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Email and Telephone Directory

Staff Profile

Prof Kevin Burton, PhD

Professor of Geochemistry in the Department of Earth Sciences
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 44298
Room number: Rm 331

Contact Prof Kevin Burton (email at


2010 – present  — Professor of Geochemistry, Director of NCIET, Durham University

2007 – 2010  — Professor of Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences,

2006 – 2007  — Professor of Paleooceanography, Université Paul-Sabatier,

2000 – 2006  — Professor of Isotope Geochemistry, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University

1999 – 2000  — Professor of Geochemistry, Université Blaise-Pascal

1998 – 1999  — University Lecturer, Dept. de Sciences de la Terre, Université Blaise-Pascal

1997 – 1998  — Visiting scientist, Dept. of Geological Sciences, Univ. of Michigan.

1995 – 1997  — Physicien adjoint, IPG-Paris, Lab. de Géochimie et Cosmochimie.

1994 – 1995  — European Science Exchange Fellowship, IPG-Paris, Géochimie et Cosmochimie, Univ. Paris VII. Royal Society and CNRS-CIES funded fellowship.

1991 – 1994  — NERC Advanced Research Fellowship, Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge

1988 – 1991  — University Research Associate, Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge

1986 – 1988  — NERC Ad hominem Research Fellowship, Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge

Career Research Highlights

Isotope geochemistry is a broad field that has made some remarkable contributions to our understanding of the history, surface process and inner workings of the Earth and other solar system objects. Personal research interests have sought to bring together a number of interrelated disciplines within the Earth and environmental sciences, linked by the use of a range of mass spectrometric techniques to provide key information on:


  • The timing of events, from the age of the solar system to the timing of climatic or tectonic events recorded in ocean sediments
  • Tracing the sources of components, from ocean circulation to identifying the types of stars that contributed to our solar system.
  • Past conditions of the Earth system, from the redox state of the mantle to past temperatures of the Oceans.


In parallel, my research has been driven by the measurement of both conventional long-lived radiogenic isotopes and non-traditional stable isotopes, with an emphasis on measuring isotope compositions to a very high precision with enhanced spatial resolution (i.e. on smaller samples).

Committee and Society Service

Expert evaluator for EU 6th and 7th Framework

2002 – 2006  Member of the NERC - Ion microprobe steering committee


1991 – 1994 — NERC Advanced Research Fellowship

1986 – 1988 — NERC Ad hominem Research Fellowship

Invited Speaker (selected)

2005, 2010; EGU General Assembly[KAM1] 

2007, 2009: AGU Fall meeting

2004; 2006: Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference,


Invited lectures at Paris, Zurich, Berne (Switzerland) Royal Holloway and Imperial College (London), Oxford, Bristol, Durham, Southampton and British Antarctic Survey.

