Dr Emma Humphreys-Williams

Dr Emma Humphreys-Williams

Analytical Chemist

Department: Core Research Laboratories
Division: Imaging and Analysis Centre
Contact: email


ICP-AES, alkali fusions, elemental analysis, geochemistry, intraplate volcanism, mantle, mantle xenoliths, petrology, sample preparation, volcanic carbonatites, wet chemistry


Within the chemistry labs at the museum I maintain and run our Inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometer (ICP-AES) and carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen (CHN) elemental analyser. I am also involved with sample preparation and dissolution for many scientific applications. I work with a wide range of scientists from within and external to the museum. My research interests are concerned with understanding how melting occurs in the Earth's mantle and how the mantle is continually evolving; using intraplate volcanism to understand these processes. My masters research focused on ocean island basalts (OIB), examining the influence of the lithosphere thickness on the composition of erupted lavas. My PhD research focused on continental volcanism and rapidly erupted volcanic carbonatites as tools to examine melting beneath the continents. Using petrology and geochemistry, my research focused on the composition of the mantle as detailed by mantle xenoliths, and the composition of primitive melts in such environments. My continuing research uses petrology and geochemistry to further understand these melts and the xenolithic load they carry.



PhD, University of Bristol, UK, 2007 - 2011

MSci (hons), University of Durham, UK, 2001 - 2007


Larner F, Woodley LN, Shousha S, Moyes A, Humphreys-Williams E, Strekopytov S, Halliday AN, Rehkamper M, Coombes RC (2015) Zinc isotopic compositions of breast cancer tissue. Metallomics: integrated biometal science, 7 (1): 112 - 117. doi: 10.1039/C4MT00260A

Niu Y, Wilson M, Humphreys-Williams E, O'Hara MJ (2012) A trace element perspective on the source of ocean island basalts (OIB) and fate of subducted ocean crust (SOC) and mantle lithosphere (SML). Episodes: journal of international geoscience, 35 (2): 310 - 327.

Niu Y, Wilson M, Humphreys ER, O Hara MJ (2011) The origin of intra-plate ocean island basalts (OIB): the lid effect and its geodynamic implications. Journal of Petrology, 57 : 1443 - 1468.

Humphreys ER, Bailey K, Hawkesworth CJ, Wall F, Najorka J, Rankin AH (2010) Aragonite in olivine from Calatrava, Spain: Evidence for mantle carbonatite melts from \textgreater100km depth. Geology, 38 (10): 911 - 914. doi: 10.1130/G31199.1

Humphreys ER, Niu YL (2009) On the composition of ocean island basalts (OIB): The effects of lithospheric thickness variation and mantle metasomatism. LITHOS, 112 : 118 - 136. doi: 10.1016/j.lithos.2009.04.038