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Professor Wolfgang Maier

Professor Wolfgang Maier

Professor in Earth Science

School of Earth and Ocean Sciences

+44 (0)29 2087 5382
2.07, Main Building, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT


Wolfgang's research deals with petrological and geochemical processes in mafic-ultramafic igneous systems that contribute to our understanding of continental magmatism, mantle evolution, plate tectonics and the formation of magmatic ore deposits including PGE, Ni-Cu, Cr, and V-Ti-Fe deposits. He is also interested in finding new approaches to make mining more sustainable, particularly in Africa.


  • MSc (Hauptdiplom) (Munich), 1987
  • PhD "Geochemistry and petrology of UG2-Merensky Reef interval, Western Bushveld Complex" (Rhodes University, South Africa), 1992


  • GSSA (Geological Society of South Africa)
  • SEG (Society of Economic Geologists)
  • SGA (Society of Geologists Applied to Mineral Deposits)
  • IAGOD (International Association of Geologists working on Ore Deposits)

Summary of external activities

  • Member of Research Committee, Faculty of Science, Uni Oulu (2010-2013)
  • Member of Doctoral Training Committee, Faculty of Science, Oulu University
  • Member of Council of the Geological Society of South Africa (2000-2005)
  • Member of Council, Mineralogical Association of South Africa (2001-2004)
  • Convener of the Scientific Awards Committee of the Geological Society of South Africa (2001)

Research students

  • Will Smith (PhD, 2017-present): Magmatic ore prospectivity of the Labrador Trough, Canada
  • Kate Jillings (PhD, 2015-present): Origin of the Flatreef PGE deposit, Bushveld Complex, South Africa
  • Bartosz Karykowski (PhD, 2014-2017): Petrogenesis of the Monchepluton, Kola Peninsula, Russia 
  • Dr Shenghong Yang (postdoc, 2011-2013): Petrogenesis of magmatic ore deposits
  • Dr Belinda Godel, Postdoc (October 2007 – 2009): Geochemistry of dykes at Nebo-Babel, and implications for Ni exploration in the Musgrave Block, Australia
  • Dr Ignacio Gonzalez-Alvarez, Postdoc (November 2007-2009): Global Ni assessment
  • Fangfang Guo (PhD (2011- present): Ni-PGE prospectivity of Finnish mafic-ultramafic rocks
  • Kirsi Luolavirta (PhD, 2011-2017): Petrogenesis of the Kevitsa Ni-Cu sulfide deposit, Lapland
  • Karolina.Björklund, PhD (2011-2016): Origin of Kleva Ni deposit, Sweden
  • Said Nuru, PhD (September 2007-Dec 2008): Petrogenesis of 2.7-2.9Ga basaltic and komatiitic dykes on the Yilgarn craton
  • Tawanda Manyeruke, PhD (September 2003-2007): Petrogenesis of the Platreef on the farm Nonnenwerth, northern Bushveld Complex.
  • Edward. Curl, PhD (1998 - 2001): Isotope, PGE and trace element characteristics of the parental melts to the Bushveld Complex: Significance with respect to plume-lithosphere interaction in the early Proterozoic and the genesis of magmatic sulphide deposits (Monash University).
  • Christoph Gauert, PhD (1996-1998): The petrogenesis of the Uitkomst Complex, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa
  • Arttu Taipale MSc: The Mustavaara V deposit, Finland
  • Ilkka Seppänen (MSc 2011-present): Geochemistry of mafic-ultramafic lavas in the Oijärvi greenstone belt, Finland
  • Sanna Määttää (MSc, 2010-2012): Petrogenesis of Ni rich ore at Keivitsa, Finland
  • Kimmo Koppström (MSc, 2012): Host phases for Au mineralisation at Suurikuusikko Au mine, Kittilä
  • Markku Moilanen (MSc, 2010): Petrogenesis of the Lomalampi PGE deposit, Lapland
  • Tawanda Manyeruke, MSc (April 2002-August 2003): Petrogenesis of the Platreef on the farm Townlands.
  • Tafadzwa Gomwe, MSc (Jan. 2000 - March 2002): Isotope and trace element geochemistry of the Uitkomst Complex intersected by deep borehole SH 176.
  • Vierah Hulley, MSc (May 2000 – 2005) : Reaction relationships between country rock xenoliths and magma in the Uitkomst Complex.
  • Bart Albrechtsen, MSc (August 2000 - December 2002): The geology of the Ingeli lobe, Insizwa Complex, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.

























My teaching interests span a relatively wide field. Throughout my career, I have been heavily involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching of igneous petrology, geochemistry, economic geology, mineralogy, and metamorphic petrology. I have co-led the annual mapping camp of the University of Pretoria (UP) Geology Department between 1998-2003, and organized and led several international field trips (South Africa and Cyprus several times, Kola peninsula).

Curriculum development has been one of my key responsibilities as a teacher during the last decade. In order to respond to the minerals boom in Scandinavia which has become the exploration and mining powerhouse of Europe, requiring an increasing number of geologists, I designed a new International Master Course that started in September 2012 at the Geology Department at Oulu University.

In addition to tertiary education, I have also been keenly interested in pre-university geological teaching and education. Between 1998-2001, I have participated in UP’s geological education programme for final-year pupils at Pretoria secondary schools. South Africa’s education system is in transformation and the programme particularly aimed to enhance the scientific background of students from formerly disadvantaged backgrounds, a challenging but inspiring task.

Present Courses 

3rd year Ores and Ore genesis 

Cyprus, Cornwall and North Wales field excursions  


Wolfgang's main research interests presently are (i) Mineralized magmatic systems in southern and central Africa (e.g. the PGE mineralized Bushveld Complex, Okiep, Ni deposits in the Tati greenstone belt and at Selebi Phikwe in Botswana, the Kunene gabbro-anorthosite Complex of Namibia/Angola, the Tete gabbro-anorthosite Complex of Mozambique, the Ni mineralized Kabanga-Kapalagulu-Musongati intrusions of Tanzania and Burundi, the Monts de Cristal intrusion of Gabon), Finland (Kevitsa, Penikat), Canada (Bell River and Highbank Lake Complexes), Brazil (Caraiba, Mirabela), Australia (Giles Complex, Hart dolerite), as well as Archean basalts and komatiites in the Pilbara, Karelian, and Kaapvaal cratons. (ii) PGE concentrations of the Earth's upper mantle, based on southern African and Finnish mantle xenoliths, peridotite mantle massifs (Outokumpu and Jormua, Finland), and SCLM derived magmas (GroupII kimberlites, alkali basalts), and implications for processes of partial melting and crystallization/ metasomatism in the upper mantle. (iii) The Morokweng meteorite and impact melt sheet.

Wolfgang studied geology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany (MSc on South African BIFs, 1987) and Rhodes University, South Africa (PhD on the Bushveld Complex, 1992). He taught igneous petrology and economic geology at the Universities of Pretoria (South Africa), Chicoutimi (Canada), UWA (Australia), and Oulu (Finland). He joined Cardiff University in 2013.