Associate Professor Norman Pearson

BSc Syd, PhD Syd.

Manager, Geochemical Analysis Unit
Associate Professor


Contact Details

Office : E5B 205
Phone : 61-(0)2-9850 8361
Fax : 61-(0)2-9850 8943
email :


A/Prof. Norman J Pearson
Manager, Geochemical Analysis Unit
ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems and
GEMOC ARC National Key Centre,
Earth and Planetary Sciences
Macquarie University
NSW 2109, Australia


Norman Pearson is Manager of the Geochemical Analysis Unit in the ARC National Key Centre for Geochemical Evolution and Metallogeny of Continents (GEMOC) at Macquarie University, Sydney.

Fields of research

For more than 20 years my research has focused on the petrology and geochemistry of the lower crust and upper mantle, and this still intrigues me greatly. Much of this work has been directed to understanding the nature of the subcontinental lithospheric mantle, especially beneath cratons and craton margins. One area of particular interest is the thermal evolution of the lithosphere and the application of mineral thermobarometric techniques to determine the P-T evolution of lithospheric sections. More recently the direction of my research has been toward the application of isotopic systems to date mantle events or as tracers of processes within the mantle. This work has been carried out in parallel with my involvement in the development of several innovative analytical techniques.

A significant proportion of my research activity continues to be the development of new analytical techniques mainly related to plasma-source mass spectrometry and the application of in-situ trace element analysis and in-situ high precision isotope ratio measurements. Ongoing projects include the refinement of the in-situ methods for U-Pb dating of zircon, Hf isotopes in zircon and rutile, and Os isotopes in mantle sulfides, as well as the development of new in-situ methods for other radiogenic isotope systems. The application of these techniques has had a major impact on our understanding of crustal genesis and mantle evolution, as well as directing grater attention to the linkage of the crust and mantle to tackle global scale geodynamic problems. I also continue to be heavily involved in the development and application of non-traditional stable isotopes (e.g. Mg, Fe, Cu, Ni, Zn) to a wide range of geological problems in igneous, metamorphic and planetary geology.

Selected Publications

Publications (excluding abstracts, non-refereed publications and editing)

Green, T.H. & Pearson, N.J., 1983. Effect of pressure on rare earth element partition coefficients in common magmas. Nature, 305, 414-416.

Green, T.H. & Pearson, N.J., 1985. Rare earth element partitioning between clinopyroxene and silicate liquid at moderate to high pressure. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 91, 24-36.

Green, T.H. & Pearson, N.J., 1985. Experimental determination of REE partition coefficients between amphibole and basaltic to andesitic liquids at high pressure. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, 49, 1465-1468.

Green, T.H. & Pearson, N.J., 1986. Ti-rich accessory phase saturation in hydrous mafic-felsic compositions at high P,T. Chemical Geology, 54, 185-201.

Green, T.H. & Pearson, N.J., 1986. Rare-earth element partitioning between sphene and coexisting silicate liquid at high pressure and temperature. Chemical Geology, 55, 105-119.

Green, T.H. & Pearson, N.J., 1987. An experimental study of Nb and Ta partitioning between Ti-rich minerals and silicate liquids at high pressure and temperature. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, 51, 55-62.

Green, T.H. & Pearson, N.J., 1987. High-pressure, synthetic loveringite-davidite and its rare earth element geochemistry. Mineralogical Magazine, 51, 145-149.

Green, T.H. & Pearson, N.J., 1988. Experimental crystallization of chevkinite/perrierite from REE-enriched silicate liquids at high pressure and temperature. Mineralogical Magazine, 52, 113-120.


O'Reilly, S.Y., Griffin, W.L. and Pearson, N.J., 1989. Xenoliths of crustal origin. in: Johnson, R.W.,ed., Intraplate Volcanism in Eastern Australia and New Zealand, Cambridge University Press, pp 275-288.

Griffin, W.L., O'Reilly, S.Y. and Pearson, N.J., 1989. Eclogite stability near the crust-mantle boundary. in: Carswell, D.A. (ed.) Eclogite Facies Rocks, Blackie, Glasgow, 291-314.

Pearson, N.J., O'Reilly, S.Y. and Griffin, W.L., 1991. The granulite to eclogite transition beneath the eastern margin of the Australian craton. . European Journal of Mineralogy, 3, 293-322.

Pearson, N.J. & O'Reilly, S.Y. 1991. Thermobarometry and P-T-t paths: the granulite to eclogite transition. J. Metamorphic Geology, 9, 349-359.

Pearson, N.J., O'Reilly, S.Y. and Griffin, W.L., 1991. Heterogeneity in the thermal state of the lower crust beneath eastern Australia. Exploration Geophysics, 22, 295-298.

