Mantle evolution of southern Patagonia

The Pali-Aike region

The Pali-Aike region in Patagonia © Jpfergoy, licensed under CC BY 3.0.

Project summary

  • Focus: unravelling the evolution of southern Patagonian mantle and the continental separation of South America and Antarctica

Scientists from the Museum and the University of Cambridge are unravelling the evolution of mantle rocks in southern Patagonia to learn more about the continental separation of South America and Antarctica.

The geochemistry of subcontinental lithospheric mantle beneath Patagonia reflects the complex mantle evolution that occurred beneath Gondwana, an ancient supercontinent.

Our scientists are studying Patagonian mantle rocks to learn more about the break-up of Gondwana, in particular the separation of South America and Antarctica during the Late Mesozoic to Early Cenozoic orogeny. 

This project focuses on the extensive and extremely valuable Museum collection of mantle xenoliths from Pali-Aike, Patagonia.

Search the mineralogy collection database



Dr Sally Gibson
University of Cambridge

Eve Rooks
NERC PhD student
University of Cambridge/the Natural History Museum

Origins, evolution and futures research

We study the Earth's origins, environment and the evolution of life

Mineral and planetary sciences research

Investigating the origins and evolution of Earth and our solar system

Rock collection

The Museum’s rock collection consists of approximately 123,000 samples collected from around the world