Professor Willaim L. Griffin

BSc, MSc Stanford, PhD Minnesota.

Distinguished Professor in Geology, Macquarie University and Program Director for Technology Development and Industry Interaction in the the ARC National Key Centre for Geochemical Evolution and Metallogeny of Continents (GEMOC)

Contact Details

Office : Lvl 3, BD Building, Research Park Drv
Phone : 61-(0)2-9850 8954
Fax : 61-(0)2-9850 8943
email :

Professor W.L. Griffin
ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems (CCFS) and
GEMOC ARC National Key Centre,
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Macquarie University
NSW 2109, Australia


Fields of research

Fields of research include: Petrology and geochemistry of the deep crust and lithospheric mantle, Geochemical and dynamic evolution of the crust-mantle system; magma generation and metasomatism in the crust and mantle; isotopic systems and their resetting; integration of petrological and geophysical data; development of techniques for in-situ microanalysis of trace elements and isotopic compositions; delineation of prospective terrains for the minerals industry.

Awards and positions

N.S.F. Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Minnesota (1967-1968)

Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Geologisk Museum, University of Oslo (1968-1970)

University lecturer (substitute), Geologisk Museum, University of Oslo (1970-71)

University lecturer (petrology), Institut for Geologi, University of Oslo (1971-1973)

Chief Editor of Lithos (1973-1986); now Member of Editorial Board. Editor of several Special Volumes, Editorial Board for the China-Russia Geotraverse Project (from 1998)

Curator of Mineralogy, Geologisk Museum, University of Oslo (1973-1980)

Reusch Medal, Norwegian Geological Society (1974)

Professor of Geochemistry, University of Oslo, Norway (1980-1988)

Macquarie University Visiting Fellow (1982)

Director, Norwegian National Laboratory for Isotopic Geochemistry (1982-1988)

Australian Museum Visiting Fellow (1985)

Elected Fellow of Norwegian Academy of Sciences (1985)

Honorary Associate, Macquarie University (1986-1993)

Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Division of Exploration Geoscience (1986-1987)

Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Division of Exploration Geoscience (1987-1990)

Senior Principal Research Scientist CSIRO Exploration and Mining (1988)

Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Exploration and Mining (1990-2006)

Visiting Professor, Macquarie University (1993-1996)

Director Technology Development and Industry Interaction, GEMOC ARC National Key Centre (seconded from CSIRO; 1996-2004)

Adjunct Professor, Macquarie University (from 1996)

Concurrent Professor of Geochemistry, Nanjing University (from 1997)

Invited to Beijing to provide advice to the newly-formed Geological Survey of China on the best strategy for building an international-standard geochemical facility (2002)

Visiting Professor, Wuhan University (2003-present)

Elected Fellow of Royal Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (2003)

Co-convenor of Special Session "Geophysical and geochemical imaging and modelling of continental roots and beyond: implications for the formation and evolution of continents" at the International Geological Conference in Florence (2004)

Convenor of special session on The Deep Earth for IAVCEI (2006); also keynote speaker in Lithosphere Evolution symposium at IAVCEI

Professor (Earth and Planetary Evolution) Macquarie University (from 2007)

Appointed to Editorial Board of Geol. Soc. America Bulletin (2007)

Elected Fellow of the Geochemical Society (2007) 

Member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts (2007-2009)

Fellow of the Geochemical Society (2008)

Program director ARC Centre for Core to Crust Fluid Systems (from 2011)

Distinguished Professor, Macquarie University (from 2011)

W.B. Clarke Medal (Royal Society NSW) for outstanding contributions to Australian Geology (2013)

Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales (2014)

Listed as a world “Most Influential Mind” 2014 (Thomson Reuters)

Thomson-Reuters Citation Award for body of work on “The Tectonic Setting of the North and South China Cratons” (2015)

Google Scholar Australian #1 cited geoscientist 2017 (

Special Dedication of 2017 International Kimberlite Proceedings Vol. to O’Reilly and Griffin

Life-time recognition of geoscience research, teaching and mentoring by celebratory keynote at Goldschmidt 2019

Listed as a “most influential researcher” in the Australian Research Magazine, October 2019

W.B. Clarke Memorial Lecturer, Royal Society NSW (2015)

Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher (2016)

The Australian: 2019 Research Magazine 'Australia's Most Influential Researcher' in the field of Geochemistry and Mineralogy (2019)

Honorary Fellow of the Italian Society for Mineralogy and Petrology (SIMP) (2019)

World #1 ranked cited Earth Scientist: (2022)

Newly discovered mineral, griffinite named in honour (2022):", and, 2022.


Some significant research milestones

  • Development of new geothermometry systems for mantle minerals (with C. Ryan from 1989)
  • First quantitative in situ analysis of trace elements in minerals (with C. Ryan, 1989)
  • Series of collaborations with the diamond exploration industry (e.g., de Beers, Anglo-American, CRA, Kennecott, Stockdale, BHP) delivered new knowledge of diamond formation conditions, changing exploration targets. (e.g., Griffin et al., J Pet 99; Nature Geoscience 2013)
  • New methods of evaluation of kimberlites for diamond fertility using garnet trace-element analysis
  • Development of geochemical methods for 4D Lithosphere Mapping (with S. O’Reilly)
  • Refining the use of laser ablation (LA) ICPMS for U-Pb dating of zircons (with S. Jackson and N. Pearson, Chem Geol., 2004)
  • Pioneering in situ Hf isotope analysis of zircon (GCA 2000)
  • Developing the TerraneChron® methodology (with E. Belousova, N. Pearson and S. O’Reilly; see") with applications to unravelling crustal evolution and to mineral exploration from 1998
  • Pioneering Os isotope in situ analysis of mantle sulfides (with O. Alard and N. Pearson; e.g., Alard et al., Nature 2000; EPSL 2002)
  • Development of in situ analytical methodologies for stable metal isotopes (including Cu, Fe & Mg; with N. Pearson, S. Graham and S. Jackson).
  • Development of the first method for analysing trace elements in diamonds by LA-ICPMS (with S. Rege and N. Pearson; JAAS 2005) and new concepts for diamond formation. (e.g., Rege et al, JAAS 2005 featured on cover)
  • Development of new concepts about Archean mantle formation and composition (latest synthesis presented an Invited Chapter in the scholarly book “The earliest subcontinental mantle” edited by van Kranendonk et al., 2018).
  • Development of new concepts about the effects of mantle metasomatism, relevant to the evolution of continental lithospheric mantle and diamond formation.
  • Demonstration that some fragments of rocks exposed at the surface in tectonic plate collision zones excavated the deepest samples known of Earth’s interior – from depths of ~450km. These are the first recognized samples from the Earth’s Transition Zone. (e.g., Griffin et al., J Pet. 2016; Bindi et al., Sci. Reports 2018)
  • First demonstration that some regions of the deep Earth and lithosphere contain highly reduced materials, attributed to localized streaming of deep hydrogen and methane (in conditions analogous to those of the solar nebula), with relevance to diamond formation in some domains. (e.g., Griffin et al., Lithos 2020)
These results have been achieved with many collaborators, including >100 international researchers and >20 different industry/end-user co-authors.


Selected Publications

Conference Presentations (published as abstracts)