Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wörner

Current Position
Professor emeritus of Geochemistry at the University Göttingen

Positions held

  • 03/1980 - 12/1983: Research Assistant, at Ruhr Universität
  • 01/1984 - 10/1984: "Post-Doc"-Stipend of the Heinrich Hertz Stiftung zur Arbeit am Lamont Doherty Geological Observatory
  • 11/1984 - 09/1985 and 08/1987 - 03/1988: Research Assistant, at Ruhr Universität, DFG- Project "Mt.Melbourne"
  • 10/1985 - 07/1987: Faculty position at the Ruhr Universität Bochum
  • 04/1988 - 09/1991: Assistant Professor (C-2) at the Institut f. Geowisschenschaften der Universität Mainz
  • 10/1991 - 09/1993: Heisenbergfellowship, at the Lamont Doherty Geological Observatory
  • 10/1993 - 09/2020: Full Professor at the Geochemische Institut Georg August Universität Göttingen



Education

  • 1972 - 1977: Ruhr University Bochum (Mineralogy)
  • July 1977: Masters Degree (grade: "excellent"), title of masters thesis: "Petrographische und statistische Untersuchungen an Fremdgesteinsauswürflingen in den jüngsten Ablagerungen des Wehrer Kessels/E-Eifel", Supervisor: Prof. Dr. W. Schreyer
  • February 1982: PhD, title of PhD thesis: "Geochemisch-mineralogische Entwicklung der Laacher See Magmakammer", Supervisor: Prof. Dr. H.-U. Schmincke
  • October 1988: Habilitation, Venia Legendi in Geologie und Mineralogie, "Magmenevolution und Eruption in unterschiedlichem geotektonischem Milieu"


August 1979 - August 1980:
USGS, Reston, Virginia und MIT, Boston. Scholarship of the "Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes“

January 1984 - October 1984 and February 1985 - Juni 1985:
Post-Doc at Lamont Doherty Geological Observatory, Columbia University, New York

December 2008-February 2009, Oct. 2010 and 2011:
Guest Professor at USTC Hefei, China

Fieldwork among other areas in:
Antarctica (1984, 1990/1991)
South America (from 1986-2012)
Central America (1989, 1994, 2002-2006)
Kamchatka (1996)
China (2008-2016)

  • Deutsche Mineralogische Gesellschaft (1977 - ), council member : 1997-1999
  • Geologische Vereinigung (1989), council 1990 - 1996, 2000-2004; vice chairman 1996 - 2000 European Association of Geochemistry, Council member 2002-2005)
  • European Association of Geochemistry, Council member 2002-2005)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Polarforschung (1984 - )
  • Deutsche Vulkanologische Gesellschaft (1992 - )
  • American Geophysical Union (1985 - )
  • Geological Society of America (2013 - )
  • International Association for Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (1987-)
  • IAVCEI - Working Group on Antarctic Volcanism (1984-1992)
  • SCAR - Group of Specialists : "Ross Sea Transect" (1984-1992)
  • Naturwissenschaftler-Initiative e.V. "Verantwortung für den Frieden" (1993 - )
  • Universitätsbund der Universität Göttingen (1993 - )
  • Arbeitsgruppe Geokommission "Geowissenschaftliche Forschungen in Lateinamerika" (1990-2011)
  • Kuratorium des Zentrallabors für Geochronologie der DFG in Münster (1998 - 2001)
  • GEMKO, "Geowissenschaften" der HRK und KMK (1999 - 2002)
  • Member of DFG Grants Committee for Graduate Schools (DFG Senats- und Bewilligungs für Graduiertenkollegs, 1999 - 2005)
  • ILP Subkommission "Andean Geodynamics" (1999 - 2000)
  • IGCP Scientific Board of the UNESCO and IUGS (1999 -2004)
  • Member of DFG Grants Committee for Collaborative Research Centres (DFG Senats- und Bewilligungsausschuß für Sonderforschungsbereiche, 2010-2015)
  • Member of the Senate of the German Science Foundation (DFG) (2016-2020)



  • 150 Publications in peer-review journals, 111 ISI - listed, h=41 (1/2019), average citations per paper : 42.9
  • Guest editor of the Geologischen Rundschau "Evolution of Variscan (Hercynian) and Comparable Paleozoic Orogenic Belts"
  • Editor, with Jaillard E, Hérail G, Monfret T (2002) Andean Geodynamics: Main Issues and Contributions from the 4th ISAG, Göttingen. Tectonophysics 345: 1-15
  • Invited editor, with Schildgen T and Reich M (2018) The Central Andes: Mountains, Magmas, and Minerals. ELEMENTS vol 14-4.
  • > 380 Abstracts and contributions at international meetings
  • 39 Contributions to popular science journals, non-peer-reviewed articles, popular science films, outreach articles etc.


