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Prof Balz Kamber

Adjunct professor

I am the Deputy Director of iCRAG



My research concerns itself with the large-scale elemental cycles on Earth. The overall goal of my studies is to reconstruct how critical elements were cycled between the solid Earth, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere and the biosphere. The interaction between these spheres is not only interesting in the context of climate change and pollution, but when reconstructed from ancient rocks, allows us to better understand the mutual influence of physical parameters (such as radioactive heat), biologic evolution and atmospheric composition. Over its 4.567 billion year history, the Earth has experienced profound changes, whose details still await discovery. The geology of the planet reflects these changes as do the mineral resources that were deposited at different times. My research therefore also contributes to the true sustainability of modern society, whose welfare relies on an ever-increasing number of elements that fuel technological innovation.

Current postgraduate students

I currently supervise the following postgraduate students:

Foteini Drakou (PhD, TCD, co-supervision)
Maurice Brodbeck (PhD, TCD, co-supervision)
Hilde Koch (PhD, TCD, co-supervision)
Marco Acevedo Zamora (PhD, TCD, co-supervision)
Carolina Rosca (PhD, TCD, co-supervision)

The Kamber Geochemistry Diaspora

Gavin Kenny (PhD, TCD, sole supervision)
Teresa Ubide (former Postdoc)
Edel O'Sullivan (former MSc student)
Mike Babechuk (former MSc and PhD student)
Meabh Gallagher (former PhD student)
Joe Petrus (former PhD student)
Katie Hahn (former PhD student)
Kirk Ross (former PhD student)
Geoff Baldwin (former MSc and PhD student)
Thomas Ulrich (former senior instrument specialist)
Galen McNamara (former MSc student)
Sam Marx (former PhD student and postdoc)
Michael Lawrence (former PhD student)
Lynda Petherick (former MSc student)
David Murphy (former PhD student)
Ram Mohan (former Postdoc)
Robert Bolhar (former Postdoc)
Nils Suhr (former PhD student)
Paul Guyett (former PhD student)

Past Teaching

Junior Sophister
GL3320 Microscopy and Crystalline Rocks

Senior Sophister
GL4416 Planet Formation and the early Earth
GL4421 Earth Sciences Field trip


Sappin, A.-A, Houlé, M.G,  Lesher, , McNicoll, V, Vaillancourt, and Kamber, B.S. (2016): Age constraints and geochemical evolution of the Neoarchean mafic-ultramafic Wabassi intrusive complex in the Miminiska-Fort Hope greenstone belt, Superior Province, Canada. Precambrian Research, 286, 101-125

Piercey, S.J, Gibson, H.L., Tardif, N. and Kamber B.S. (2016): Ambient Redox and Hydrothermal Environment of the Wolverine Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide (VMS) Deposit, Yukon: Insights from the Geology, Lithofacies, and Lithogeochemistry of Deposit-Hosting Shales. Economic Geology, 111, 1,439-1,463.

Kenny, G.G., Whitehouse, MJ., Petrus, J.A. and Kamber B.S. (2016): Differentiated impact melt sheets may be a potential source of Hadean detrital zircon. Geology. 44, 435-438.

O’Sullivan, E.M., Goodhue, R., Ames, D.E. and Kamber B.S. (2016): Chemostratigraphy of the Sudbury impact basin fill: volatile metal loss and post-impact evolution of a submarine impact basin. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta, 183, 198-233.

Baldwin, G.J., Turner, E.C. and Kamber, B.S. (2016): Tectonic controls on the distribution, and stratigraphy of the Cryogenian Rapitan iron formation, northwestern Canada . Precambrian Research. 278, 303-322.

Petrus, J.A., Kenny, G.G., Ayer, J.A., Lightfoot, P.C., and Kamber, B.S. (2016): Uranium–lead zircon systematics in the Sudbury impact crater-fill: implications for target lithologies and crater evolution. J. Geol. Soc. London: 173, 59-73.

Hahn K.E., Turner, E.C., Babechuk, M.G., and Kamber, B.S. (2015): Deep-water seep-related carbonate mounds in a Mesoproterozoic alkaline lake, Borden Basin (Nunavut, Canada). Precambrian Research: 271, 173-197.

Whitehouse, M.J., Schoenberg, R., Fedo, C.M., and Kamber, B.S. (2015): Does a heavy Fe-isotope composition of Akilia quartz-amphibole-pyroxene rocks necessitate a BIF origin? Astrobiology: 15, 816-824.

