Raúl Fonseca

Raúl Fonseca

Professor of Experimental Petrology and Geochemistry
Ph.D. 2007, Canberra, Australia

Tel. +49 (0) 234 / 32-23299
FAX: +49 (0) 234 / 32-14433
Raum-Nr.: IA 4/169



My research is focussed on understanding the processes that prevail during terrestrial magmatism and planetary differentiation. Constraining such processes is the key to our understanding of how planets form and evolve over time with the right conditions to sustain life. To that end, I combine data obtained from high-temperature and high-pressure conditions with elemental and isotope geochemical data.

I am particularly interested in the behaviour of trace elements and of stable isotopes (e.g. B, Ti) during high-temperature processes like partial melting and crystallization of planetary interiors, fluid-immiscibility and magmatic degassing, etc., that result from changing in redox conditions, temperature and pressure. Trace elements and stable isotopes have unique patterns and values in various planetary building blocks. As such, identifying the processes that ascribe these building blocks with their particular trace element and isotope chemistry can aid us in the goal of understanding planetary formation and evolution.

Active projects (as PI):

  • DFG project FO 698/6-1 - Titanium isotope fractionation during lunar magmatism - the importance of redox

  • DFG project FO 698/10-1 - Boron isotope fractionation during fluid exsolution from arc basalts at magmatic temperatures

  • DFG project FO 698/11-1 - Stable isotope fractionation in high-temperature systems: an experimental approach

Derzeitige internationale Kollaborationen

Collaborations based in Germany:
Prof. Dr. Carsten Münker (Universität zu Köln)

Dr. Florian Kurzweil (Universität zu Köln)

Prof. Dr. Chris Ballhaus (Universität Bonn)

Prof. Dr. Stefan Weyer (Leibniz Universität Hannover)

Prof. Dr. François Holz (Leibniz Universität Hannover)

Dr. Maria Kirchenbaur (Leibniz Universität Hannover)

Dr. Axel Gerdes (Goethe Universität Frankfurt)

Dr. Stephan Schuth (Leibniz Universität Hannover)

Ausgewählte jüngste Publikationen

  • Kommescher, S., Fonseca, R. O. C., Kurzweil, F., Thiemens, M. M., Münker, C., & Sprung, P. (2020): Unravelling lunar mantle source processes via the Ti isotope composition of lunar basalts. Geochemical Perspectives Letters 13, 13-18.

  • Thiemens, M. M., Sprung, P., Fonseca, R.O.C., Münker, C. (2019): Early Moon formation inferred from hafnium–tungsten systematics. Nature Geoscience 12, 696-700.

  • Hauke, M., Froitzheim, N., Nagel, T.J., Miladinova, I., Fassmer, K., Fonseca, R.O.C., Sprung P., Münker, C. (2019): Two high-pressure metamorphic events, Variscan and Alpine, dated by Lu-Hf in an eclogite complex of the Austroalpine nappes (Schobergruppe, Austria). International Journal of Earth Sciences 108:4, 1317-1331.

  • Leitzke, F.P., Fonseca, R.O.C., Göttlicher, R., Steininger, R., Jahn, S., Prescher, C. Ti K-edge XANES study on the coordination number and oxidation state of Titanium in pyroxene, olivine, armalcolite, ilmenite, and silicate glass during mare basalt petrogenesis. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 173, article #12.

  • Ballhaus, C., Blanchard, H., Fonseca, R.O.C. Bragagni, A. (2018): Reply 2 to comment on “Ultra-high pressure and ultra-reduced minerals in ophiolites may form by lightning strikes”. Geochemical Perspectives Letter 8, 8–10.

  • Bragagni, A., van Acken, D., Fonseca, R.O.C., Speelmanns, I. M., Wainwright, A., Heuser, A., Nowell, Luguet, A. (2018): Re-Os and HSE in individual Base Metal Sulfide grains: evaluating chemical procedures using a sulfide standard. Chemical Geology 493, 426–440.

  • Ballhaus, C., , Bragagni, A. (2018): Reply to Comment on “Ultra-high pressure and ultra-reduced minerals in ophiolites may form by lightning strikes” by Griffin et al., 2018: No evidence for transition zone metamorphism in the Luobusa ophiolite. Geochemical Perspectives Letters 7, 3–4.

  • Miladinova, I., Froitzkeim, N., Nagel, TJ, Janák, M, Georgiev, N., Fonseca, R.O.C., Sandmann, S, Münker, C. (2018): Late Cretaceous eclogite in the Eastern Rhodopes (Bulgaria): evidence for subduction under the Sredna Gora magmatic arc. International Journal of Earth Sciences, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00531-018-1589-7.

