Professor John Foden

Professor John Foden
 Position Professor
 Org Unit Physics
 Telephone +61 8 8313 5380
 Location Floor/Room B ,  Mawson ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    After an undergraduate degree at ANU where I was inspired by the teaching and research of Alan White and Bruce Chappell, I then briefly entered the minerals industry with a spell working with ESSO Minerals prospecting for copper in Queensland’s Bowen Basin. I then went to Tasmania and completed an honours degree under the supervision of Mike Solomon and Rick Varne. After another year or so as a research assistant both in Tasmania and for a while at Macquarie University, I headed back to Tasmania and did a PhD under the supervision of Rick Varne on the geochemistry and petrology of modern arc volcanics from the eastern Sunda Arc, Indonesia. Since completing my PhD I have been at the University of Adelaide first as a post-doc and then as a member of the academic faculty. Promoted to Professor in 2006. 

    I have twice been Head of the Department Geology and Geophysics (1995-1998 and 2003). Currently I am Associate Head of the School of Earth and Environmental Science and head the School’s Post-graduate school (Research Education Committee).

    Throughout his career JF has maintained an active research interest in the issues of the geochemistry and the source of arc magmatism and on the application of geochemical and isotopic methods to the understanding of magma genesis both in ancient and modern subduction settings as well as to intra-crustal magma genesis (granites).


  • Qualifications

    PhD (University of Tasmania)

    Thesis Title: “ The Petrology Of Some Young Volcanic Rocks From Lombok and Sumbawa, Lesser Sunda Islands.”

    BSc (Hons) Tasmania

    BSc ANU 

  • Teaching Interests

    Teaching of undergraduates and supervising honours and postgraduates is a key part of JF’s academic mission. Courses taught at undergraduate level:

    Igneous and Metamorphic Geology II

    Igneous and Metamorphic Geology III

    Tectonics III


    Course Coordinator Igneous an Metamorphic III and Tectonics III

    Honours Field Study Tour (New Zealand in recent years)

    To do these courses enroll in the flagship course in the Faculty of Science - the Bachelor of Science

  • Research Interests

    ▪ Research Interests

    My main interest and expertise is in igneous petrology and in trace element and isotope geochemistry. My science is founded both on laboratory-based analytical studies, as well as on field-orientated observations. I have had a focus on the development of geochemical analytical capacity at the University of Adelaide. Our present capacity includes: 

    Finnigan 262 Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometer, Philips 1480 XRF, ThermoFinnigan Neptune MC ICP-MS, Cameca EMP (x2 from early 2012), Agilent 7500 ICP-MS (x3), Nd-Yag and Excimer lasers, SEM, TEM and dual ion beam FIB.



    The Petrogenesis of Magmas in Subduction-Related Volcanic Arcs (particularly in Indonesia)

    The Genesis of Granite, particularly of A-type (ferroan) granite

    The redox state of the mantle wedge and of magmas in subduction settings and the relationship between slab-derived fluids and the oxidation state of mantle wedge and derived arc magmas

    Magmatism and subduction associated with the assembly and accretion of Gondwanan terrains in the late Proterozoic and Early Palaeozoic. 

    The controls on and extent of Fe isotope fractionation in magmas and fluids particularly 

    Kimberlite and diamonds. The structure of the sub-Adelaide Fold Belt lithospheric mantle. The Petrology and Geochemistry of eclogite and peridotite xenoliths and diamonds from South Australian Jurassic Kimberlites 


    I can offer potential PhD research project opportunities in any of these topics. Contact myself  or go to the University of Adelaide Graduate Centre at


    Current PhD students

    Diana Plavsa: The tectonic significance and petrogenesis of charnockites from the Southern Granulites Terrains , India.

    Frank Robinson: A-type granites in the Arabian – Nubian Shield of Saudi Arabia

  • Research Funding

    Recent Grants

    ARC Discovery: DP0110104686 " Iron isotope variation in subduction magmas: Links to fluid flux and oxidation of the mantle wedge? " 

    ARC Discovery: DP0773913 "The Initiation of Early Palaeozoic Subduction in Eastern Australia and North America: causes and effects" 

    ARC Linkage: LP0667689 "Aiding the Search for Diamonds in South Australia: Source and origin of Mesozoic kimberlite dyke swarms and their mantle samples." Linkage Partners: Flinders Diamonds Ltd., PIRSA : ARC Post Doc : Dr Ralf Tappert 

    ARC LE0775482. McLoughlin, Foden and others, Ultratrace element and isotope analysis facility.(Laser MC-ICP-MS) ARC LIEF (Neptune)


  • Publications

    Tappert, R., Foden, J., Muehlenbachs, K., and Wills K. (2011) Garnet Peridotite Xenoliths and Xenocrysts from the Monk Hill Kimberlite, South Australia: Insights into the Lithospheric Mantle beneath the Adelaide Fold Belt. Journal of Petrology, 52, 

    M.J. Pankhurst M.J., Vernon, R.H., Turner, S.P., Schaefer,B.F., Foden, J. (2011) Contrasting Sr and Nd isotopic behaviour during magma mingling; new insights from the Mannum A-type granite. Lithos, 126, 135-146.