Chen, Y.D., Pearson, N.J., O'Reilly, S.Y. and Griffin, W.L., 1991. Applications of olivine-orthopyroxene-spinel oxygen geobarometers to the redox state of the upper mantle. J. Petrology, Special Volume, 291-306.

Pearson, N.J., O'Reilly, S.Y. and Griffin, W.L. 1995. The crust-mantle boundary beneath cratons and craton margins: a transect across the southwest margin of the Kaapvaal craton. Lithos, 36, 257-288.


Belousova, E.A., Griffin, W.L. and Pearson, N.J. 1998. Trace element composition and cathodoluminescence properties of southern African kimberlitic zircons. Mineralogical Magazine, 62, 355-366

Davies, R.M., Griffin, W.L., Pearson, N.J., Andrew, A.S., Doyle, B.J. and O'Reilly, S.Y. 1998. Diamonds from the deep: pipe DO-27, Slave Craton, Canada. The 7th International Kimberlite Conference Proceeding, J.B. Dawson Volume 1, 148-155.

Griffin, W.L., Doyle, B.J., Ryan, C.G., Pearson, N.J., O'Reilly, S.Y., Natapov, L., Kivi, K., Kretschmar, R. and Ward, J. 1998. Lithosphere structure and mantle terranes: Slave Craton, Canada. The 7th International Kimberlite Conference Proceeding, J.B. Dawson Volume 1, 299-306.

Norman, M.D., Griffin, W.L., Pearson, N.J., Garcia, M.O. and O'Reilly, S.Y. 1998. Quantitative analysis of trace element abundances in glasses and minerals: a comparison of laser ablation ICPMS, solution ICPMS, proton microprobe, and electron microprobe data. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectroscopy 13, 477-482.

Pearson, N.J., Griffin, W.L., Doyle, B.J., O'Reilly, S.Y., Van Achterbergh, E. and Kivi, K. 1998. Xenoliths from kimberlite pipes of the Lac de Gras area, Slave Craton, Canada. The 7th International Kimberlite Conference Proceeding, P.H. Nixon Volume 2, 644-658.


Griffin, W.L., Doyle, B.J., Ryan, C.G., Pearson, N.J., O'Reilly, S.Y., Davies, R., Kivi, K., Van Achterbergh, E. and Natapov, L.M. 1999. Layered mantle lithosphere in the Lac de Gras area, Slave Craton: composition, structure and origin. Journal of Petrology, 40, 705-727.

Neumann, E.-R. Wulff-Pedersen, E., Simonsen, S.L., Pearson, N.J., Martí, J. and Mitjavila, J. 1999. Evidence for fractional crystallization of periodically refilled magma chambers in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Journal of Petrology 40, 1089-1123.


Gaul, O.F., Griffin, W.L., O'Reilly, S.Y. and Pearson, N.J. 2000. Mapping olivine composition in the lithospheric mantle. Earth and Planetary Sciences, 182, 223-235.

Griffin, W.L., Pearson, N.J., Belousova, E., Jackson, S.E., van Achterbergh, E., O'Reilly, S.Y. and Shee, S.R. 2000. The Hf isotope composition of cratonic mantle: LAM-MC-ICPMS analysis of zircon megacrysts in kimberlites. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 64, 133-147.

Jackson, S.E. Pearson, N.J., and Griffin, W.L. 2001. In situ isotope ratio determination using LA-magnetic sector-ICP-MS. Principles and Applications of Laser Ablation-Mass Spectrometry in the Earth Sciences. In Sylvester, P., (ed.) Laser-Ablation-ICPMS in the Earth Sciences, Principles and Applications. Mineralogical Association of Canada Short Course Series (St John's Newfoundland, 2001) 29, 105-120.

Luguet, A., Alard, O., Lorand, J.P., Pearson, N.J., Ryan, C. and O'Reilly, S.Y. 2001. Laser-ablation microprobe (LAM)-ICPMS unravels the highly siderophile element geochemistry of the oceanic mantle. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 189, 285-294.

Ryan, C.G., van Achterbergh, E., Griffin, W.L., Pearson, N.J., O'Reilly, S.Y. and Kivi, K. 2001. Nuclear Microprobe Analysis of Melt Inclusions in Minerals: Windows on Metasomatic Processes in the Earth's Mantle. Nucl. Instr. Meth. B181, 578-585.

Zheng, J., O'Reilly, S.Y., Griffin, W.L., Lu, F., Zhang, M. and Pearson, N.J. 2001. Relict refractory mantle beneath the eastern North China Block: significance for Lithosphere Evolution. Lithos 57, 43-66.


Alard, O., Griffin, W.L., Pearson, N.J., Lorand, J.-P. and O'Reilly, S.Y., 2002. New insights into the Re-Os systematics of sub-continental lithospheric mantle from in-situ analysis of sulfides. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 203, 651-663.

