Dr. Nigel Blamey


Dr. Nigel Blamey

Assistant Professor 
Ph.D. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, 2000
Office: BGS 1000D
Phone: 519-661-2111 x.85246
Email: nblamey2@uwo.ca

Research Interests

I am a geochemist who specializes in fluid inclusion and geochemical applications to geothermal systems, hydrothermal ore deposits, and ancient oxygen. 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: (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palwor.2016.06.002).

Primary fluid inclusion trails in halite (Photo courtesy of Chris Lecuyer). Note the banding of fluid inclusions and on the bottom left, there are two vapor-rich inclusions that have trapped atmosphere.

Selected Publications

  • Brand, U., Davis, A., Shaver, K.S., Blamey, N.J.F., Lécuyer, C., Heizler, M.T., Parnell, J., 2021. “Atmospheric oxygen of the Paleozoic”. Earth-Science Reviews, v. 216, 103560. DOI: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2021.103560 (Invited)
  • Shembilu, N., Azmy, K., and Blamey, N.J.F., 2021. “Origin of Middle-Upper Cambrian Dolomites on eastern Laurentia: a case study from Belle Isle Strait, western Newfoundland”. Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 125, 104858. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2020.104858
  • Fourel, F., Lécuyer, C., Jame, P., Guironnet, A., Boutier, A., Barbier, M., Blamey., N.J.F., Brand, U., and Fralick, P. 2020. “Simultaneous δ2H and δ18O analyses of water inclusions in halite with Off‐Axis Integrated Cavity Output Spectroscopy (OA‐ICOS)”. Journal of Mass Spectrometry, v. 55, e4615. DOI: 10.1002/jms.4615
  • Manalo, P.C., Subang, L.S., Imai, A., de los Santos, M.C., Takahashi, R., and Blamey, N.J.F., 2020. “Fluid Characteristics of Multiple Hydrothermal Systems in Mankayan Mineral District, Philippines”. Resource Geology, v. 70, p. 1-27. DOI: 10.1111/rge.12214
  • Steadman, J.A., Large, R.R., Blamey, N.J.F., Mukherjee, I., Corkrey, R., Danyushevsky, L.V., Maslennikov, V., Hollings, P., Garven, G., Brand, U., and Lécuyer, C., 2020. “Evidence for Elevated and Variable Atmospheric Oxygen in the Precambrian”. Precambrian Research, online, DOI: 10.1016/j.precamres.2020.105722
  • Lécuyer, C., Fourel, F., Blamey, N.J.F., Brand, U., and Fralick, P., 2020. “δ2H of water from fluid inclusions in Proterozoic halite: Evidence for a deuterium-depleted hydrosphere? Chemical Geology, 541, 119583.
  • Fourel, F., Lécuyer, C., Magali, S., Blamey, N.J.F., Brand, U., Fralick, P., Volders, F., 2019. “Improved online Hydrogen isotope analysis of halite aqueous inclusions”. Journal of Mass Spectrometry, v. 54, p. 342-350. DOI: 10.1002/jms.4323
  • Frais, S.M., Imai, A., Takahashi, R., Balangue-Tarriela, M., Arcilla, C., Blamey, N.J.F., 2019, “Geology, Alteration and Mineralization of the Kay Tanda Epithermal Gold Deposit, Lobo, Batangas, Philippines”. Resource Geology. (v. 69, p. 351-284). DOI: 10.1111/rge.12205
  • Safi, E., Telling, J., Parnell, J., Chojnacki, M., Patel, M.R., Realff, J., Blamey, N.J.F., Payler, S., Cockell, C.S., Davies, L., Boothroyd, I.M., Worrall, F., and Wadham, J.L., 2019, “Aeolian abrasion of rocks as a mechanism to produce methane in the Martian atmosphere”. Nature Scientific Reports, 9:8229. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44616-2.
  • Manalo, P.C., Subang, L.S., Imai, A., de los Santos, M.C., Takahashi, R., and Blamey, N.J.F., 2019. “Fluid Characteristics of Multiple Hydrothermal Systems in Mankayan Mineral District, Philippines”. Resource Geology, v. 113, p. 1609-1626. DOI: 10.1111/rge.12214
  • Parnell, J., Spinks, S., and Blamey, N.J.F., 2019, “Methane in sulphides from gold-bearing deposits, Britain and Ireland”. Applied Earth Science, v. 128, p. 89-95. DOI:10.1080/25726838.2019.1588517
  • Blamey, N.J.F., Brand, U., “Atmospheric gas in modern and ancient halite fluid inclusions: a screening protocol”. Gondwana Research, v.69, p. 163-176. DOI: 10.1016/j.gr.2018.12.004
  • Zaky, A.H., Brand, U., Buhl, D., Blamey, N.J.F., Bitner, M.A., Logan, A., Gaspard, D., Popov, A.M., 2019. “Strontium isotope geochemistry of modern and ancient archives: tracer of secular change in ocean chemistry”. Canadian Journal of Earth Science, v. 56, p. 245-264.  DOI: 10.1139/cjes-2018-0085
