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Prof Axel Hofmann

Prof Axel Hofmann
Department of Geology
Associate Professor

Contact Details
C1 Lab 418
+27 (0)11 559 4087


Axel Hofmann holds a doctorate from the University of Mainz in Germany and has worked as a researcher and lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, Wits University and the University of KwaZulu-Natal. His main interest and expertise is centred on the Archaean geological record of southern Africa. His research emphasizes the importance of field work and the usage of an integrated suite of petrological, structural, and geochemical tools in order to decipher the geological history of Archaean volcano-sedimentary successions.

Research Interests

Archaean surface processes, evolution of greenstone belts, geochemistry of sedimentary rocks, sediment-hosted ore deposits, habitat of early life

Current projects

  • Early Earth Life and Mineral Systems – exploring the relationship between surface processes, evolution and habitat of life and the formation of mineral deposits on the early Earth
  • Sedimentology, basin evolution and gold/uranium mineralization of the Pongola and Witwatersrand supergroups
  • Peering into the Cradle of Life – scientific drilling in the Barberton greenstone belt
  • Various projects on the Precambrian geology of Zimbabwe, the Francevillian Basin of Gabon, and the Singhbhum Craton of India


Selected recent publications

Hofmann A, Pitcairn I, Wilson A (2017). Gold mobility during Palaeo- and Mesoarchaean surface processes. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 462, 47-54. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2017.01.008

Ossa, F. O., Hofmann, A., Vidal, O., Kramers, J. D., Belyanin, G. and Cavalazzi, B. (2016). Unusual manganese enrichment in the Mesoarchean Mozaan Group, Pongola Supergroup, South Africa. Precambrian Research 281, 414–433. doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2016.06.009

Siahi M, Hofmann A, Hegner E, Master S, (2016). Sedimentology and facies analysis of Mesoarchaean carbonate rocks of the Pongola Supergroup, South Africa. Precambrian Research 278, 244–264. doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2016.03.004

Delvigne, C., Opfergelt, S., Cardinal, D., Hofmann, A. and André, L. (2016). Desilication in Archean weathering processes traced by silicon isotopes and Ge/Si ratios. Chemical Geology 420, 139-147. doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2015.11.007

Agangi A, Hofmann A, Kamenetsky VS, Vroon PZ (2015). Paleoarchean felsic magmatism: a melt inclusion study of 3.45 Ga old rhyolites from the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa. Chemical Geology 414, 69-83. doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2015.09.002

Mohr-Westheide, T., Reimold, W. U., Fritz, J., Koeberl, C., Salge, T., Hofmann, A., and Schmitt, R. T. (2015). Discovery of extraterrestrial component carrier phases in Archean spherule layers: Implications for estimation of Archean bolide sizes. Geology 43, 299–302. doi:10.1130/G36548.1

Agangi, A., Hofmann, A., Rollion-Bard, C., Marin-Carbonne, J., Cavalazzi, B., Large, R., Meffre, S., (2015). Gold accumulation in the Neoarchean Witwatersrand Basin, South Africa – evidence from concentrically laminated pyrite. Earth-Science Reviews 140, 27-53. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2014.10.009

Hofmann, A., Kröner, A., Xie, H., Hegner, E., Belyanin, G., Kramers, J., Bolhar, R., Slabunov, A., Reinhardt, J., Horváth, P. (2015). The Nhlangano gneiss dome in south-west Swaziland - a record of crustal destabilization of the eastern Kaapvaal craton in the Neoarchaean. Precambrian Research 258, 109–132. doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2014.12.008

Planavsky, N., Asael, D., Hofmann, A., Reinhard, C.T., Lalonde, S.V., Knudsen, A., Wang, X., Ossa Ossa, F., Pecoits, E., Smith, B., Beukes, N., Bekker, A., O Konhauser, K.O., Johnson, T.M., Lyons, T.W., Rouxel, O.J. (2014). Evidence for Oxygenic Photosynthesis Half a Billion Years Before the Great Oxidation Event. Nature Geoscience 7, 283-286. doi:10.1038/ngeo2122

Ossa Ossa F., Hofmann A., Vidal O., Kramers, J., Agangi A., Belyanin G., Mayaga-Mikolo F., (2014). Hydrothermal clay mineral formation in the uraniferous Paleoproterozoic FA Formation, Francevillian basin, Gabon. Precambrian Research, 246, 134-149. doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2014.03.003

Hofmann, A., Bekker, A., Dirks, P., Gueguen, B., Rumble, D., Rouxel, O. (2014). Comparing orthomagmatic and hydrothermal mineralization models for komatiite-hosted nickel deposits in Zimbabwe using multiple-sulfur, iron, and nickel isotope data. Mineralium Deposita, 49, 75-100. doi:10.1007/s00126-013-0476-1

Bekker, A., Planavsky, N., Krapež, B., Rasmussen, B., Hofmann, A., Slack, J.F., Rouxel, O.J., Konhauser, K.O. (2014). 9.18 - Iron Formations: Their Origins and Implications for Ancient Seawater Chemistry. Treatise on Geochemistry (Second Edition), Volume 9, 561-628. doi:10.1016/B978-0-08-095975-7.00719-1



Postal Address

Department of Geology
University of Johannesburg
PO Box 524
Auckland Park 2006
Kingsway & University (APK campus)
South Africa