  • Fassmer, K. Klonowska, I., Walczak, K., Andersson, B., Froitzkeim, M., Majka, J., Fonseca, R.O.C., Münker, C. (2017): Middle Ordovician subduction of continental crust in the Scandinavian Caledonides - an example from Tjeliken, Seve Nappe Complex, Sweden. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 172, article #103.

  • Ballhaus, C., Wirth, R., Fonseca, R.O.C., Blanchard, H., Pröll, Nagel, T., Bragagni, A., Schreiber, A., Dittrich, S., Thome, V., Hezel, D., Below, R., Chieszynski, H. (2017): Ultra-high pressure and ultra-reduced minerals in ophiolites may form by lightning strikes. Geochemical Perspectives Letters 5, 42–46.

  • Münker, C., Fonseca, R.O.C., and Schulz, T. (2017): Silicate Earth’s missing niobium may have been sequestered into asteroidal cores. Nature Geoscience 10, 622–626.

  • Leitzke, F.P., Fonseca, R.O.C., Sprung, P., Mallmann, G., Lagos, M., Michely, LT, and Münker, C. (2017): Redox dependent behaviour of molybdenum during magmatic processes in the terrestrial and lunar mantles: Implications for the Mo/W of the bulk silicate Moon. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 474, 503–515.

  • Baldwin, L.C., Tomaschek, F., Ballhaus, C., Gerdes, A., Fonseca, R.O.C., Wirth, R., Geisler, T., Nagel, T. (2017): Petrogenesis of alkaline basalt-hosted sapphire megacrysts. Petrological and geochemical investigations of in-situ sapphire occurrences from the Siebengebirge Volcanic Field, Germany. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 172, article #43, doi: 10.1007/s00410-017-1362-0

  • Fonseca, R.O.C., Brückel, K., Bragagni, A., Leitzke, F.P., Speelmanns, IM, Wainwright, AN (2017): Fractionation of Rhenium from Osmium during noble metal alloy formation in association with sulfides: Implications for the interpretation of model ages in alloy-bearing magmatic rocks. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2017.04.041

  • Bragagni, A., Luguet, A., Fonseca, R.O.C., Pearson, D. G., and Kjarsgaar, B. A. (2017): The geological record of base metal sulfides in the cratonic mantle: A microscale Os study of xenoliths from Somerset Island (Canada). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2017.04.015

  • Helmy, H.M. Fonseca, R.O.C. (2017): The behavior of Pt, Pd, Cu and Ni in the Se-sulfide system between 1050 and 700 ⁰C and the role of Se in platinum group elements fractionation in sulfide melts. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, doi:10.1016/j.gca.2017.05.010

  • Michely, L. T., Leitzke, F. P., Speelmanns, I. M., Fonseca R.O.C. (2017): Disentangling the competing effects of crystal and silicate melt compositions on trace element partitioning. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 172, article #39, doi: 10.1007/s00410-017-1353-1

  • Kiseeva, K., Fonseca R.O.C., Smythe, D. (2017): Chalcophile Elements and Sulfides in the Upper Mantle. Elements 13, 111–116.

  • van Acken, D., Luguet, A., Pearson, D.G., Nowell, G. M., Fonseca R.O.C., Nagel, T. J., Schulz, T. (2017). Mesoarchean melting and Neoarchean to Paleoproterozoic metasomatism during the formation of the cratonic mantle keel beneath West Greenland. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 203, 37-53.

  • Fonseca R.O.C., Kirchenbaur, M., Ballhaus C., Münker C., Zirner A., Gerdes A., Heuser A., Roman Botcharnikov, and Lenting C. (2017): Fingerprinting fluid sources in Troodos ophiolite complex orbicular glasses using high spatial resolution isotope and trace element geochemistry. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 200, 145-166.

  • Sandmann, S., Herwartz, D., Kirst, F., Froitzheim, N., Nagel, T. J., Fonseca, R.O.C., Münker, C., and Janák, M. (2016): Timing of eclogite-facies metamorphism of mafic and ultramafic rocks from the Pohorje Mountains (Eastern Alps, Slovenia) based on Lu-Hf garnet geochronometry. Lithos 262, 576-585

  • Leitzke, F.P., Fonseca, R.O.C., Michely, L.T., Sprung, P., Münker, C., Heuser, A., Blanchard, H. (2016): The effect of titanium on the partitioning behaviour of high-field strength elements between silicates, oxides and lunar basaltic melts with applications to the origin of mare basalts. Chemical Geology 440, 219-238.

