Section for Geology – University of Copenhagen

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Pedro Waterton

Pedro Waterton


  • Geology

    Øster Voldgade 10, 1350 København K, Område VI, Building: 06-2-691

    Phone: +45 35 32 62 23Mobile: +45 50 29 60 53

Research areas

  • Komatiite petrology and geochemistry
  • Mantle evolution and geochemistry
  • Ultramafic cumulates and lithosphere evolution
  • Platinum group element geochemistry and Re-Os isotopes
  • Isotope dilution analytical techniques

Research interests

My research interests focus on ancient ultramafic mantle melts and the products of their formation – both residues left behind in their mantle source regions and differentiation products such as ultramafic cumulates and basalts in the Earth’s crust. My PhD research centered on the ca. 1.9 Ga Winnipegosis Komatiites from Manitoba, Canada, some of the best preserved komatiites in the world and a rare example of Proterozoic komatiite magmatism. Following this, I completed a post-doc with the Metal Earth project, attempting to understand the genesis of precious metal deposits by studying mantle samples from beneath an active gold mine. Alongside these major research works, I have participated in a variety of projects, including remote fieldwork in Northern Canada and Greenland, and research on the metamorphism of Archaean komatiites, precious metal mobility in Phanerozoic ophiolites, chromite provenance in Archaean sedimentary rocks, and even the origins of S-type granites. I use a variety of petrological and geochemical techniques, with a focus on platinum group element (PGE) geochemistry and Re-Os isotopes, supported by in-depth geochemical modelling. In January 2019, I began a post-doc at the University of Copenhagen, studying ultramafic enclaves in Archaean gneisses from West Greenland with a view to understanding their origins and relevance to lithosphere stabilisation in the North Atlantic Craton.


Jargon-free research interests

My research interests focus on the Earth’s mantle and the magmas that form when it melts. The mantle is the solid rocky portion of the Earth that extends from just below the crust (from a few kilometers to 90 km deep), to the Earth’s core roughly 2900 km below the surface. Under certain conditions this mantle rock can melt to form magma, and erupt as a lava. By studying some of the hottest lavas that erupted at different times in Earth history, my research seeks to capture ‘snapshots’ of the temperature and composition of the Earth’s mantle through time. More recently, I have worked on direct mantle samples, where chunks of mantle rock are brought to the surface, either through being ripped up and erupted in volcanoes, or thrust to the surface along geological faults. As a geochemist, I mainly study rocks by grinding them into a powder, dissolving them, and analysing their chemical composition with mass spectrometers. I particularly specialise in analysing precious metals related to platinum. These elements are very rare near the Earth’s surface but common in the Earth’s core and in meteorites, so they can tell us about the processes that formed the Earth’s core, or the last stages of Earth formation when the Earth and Moon were being bombarded by giant meteorites.


Employment and education

  • 2019 – present: Post-doctoral researcher, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2018: Post-doctoral researcher, Metal Earth, University of Alberta, Canada
  • 2013 – 2018: PhD, University of Alberta, Canada (Vanier Scholar)
  • 2008 – 2012: BA, MSci, University of Cambridge, UK


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