Membership of Organisations and Societies

Member: American Geophysical Union

Member: Geochemical Society

Research Groups

Department of Earth Sciences


  • 1: Pearce, C R, Cohen, A S, Coe, A L & Burton, K W (2008). Molybdenum isotope evidence for global ocean anoxia coupled with perturbations to the carbon cycle during the Early Jurassic. Geology 36(3): 231-234.
  • 2: Burton, K W, Gannoun, A & Parkinson, I J (2010). Climate driven glacial-interglacial variations in the osmium isotope composition of seawater recorded by planktic foraminifera. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 295(1-2): 58-68.
  • 3: Bayon, G, Burton, K W, Soulet, G, Vigier, N, Dennielou, J, Etoubleau, E, Ponzevera, C R, German, C R & Nesbitt, R W (2009). Hf and Nd isotopes in marine sediments: Constraints on global silicate weathering. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 277(3-4): 318-326.
  • 4: Pearce, C R, Burton, K W, Pogge von Strandmann, P A E, James, R H & Gislason, S R (2010). Molybdenum isotope behaviour accompanying weathering and riverine transport in a basaltic terrain. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 295(1-2): 104-114.
  • Gannoun, A., Burton, K.W., Day, J.M.D., Harvey, J., Schiano, P. & Parkinson, I. (2016). Highly Siderophile Element and Os Isotope Systematics of Volcanic Rocks at Divergent and Convergent Plate Boundaries and in Intraplate Settings. In Highly Siderophile and Strongly Chalcophile Elements in High-Temperature Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry. Harvey, Jason & Day, James M. D. Berlin: De Gruyter. 651-724.
  • Burton, K W & Vigier, N (2011). Chapter 4: Lithium isotopes in Marine and Terrestrial environments. In Handbook of Environmental Isotope Geochemistry. 1: 41-59.
  • Rickli, Jörg, Hindshaw, Ruth S., Leuthold, Julien, Wadham, Jemma L., Burton, Kevin W. & Vance, Derek (2017). Impact of glacial activity on the weathering of Hf isotopes – Observations from Southwest Greenland. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 215: 295-316.
  • Opfergelt, S., Williams, H.M., Cornelis, J.T., Guicharnaud, R.A., Georg, R.B., Siebert, C., Gislason, S.R., Halliday, A.N. & Burton, K.W. (2017). Iron and silicon isotope behaviour accompanying weathering in Icelandic soils, and the implications for iron export from peatlands. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 217: 273-291.
  • Liang, Yu-Hsuan, Halliday, Alex N., Siebert, Chris, Fitton, J. Godfrey, Burton, Kevin W., Wang, Kuo-Lung & Harvey, Jason (2017). Molybdenum isotope fractionation in the mantle. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 199: 91-111.
  • Charlier, B.L.A., Parkinson, I.J., Burton, K.W., Grady, M.M., Wilson, C.J.N. & Smith, E.G.C. (2017). Stable strontium isotopic heterogeneity in the solar system from double-spike data. Geochemical Perspectives Letters 4: 35-40.
  • Opfergelt, S., Cornélis, J.T., Houben, D., Givron, C., Burton, K.W. & Mattielli, N. (2017). The influence of weathering and soil organic matter on Zn isotopes in soils. Chemical Geology 466: 140-148.
  • Stevenson, E.I., Aciego, S.M., Chutcharavan, P., Parkinson, I.J., Burton, K.W., Blakowski, M.A. & Arendt, C.A. (2016). Insights into combined radiogenic and stable strontium isotopes as tracers for weathering processes in subglacial environments. Chemical Geology 429: 33-43.
  • Pogge von Strandmann, P.A.E., Burton, K.W., Opfergelt, S., Eiríksdóttir, E.S., Murphy, M.J., Einarsson, A. & Gislason, S.R. (2016). The effect of hydrothermal spring weathering processes and primary productivity on lithium isotopes: Lake Myvatn, Iceland. Chemical Geology 445: 4-13.
  • Christopher R. Pearce, Ian J. Parkinson, Jérôme Gaillardet, Benjamin Chetelat & Kevin W. Burton (2015). Characterising the stable (δ88/86Sr) and radiogenic (87Sr/86Sr) isotopic composition of strontium in rainwater. Chemical Geology 409: 54-60.
  • Fatima Mokadem, Ian J. Parkinson Ed C. Hathorne, Pallavi Anand, John T. Allen & Kevin W. Burton (2015). High-precision radiogenic strontium isotope measurements of the modern and glacial ocean: Limits on glacial–interglacial variations in continental weathering. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 415: 111-120.
  • C. Siebert, J.C. Pett-Ridge, S. Opfergelt, R.A. Guicharnaud, A.N. Halliday & K.W. Burton (2015). Molybdenum isotope fractionation in soils: Influence of redox conditions, organic matter, and atmospheric inputs. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 162: 1-24.
  • Christopher R. Pearce, Ian J. Parkinson Jérôme Gaillardet, Bruce L.A. Charlier, Fatima Mokadem & Kevin W. Burton (2015). Reassessing the stable (δ88/86Sr) and radiogenic (87Sr/86Sr) strontium isotopic composition of marine inputs. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 157: 125-146.
  • A. Gannoun, K.W. Burton, D.N. Barfod, P. Schiano, I. Vlastélic & A.N. Halliday (2015). Resolving mantle and magmatic processes in basalts from the Cameroon volcanic line using the Re–Os isotope system. Lithos 224-225: 1-12.
  • Emily I. Stevensona Michaël Hermoso, Rosalind E.M. Rickaby, Jonathan J. Tyler, Fabrice Minoletti, Ian J. Parkinson Fatima Mokadema & Kevin W. Burton (2014). Controls on stable strontium isotope fractionation in coccolithophores with implications for the marine Sr cycle. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 128: 225-235.
  • Abdelmouhcine Gannoun & Kevin W. Burton (2014). High precision osmium elemental and isotope measurements of North Atlantic seawater. J. Anal. At. Spectrom 29(12): 2343-2348.
  • S. Opfergelt K.W. Burton R.B. Georg A.J. West R.A. Guicharnaud B. Sigfusson C. Siebert S.R. Gislason & A.N. Halliday (2014). Magnesium retention on the soil exchange complex controlling Mg isotope variations in soils, soil solutions and vegetation in volcanic soils, Iceland. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 125: 110-130.
