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Gareth Davies became Professor of Petrology in 2004 after heading the mass spectrometry department at the VU for 12 years. Since 2004 the group has grown from an initial 4 to ~ 30 now including 11 permanent lecturing-research-technical staff.  The re-organisation of Earth Sciences in 2012 formed the Deep Earth and Planetary Science cluster (~ 35 FTE) which he now heads under the new name of Geology and Geochemistry.

Gareth is from a dominantly mantle geochemistry background but has a wide range of interests in petrology-isotope geochemistry.  His most notable early work focussed on mantle processes and diamond genesis, something that continues today in collaboration with DeBeers-Debswana.
A major success of the group over the last decade has been to establish a viable planetary science (link) group that in collaboration with Pieter Vroon, Monica Sanchez and Wim van Westrenen is now exploring bio-geochemical cycles in terrestrial analogues of the Martian surface as well as magmatism under varying conditions found in the terrestrial planets.
A key philosophy has been to maintain state-of-the-art analytical techniques and develop methodologies that allow new research areas to be explored (link to labs). This philosophy is coupled with strong international collaborations with leading geochemical groups throughout the world.

Recently Gareth has led initiatives to apply state-of-the-art isotope geochemical techniques to new fields establishing the provenancing group at the VU tha has applied isotope geochemistry to forensic, archaeology and cultural heritage. The success of this group was underlined with the recent award of a highly prestigious ERC Synergy grant; Nexus 1492: Caribbean encounters with a globalizing world that will begin in September 2013. Please visit: ( His team is also collaborating with national art institutes to understand the changing compositions and provenance of metals used in art materials.

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Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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