Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller

Position: Associate Professor in Metamorphic Petrology

Area of expertise: fluid-rock interaction, reactive transport, reaction kinetics, diffusion chronometry, Early Earth

Research Interests

Metamorphic and experimental petrology. I use numerical models together with phase petrology and thermodynamic calculations to advance our understanding of the complex interaction of the processes, generating rock textures. My research focuses on the kinetics of geochemical and petrologic processes on different scales, ranging from entire contact aureoles over outcrop scale, and down to the scale of single grains. Field mapping of these various scales, is a fundamental tool to understand structural and textural relationships providing the basis for most investigations. Ongoing research focuses on non-equilibrium processes during texture formation and investigates the kinetics of minerals reactions in various geological settings (igneous and metamorphic). This study aims to constrain specific reaction rates and shed light on actual mechanisms during minerals formation and crustal processes. These data allow determination of timescales of various geological events. Another important part of my research is my laboratory work which includes a combination of various geochemical analyses (chemical-, isotope, and trace element compositions), and statistical treatment of spatial data.


09/2019 – 07/2020: Associate Professor for Metamorphic Petrology and Hydrothermal systems at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Leeds, UK
11/2014 – 08/2019: Lecturer for Metamorphic petrology/geochemistry at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Leeds, UK
09/2010 – 10/2014: Junior Professor (Assistent Professor) at the Ruhr-University Bochum, DE
09/2010 – 08/2014: Adjunct Researcher at the New York Center for Astrobiology hosted at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NY, US
01/2010 – 12/2010: Adjunct Professor at the Earth and Environmental Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NY, US
08/2009 – 08/2010: Post-doctoral fellowship at the New York Center for Astrobiology hosted at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NY, US
01/2008 – 08/2009: Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter (Associated Researcher) at the Ruhr-University Bochum, DE
04/2007 – 12/2007: Post-doctoral fellowship at the Earth and Environmental Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NY, US
05/2003 – 03/2007: PhD studies at the University of Lausanne, CH

PhD thesis: Nucleation and growth of metamorphic minerals in contact aureoles

10/2000 – 07/2001: Erasmus stipend for a one year stay at the University of Oviedo, Spain
10/1997 – 06/2003: Diploma studies in Earth Sciences at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany

Diploma thesis: Structural and petrological study of the northern Ubehebe contact aureole, Death Valley, CA, USA

Awards and Qualifications

2007: Outstanding Ph.D.-thesis award from the Faculty of Geosciences and Environment University of Lausanne (Switzerland)
2018: Fellow of the higher Education academy (FHEA)
2019: Max-Hey Medal awarded by the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Student education

My teaching at the Georg-August-University includes:

B.Geo.101a: System der Erde 1a
B.Geo.106, LV1: Petrologie
B.Geo.207, LV4: Quantitative Bildanalyse
B.Geo.210: Bachelor-Projekt
M.Geo.121, Course 1: Polarization microscope petrography of metamorphic rocks
M.Geo. 121, Course 2: Advanced application of scanning electron microscopy
M.Geo.141, LV2: Diffusion in minerals and melts

Editorial activities

Associate editor for American Mineralogist
Associate editor for Mineralogical Magazine


Murphy Quinlan, M., Walker, A. M., Davies, C.J., Mound,J. E., Müller, T. & Harvey, J. (2021). The conductive cooling of planetesimals with temperature-dependent properties. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, in press.

Zuo, J., Webb, A. A. G., Piazolo, S., Wang, Q., Müller, T., Ramírez‐Salazar, A., & Haproff, P. J. (2021). Tectonics of the Isua Supracrustal Belt 2: Microstructures Reveal Distributed Strain in the Absence of Major Fault Structures. Tectonics, 40, e2020TC006514. doi

Ramírez‐Salazar, A., Müller, T., Piazolo, S., Webb, A. A. G., Hauzenberger, C., Zuo, J., et al. (2021). Tectonics of the Isua supracrustal belt 1: P‐T‐X‐d constraints of a poly‐metamorphic terrane. Tectonics 40, e2020TC006516. doi

Bégué, F., Baumgartner, L.P., Müller, T., Putlitz, B. & Vennemann, T. (2020). Metasomatic Vein Formation By Stationary Fluids In Carbonate Xenoliths At The Eastern Margin Of The Bergell Intrusion, Val Sissone, Italy. Journal of Petrology, 60, 2387–2412. doi