Ubide, T, McKenna, C.A., Chew, D.M. and Kamber, B.S. (2015): High-resolution LA-ICP-MS trace element mapping of igneous minerals: in search of magma histories. Chemical Geology, 409, 157-168.

Gallagher, M., Turner, E.C. and Kamber B.S. (2015): In-situ trace metal analysis of Neoarchaean – Ordovician shallow-marine microbial carbonate-hosted pyrites. Geobiology, 13, 316-339.

Kamber, B.S. (2015): The evolving nature of terrestrial crust from the Hadean, through the Archaean, into the Proterozoic. Precambrian Research, 258, 48-82.

Petrus, J.A., Ames, D.E., and Kamber, B.S. (2015): On the track of the elusive Sudbury impact: geochemical evidence for a chondrite or comet bolide. Terra Nova, 27, 9-20

Babechuk, M.G., Widdowson, M., Murphy, M., and Kamber, B.S. (2015) A combined Y/Ho, high field strength element (HFSE) and Nd isotope perspective on basalt weathering, Deccan Traps, India. Chemical Geology. 396: 25-41.

Kamber, B.S., Webb, G.E. and Gallagher, M. (2014): The rare earth element signal in Archaean microbial carbonate: information on ocean redox and biogenicity. J. Geol. Soc. London, 171, 745-763.

Crowley, Q.G., Heron, K., Riggs, N., Kamber, B., Chew, D., McConnell, B. and Benn, K. (2014) Chemical Abrasion Applied to LA-ICP-MS U–Pb Zircon Geochronology. Minerals, 4(2), 503-518.

Pretet, C., Reynaud, S., Ferrier-Pages, C., Gattuso J.-P., Kamber, B.S. and Samankassou, E. (2014): Effect of salinity on the skeletal chemistry of cultured scleractinian zooxanthellate corals: Cd/Ca ratio as a potential proxy for salinity reconstruction. Coral Reefs, 33, 169-180.

Chew, D.M., Donelick, R.A., Donelick, M.B., Kamber, B.S., and Stock, M.J. (2014): Apatite chlorine concentration measurements by LA-ICPMS. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research, 38, 23-35.

Chew, D.M., Petrus, J.A., and Kamber, B.S. (2014): A general approach to U-Pb LA-ICPMS for improved dating of common Pb-bearing accessory minerals. Chemical Geology, 363, 185-199.

Babechuk, M.G., Widdowson, M., and Kamber B.S. (2014): Quantifying chemical weathering intensity and associated elemental release from two contrasting basalt profiles, Deccan Traps, India. Chemical Geology, 363, 56-75.

Marx, S.K., Lavin, K., Hageman, K.J., and  Kamber, B.S. (2014): Trace elements and metal pollution in dust samples collected at an alpine site, New Zealand: Sources, concentrations and implications. Atmospheric Environment, 82, 206-217.

Marx, S.K., McGowan, H.A. , Kamber, B.S., Jon, M. Knight,  Denholm, J. and Zawadzki, A. (2013): Unprecedented wind erosion and perturbation of surface geochemistry marks the Anthropocene in Australia. Journal of Geophysical Research Earth Surface, 119, 1-17.

Babechuk, M.G. and Kamber B.S. (2013): The Flin Flon palaeosol revisited. Can. J. Earth Sci., 50, 1223-1243.

Schindler M. and Kamber B.S. (2013): High-resolution lake sediment reconstruction of industrial impact in a world-class mining and smelting center, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Applied Geochemistry 37, 102-116 

Ulrich T. and Kamber, B.S. (2013): Natural obsidian glass as an external accuracy standard in laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry analysis (LA-ICP-MS). Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research 37, 169-188.

Ross, K., Kamber, B.S. and McDonald, A. M. (2013): An empirical test of the crystal lattice strain model for rare earth element partitioning into clinopyroxene. Chemical Geology, 340, 139-150.

Baldwin, G.J., Naegler, T.F., Greber, N.D., Turner, E.C. and Kamber, B.S. (2013): Mo isotopic composition of the mid-Neoproterozoic ocean: An iron formation perspective. Precambrian Research, 230, 168-178.

Mohan, M.R., Piercey, S.J., Kamber, B.S. and Sarma, D.S. (2013): Subduction related tectonic evolution of the Neoarchean eastern Dharwar Craton, southern India: new geochemical and isotopic constraints, Precambrian Research. 227, 204-226.