  • Manalo, P.C., Imai, A., Yanagi, K., Subang, L.S., de los Santos, M.C., Takahashi, R., Blamey, N.J.F., 2018. “Geochronology and ore-forming characteristics of the Northwest Quartz-Pyrite-Gold (QPG) veins: implications for the occurrence of multiple hydrothermal systems in Lepanto, Mankayan Mineral District, northern Luzon, Philippines”. Economic Geology, v. 113, p. 1609-1626. DOI: 10.5382/econgeo.2018.4606
  • Wang, K., Chi, G., Bethune, K.M., Zenghua, L., Li, Z., Blamey, N.J.F., Card, C., Potter, E., and Liu, Y., 2018. “Fluid P-T-X characteristics and evidence for boiling in the formation of the Phoenix uranium deposit (Athabasca Basin, Canada): implications for unconformity-related uranium mineralization mechanism”. Ore Geology Reviews, v. 101, p. 122-142. DOI: 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2018.07.010
  • Chi, G., Blamey, N.J.F., Rabiei, M., and Normand, C., 2018. “Hydrothermal Rare Earth Element (Xenotime) Mineralization at Maw Zone, Athabasca Basin, Canada, and Its Relationship to Unconformity-Related Uranium Deposits – A reply”. Economic Geology, v. 113, 998-999. DOI: 10.5382/econgeo.113.4.dis04
  • Blamey, N.J.F., Campbell, A.R., Heizler, M.T., 2017. “New insights into the hydrothermal fluid evolution of vein sets at the Pipeline gold mine, Nevada”, Minerals, (invited and featured); 7(6), 100. DOI: 10.3390/min7060100
  • Brand, U., Blamey, N.J.F., Griesshaber, E., Posenato, R., Angiolini, L., Azmy, K., Farabegoli, E., and Came, R., 2017. “Methane: the killer cause of Earth’s greatest mass extinction”. Palaeoworld, v. 25, p. 496-507. (Invited paper) DOI: 10.1016/j.palwor.2016.06.002).
  • Parnell, J., and Blamey, N.J.F., 2017. “Hydrogen from radiolysis of aqueous fluid inclusions during diagenesis”. Minerals (invited); 7(8), 130. DOI 10.3390/min7080130
  • Parnell, J., and Blamey, N.J.F., 2017, “Global hydrogen reservoirs in basement and basins”. Geochemical Transactions, v. 18, p. 1-8. DOI: 10.1186/s12932-017-0041-4
  • Takahasi, R., Tagiri, R., Blamey, N.J.F., Imai, A., Watanabe, Y., and Takeuchi, A., 2017. “Characteristics and behavior of hydrothermal fluids related to gold mineralization at the Hishikari deposits, Kyushu, Japan. Resource Geology, v. 67, p. 279-299. DOI: 10.1111/rge.12136
  • Rabiei, M., Chi, G., Normand, C., Davis, W.J., Fayek, M., and Blamey, N.J.F., 2017. “Hydrothermal Rare Earth Element (Xenotime) Mineralization at Maw Zone, Athabasca Basin, Canada, and Its Relationship to Unconformity-Related Uranium Deposits”. Economic Geology, v. 112, p. 1483-1507.
  • Blamey, N.J.F., Brand, U., Parnell, J., Spear, N., Benison, K., Lecuyer, C., Meng, F., and Ni, P., 2016. “Paradigm shift in determining Neoproterozoic oxygen”. Geology, v. 44, p. 651-654. DOI:10.1130/G37937.1
  • Blamey, N.J.F., Azmy, K., and Conliffe, F.J., 2016. “Geochemistry and diagenetic history of the Lower Head Formation sandstones, Western Newfoundland, Canada”. Canadian Journal Earth Sciences, v. 53, p. 1501-1510. DOI: 10.1139/cjes-2015-0169
  • Blamey, N.J.F., Boston, P.J., and Rosales-Lagardes, L., 2016. “High-resolution signatures of oxygenation and microbiological activity in speleothem fluid inclusions”. International Journal of Speleology, v. 45, p. 231-241.
  • Liang, R., Chi, G., Ashton, K., Blamey, N.J.F., and Fayek, M., 2016. “Fluid compositions and P-T conditions of vein-type uranium mineralization in the Beaverlodge uranium district, northern Saskatchewan, Canada. Ore Geology Reviews, v. 80, p. 460-483. DOI: 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2016.07.012
  • Chi, G., Haid, T., Quirt, D., Fayek, M., Blamey, N.J.F., Chu, H., 2017. “Petrographic, fluid inclusion and geochronological characteristics of the End uranium deposit, Kiggavik, Nunavut, Canada”. Mineralium Deposita, v. 52, p. 211-232. DOI: 10.1007/s00126-016-0657-9
  • Magnall, J., Gleeson, S., Blamey, N.J.F., Paradis, S., 2016. “Vent complex geochemistry in sediment-hosted massive sulphide (SHMS) systems”. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 193, p. 251-273. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2016.07.020
  • Vasyukova, O., Williams-Jones, A.E., Blamey, N.J.F., 2016. “Fluid evolution in the Strange Lake granitic pluton, Canada: Implications for HFSE mobilization. Chemical Geology, v. 444, p. 83-100. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2016.10.009