Andersen, T., Griffin, W.L. and Pearson, N.J. 2002. Crustal evolution in the SW part of the Baltic Shield: The Hf isotope evidence. Journal of Petrology, 43, 1725-1747.

Graham, S, Lambert, D.D., Shee, S.R. and Pearson, N.J. 2002. Juvenile lithospheric mantle enrichment and the formation of alkaline ultramafic magma sources: Re-Os, Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd isotopic systematics of the Norseman melnoites, Western Australia. Chemical Geology, 186, 215-233.

Griffin, W.L., Wang, X., Jackson, S.E., Pearson, N.J., O'Reilly, S.Y., Xu, X. and Zhou, X. 2002. Zircon chemistry and magma genesis, SE China: In-situ analysis of Hf isotopes, Pingtan and Tonglu igneous complexes. Lithos 61, 237-269.

Griffin, W.L., Spetsius, Z.V., Pearson, N.J. and O'Reilly, S.Y. 2002. In-situ Re-Os analysis of sulfide inclusions in kimberlite olivine: New constraints on depletion events in the Siberian lithospheric mantle. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 2002-11-21.

Neumann, E.-R. Wulff-Pedersen, E., Pearson, N.J., and Spencer, E.R. 2002. Mantle xenoliths from Tenerife (Canary Islands): Evidence for reactions between mantle peridotites and silicic carbonatitic melts inducing Ca metasomatism. Journal of Petrology 43, 825-857.

Pearson, N.J., Alard, O., Griffin, W.L., Jackson, S.E. and O'Reilly, S.Y. 2002. In situ measurement of Re-Os isotopes in mantle sulfides by laser ablation multicollector-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry: Analytical methods and preliminary results. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 66, 1037-1050.

Spetsius, Z.V., Belousova, E.A., Griffin, W.L., O'Reilly, S.Y. and Pearson, N.J. 2002. Archean sulfide inclusions in Paleozoic zircon megacrysts from the Mir kimberlite, Yakutia: implications for the dating of diamonds. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 199, 111-126.

van Achterbergh, E., Griffin, W.L., Ryan, C.G., O'Reilly, S.Y., Pearson, N.J., Kivi, K. and Doyle, B.J. 2002. A subduction signature for quenched carbonatites from the deep lithosphere. Geology, 30, 743-746.

Wang, X., Griffin, W.L., O'Reilly, S. Y., Zhou, X., Xu, S., Jackson, S.E. and Pearson, N.J. 2002. Morphology and geochemistry of zircons from late Mesozoic igneous complexes in coastal SE China. Mineralogy Magazine, 66, 235-251.


Andersen, T., Griffin, W.L., Pearson, N.J. and Andresen, A. 2003. Scveconorwegian rejuvenation of lower crust in south Norway. Norges Geol. Unders. Bulletin, Special Publication 9, 51-53.

Griffin, W.L., O'Reilly, S.Y., Abe, N., Aulbach, S., Davies, R. M., Pearson, N.J., Doyle, B.J. and Kivi, K. 2003. The origin and evolution of Archean lithospheric mantle. Precambrian Research, 127,

Wang, K., O'Reilly, S. Y., Griffin, W. L., Chung, S. and Pearson, N. J. 2003. Proterozoic mantle lithosphere beneath the extended margin of the South China block: In situ Re-Os evidence. Geology, 31, 709-712.


Andersen, T., Griffin, W.L., Jackson, S.E., Knudsen, T.-L. and Pearson, N.J. 2004. Mid-Proterozoic magmatic arc evolution at the southwest margin of the Baltic Shield. Lithos, 73, 289-318.

Aulbach, S., Griffin, W.L., Pearson, N.J., O'Reilly, S.Y., Doyle, B.J. and Kivi, K. 2004. Mantle formation and evolution, Slave Craton: from HSE abundances and Re-Os systematics of sulfide inclusions in mantle xenocrysts. Chemical Geology, 208, 61-88.

Brueckner, H. K., Van Roermund, H. L. M. and Pearson, N. J. 2003. An archean (?) to Paleozoic evolution for a garnet peridotite lens with sub-Baltic shield affinity within the Seve Nappe Complex of Jamtland, Sweden, Central Scandinavian Caledonides. Journal of Petrology, 45, 415-437.

Graham, S., Pearson, N.J., Jackson, S.E., Griffin, W.L. and O'Reilly, S.Y. 2004. Tracing Cu and Fe from source to porphyry: in situ determination of Cu and Fe isotope ratios in sulfides from the Grasberg Cu-Au deposit. Chemical Geology, 207, 147-169.

Griffin, W.L., Belousova, E.A., Shee, S.R., Pearson, N.J. and O'Reilly, S.Y. 2004. Crustal evolution in the northern Yilgarn Craton: U-Pb and Hf-isotope evidence from detrital zircons. Precambrian Research, 127, 231-282.