Thurston, P.C., Kamber, B.S. and Whitehouse, M.J. (2012) Archean cherts in banded iron formation: Insight into Neoarchean ocean chemistry and depositional processes. Precamb. Res. 

Petrus, J.A. and Kamber, B.S. (2012): VizualAge: a novel approach to LA-ICP-MS U-Pb geochronology. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research, 36, 247-270.

Webb, G.E., Nothdurft, L.D., and Kamber, B.S. (2012): Reply to the discussion by Karen Johannesson on "Rare earth element geochemistry of scleractinian coral skeleton during meteoric diagenesis: a sequence through neomorphism of aragonite to calcite". Sedimentology, 59, 733-736.

Kodolanyi, J., Pettke, T., Spandler, C., Kamber, B.S. and Gmeling, K. (2012): Geochemistry of Ocean Floor and Fore-arc Serpentinites: Constraints on the Ultramafic Input to Subduction Zones. Journal of Petrology, 53, 235-270.

Lavin, K., Hageman, K.J., Marx, S.K., Dillingham, P., and  Kamber, B.S. (2012): Using trace elements in particulate matter to identify the sources of semi-volatile organic contaminants in air at an alpine site. Environmental Science and Technology, 46, 268-276.

Turner, E.C. and Kamber, B.S. (2012): Arctic Bay Formation, Borden Basin, NU: basin evolution, black shale base-metal potential, and dissolved metal systematics in the Mesoproterozoic ocean. Precambrian Research, 208-211, 1-18.

Baldwin, G.J., Turner, E.C. and Kamber, B.S. (2012): A new depositional model for glaciogenic Neoproterozoic iron formation: insights from the chemostratigraphy and basin configuration of the  Rapitan iron formation. Can. J. Earth Sci., 49, 455-476.

Marx, S.K., Kamber, B.S., McGowan, H.A. and Denholm, J. (2011): Holocene dust deposition rates record the interplay between aridity, position of the mid-latitude westerlies, and a major agriculture induced wind erosion in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia. Quaternary Science Reviews 30, 3290-3305.

Ulrich, T., Long, D.G.F., Kamber, B.S. and Whitehouse, M.J. (2011): In-situ trace element and sulfur isotope analysis of pyrite in a Paleoproterozoic gold placer deposit, Pardo and Clement Townships, Ontario, Canada. Econ. Geol. 106, 667-686.

Babechuk, M.G. and Kamber, B.S. (2011): Estimating the extent of ancient mantle depletion using high-field-strength elements and Nd isotopes of 1.9 Ga ocean floor basalts, Flin Flon Belt, Canada. Precambrian Research 189, 114-139.

Baldwin, G.J., Thurston, P.C. and Kamber, B.S. (2011): High-precision rare earth element, nickel, and chromium chemistry of chert microbands pre-screened with in-situ analysis. Chem. Geol. 285, 133-143.

Long, D.G.F., Ulrich, T. and Kamber, B.S. (2011): Laterally extensive modified placer gold deposits in the Paleoproterozoic Mississagi Formation, Clement and Pardo Townships, Ontario. Can. J. Earth Sci., 48, 779-792

Kamber, B.S. (2011): Gechemistry and secular geochemical evolution of the Earth’s mantle and lower crust. In: Eds. Parker, A. and Harmon, R.S. ‘Frontiers in Geochemistry: Contribution of Geochemistry to the Study of the Earth. Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 987-1-4051-9337-5. pp. 1-19.

Kamber, B.S., Marx, S.K. and McGowan, H.A. (2010): Comment on “Lead isotopic evidence for an Australian source of aeolian dust to Antarctica at times over the last 170,000 years”, Paleo. Paleo. Paleo, 298, 432-436.

Planavsky, N., Rouxel, O.J., Bekker, A., Knudsen, A., Lyons, T.W. and Kamber, B.S. (2010): Mechanisms and significance of Precambrian iron formation deposition Part I: Rare Earth Element and Yttrium composition. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 74, 6,387-6,405.

Golding, S.D., Duck, L.J., Young, E., Baublys, K.A., Glikson, M. and Kamber, B.S. (2010): Earliest seafloor hydrothermal systems on Earth: comparison with modern analogues. In: Eds. Golding S.D. and M. Gilkson ‘Earliest life on Earth: habitats, environments and methods of detection’, Part 1, 15-49.