  • Morgan T. Jones Sigurður R. Gislason, Kevin W. Burton Christopher R. Pearce Vasileios Mavromatis Philip A.E. Pogge von Strandmann & Eric H. Oelkers (2014). Quantifying the impact of riverine particulate dissolution in seawater on ocean chemistry. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 395: 91-100.
  • C. Vye-Browna, A. Gannoun, T.L. Barry, S. Self & K.W. Burton (2013). Osmium isotope variations accompanying the eruption of a single lava flow field in the Columbia River Flood Basalt Province. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 368: 183-194.
  • S. Opfergelt, K.W. Burton, P.A.E. Pogge von Strandmann, S.R. Gislason & A.N. Halliday (2013). Riverine silicon isotope variations in glaciated basaltic terrains: Implications for the Si delivery to the ocean over glacial–interglacial intervals. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 369-370: 211-219.
  • Dale, C.W., Burton, K.W., Greenwood, R.C., Gannoun, A., Wade, J., Wood, B.J. & Pearson, D.G. (2012). Late accretion on the earliest planetesimals revealed by the highly siderophile elements. Science 336(6077): 72-75.
  • Philip A.E. Pogge von Strandmann, Sophie Opfergelt, Yi-Jen Lai, Bergur Sigfusson, Sigurdur R. Gislason & Kevin W. Burton (2012). Lithium, magnesium and silicon isotope behaviour accompanying weathering in a basaltic soil and pore water profile in Iceland. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 339-340: 11-23.
  • S. Opfergelta, R.B. Georg, B. Delvaux, Y.-M. Cabidoche, K.W. Burton & A.N. Halliday (2012). Mechanisms of magnesium isotope fractionation in volcanic soil weathering sequences, Guadeloupe. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 341-344: 176-185.
  • S. Opfergelt, R.B. Georg, B. Delvaux, Y.-M. Cabidoche, K.W. Burton & A.N. Halliday (2012). Silicon isotopes and the tracing of desilication in volcanic soil weathering sequences, Guadeloupe. Chemical Geology 326-327: 113-122.
  • Burton, K.W.,, Cenki-Tok, B.,, Mokadem, F.,, Harvey, J.,, Gannoun, A.,, Alard, O., & Parkinson, I.J., (2012). Unradiogenic lead in Earth’s upper mantle. Nature Geoscience 5(8): 570-573.
  • Nielsen, S G, Gannoun, A, Marnham, C, Burton, K W, Halliday, A N & Hein, J R (2011). New age for ferromanganese crust 109D-C and implications for isotopic records of lead, neodymium, hafnium, and thallium in the Pliocene Indian Ocean. Paleoceanography 26(2).
  • Opfergelt, S, Eiriksdottir, E S, Burton, K W, Einarsson, A, Siebert, C, Gislason, S R & Halliday, A N (2011). Quantifying the impact of freshwater diatom productivity on silicon isotopes and silicon fluxes. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 305(1-2): 73-82.
  • Savage, P S, Georg, R B, Williams, H M, Burton, K W & Halliday, A N (2011). Silicon isotope fractionation during magmatic differentition. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75(20): 6124-6139.
  • Wimpenny, J, Burton, K W, James, R H, Gannoun, A, Mokadem, F & Gislason, S R (2011). The behaviour of magnesium and its isotopes during glacial weathering in an ancient shield terrain in West Greenland. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 304(1-2): 260-269.
  • Pogge von Strandmann, P A E, Burton, K W, Porcelli, D, James, R H, van Caslteren, P & Gisalson, S R (2011). Transport and exchange of U-series nuclides between suspended material, dissolved load and colloids in rivers draining basaltic terrains. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 301(1-2): 125-136.
  • Pogge von Strandmann, P A E, Burton, K W, James, R H, van calsteren, P & Gislason, S R (2010). Assessing the role of climate on uranium and lithium isotope behaviour in rivers draining a basaltic terrain. Chemical Geology 270(1-4): 227.
  • Wimpenny, J, James, R H, Burton, K W, Gannoun, A, mokadem, F & Gislason, S R (2010). Glacial effects on weathering processes: New insights from the elemental and lithium isotope composition of West Greenland rivers. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 290(3-4): 427-437.
  • Wimpenny, J, Gislason, S R, James, R H, Gannoun, A, Pogge von strandmann, P A E & Burton, K W (2010). The behaviour of Li and Mg isotopes during primary phase dissolution and secondary mineral formation in basalt. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 74(18): 5259-5279.
  • Harvey, J, Gannoun, A, Burton, KW, Schiano, P, Rogers, N W & Alard, O (2010). Unravelling the effects of melt depletion and secondary infiltration on mantle Re-Os isotopes beneath the French Massif central. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 74(1): 293-320.
  • Dale, C. W., Burton, K. W., Pearson, D. G., Gannoun, A., Alard, O., Argles, T. W. & Parkinson, I. J. (2009). Highly siderophile element behaviour accompanying subduction of oceanic crust: Whole rock and mineral-scale insights from a high-pressure terrain. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 73(5): 1394-1416.
  • Nielsen, S G, Mar-Gerrison, A, Gannoun, A, LaRowe, D, Klemm, V, Halliday, A N, Burton, K W & Hein, J R (2009). Thallium isotope evidence for a permanent increase in marine carbon export in the early Eocene. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 278(3-4): 297-307.
  • Vigier, N, Gislason, S R, Burton, K W, Millot, R & Mokadem, F (2009). The relationship between riveting lithium isotope composition and silicate weathering rates in Iceland. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 287(3-4): 434-441.
  • Pogge von Strandmann, P A E, James, R H, van Caslteren, P, Gislason, S R & Burton, K W (2008). Lithium, magnesium and uranium isotope behaviour in the estuarine environment of basaltic islands. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 274(3-4): 462-471.
  • Pogge von Strandmann, P A E, Burton, K W, James, R H, van Calsteren, P, Gislason, S R & Sigfusson, B (2008). The influence of weathering processes on riverine magnesium isotopes in a basaltic terrain. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 276(1-2): 187-197.