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Herman van Niekerk

Senior Lecturer
Name: Herman van Niekerk
Location: C1 Lab 409 Auckland Park Kingsway Campus
Department of Geology Staff  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: +27 (0)11 559 4705


About Dr Herman van Niekerk

Herman van Niekerk’s research focus is centred around provenance studies, structural evolution, and development of a tectonic model for the geology of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Other more specialised interests include paleoclimatic change in southern Africa, the ages and development of the various African land surfaces, as well as the structural aspects related to cave formation.  Some of the geological units that Herman has worked on are time equivalents of parts of the Ritscherflya Supergroup that outcrops in Western Dronning Maud Land of Antarctica. Currently he is especially interested in how the Ahlmannryggen Group of the Ritscherflya Supergroup geologically compares and relates to the time-equivalent successions like the Koras and Umkondo groups that are situated on the African continent. As a result, Herman has spent two field seasons (2016/2017 and 2017/2018) in Antarctica as part of the team lead by Prof Geoff Grantham, during which time he has collected numerous samples to study. At the end of 2023 Herman was awarded a 3-year NRF-SANAP grant to continue work in Antarctica with a team of researchers, which will focus on the sedimentology, geological provenance as well as paleomagnetic signature of the sediments of the Ahlmannryggen Group of the Ritscherflya Supergroup, but also the paleomagnetic signature of the mafic sills and dykes in the Ahlmannryggen and Borgmassivet regions. Work will also extend into the Kirwanveggan and Straumsvola regions where we will attempt to determine the extent of the Kuunga Nappe Complex and study the Straumsvola Alkaline Complex by investigating the geochemistry as well as paleomagnetic signature of the outcrops. This research will be conducted in collaboration with Prof Grantham, Prof Elburg and Prof de Kock, who are based at the University of Johannesburg, as well as Dr Gumsley from the Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Silesia in Poland, with the first field season commencing at the end of 2024.


Research interests:

Provenance studies, structural geology, sedimentology, Antarctic geology


Teaching responsibilities

Applied Geology, Structural Geology, Advanced Field Mapping


Recent publications
  • Andersen, T., Van Niekerk, H. and Elburg, M.A. (2022) Detrital zircon in an active sedimentary recycling system:  Challenging the ‘source-to-sink’ approach to zircon-based provenance studies, Sedimentology, 69(6), 2436-2462. doi: 10.1111/sed.12996
  • Van Niekerk, H.S., Elburg, M.A., Andersen, T. and Armstrong, R.A. (2022) Provenance of metasedimentary rocks of the Kheis Terrane and Kakamas Domain: support for accretionary tectonics during the development of the western Namaqua-Natal metamorphic province, South African Journal of Geology, 125(1), 61-78.
  • Van Niekerk, H.S., Armstrong, R.A. and Vasconselos, P. (2020) The Grenvillian assembly of Gondwana:  Timing and accretion on the western margin of the Kaapvaal Craton.  South African Journal of Geology, 123(4), 441-464.
  • Andersen, T., Elburg, M.A. and Van Niekerk, H.S. (2019) Detrital zircon in sandstones from the Paleoproterozoic Waterberg and Nylstroom basins, South Africa: Provenance and recycling. South African Journal of Geology, 122(1), 79-96.
  • Van Niekerk, H.S. and Beukes, N.J. (2019). Revised definition/outline of the Kheis Terrane along the western margin of the Kaapvaal craton and lithostratigraphy of the newly proposed Keis supergroup. South African Journal of Geology, 122(2), 187-220.
  • Andersen, T., Elburg, M.A., Van Niekerk, H.S. and Ueckermann, H. (2018). Successive sedimentary recycling regimes in southwestern Gondwana:  Evidence from detrital zircons in Neoproterozoic to Cambrian sedimentary rocks in southern Africa. Earth Science Reviews, (181) 43-60.