Webb, G. E. and Kamber, B.S. (2010): Trace element geochemistry as a tool for interpreting microbialites. In: Eds. Golding S.D. and M. Gilkson ‘Earliest life on Earth: habitats, environments and methods of detection’, Part 2, 127-170.

Collerson, K.D., Williamns, Q., Kamber, B.S., Omori, S., Arai, H., and Ohtani, E. (2010): Majoritic garnet: A new approach to pressure estimation of shock events in meteorites and the encapsulation of sub-lithospheric inclusions in diamond. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 74, 5939-5957

Ulrich, T. Kamber, B.S., Woodhead, J.D. and Spencer, L.A. (2010): Long-term observations of isotope ratio accuracy and reproducibility using quadrupole ICP mass spectrometry. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research, 34, 161-174.

Kamber, B.S. (2010): Archean mafic-ultramafic oceanic landmasses and their effect on ocean-atmosphere chemistry. Chem. Geol., 274, 19-28.
Marx, S.K. and Kamber, B.S. (2010): Trace-element systematics of sediments in the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia: Sediment provenance and palaeoclimate implications of fine scale chemical heterogeneity. Appl. Geochem. 25, 1221-1237.

Lafrance, B and Kamber, B.S. (2010) Geochemical and microstructural evidence for in situ formation of pseudotachylitic Sudbury breccia by shock-induced compression and cataclasis. Precamb. Res., 180, 237-250.

Babechuk, M.G., Kamber, B.S., Greig, A., Canil, D. and Kodolanyi, J. (2010): The behaviour of tungsten during mantle melting revisited with implications for planetary differentiation time scales. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 74, 1448-1470.

Marx, S.K., Kamber, B.S., McGowan, H.A. and Zawadski, A. (2010): Atmospheric pollutants in alpine peat bogs record a detailed chronology of industrial and agricultural development on the Australian continent. Environmental Pollution, 158, 1615-1628.

Allwood, A.C., Kamber, B.S., Burch, I.W., and Walter, M.R (2010): Trace elements record depositional history of an Early Archaean stromatolite reef. Precamb. Res., 270, 148-163.

Ulrich, T., Kamber, B.S., Jugo, P.J. and Tinkham, D.K. (2009): Imaging element-distribution patterns in minerals by laser ablation – inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Can. Mineral. 47, 1001-1012.

Marx, S.K., McGowan, H.A., and Kamber, B.S. (2009): Long-range dust transport from eastern Australia: a proxy for Holocene aridity and ENSO-induced climate variability. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 282, 167-177.

Konhauser, K.O., Pecoites, E., Lalonde, S.V., Papineau, D., Nisbet, E.G., Barley, M.E., Arndt, N.T., Zahnle, K., Kamber, B.S. (2009) Oceanic nickel depletion and a methanogen famine before the Great Oxidation Event, Nature, 458, .750-753.

Benn, K. and Kamber, B.S. (2009): In situ granulite-hosted zircon dates, Kapuskasing Structural Zone, Ontario: A Late Archean Large Igneous Province (LIP) as a substrate for juvenile crust. J. Geol., 117, 519-541.

Webb, G.E., Nothdurft, L.D., Kamber, B.S., Kloprogge, J.T. and Zhao, J.X. (2009): Rare earth element geochemistry of scleractinian coral skeleton during meteoric diagenesis: a sequence through neomorphism of aragonite to calcite. Sedimentology, 56, 1433-1463.

Petherick, L.M., McGowan, H.A., and Kamber, B.S. (2009): Reconstructing transport pathways for late Quaternary dust from eastern Australia using the composition of trace elements of long travelled dusts. Geomorphology, 105, 67-79.

Kamber, B.S. (2009): Geochemical Fingerprinting; 40 Years of Analytical Development and Real World Applications. Appl. Geochem., 24, 1074-1086.

Kamber, B.S. and Gladu, A.H. (2009): Comparison of Pb Purification by Anion-Exchange Resin Methods and Assessment of Long-Term Reproducibility of Th/U/Pb Ratio Measurements by Quadrupole ICP-MS. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research, 33, 169-181.

McGowan, H.A., Marx, S.K., Denholm, J., Soderholm, J. and Kamber, B.S. (2009): Reconstructing annual inflows to the headwater catchments of the Murray River, Australia, using the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2008GL037049