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Raphael Johannes Baumgartner

Research Associate
Centre for Exploration Targeting (CET)

Contact details

Robert Street Building, Rm 221
Centre for Exploration Targeting (CET)
The University of Western Australia (M006)
35 Stirling Highway

+618 6488 1871

Raphael, born and raised in Austria, received his MSc in Economic Geology from the University of Leoben (Austria). He joined the SES/CET in June 2013 as a PhD candidate seeking to unravel the potential of martian igneous systems to host precious metal-enriched sulfide mineralization. Because Raphael’s project budget did not stretched to fieldwork on Mars, his research involved the critical evaluation of known key parameters and processes of martian igneous activity in the framework of a mineral systems analysis for orthomagmatic Ni-Cu-PGE sulfides, alongside with numerical simulations of volcanic processes that may have accounted for such precious metal-rich sulfide enrichments. Furthermore, he provided notable insights into the behaviors of (highly) siderophile and chalcophile elements in martian mantle reservoirs and derived igneous systems through mineral-scale analytical experiments on sulfide and oxide phases from shergottite and chassignite meteorites - a rare group of meteorites that are thought to represent samples of the volcanic martian crust.

Since completion of his PhD, Raphael is enrolled as a Research Associate at CET with research focus on the famous 3.5 Ga old stromatolites at North Pole Dome, Dresser Formation, Pilbara (Western Australia). He critically assesses the link between one of Earth’s oldest stromatolites and hydrothermal fluids, and whether such fluids have delivered transition metals such as Zn, Mo and Ni, which are known to be key ingredients for bacterial metabolism and thus likely catalyzed the origin of life on Earth. For this research, Raphael utilizes his strong expertise in analytical mineralogy and geochemistry, and aims at the micron- to nano-scale textural examination and trace metal characterization of Fe- and Zn-sulfide laminates associated with the North Pole Dome stromatolites. He complements his cutting-edge analytical work on the sulfides with systematic in-situ multiple sulfur-isotope analyses, which can serve as probes to unveil the potential microbial component of sulfide precipitation.


Baumgartner R. J., Zaccarini F., Garuti G. and Thalhammer O. A. R. (2013) Mineralogical and geochemical investigation of layered chromitites from the Bracco-Gabbro Complex, Ligurian Ophiolite, Italy. Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 165, 477-493.

Baumgartner R. J., Fiorentini M. L., Baratoux D., Micklethwaite S., Sener A. K., Lorand J. P. and McCuaig T. C. (2015) Magmatic controls on the genesis of Ni-Cu±(PGE) sulfide mineralization on Mars. Ore Geol. Rev. 65, 400-412.

Baumgartner R. J., Fiorentini M. L., Baratoux D., Ferrière L., Locmelis M., Tomkins A. and Sener A. K. (2017) The variability of ruthenium in chromite from chassignites and olivine-phyric shergottites: new insights into the behavior of PGE and sulfur in martian magmatic systems. Meteorit. Plan. Sci.  52, 333-350.

Baumgartner R. J., Fiorentini M. L., Lorand J.-P., Baratoux D., Zaccarini F., Ferrière L., Prašek M., Sener A. K. (2017) The role of sulfides in the fractionation of highly siderophile and chalcophile elements during the formation of martian shergottite meteorites. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta (in press).