Griffin, W.L., Graham, S., O'Reilly, S.Y. and Pearson, N.J. 2004. Lithospheric evolution beneath the Kaapvaal Craton: Re-Os systematics of sulfides in mantle-derived peridotites. Chemical Geology, 208, 89-118.

Griffin, W.L., O'Reilly, S.Y., Doyle, B.J., Pearson, N.J., Coopersmith, H., Kivi, K., Malkovets, V. and Pokhilenko, N. 2004. Lithosphere mapping beneath the North American plate. Lithos, 77, 873-922.

Jackson, S.E., Pearson, N.J., Belousova, E. and Griffin, W.L. 2004. The application of laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) to in situ U-Pb geochronology. Chemical Geology, 211, 47-69.

Nairn, I.A., Shane, P.R., Cole, J.W., Leonard, G.J., Self, S. and Pearson, N.J. 2004. Rhyolite magma processes of the AD1315 Kaharoa eruption episode, Tarawera volcano, New Zealand. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal and Research, 131, 265-294.

Poudjom-Djomani, Y., O'Reilly, S.Y., Griffin, S.Y., Natapov, L.M., Pearson, N.J. and Doyle, B.J. 2004. The integration of geophysics and geochemistry reveals the nature of the lithosphere beneath the Slave Craton (Canada). Preview ASEG (in press).

Reid, A.J., Wilson, C.J.L., Belousova, E. and Pearson, N.J. 2004. Mesozoic plutons of the Yidun Arc, SW China: U/Pb geochronology and Hf isotope signature. Ore Geology Review (in press).

Schroter, F.C., Stevenson, J.A., Daczko, N.R., Clarke, G.L., Pearson, N.J. and Klepeis, K.A. 2004. Trace element partitioning during high-P partial melting and melt-rock interaction; an example from northern Fiordland, New Zealand. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 22, 443-457.

van Achterbergh, E., Griffin, W.L., Ryan, C.G., O'Reilly, S.Y., Pearson, N.J., Kivi, K. and Doyle, B.J. 2004. Melt inclusions from the Slave lithosphere: implications for the origin and evolution of mantle-derived carbonatite kimberlite. Lithos, 76, 461-474.

Prendergast, K., Clarke, G., Pearson, N.J. and Harris, K. 2005. Genesis of pyrite-Au-As-Zn-Bi-Te zones associated with Cu-Au skarns: Evidence from Big Gossan and Wanagon Gold deposits, Ertsberg District, Papua, Indonesia. Economic Geology, V100, 1021-1050.

Choukroun, M., O'Reilly, S.Y., Griffin, W.L., Pearson, N.J. and Dawson, J.B. 2005. Hf isotopes of MARID (mica-amphibole-rutile-ilmenite-diopside) rutile trace metasomatic processes in the lithospheric mantle. Geology, 33, 45-48.

Stevenson, J.A., Daczko, N.R., Clarke, G.L., Pearson, N. and Klepeis, K.A. 2005. Direct observation of adakite melts generated in the lower continental crust, Fiordland, New Zealand, Terra Nova, 17, 73-79.380.

Xisheng, X., O'Reilly, S.Y., Griffin, W.L., Deng, P. and Pearson, N.J. 2005. Relict Proterozoic basement in the Nanling Mountains (SE China) and its tectonothermal overprinting. Tectonics 24, TC2003, doi:10.1029/2004TC00165.403.

Baker, T., Mustard, R., Brown, V., Pearson, N., Stanley, C.R., Radford, N.W. and Butler, I. 2005. Textural and Chemical Zonation of Pyrite at Pajingo: A Potential Vector to Epithermal Gold Veins. Geochemistry - Exploration, Environment, Analysis. 5, 1-11.

Rege, S., Jackson, S., Griffin, W.L., Davies, R.M., Pearson, N.J. and O'Reilly, S.Y. 2005. Quantitative trace-element analysis of diamond by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 20 (7),601-611.

Alard, O., Luguet, A., Pearson, N.J., Griffin, W.L., Lorand, J.-P., Gannoun, A., Burton, K.W. and O'Reilly, S.Y. 2005. In-situ Os isotopes in abyssal peridotites: bridging the "isotopic gap" between MORB and their source mantle. Nature, 436, 1005-1008.

Odegard, M., Skar, O., Schiellerup, H. and Pearson, N.J. 2005. Preparation of a Synthetic Titanite Glass Calibration Material For In Situ Microanalysis by Direct Fusion in Graphite Electrodes: A Preliminary Characterisation by EPMA and LA-ICP-MS. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research, 29, 2, 197-209.

Pearson, N.J., Griffin, W.L., Alard, O. O'Reilly, S.Y. 2006. The isotopic composition of magnesium in mantle olivine: Records of depletion and metasomatism. Chemical Geology. 226, 115-133.