Department of Earth SciencesWestern Science

Dr. Nigel Blamey


Dr. Nigel Blamey

Assistant Professor and Industrial Research Chair in Advanced Mineral Exploration
Ph.D. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, 2000
Office: BGS 1000D
Phone: 519-661-2111 x.85246

Research Interests

I am a geochemist who specializes in fluid inclusion and geochemical applications to geothermal systems, hydrothermal ore deposits, and petroleum basins.  My principle tool is a custom-built mass spectrometer system for fluid inclusion gas analysis.  This unique system quantitatively analyses fluid inclusion volatiles including: H2, He, CH4, H2O, N2, O2, H2S, Ar, CO2, SO2, C2-C4 alkanes and alkenes, and benzene.  Although much of the fluid inclusion gas analysis was pioneered by David Norman, it wasn't until 2000 when he and I developed the interpretation as an exploration tool for the geothermal industry.  It is equally applicable to the study of many hydrothermal ore deposits.  To date I have analyzed samples from several geothermal systems, four gold settings, epithermal Au-Ag, porphyry Cu and Mo, MVTs, black smokers, pegmatites, metamorphic veins, emeralds, iron ore, carbonatites, diagenetic carbonates, desert carbonates, speleothems, amber, Libyan desert glass, fulgurites, impact craters, meteorites, and man-made materials.  Gas analysis may be used to discriminate fluid sources (magmatic, meteoric, basinal), identify processes (boiling, condensational, mixing, equilibrium), constrain redox, correct isochors, apply gas geothermometry, and provide the gas concentrations for fluid-rock equilibria modeling.  Modeling of gold, silver and base metal solubility as well as mineral stability can be achieved.  More recently I have been addressing the ancient atmosphere by analyzing fluid inclusion gases trapped in primary halite.  Owing to halite growing at the brine-atmosphere interface, we observe that some fluid inclusions host large bubbles that were trapped during the mineral growth.  After screening, gas analysis confirms that the gases were ancient atmosphere.  For further information read the open-access paper in GEOLOGY titled “Paradigm shift in determining Neoproterozoic atmospheric oxygen” doi:10.1130/G37937.1.  Another recent research avenue is the examination of mass extinction events and the role of gases.  For this topic see Brand et al. (2017) “Methane Hydrate: Killer cause of Earth’s greatest mass extinction” in Paleoworld: (

Selected Publications

Selected Conference Abstracts

Courses Taught

Earth Sciences 3370A: Metallogeny I: Ore Petrology