Dr. Martin B Klausen

​Senior Lecturer

contact details: 021-8083825

Research interest: Igneous Petrology

Other work/ appointments/ membership:

GSSA member

SACNASP member

Research profile:

I am most interested in how mantle-derived, mafic magmas form at depth (i.e., their petrogenesis), propagate towards the Earth’s surface (i.e., intrusion mechanisms), diversify and become emplaced in a variety of ways as different igneous rock types. My focus is more on how these processes operate during relatively short-lived episodes through Earth’s nearly 4 billion year history, within magmatically intense large igneous provinces (LIPs). Many of these LIPs formed along extensional rifts that often relate to the break-up of one of the four major supercontinents that formed during the last 3 billion years of Earth’s evolution.

LIPs related to the most recent break-up of the Gondwana/Pangaea supercontinent still preserve volcanic remnants, as well as exposes shallowly eroded sub-volcanic intrusions on both continental and oceanic plates, where (1) geochemical sections through lava piles provide the best temporal control on magma compositional evolutions, (2) feeder dykes better constrain emplacement modes and identify source centres, and (3) mafic-ultramafic layered intrusions elucidate magma chamber processes that are responsible for magma diversification through fractional crystallization.

LIPs related to older supercontinental break-ups are more deeply eroded and commonly exposed as Precambrian giant (up to 2500 km-long) mafic dyke swarms (e.g., www.largeigneousprovinces.org), which through the 21st century have become attractive research objects for multi-disciplinary global initiative towards reconstruction of Precambrian supercontinents (e.g., www.supercontinents.org). Such reconstructions rely heavily on precise baddeleyite U-Pb ages and paleopoles, but where subsequent investigations into the magma petrogenesis and intrusion mechanisms can also be applied to such dated and more completely reconstructed LIP settings.

I am currently studying the petrogenesis, diversifications and emplacement mechanisms of Precambrian giant mafic dyke swarms across South Africa’s Kaapvaal Craton (Klausen et al 2010) and the North Atlantic Craton in Greenland (Nilsson et al 2013), and wish to expand that research to include the less accessible Greater Congo Craton. My contributions are mainly towards the mapping of giant dyke swarms, collecting field data and samples for bulk rock geochemistry and petrography, and thereby assist with matching up compositionally similar dyke swarms (as well as any preserved lavas and/or sills) from different supercontinental fragments.

As our global database on LIP case studies grow, any systematic differences in their petrogenesis may be attributed to different settings, mantle sources and ways whereby large volumes of primary magmas are locally produced during relatively short periods, and, over a longer time perspective, to how these processes may have changed during the last 3 billion years of Earth’s evolution. Amongst the many possibilities, I am most keen to investigate a particular group of more noritic (or so-called ‘boninitic’) Precambrian LIPs (including South Africa’s famous Bushveld Complex), which tend to host richer Cu-Ni-PGE and chromium deposits than others. My idea is that these particular magmas were sourced from a meteorite impact modified sub-continental lithospheric mantle, and evidence for such a relationship will be sought from a conjugate swarm of boninitic norite dykes that coincides with a newly discovered ~800 Ma older meteorite impact structure at Maniitsoq, southern West Greenland.

Apart from LIPs, I am also applying similar, standard igneous petrology research methods to investigate some of Earth’s earliest examples of subduction zone systems (i.e., the >2.95 Ga Nigerlikasik supracrustal belt in SW Greenland; Klausen et al 2011b) and intra-continental alkaline rifts (i.e., the ~2.7 Ga Skjoldungen Alkaline Province in SE Greenland). I also investigate a very diverse group of lamprophyric sheet and dyke intrusions, which may relate to carbonatites but where a Phanerozoic swarm in southern W Greenland was emplaced along a proto-rift and Proterozoic appinites in SE Greenland were emplaced during the latter stages of the 1850-1740 Ma Ketilidian Orogeny. The latter research sub-topic is in line with Stellenbosch’s past research expertise into carbonatites and related intrusions.

Apart from lustrous education opportunities through the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), Nordic Volcanological Institute (Iceland) and the Danish Lithosphere Centre in the 1990’s and subsequent career opportunities at South African Universities, I am particularly indebted to my research collaborations with the Royal Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) and the ingenious baddeleyite U-Pb dating facility at Lund’s University (Prof Ulf Söderlund), in Sweden.