    Teale, W., Collins, A.S., Foden, J., Payne, J.L., Plavsa, D., Chetty, T.R.K., Santosh, M., Fanning, M. (2011) Cryogenian (~830Ma) mafic magmatism and metamorphism in the northern Madurai Block, southern India: A magmatic link between Sri Lanka and Madagascar? Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 42 (3), pp. 223-233. 

    Wulser, P.A., Brugger, J., Foden, J., Pfeifer, H.-R. (2011) The sandstone-hosted beverley uranium deposit, lake frome basin, South Australia: Mineralogy, geochemistry, and a time-constrained model for its genesis. Economic Geology, 106 (5), pp. 835-867. 

    Williams, G.E., Foden, (2011) J. A unifying model for the Torridon Group (early Neoproterozoic), NW Scotland: Product of post-Grenvillian extensional collapse (2011) Earth-Science Reviews, 108, 34-49. 

    Cox, G.M., Lewis, C.J., Collins, A.S., Halverson, G.P., Jourdan, F., Foden, J., Nettle, D., Kattan, F. (2011) Ediacaran terrane accretion within the Arabian-Nubian Shield. Gondwana Research, . 21 , Article in Press. 

    Walshe, J.L., Solomon, M., Whitford, D.J., Sun, S.-S., Foden, J.D. (2011) The role of the mantle in the genesis of tin deposits and tin provinces of Eastern Australia Economic Geology, 106 (2), pp. 297-305. 

    Tappert, R. , Foden, J., T Stachel & K Muehlenbachs, M. Goryniuk and K. Wills (2009) The origin of sublithospheric diamonds in a graveyard of subducted slabs beneath Gondwana. Geology v 37,43-46.

    Betts PG, Giles D, Foden J, et al. (2009)   Mesoproterozoic plume-modified orogenesis in eastern Precambrian Australia. Tectonics   Volume: 28 Article Number: TC3006 

    Haines,P.W., Turner, S.P., Foden, J. and Jago, J. (2009). Isotopic and geochemical characterization of the Cambrian Kanmantoo Group, South Australia: implications for stratigraphy and provenance. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 56, 1095-1110 

    Tappert,R., Foden, J., Stachel, T., Muehlenbachs, K., Tappert, M. and Wills K. (2009) The diamonds of South Australia. Lithos, 112S, 806-821.

    Tappert,R., Foden, J., Pring, A. (2009) The mineralogy of the Yaringie Hill meteorite – A new H5 chondrite from South Australia. Meteoritics and Planetary Sciences 44, 1687-1693

    Cooper JA, Foden JD, Prescott JR, et al.  Geochronology in South Australia Australian Journal of Earth Sciences Volume: 55   Issue: 6-7   Pages: 745-751   2008

    Raveggi M, Giles D, Foden J, et al.  Source and significance of the felsic magmatism in the paleoproterozoic to Mesoproterozoic Broken Hill Block, New South Wales AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF EARTH SCIENCES   Volume: 55   Issue: 4   Pages: 531-553  

    Inverno CMC, Solomon M, Barton MD, Foden, J  The Cu stockwork and massive sulfide ore of the Feitais volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposit, Aljustrel, Iberian Pyrite Belt, Portugal: A mineralogical, fluid inclusion, and isotopic investigation . ECONOMIC GEOLOGY   Volume: 103   Issue: 1   Pages: 241-267    2008

    Zoe Demidjuk, Simon Turner, Mike Sandiford, Rhiannon George, John Foden and Mike Etheridge. (2007) U-series isotope and geodynamic constraints on mantle melting processes beneath the Newer Volcanic Province in South Australia. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 261, Issues 3-4,  2007, Pages 517-533

    Raveggi M, Giles D, Foden J, et al. (2007). High Fe-Ti mafic magmatism and tectonic setting of the Paleoproterozoic Broken Hill Block, NSW, Australia  PRECAMBRIAN RESEARCH 156 (1-2): 55-84 

    Elburg MA, Kamenetsky VS, Foden JD, et al. (2007). The origin of medium-K ankaramitic arc magmas from Lombok (Sunda arc, Indonesia): Mineral and melt inclusion evidence CHEMICAL GEOLOGY 240 (3-4): 260-279 

    Rutherford, L., Burtt, A., Barovich, K., Hand, M. and Foden, J., (2007). Tj Billeroo North alkaline magmatic complex: geology and economic significance. MESA Journal, 45, 33-39.

    Elburg, M.A, V.S. Kamenetsky, I. Nikogosian, J. Foden, A.V. Sobolev (2006): "Co-existing high- and low-calcium melts identified by mineral and melt inclusion studies of a subduction-influenced syn-collisional magma from South Sulawesi, Indonesia". Journal of Petrology 47, 2433-2462

    Foden J. (2006). Ultra-depletion of the mantle and the development of boninite on the initiation of subduction .GEOCHIMICA ET COSMOCHIMICA ACTA 70 (18): A179-A179 Suppl.