  • Schneider, K.P., Kirchenbaur, M., Fonseca, R.O.C., Kasper, H.U., Münker, C., Froitzheim, N (2016). Role of crustal assimilation and basement compositions in the petrogenesis of differentiated intraplate volcanic rocks: A case study from the Siebengebirge Volcanic Field, Germany. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 171, article# 58.

  • Wainwright, A., Luguet, A., Schreiber, A., Fonseca, R.O.C., Nowell, G.M., Lorand, J.-P., Wirth, R., Janney, P.E. (2016): Nanoscale variations in 187Os isotopic compositions and HSE systematics in a Bultfontein peridotite. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 447, 60-71.

  • Faßmer, K., Obermüller, G., Nagel, T.J., Kirst, F., Froitzheim, N., Sandmann, S., Miladinova, I., Fonseca, R.O.C., Münker, C. (2016). High-pressure metamorphic age and significance of eclogite-facies continental fragments associated with oceanic lithosphere in the Western Alps (Etirol-Levaz Slice, Valtournenche, Italy). Lithos 252-253, 145-159.

  • Froitzheim, N., Miladinova, I., Janák, M., Kullerud, K., Ravna, E., Majka, J., Fonseca, R.O.C., Münker, C., Nagel, T. (2016): Deep continental subduction and rigid-body exhumation in the Devonian (Lofoten, Norway). Geology 44, 223-226.

  • Ballhaus, C., Fonseca, R.O.C., Münker, C., Kirchenbaur, M., Zirner, A. (2015): Spheroidal textures in igneous rocks - textural consequences of H2O saturation in basaltic melts. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 167, 241-252.

  • Coggon, J., Luguet, A., Fonseca, R.O.C., Lorand, J.-P., Heuser, A., Appel, P.W. (2015): Understanding Re-Os systematics and model ages in metamorphosed Archean ultramafic rocks: A single mineral to whole-rock investigation. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 167, 205-240.

  • Wainwright, A., Luguet, A., Fonseca, R.O.C., Pearson, D.G. (2015): Significance of the whole-rock Re-Os ages in cryptically and modally metasomatised cratonic peridotites - Part 2: Insights from coupling petrography and Re-Os dating of base metal sulfides. Lithos 232, 35-48.

  • Geisler, T., Nagel, T., Kilburn, M. R., Janssen, A., Icenhower, J., Fonseca, R.O.C., Grange, M., Nemchin, A.A. (2015) The Mechanism of Borosilicate Glass Corrosion Revisited. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 158, 112-129.

  • Weber, S., Sandmann, S., Fonseca, R.O.C., Froitzheim, N., Münker, C., and Bucher, K. (2015): Dating the beginning of Piemonte-Liguria Ocean subduction: Lu-Hf garnet chronometry of eclogites from the Theodul Glacier Unit (Zermatt-Saas Zone, Switzerland). The Swiss Journal of Geosciences 108, 183-199 doi:10.1007/s00015-015-0180-5.

  • Fonseca, R.O.C., Mallmann, G., Sprung, P., Sommer, J.A., Heuser, A., Speelmanns, I.M. Blanchard, H. (2014): Redox controls on tungsten and uranium crystal/silicate melt partitioning and implications for the U/W and Th/W ratio of the lunar mantle. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 404, 1-13.

  • Sandmann, S., Nagel, T. J., Herwartz, D., Fonseca, R.O.C., Kurzawski, R.M., Münker, C., Froitzheim, N. (2014): Lu-Hf garnet systematics of a polymetamorphic basement unit: New evidence for coherent exhumation of the Adula Nappe (Central Alps) from eclogite-facies conditions. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 168, 1075.

nach oben



  • 177502 Petrologie der magmatischen Gesteine
    MSc-Level (7. Semester): Chakraborty/Fonseca


  • Geochemie
    BSc-Level (6. Semester): Fonseca


  • - Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

  • 2007- Ph.D. in Geochemistry and Experimental Petrology
    Dissertation Topic: “The High Temperature Geochemistry of the Highly Siderophile Elements Pt, Re, Ir, Os and Rh”. Supervisors: Ian H. Campbell and Hugh St. C. O’Neill

  • - University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

  • 2002- Licenciatura em Geologia (Licentiate in Geology)