Klausen, MB., Szilas, K, Kokfelt, TF., Keulen, N, Schumacher, JC., Berger, A. Tholeiitic to calc-alkaline metavolcanic transition in the Archean Nigerlikasik Supracrustal Belt, SW Greenland. Precambrian Research 2017: 302: 50-73.


​El Bahat, A., Ikenne, M., Cousens, B.,  Söderlund, U., Ernst, R., Klausen, M.B. & Youbi, N. (2017). New constraints on the geochronology and Sm-Nd isotopic characteristics of Bas-Draa mafic dykes, Anti-Atlas of Morocco. Journal of African Earth Sciences 127, 77-87.

BARTELS A, NILSSON MKM, KLAUSEN MB, SÖDERLUND U. Mesoproterozoic dykes in the Timmiarmiit area, Southeast Greenland: evidence for a continuous Gardar dyke swarm across Greenland’s North Atlantic Craton. GFF 2016; 138:255-275.​

GARDE AA, KLAUSEN MB. A centennial reappraisal of the Vredefort pseudotachylytes: shaken, not stirred by meteorite impact. JOURNAL OF THE GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY 2016; 173:954-965.

GUMSLEY A, RÅDMAN J, SÖDERLUND U, KLAUSEN MB. U–Pb baddeleyite geochronology and geochemistry of the White Mfolozi Dyke Swarm: unravelling the complexities of 2.70–2.66 Ga dyke swarms across the eastern Kaapvaal Craton, South Africa. GFF 2016; 138:115-132.

OLSSON JR, KLAUSEN MB, HAMILTON MA, MÄRZ N, SÖDERLUND U, ROBERTS RJ. Baddeleyite U–Pb ages and geochemistry of the 1875– 1835 Ma Black Hills Dyke Swarm across northeastern South Africa: Part of a trans-Kalahari Craton back-arc setting? GFF 2016; 138:183-202.

SÖDERLUND U, KLAUSEN MB, ERNST RE, BLEEKER W. New advances in using large igneous provinces (LIPs) to reconstruct ancient supercontinents. GFF 2016; 138:1-5.

WABO H, DE KOCK MO, KLAUSEN MB, SÖDERLUND U, BEUKES NJ. Paleomagnetism and chronology of B-1 marginal sills of the Bushveld Complex from the eastern Kaapvaal Craton, South Africa . GFF 2016; 138:133-151.

WABO H, OLSSON JR, DE KOCK MO, HUMBERT F, SÖDERLUND U, KLAUSEN MB. New U–Pb age and paleomagnetic constraints from the Uitkomst Complex, South Africa: clues to the timing of intrusion . GFF 2016; 138:152-163.

KLAUSEN MB, NILSSON MKM, BARTELS A. Post-orogenic Proterozoic dyke swarms.
Chapter 12 in Kolb, J., Stensgaard, B.M. & Kokfelt, T.F. (eds.) Geology and Mineral Potential of South-East Greenland. 2016: 8 pp.

KLAUSEN MB, NILSSON MKM, BOTHMA R. Palaeoproterozoic dykes. Chapter 7 in Kolb, J., Stensgaard, B.M. & Kokfelt, T.F. (eds.) Geology and Mineral Potential of South-East Greenland. 2016: 12 pp.

KOKFELT TF, KLAUSEN MB. Geochronology of the Skjoldungen Alkaline province , SE Greenland. 2016: 122 pp.

KOKFELT TF, TRANE C, KLAUSEN MB, TEGNER C. Skjoldungen alkaline province. Chapter 2 in Kolb, J., Stensgaard, B.M. & Kokfelt, T.F. (eds.) Geology and Mineral Potential of South-East Greenland. 2016: 9 pp.

WEATHERLEY S, KLEIDING JK, KLAUSEN MB, KOKFELT TF, LESHER C, TEGNER C, ULRICH T. Late Cretaceous to Palaeogene rocks. Chapter 13 in Kolb, J., Stensgaard, B.M. & Kokfelt, T.F. (eds.) Geology and Mineral Potential of South-East Greenland. 2016: 16 pp.

​Gumsley, A., Olsson, J.R., Söderlund, U., de Kock, M., Hofmann, A., & Klausen, M.B., 2015. Precise U-Pb baddeleyite age dating of the Usushwana Complex,southern Africa – Implications for the Mesoarchaean magmatic and sedimentological evolution of the Pongola Supergroup, Kaapvaal Craton. Precambrian Research 267, 174–185.​


Mäkitie, H., Data, G., Isabirye, E., Mänttäri, I., Huhma, H., Klausen, M.B., Pakkanen, L. & Virransalo, P., 2014. Petrology, geochronology and emplacement model of the giant 1.37 Ga arcuate Lake Victoria Dyke Swarm on the margin of a large igneous province in eastern Africa. Journal of African Earth Sciences 97, 273-297.

