartho, J.A., Caratori Tontini, F., Wysoczanski, R.J., Hauff, F., Handler, M. (2019) New Age and Geochemical Data from the Southern Colville and Kermadec Ridges, SW Pacific: Insights into the recent geological history and petrogenesis of the Proto-Kermadec (Vitiaz) Arc. Gondwana Research 72: 169-193. doi: 10.1016/
  • Klischies, M., Petersen, S., Devey, C.W. (2019) Geological mapping of the Menez Gwen segment at 37°50′N on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge: Implications for accretion mechanisms and associated hydrothermal activity at slow-spreading mid-ocean ridges. Marine Geology 412:107–122. doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2019.03.012
  • Murton, B., Lehrmann, B., Dutrieux, A., Martins, S., Gil de Iglesia, A., Stobbs, I.J., Barriga, F.J.A.S., Bialas, J., Dannowski, A., Vardy, M.E., North, L.J., Yeo, I.A.L.M., Lusty, P.A.J., and Petersen, S. (2019) Geological fate of seafloor massive sulphides at the TAG hydrothermal field (Mid-Atlantic Ridge). Ore Geology Reviews 107:903–925. (Open Access)doi: 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2019.03.005
  • Hannington, M. and Garbe-Schönberg, D. (2019) Detection of gold nanoparticles in hydrothermal fluids. Economic Geology 114(2): 397–400. doi: 10.5382/econgeo.2019.4636
  • Fallon, E.K., Frische, M., Petersen, S., Brooker, R.A., and Scott, T.B. (2019) Geological, mineralogical and textural impacts on the distribution of environmentally toxic trace elements in seafloor massive sulphide occurrences. Minerals 9(3): 162,1-53(Open Access)doi: 10.3390/min9030162
  • Meier, D.V., Pjevac, P., Bach, W., Markert, S., Schweder, T., Jamieson, J., Petersen, S., Amann, R., and Meyerdierks, A. (2019) Microbial metal-sulfide oxidation in inactive hydrothermal vent chimneys suggested by metagenomic and metaproteomic analyses. Environmental Microbiology 21(2): 682-701. (Open Access) doi:10.1111/1462-2920.14514
  • Olive, J.-A., Parnell-Turner, R., Escartin, J., Smith, D.K., and Petersen, S. (2019). Controls on the seafloor exposure of detachment fault surfaces. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 506: 381-387. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2018.11.001



  • Vishiti, A., Suh, C.E., Lehmann, B., Shemang, E.M., Ngomea, N.L., Nshanji, N.J., Chinjo, F.E., Mongwe, O.Y., Egbe, A.J., and Petersen, S. (2017) Mineral chemistry, bulk rock geochemistry and S-isotope signature of lode-gold mineralization in the Bétaré Oya gold district, south-east Cameroon. Geological Journal 53(6), 2579-2596. doi: 10.1002/gj.3093.
  • Wang, Y., Han, X., Petersen, S., Frische, M., Qiu, Z., Cai, Y. and Zhou, P. (2018) Trace metals distribution in sulfide minerals of ultramafic-hosted hydrothermal systems: Example from the Kairei vent field, Central Indian Ridge. Minerals 8(11), 526:1-21 (Open Access) doi: 10.3390/min8110526
  • Chadwick, W.W. Jr, Merle, S.G., Baker, E.T., Walker, S.L., Resing, J.A., Butterfield, D.A., Anderson, M.O., Baumberger, T., and Bobbitt, A.M. (2018) A recent volcanic eruption discovered on the central Mariana back-arc spreading center. Front. Earth Sci. 6:172. (Open Access) doi: 10.3389/feart.2018.00172
  • Grant, H.L.J., Hannington, M.D., Petersen, S., Frische, M., Fuchs, S.H. (2018): Constraints on the behavior of trace elements in the actively-forming TAG deposit, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, based on LA-ICP-MS analyses of pyrite. Chemical Geology 498, 45-71 (Open Access)doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2018.08.019
  • Petersen, S., Lehrmann, B., and Murton, B.J. (2018) Modern seafloor hydrothermal systems: new perspectives on ancient ore-forming processes. Elements 14(5): 307-312. doi:10.2138/gselements.14.5.307
  • Nebel, O., Sossi, P.A., Foden, J., Bénard, A., Brandl, P.A., Stammeier, J.A., Lupton, J., Richter, M. & Arculus, R.J. (2018): Iron isotope variability in ocean floor lavas and mantle sources in the Lau back-arc basin. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 241, 150-163. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2018.08.046
  • Parnell-Turner, R., Escartin, J., Olive, J.-A., Smith, D.K. & Petersen, S. (2018): Genesis of corrugated fault surfaces by strain localization recorded at oceanic detachments. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 498, 116-128. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2018.06.034
  • Beier, C., Brandl, P.A., Lima, S.M. & Haase, K.M. (2018): Tectonic control on the genesis of magmas in the New Hebrides arc (Vanuatu). Lithos 312-313, 290-307. doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2018.05.011
  • Diekrup, D., Hannington, M.D., Strauss, H., and Ginley, S.J. (2018): Decoupling of Neoarchean sulfur sources recorded in Algoma-type banded iron formation. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 489, 1-7.
  • Beier, C., Haase, K.M. & Brandl, P.A. (2018): Melting and Mantle Sources in the Azores. In: U. Kueppers and C. Beier (eds.), Volcanoes of the Azores, Active Volcanoes of the World, Springer, Berlin. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-32226-6_11
  • Van Dover, C.L., Arnaud-Haond, S., Gianni, M., Helmreich, S., Huber, J.A., Jaeckel, A.L., Metaxas, A., Pendleton, L.H., Petersen, S., Ramirez-Llodra, E., Steinberg, P.E., Tunnicliffe, V., Yamamoto, H. (2018) Scientific rationale and international obligations for protection of active hydrothermal vent ecosystems from deep-sea mining. Marine Policy 90, 20–28. doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2018.01.020
  • Gartmann, A., Hannington, M.D., Jamieson, J.W., Peterkin, B., Garbe-Schönberg, D., Findlay, A.J., Fuchs, S. & Kwasnitschka, T. (2017): Boiling-induced formation of colloidal gold in black smoker hydrothermal fluids. Geology 46, 339-42. doi:10.1130/G39492.1
  • Ishizuka, O., Hickey-Vargas, R., Arculus, R.J., Yogodzinski, G.M., Savov, I.P., Kusano, Y., McCarthy, A., Brandl, P.A., Sudo, M. (2018): Age of Izu–Bonin–Mariana arc basement. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 481, 80–90 (Open Access)doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2017.10.023

The full list of MMR publications can be found here.

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  • Head of the Research Unit:

    Prof. Dr. Colin Devey
    GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
    Eastshore Campus
    Wischhofstr. 1-3
    D-24148 Kiel
    Phone: +49-431 600-2257
    Fax: -49-431 600-2924
    e-mail: cdevey(at)

    Sandra Spahl
    Phone: +49-431-600-2256
    e-mail: sspahl(at)