  • Fellowship of the "Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes" (1976-1980)
  • Ruhr University, Prize for the best PhD thesis in natural sciences in 1982
  • V.M. Goldschmidt - Prize 1988 by the German Mineralogical Society
  • Albert Maucher-Prize 1989, of the German Science Foundation
  • Heisenberg-Stipend DFG (1991-1993)
  • Papaya-Prize for best fruit salad 1992, University of Mainz
  • Leibniz Prize of the German Science foundation 1997 (Highest Award in Sciences in Germany)
  • Member of the Academy of Sciences Göttingen (2003)
  • Distinguished Career Award, MGPV Division, Geological Society of America (2013)
  • Hans Stille Medaille, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften (2014)
  • GSA Exceptional Reviewer Award (2016) Lithosphere
  • GSA Exceptional Reviewer Award (2016) Geosphere


  • Assoc.-Editor "Terra Nova" (2006 - )
  • Editor "J. Petrol" (2007 - )
  • Editor (with with M. Štemprok) "Evolution of Variscan (Hercynian) and Comparable Paleozoic Orogenic Belts" (International Journal of Earth Sciences, 84, 1995)
  • Editor (with Jaillard E, Hérail G und Monfret T, 2002) Andean Geodynamics: Main Issues and Contributions from the 4th ISAG, Göttingen. Tectonophysics 345: 1-15


  • Evolution of magmatic systems : from crystals to orogenic scale
  • Magmatism at convergent plate boundaries (Kamchatka, Central America, Andes) Continental rift magmatism and flood basalts (Europe, Antarctica)
  • Interaction between tectonic and magmatic processes in orogenic belts
  • Physical Volcanology


Transcrustal magma systems: Igneous phenocrysts as archive for pre-eruptive conditions and magma system evolution
Several projects have beenconducted on volcanoes in Kamchatka, Central Andes, Canary Islands, Italy, and Germany. Mineral zonations are being analysed with electron microprobe and laser-ablation ICPMS in order to reconstruct the changes in composition of magmas just prior to their eruption. Temporal scales considered range from years to decades and a few thousands of years.

Residence times and long-term evolution of magma systems
The long-term evolution of magma systems is studied by analysing and dating volcanic products throughout the life-time of selected volcanoes. P-, T-, and fO2-conditions are reconstructed through time to determine the depth and conditions of magma storage. Temporal scales range from a few thousand to several hundreds of thousand years. Different methods are applied to gain direct time information on crystal residence and magma differentiation times (Central Andes, Reunion Island, Italy, Germany). Based on these data we reconstruct the assembly and storage of magma reservoirs and document the volume-time-compositional evolution of magma systems through time.

Time-space variation in magma composition during the evolution of convergent plate settings
Subduction zones change their lower plate geometry, convergence rates and angles and upper plate thickness, composition and stress through time. By analysing magmatic products at convergent margins over time (millions to tens of millions of years) and space (hundreds of km along or across arc) we can reconstruct the interplay between these parameters and magma composition in Kamchatka, Central America and the Central Andes.

Interplay between tectonics, climate, geomorphology and magmatism in the Central Andes
Shortening and crustal thickening and surface uplift in the Central Andes in Cenozoic times is linked to the composition and evolution of magmas that traverse this thickening crust. Uplift and erosion results in geomorphological changes that are punctuated by volcanic events. On the other hand, volcanic rocks serve as important markers of this geomorphological change that is driven by tectonic and climatic forcings. We study this complex interplay in the region of the Atacama Desert at the western margin of the Central Andes in southern Peru and northern Chile.

Trace element and parent-daughter isotope fractionation during ultra-high-pressure metamorphic dehydration
Subduction of basalts to mantle depth results in ultra-high-pressure (UHP) dehydration that has a potential to change incompatible trace element as well as parent-daughter elements for important isotope systems. In this project, we study elemental transport and fractionation in UHP veins from Dabie-Shan.