Klausen, M.B. & Kokfelt, T.F., 2014. Field report from the 2011 field season on the Skjoldungen Alkaline Province, South East Greenland. GEUS Report 2014-81, 98 p.


Nilsson, M.K.M., Klausen, M.B., Söderlund, U., and Ernst, R.E., 2013. Precise U–Pb ages and geochemistry of Palaeoproterozoic mafic dykes from southern West Greenland: Linking the North Atlantic and the Dharwar cratons. Lithos, 174, 255-270.

2012 and before:

Olsson, J.R., Söderlund, U., Hamilton, M.A., Klausen, M.B. and Helffrich, G.R., 2011. A late Archaean radiating dyke swarm as a possible clue to the origin of the Bushveld Complex. Nature Geoscience, 4, 865-869, doi:10.1038/ngeo1308.

Klausen, M.B., Berger, A. and Kokfelt, T.F., 2011a. Archaean structures around the proposed tectonic boundary along Frederikshåb Isblink, southern West Greenland (62°25´–62°45´N). GEUS Report, 2011-14, 30 p.

Klausen M.B., Kokfelt, T.F., Keulen, N.T., Berger, A. and Schumacher, J.C., 2011b. The Nigerlikasik supracrustal belt in the Kvanefjord area, South-West Greenland: Geochemistry and petrology of a tholeiitic─calc-alkaline metavolcanic sequence. GEUS Report, 2011-11, 68 p.

Klausen, M.B., Söderlund, U., Olsson, J.R., Ernst, R.E., Armoogam, M., Mkhize, S.W. and Petzer, G., 2010. Petrological discrimination among Precambrian dyke swarms, Eastern Kaapvaal Craton (South Africa). Precambrian Research, 183, 501-522.

Söderlund, U., Hofmann, A., Klausen, M.B., Olsson, J.R., Ernst, R.E. and Persson, P.-O., 2010. Towards a complete magmatic barcode for the Zimbabwe craton: Baddeleyite U–Pb dating of regional dolerite dyke swarms and sill complexes. Precambrian Research, 183, 399-398.

Olsson, J.R., Söderlund, U., Klausen, M.B. and Ernst, R.E., 2010. U–Pb baddeleyite ages linking major Archean dyke swarms to volcanic-rift forming events in the Kaapvaal craton (South Africa), and a precise age for the Bushveld Complex. Precambrian Research, 183, 490-500.

Lubnina, N., Ernst, R.E, Klausen, M.B. and Söderlund, U, 2010. Paleomagnetic studies on the NeoArchean-Paleoproterozoic dykes in the Kaapvaal Craton. Precambrian Research, 183, 523-552.

Klausen, M.B., 2009. The Lebombo monocline and associated feeder dyke swarm: diagnostic of a successful and highly volcanic rifted margin? Tectonophysics, 468, 42-62.

Klausen, M.B., 2006a. Geometry and mode of emplacement of dike swarms around the Birnudalstindur igneous centre, SE Iceland. J. Volc. Geothermal Res. 151, 340-356.

Klausen, M.B., 2006b. Similar dike thickness variation across three volcanic rifts within the North Atlantic Region: Implications for intrusion mechanisms. Lithos, 92, 137-153.

Klausen, M.B., 2004. Geometry and mode of emplacement of the Thverartindur cone sheet swarm, SE Iceland. J. Volc. Geothermal Res. 138, 185-204.

Riley, T.R., Millar, I.L., Watkeys, M.K. Curtis, M.L., Leat, P.T., Klausen, M.B. and Fanning, C.M., 2004. 4 U-Pb zircon (SHRIMP) ages for the Lebombo rhyolites, South Africa: refining the duration of Karoo volcanism. J. Geol. Soc., London, 161, 547-550.

Klausen, M.B. and Larsen, H.C., 2002. The East Greenland coast-parallel dyke swarm and its role in continental breakup. In Menzies, M.A., Klemperer, S.L., Ebinger, C.J., and Baker, J., eds., Volcanic Rifted Margins. Boulder, Colorado, Geological Society of America Special Paper, 362, 133-158.