Marine Mineral Resources (MMR)

What are Mineral Resources?
Methods & Tools
Ore-forming Processes
Resource Potentials
Seafloor Exploration
Public Outreach

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.

LINK to webGIS Marine Mineral Resources Maps


Prof. Dr. Mark Hannington (Head of the Group)
Dr. Sven Petersen
Dr. Philipp Brandl
Sabine Lange (Team Assistant)


Dr. Anna Krätschell
Dr. Christian Timm (GNS, Marie Curie Visiting Fellow)
Dr. Sofia Martins

PhD Students

Sebastian Graber
Meike Klischies
Sandra Wind

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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): 2017-2019
  • 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


  • SO271 "INDEX 2019", Zentralindischer Rücken, BGR-Lizenzgebiet mit RV Sonne, 26.10.-11.12.2019 (PI: U. Schwarz-Schampera, BGR)
  • POS535 "Loki2GrimseyEM", N of Iceland mit RV Poseidon, 09.06.-03.07.2019 (Fahrtleitung: 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: u.a. S. Petersen)
  • "INDEX2018", RV Pelagia, 10.10.-17.12.2018 (PI: U. Schwarz-Schampera, BGR)
  • POS524 "GrimseyEM", N' von Island mit RV Poseidon, 08.-27.06.2018 (PI: S. Hölz (GDY), Co-PIs: S. Petersen, M. Hannington)
  • MSM75 "REYKJANES", Südlich von Island mit RV Maria S. Merian, ROV "PHOCA" & AUV "ABYSS", 29.06.-08.08.2018  (PI: C. Devey (MuHS-V), Co-PIs: u.a. S. Petersen)
  • IODP Exp. 376 "Brothers Arc Flux", Brothers Smt./Kermadec Arc mit DV JOIDES Resolution, 05.05.-05.07.2018 (Teilnehmer: P.A. Brandl, K. Strehlow (MuHS-P))



  • DYNAMET, New Ireland/Tabar-Lihir-Tanga-Feni island chain with RV Sonne, ROV "Kiel 6000" & AUV "ABYSS" (PIs: M. Hannington/P. Brandl, Co-PI: S. Petersen et al.)
  • 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. Köpcke (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


  • Shortcourse "Hydrothermal systems related to intraoceanic arcs", 7-8 Oktober 2019, GEOMAR Kiel, Werner Petersen Excellence Professor Dr. Cornel de Ronde (GNS Science, New Zealand). Please see the announcement for details!
  • Hydrothermal Systems and Ore Deposits (Kurs 500106; MSc Marine Geowissenschaften, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel), V/UE, 3 SWS, 29.10.2018-10.02.2019: Mo. 16:00-18:30 Uhr, Dr. Sven Petersen

Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences

The new Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences involving Dr. Sven Petersen 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



  • 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.
  • 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