  • McMahon, S., Parnell, J., Blamey, N.J.F., 2016. “Evidence for seismogenic hydrogen gas, a potential microbial energy source on Earth and Mars”. Astrobiology, v. 16, p. 690-702. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2015.1405.
  • Xiong, D., Azmy, K., Blamey, N.J.F., 2016. “Diagenesis and origin of calcite cement in the Flemish Pass Basin sandstone reservoir (Upper Jurassic): Implications for porosity development”. Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 70, p. 93-118. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2015.11.013
  • Hou, Y., Azmy, K., Berra, F., Jadoul, F., Blamey, N.J.F., Gleeson, S.A., Brand, U., 2016. “Origin of the Breno and Esino dolomites in the Western Southern Alps (Italy): Implications for a volcanic influence”. Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 69, p. 39-52. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2015.10.010
  • Blamey, N.J.F., Parnell, J., McMahon, S., Mark, D., Tomkinson, T., Lee, M., Shivak, J., Izawa, M., Banerjee, N., Flemming, R., 2015. “Evidence for Methane in Martian meteorites”. Nature Communications, 6:7399. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8399
  • Blamey, N.J.F., Azmy, K., Brand, U., 2014. “Provenance and burial history of cement in sandstones of the Northbrook Formation (Carboniferous), western Newfoundland, Canada: a geochemical investigation”. Sedimentary Geology, v. 299, p. 30-41. DOI: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2013.10.005
  • Lynch, E.P., Costanzo, A., Feely, M., Blamey, N.J.F., Pironon, T., Lavin, P., 2014, “The Piteiras Emerald Mine, Brazil: geological and gemological perspectives”, Mineralogical Magazine, v. 78, p. 1571-1587. DOI: 10.1180/minmag.2014.078.7.04
  • Parnell, J., Blamey, N.J.F., Costanzo, A., Feely, M., Boyce, A.C., 2014. “Preservation of Mesoproterozoic age deep burial fluid signatures, NW Scotland”. Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 55, p. 275-281. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2013.11.018
  • Parnell, J., McMahon, S., Blamey, N.J.F., Hutchinson, I., Harris, L., Ingley, R., Edwards, H., Lynch, E., and Feely, M., 2014. “Detection of reduced carbon in a basalt analogue for martian nakhlite: a signpost to habitat on Mars”. International Journal of Astrobiology, v. 13, p. 124-131. DOI: 10.1017/S1473550413000360
  •  Price, M., Ramkissoon, N., McMahon, S., Miljkovic, K., Parnell, J., Kearsley, A., Blamey, N., Cole, M., and Burchell, M., 2014. “Limits on methane release and generation via hypervelocity impact of Martian analog materials”. International Journal of Astrobiology, v. 13, p. 132-140. DOI: 10.1017/S1473550413000384
  • Azmy, K., and Blamey, N.J.F., 2013, “Origin of diagenetic fluids inferred from fluid inclusion gas ratios”, Chemical Geology, v. 347, p. 246-254. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2013.04.011
  • Conliffe, F.J., Wilton, D.H.C., Blamey, N.J.F., Archibald, S.M., 2013. “Paleoproterozoic Mississippi Valley type Pb-Zn mineralization in the Ramah Group, Northern Labrador: Stable Isotope, fluid inclusion and quantitative fluid inclusion gas analyses”, Chemical Geology, v. 362, p. 211-223. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2013.08.032
  •  Azomani, E., Azmy, K., Blamey, N.J.F., Brand, U., Al-Aasm, I., 2013, “Origin of Lower Ordovician dolomites in eastern Laurentia: Controls on porosity and implications from geochemistry”. Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 40, p. 99-114. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2012.10.007


  • Earth Sciences 3370A: Metallogeny I: Ore Petrology
  • Earth Sciences 2232G: Exploring the Planets
  • Earth Sciences 2206A: Mineral Systems, Crystallography and Optics 

Future Students

  • Dr. Nigel Blamey is accepting graduate students interested in working with Mineral Deposits and/or Event Stratigraphy.
  • He is currently conducting research into MVT and gold deposits, focussing on fluid inclusion studies to answer the genesis of these deposits.
  • He is conducting research into ancient oxygen spanning both the Proterozoic and Phanerozoic, using halite-hosted fluid inclusions to measure the ancient atmospheric oxygen level.
  • Please contact him for more information.