He is essentially a field geologist, specializing in sedimentology and stratigraphy, with emphasis on understanding the origin of iron and manganese ore deposits and the nature of surface environments on the early earth, which includes the history of atmospheric oxygen and climatic change in the middle Archean to early Paleoproterozoic. He has worked extensively on iron and manganese formations all over the world, the genetic and sequence stratigraphy of siliciclastic strata of the Witwatersrand and Pongola basins, depofacies in early Precambrian carbonate platform successions, early Precambrian laterite profiles and paleosols, detrital zircon age provenance of the Cape-Karoo succession, and the nature of post-Gondwana land surfaces and associated soil profiles.
Apart from having been rated as an A1 scientist by the National Research Foundation since 2001, he is recipient/co-recipient of the Jubilee Medal for 1992, 2006 and 2018 (best publication for specific year in the South African Journal of Geology), Draper Medal 2002 (the highest award from the Geological Society of South Africa for scientific contributions in geology), UJ Alumni Dignitas Award, UJ Vice-Chancellor's Medal for Research Achievement, Centenary and Havenga Medals of the "Suid Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns" and the 2017 NSTF-South 32 Lifetime Award. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of America and has been Visiting Research Professor/Fellow at several prominent universities and institutes in the USA, Australia, India, Brazil, and Japan. He was Regional Vice-President Lecturer for 2006 for the Society of Economic Geologists and is the Alex du Toit Memorial Lecturer of the Geological Society of South Africa for 2014. He served on committees of several scientific societies, editorial boards of scientific journals and is currently Associate Editor Earth Sciences for the South African Journal of Science.
Professor Nic Beukes holds an NRF A1 rating
Key areas of expertise:
Economic geology, Sedimentology, Sedimentary geochemistry, Sequence stratigraphy.