    Foden, J., Elburg, M., Dougherty-Page, J., Burtt, A. (2006.). The timing and duration of the Delamerian Orogeny: Correlation with the Ross Orogen and implications for Gondwana assembly. Journal of Geology., 114, 189-210.

    Rutherford,L.,  Barovich,K., Hand,M., Foden, J. (2006) Geochemical, isotopic and tectonic implications of metabasites in the southern Palaeoproterozoic of Australia. Aust. J. Earth Science, 53, 501-519.

    Elburg, M.A., Foden, J., van Bergen, M., Zulkarnain, I., (2005). Australia and Indonesia in collision: geochemical sources of magmatism: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 140, p. 25-47.

    Fioretti A.M., Black L.P., Foden J., Visonà D. (2005). Grenville age magmatism at the South Tasman Rise (Australia): a new piercing point for the reconstruction of Rodinia. Geology, 33, p769-772

    Elburg, M, A. van Bergen, M.J., Foden, J.D., (2004) Subduction upper and lower continental crust contributes to magmatism in the collision sector of the Sunda-Banda arc, Indonesia. Geology 32, 41-44. (30%)

    Elburg, M. A., P. Bons, J. Foden, J. Brugger (2003) A newly defined Late Ordovician magmatic-thermal event in the Arkaroola area, northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences 50, 611-631 (35%)

    Elburg , M, T. van Leeuwen , J. Foden,  Muhardjo (2003) Spatial and temporal isotopic domains of contrasting igneous suites in Western and Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia. Chemical Geology 199, 243-276 (40%)

    Turner, S., Foden, J., George, R., Evans, P. Elburg, M., Varne, R., and Jenner, G. (2003). Rates and processes of potassic magma evolution beneath Sangeang Api volcano, east Sunda arc, Indonesia.  (2003) J. Petrology , 44 , 491-515 (50%)

    Elburg, M., Bons, P.D., Foden, J. & Passchier, C. (2003). The origin of fibrous veins: constraints from geochemistry. Geol. Soc. London Spec. Publ.: #200.  Deformation Mechanisms, Rheology and Tectonics: Current Status and Future Perspectives.  Eds S. de Meer, M.R. Drury, J.H. de Bresser and G.M. Pennock, p103-118. (20%)

    Selected Significant Publications

    Foden, J., Elburg, M.A., Turner, S.P., Sandiford, M., O’Callaghan, J. & Mitchell, S. (2002). Granite production in the Delamerian Orogen, South Australia. J. Geol. Soc. Lond., 159, 601-621. 

    Mawby, J., Hand, M. & Foden, J. (1999). Sm-Nd evidence for high grade Ordovician metamorphism in the Arunta Block, central Australia. Journal of Metamorphic Petrology , 17, 653-668.

    Turner, S., Kelley, S.P., VandenBerg, A.H.M., Foden, J., Sandiford, M. & Flöttman, T. (1996). Source of the Lachlan fold belt flysch linked to convective removal of the lithospheric mantle and rapid exhumation of the Delamerian-Ross fold belt. Geology, 24, 941-944.

    Turner, S., Foden, J., Sandiford, M. & Bruce, D. (1993). Sm-Nd evidence for provenance of sediments from the Adelaide Fold Belt and S.E. Australia with implications for episodic crustal addition. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 57, 1837-1856.

    Foden, J.D. & Green D.H. (1992). Possible role of amphibole in the origin of andesite:some experimental and natural evidence. Contrib. Mineral. Petrol., 109, 479-493.

    Foden, J.D. (1986). The petrology of Tambora Volcano, Indonesia: a model for the 1815 eruption. J. Volcanology and GeothermalResearch, 27, 1-41.

    Foden, J.D. (1983). The petrology of the calcalkaline lavas of Rindjani volcano, E. Sunda arc: a model for island arc petrogenesis. J. Petrology,  24, 98-130.

    Turner, S.P, Foden, J.D. & R.S. Morrison (1992). The derivation of some A-type magmas by fractionation of basaltic magma: an example from the Padthaway Ridge South Australia. Lithos, 28, 151-179.


  • Professional Associations

    Geological Society of Australia

    The Geochemical Society


    SGGMP (Specialist Group in Mineralogy and Petrology)

    Associate Editor Journal of Geophysical Research

    Associate Editor Bulletin Geological Society of America (2006-2010)

    Editorial Board Electronic Journal The Virtual Explorer

    Member of 16th Goldshmidt conference convening committee (first in southern hemisphere)

    Mineralogy and Petrology (Springer - Verlag) Associate Editor (2003-2008)

    National President of the Geological Society of Australia (2002-2004)

  • Media Expertise

    CategoriesScience & Technology
    ExpertiseGeology (isotope geology, natural radioactivity, dating of rocks and minerals, natural distribution of trace elements); marine geology; igneous petrology (study of magmas, volcanoes, granites); Indonesian geology; geology of precambrian cratons (gawler craton); trace elements geology (natural distribution)
    NotesAlt phone: (08) 8303 3999
    Mobile0417 854 879

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Entry last updated: Thursday, 12 Jan 2023

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