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Professor Chris Ballentine

Professorial Fellow in Geochemistry


Research projects in my group fall into two areas: Earth and Planetary Science and Crustal Fluid Systems. Our understanding of how the Earth gained its atmoshere, oceans and volatile elements within the mantle remain a fundamental science challenge. Projects will investigate key mantle systems that record the geochemical evolution and interaction between the deep mantle and surface over planetary history. Fluids in the continental crust form mineral deposits, hydrocarbon reserves, and drinking water supplies. Water rock reactions provide the energy for deep microbial biomes, isolated on planetary timescales. Projects in this area will focus on a topical science question that can range from energy/mineral resources to tracing the processes controlling the migration and chemistry of critical carbon rich fluids in the deep crystalline basement. Projects in both fields will use noble gas isotope tracers as the first line tool to define the fluid processes occuring in the systems studied.


I gained my PhD from Cambridge and have spent my scientific career developing and applying isotope geochemistry to different Earth systems. My career has taken me to Switzerland (Paul Scherrer Institute and ETH Zurich); the US (University of Michigan), back to the UK (Manchester) and most recently to Oxford as Chair of Geochemistry in the Department of Earth Sciences.


  • Sherwood Lollar, B., Onstott, T.C., Lacrampe-Couloume G. and Ballentine C.J, ‘The contribution of the Precambrian continental lithosphere to globa H-2 production,’ Nature, 516 (2014), p. 379
  • Holland, G., Lollar, B.S., Li, L., Lacrampe-Couloume, G., Slater, G.F., Ballentine, C.J., ‘Deep fracture fluids isolated in the crust since the Precambrian era,’ Nature, 497 (2013), pp.357-360
  • Sumino, H., Burgess, R., Mizukami, T., Wallis, S.R., Holland, G., Ballentine, C.J., ‘Seawater-derived noble gases and halogens preserved in exhumed mantle wedge peridotite,’ Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 294 (2010), pp.163-172
  • Gilfillan, S.M.V., Lollar, B.S., Holland, G., Blagburn, D., Stevens, S., Schoell, M., Cassidy, M., Ding, Z., Zhou, Z., Lacrampe-Couloume, G., Ballentine, C.J., ‘Solubility trapping in formation water as dominant CO2 sink in natural gas fields,’ Nature, 458 (2009), pp.614-618
  • Holland, G., Cassidy, M., Ballentine, C.J., ‘Meteorite Kr in earth’s mantle suggests a late accretionary source for the atmosphere,’ Science, 326 (2009), pp.1522-1525
  • Lollar B.S., Ballentine C.J, ‘Insights into deep carbon derived from noble gases,’ Nature Geosciences, 2 (2009), pp.543-547
  • Ballentine C.J., Holland G., ‘What CO2 well gases tell us about the origin of noble gases in the mantle and their relationship to the atmosphere,’ Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. London, 360 (2008), pp.4183-4203
Professorial Fellow in Geochemistry
Earth Sciences
Academic - Fellows & Lecturers