  • Baker, E.T., Walker, S.L., Resing, J.A., Chadwick Jr., W.W., Merle, S.G., Anderson, M.O., Butterfield, D.A., Buck, N.J. & Michael S. (2017): The effect of arc proximity on hydrothermal activity along spreading centers: New evidence from the Mariana Back Arc (12.7°N-18.3°N). Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 18, 4211-4228. doi:10.1002/2017GC007234
  • Safipour, R., Hölz, S., Halbach, J., Jegen, M., Petersen, S., and Swidinski, A. (2017): A self-potential investigation of submarine massive sulfides: Palinuro Seamount, Tyrrhenian Sea. Geophysics 82: A51–A56. doi:10.1190/geo2017-0237.1
  • Beaulieau, S.E., Graedel, T.E., and Hannington, M.D. (2017): Should we mine the deep seafloor? Earths Future 5, 655–658. doi:10.1002/2017EF000605
  • Spagnoli, G., Weymer, B., Jegen, M., Spangenberg, E., and Petersen, S. (2017): P-wave velocity measurements for preliminary assessments of the mineralization in sea-floor massive sulfide mini-cores during drilling operations. Engineering Geology 226: 316-325. doi:10.1016/j.enggeo.2017.07.003
  • Lima, S.M., Haase, K.M., Beier, C., Regelous, R., Brandl, P.A., Hauff, F. & Krumm, S. (2017): Magmatic evolution and source variations at the Nifonea Ridge (New Hebrides Island Arc). Journal of Petrology 58, 473-494.  doi:10.1093/petrology/egx023
  • Anderson, M., Chadwick, W.W., Hannington, M.D., Merle, S.G., Resing, J.A., Baker, E.T., Butterfield, D.A., Walker, S.L. & Augustin, N. (2017): Geological interpretation of volcanism and segmentation of the Mariana back‐arc spreading center between 12.7°N and 18.3°N. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 18, 2240–2274doi:10.1002/2017GC006813
  • Andersen, C., Theissen-Krah, S., Hannington, M.D., Rüpke, L.H. & Petersen, S. (2017): Faulting and off-axis submarine massive sulfide accumulation at slow spreading mid-ocean ridges: A numerical modeling perspective. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 18, 2305–2320doi:10.1002/2017GC006880
  • Escartin, J., Mevel, C., Petersen, S., Bonnemains, D., Cannat, M., Andreani, M., Augustin, N., Bezos, A. Chavagnac, V., Choi, Y., Godard, M., Haaga, K., Hamelin, C., Ildefonse, B., Jamieson, J., John, B., Leleu, T., MacLeod, C.J., Massot-Campos, M., Nomikou, P., Olive, J.A., Paquet, M., Rommevaux, C.,  Rothenbeck, M., Steinfuhrer, A., Tominaga, M., Triebe, L., Garcia, R. & Campos, R. (2017): Tectonic structure, evolution, and the nature of oceanic core complexes and their detachment fault zones (13°20’N and 13°30’N, Mid Atlantic Ridge). Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 18: 1451-1482. doi:10.1002/2016GC006775
  • Beier, C., Haase, K.M., Brandl, P.A. & Krumm, S.H. (2017): Primitive andesites from the Taupo Volcanic Zone formed by magma mixing. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 173:33. doi:10.1007/s00410-017-1354-0 
  • Fuchs, S.H.J., Schumann, D., Williams-Jones, A.E., Murray, A.J., Couillard, M., Lagarec, K., Phaneuf, M.W. & Vali, H. (2017): Gold and uranium concentration by interaction of immiscible fluids (hydrothermal and hydrocarbon) in the Carbon Leader Reef, Witwatersrand Supergroup, South Africa. Precambrian Research 293, 39-55. doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2017.03.007
  • Schmidt, K., Garbe-Schönberg, D., Hannington, M.D., Anderson, M.O., Bühring, B., Haase, K.M., Haruel, C., Lupton, J. & Koschinsky, A. (2017): Boiling vapour-type fluids from the Nifonea vent field (New Hebrides Back-Arc, Vanuatu, SW Pacific): Geochemistry of an early-stage, post-eruptive hydrothermal system. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 207, 185–209. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2017.03.016
  • Fallon, E.K., Petersen, S., Brooker, R.A. & Scott, T.B. (2017): Oxidative dissolution of hydrothermal mixed-sulphide ore: An assessment of current knowledge in relation to seafloor massive sulphide mining. Ore Geology Reviews 86: 309-337. doi:10.1016/j.oregeorev.2017.02.028
  • Spagnoli, G., Hördt, A., Jegen, M., Virgil, C., Rolf, C. & Petersen, S. (2017): Magnetic susceptibility measurements of seafloor massive sulfide mini-cores samples for deep-sea mining applications. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology 50: 88-93. doi:10.1144/qjegh2016-113
  • Hannington, M.D., Petersen, S. & Krätschell, A. (2017): Subsea mining moves closer to the shore. Nature Geoscience 10, 158-159. doi:10.1038/ngeo2897
  • Wang, Y., Han, X., Petersen, S., Frische, M., Qiu, Z., Li, H., Li, H., Wu, Z. & Cui, R. (2017):  Mineralogy and trace element geochemistry of sulfide minerals from the Wocan Hydrothermal Field on the slow-spreading Carlsberg Ridge, Indian Ocean. Ore Geology Reviews 84, 1-19. doi:10.1016/j.oregeorev.2016.12.020
  • Brandl, P.A., Hamada, M., Arculus, R.J., Johnson, K., Marsaglia, K.M., Savov, I.P., Ishizuka, O., & Li, H., 2017: The arc arises: The links between volcanic output, arc evolution and melt composition. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 461, 73-84 (Open Access)doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2016.12.027
  • Szitkar, F., Tivey, M.A., Kelley, D.S., Karson, J.A., Früh-Green, G.L., Denny, A.R., 2017. Magnetic exploration of a low-temperature ultramafic-hosted hydrothermal site (Lost City, 30°N, MAR). Earth and Planetary Science Letters 461, 40–45. DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2016.12.033 

Please find here a full list of publications of the Marine Mineral Resources Group.

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