Mineral and planetary sciences

A close up of a meteorite with areas of light shining through yellow rock

Pallasite meteorite from the Museum collections

Investigating the fundamental geological processes that shape our planet and the solar system.

Extraterrestrial materials research

Current research projects explore the origins and evolution of the Sun, planets, the Moon, asteroids and comets.  


Studying chondrite meteorites in our collection to learn about conditions in the early solar system and the processes that formed the planets.


Studying cometary material collected by NASA's Stardust spacecraft to learn about the bodies' formation and evolution.

The changing Sun

Studying data from ground and satellite-based instruments to better understand current solar activity.


Using micrometeorites to explore atmospheric composition and climate change through geological time.

The Moon

Studying lunar meteorites and Apollo samples to learn more about the origin and early evolution of the Moon.  

Mineral sciences research

The mineral sciences group manages one of the world's most significant mineral collections and researches the crystal chemistry and physical properties of natural inorganic structures.

Volcanology and petrology research

We are investigating active volcanoes and other volcanic areas to better understand the genesis and evolution of magmas and the timescales of pre-eruptive magmatic processes.

Popocatépetl volcano, Mexico

Understanding why Popocatépetl’s eruptions switch from moderate to large-scale.

Stromboli volcano, Italy

Investigating the dynamics of explosive eruptions at Stromboli volcano, Italy, with a particular focus on its last 5,000 years of activity.

Carbonatites from Calatrava in Spain

Using petrology and geochemistry to investigate the magma production processes taking place under Earth's surface in Calatrava, Spain.

Post-magmatic processes in carbonatitic systems

Investigating the mineralisation and fluid processes that occur in carbonatitic magmas in the Chilwa Alkaline Province of Malawi and the potential for extracting precious elements.

The origin of adakites

Investigating the occurrence of adakite rocks and their relationship to the melting of the subducted plate, a process known as slab melt. 

Mafic and ultramafic rocks in southern Mexico

Exploring the geodynamics of mafic and ultramafic rock complexes in southern Mexico and the economic potential for their exploitation.

Meteorite collection

One of the finest meteorite collections in the world, with specimens from the Moon and Mars.

Mineral collection

One of the most important and comprehensive collections of its type in the world. 

Rock collection

Our huge rock collection records the growing understanding of the geological processes that shape Earth.