Webb, A.A.G., Müller, T., Zuo, J., Haproff, P.J. & Ramírez-Salazar, A. (2020). A non–plate tectonic model for the Eoarchean Isua supracrustal belt. Lithosphere, 12(1), 166–179. doi

Schantl, P., Hauzenberger, C., Finger, F., Müller, T. & Linner, M. (2019). New evidence for the prograde and retrograde PT-path of high-pressure granulites, Moldanubian Zone, Lower Austria, by Zr-in-rutile thermometry and garnet diffusion modelling. Lithos, 342–343, 420–439. doi

Webb, A.A.G., Guo, H., Clift, P.D., Husson, L., Müller, T., Costantino, D., Yin, A., Xu, Z., Cao, H. & Wang, Q. (2017). The Himalaya in 3D: Slab dynamics controlled mountain building and monsoon intensification. Lithosphere, 9(4), 637-651. doi

Jonas, L., Müller, T., Dohmen, R., Immenhauser, A. & Putlitz, B. (2017). Hydrothermal replacement of biogenic and abiogenic aragonite by Mg-carbonates – Relation between textural control on effective element fluxes and resulting carbonate phase. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 196, pp. 289-306 doi

van Zuilen, K., Müller, T., Naegler, T., Dietzel, M. & Kuesters, T. (2016). Experimental determination of barium isotope fractionation during diffusion and adsorption processes at low temperatures. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 186, pp. 226-241 doi

Le Guillou, C., Dohmen, R., Rogalla, D., Müller, T., Vollmer, C. & Becker, H-W. (2015). New experimental approach to study aqueous alteration of amorphous silicates at low reaction rates. Chemical Geology, 412, pp. 179-192 doi

Jonas, L., Müller, T., Dohmen, R., Baumgartner, L.P. & Putlitz, B. (2015). Transport-controlled hydrothermal replacement of calcite by Mg-carbonates. Geology, 43(9), pp. 779-782 doi

Müller, T., Massonne, H.-J. & Willner, A.P. (2015). Timescales of exhumation and cooling inferred by kinetic modeling: An example using a lamellar garnet pyroxenite from the Variscan Granulitgebirge, Germany. American Mineralogist, 100(4), pp. 747-759 doi

Müller, T., Watson, E.B., Trail, D., Wiedenbeck, M., Van Orman, J. & Hauri, E.H. (2014). Diffusive fractionation of carbon isotopes in γ-Fe: Experiment, models and implications for early solar system processes. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 127, pp. 57-66 doi

Müller, T., Dohmen, R., Becker, H.W., ter Heege, J.H. & Chakraborty, S. (2013). Fe-Mg interdiffusion rates in clinopyroxene: Experimental data and implications for Fe-Mg exchange geothermometers. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 166(6), pp. 1563-1576 doi

Müller, T., Cherniak, D. & Watson, E.B. (2012). Interdiffusion of divalent cations in carbonates: Experimental measurements and implications for timescales of equilibration and retention of compositional signatures. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 84, pp. 90-103 doi

Müller, T., Watson, E.B. & Harrison, T.M. (2010). Applications of Diffusion Data to High-Temperature Earth Systems. Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 72(1), pp. 997-1038 doi

Watson, E.B. & Müller, T. (2009). Non-equilibrium isotopic and elemental fractionation during diffusion-controlled crystal growth under static and dynamic conditions. Chemical Geology, 267(3-4), pp. 111-124 doi

Müller, T., Baumgartner, L.P., Foster, C.T. & Bowman, J.R. (2009). Crystal Size Distribution of Periclase in Contact Metamorphic Dolomite Marbles from the Southern Adamello Massif, Italy. Journal of Petrology, 50(3), pp. 451-465 doi

Müller, T., Baumgartner, L.P., Foster, C.T. & Roselle, G.T. (2008). Forward modeling of the effects of mixed volatile reaction, volume diffusion, and formation of submicroscopic exsolution lamellae on calcite-dolomite thermometry. American Mineralogist, 93(8-9), pp. 1245-1259 doi

Müller, T., Baumgartner, L.P., Foster, C.T. & Vennemann, T.W. (2004). Metastable prograde mineral reactions in contact aureoles. Geology, 32(9), pp. 821-821 doi