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Faculty Profiles

Matthew Leybourne

Matthew Leybourne 

Associate Professor

Earth Sciences

Science, Engineering and Architecture




I teach high-temperature geochemistry and analytical techniques in the Geosciences. My research is focused on the geochemistry of fluids associated with ore deposits (groundwater, marine water and hydrothermal systems), geochemical exploration, and the petrogenesis of igneous rocks. I also work on developing new analytical methods especially related to laser ablation ICP-MS with Joe Petrus, a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the department. I came to Laurentian University in 2014 after teaching in Texas, research in New Zealand, and working for the analytical industry.


B.Sc. Earth Sciences      Waikato University, Hamilton, New Zealand 1985

M.Sc. Geology                Acadia University, Nova Scotia 1988

Ph.D. Earth Sciences      University of Ottawa, Ontario 1998

Academic Appointments

1998 - 1999           Postdoctoral Fellow, Geological Survey of Canada

1999 - 2000           Research Scientist, Geological Survey of Canada

2000 - 2006           Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Dallas

2006 - 2012           Senior Scientist, GNS Science (NZ)

2014 – Now           Associate Professor, Laurentian University

On The Web


My research and that of my student’s focuses on the geochemistry of fluids associated with ore deposits. We are specifically interested in the fluids that formed various styles of mineralization, hypogene dispersion of elements into the host rocks, supergene processes, and using modern fluids for mineral exploration (groundwaters, soils, till). We use a variety of geochemical tools, with an emphasis on trace metals, metalloids and stable, radiogenic and non-traditional isotopes. To understand the chemistry of ore deposits and how best to explore for them, we also investigate the petrogenesis of the rocks that host, for example, Au, volcanogenic massive sulfide, and porphyry Cu mineralization. Part of this research also involves the development of new analytical tools, both in the field and the laboratory, in particular with laser ablation ICP-MS of minerals.  

BSc Students

Neal McClenaghan (with Stewart Hamilton, OGS): The distribution and abundance of Se in Ontario groundwaters and its association with Cl and S2-

Sarah Mills (with Harold Gibson): The Petrogenesis of volcanic rocks from the South-Central Indian Ridge.

Madison Schmidt: Using the geochemistry of tree cores from Sudbury to determine pre-anthropogeic signals as a guide to mineral exploration (completed 2016)

Craig Green (with Harold Gibson): Fingerprinting Greenstone Gold Deposits in the Timmins Mining Camp
 (completed 2016)

MSc Students

Danielle Brown: Using geochemistry and stable and radiogenic isotopes of water and stream sediments to understand catchment lithological contributions, Southland, New Zealand

Michael Langa
 (with Pedro Jugo): Geochemistry of alteration associated with the Platreef PGE system, Limpopo, South Africa

Evan Keir-Sage 
(with Pedro Jugo): Metamorphism and alteration of footwall rocks associated with the Platreef PGE complex, South Africa

Cedrid Mayer (with Pedro Jugo): Geology and geochemistry of the Platreef portion of the Bushveld Complex

Marie Letourneau (with Dan Kontak): Geological study of gold mineralization styles in the Martinere trend of northern Quebec

Madison Schmidt (with Dan Kontak)Fluid inclusion chemistry in volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits using LA-ICP-MS 

Shane Davidson (Applied MSc): MMI in gold exploration

Marissa Valentino
 (with Kurt Kyser, Queen’s): Significance of fracture coatings in defining the footprint of uranium mineralization

Patrick Englehardt (with Brent Ward, SFU): Quaternary stratigraphy and implications for placer gold deposits, Mount Nansen Yukon Territory

PhD Students

Sarah Hashmi: Surficial mapping andgeochemical and mineralogical characterization of Ni-Cu-PGE mineralization inthe Denison and Drury townships

James Kidder: Trace element and isotopic geochemistry of groundwater in mineral exploration

Jasmine Moertle: Magmatism and relationships to clastic sediment-hosted Zn-Pb (±Ag, ±Ba) deposits

Chris Beckett-Brown (with Andy McDonald): The geochemistry and crystal chemistry of tourmaline as an Indicator of porphyry-related mineralization

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Joseph Petrus: Development of laser ablation analytical methods in surficial geochemical mineral exploration/Sudbury Impact mineral chemistry

Györgyi Tuba (with Dan Kontak, Bruno Lafrance): Abitibi Au thematic project

Steven Beyer
(with Kurt Kyser, Queen’s): Isotopes and the geochemical footprint of uranium mineralization


Undergraduate Courses

GEOL 3807 Geochemistry II

GEOL 3007 Environmental Field Methods in Geology (two week field course)

Graduate Courses

GEOL 5007 Research Techniques in Geology

GEOL 5567 Geochemistry of Hydrothermal Ore Deposits (modular)


Recent Publications (since 2012)


Volesky, J.C., Leybourne, M.I., Stern, R.J., Peter, J.M., Layton-Matthews, D., Rice, S. and Johnson, P.R. (accepted). Metavolcanic host rocks, mineralization and gossans of the Shaib al Tair and Rabathan volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits of the Wadi Bidah Mineral District, Saudi Arabia. International Geology Review.

Sader, J. A., Leybourne, M. I., McClenaghan, M. B., Hamilton, S. M. and Clark, I. D. (in revision). Generation of high pH groundwaters and H2 gas by groundwater-kimberlite interaction, northeastern Ontario, Canada. GEEA.

Griffin, W. R., Stern, R. J., Manton, W. I., Leybourne, M. I., and Bergman, S. C. (in revision). Chemical and isotopic composition of nephelinites and related rocks from the Late Cretaceous Balcones Igneous Province, Texas: Constraining the mantle source and magmatic mechanism. Journal of Petrology.

Leybourne, M. I., Bloom, L. and Caughlin, B. (2016). Hg in Rocks, Soils and Sediments: Speciation and Implications for Sample Processing and Analysis. Explore.

Stern, R.J., Leybourne, M.I., and Tsujimori, T. (2016). Kimberlites and the start of plate tectonics. Geology, 44, 799-802.

McClenaghan, M. B., Parkhill, M. A., Pronk, A. G., Seaman, A. A., McCurdy, M. W. and Leybourne, M. I. (in press). Indicator mineral and geochemical signatures associated with the Sisson W-Mo deposit, New Brunswick, Canada. GEEA (Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis).

Sun, L., Leybourne, M.I. Rissmann, C. and Brikowski, T. (2016). Geochemistry of a large impoundment – Part II: Fe and Mn cycling and metal transport. Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis, 16, 165-177. 10.1144/geochem2015-361.

Stern, R. J., Ali, K., Ren, M., Jarrar, G. H., Romer, R. L., Leybourne, M. I., Whitehouse, M.J., and Ibrahim, K. M. (2016). Cadomian (approximately 560 Ma) crust buried beneath the northern Arabian Peninsula; mineral, chemical, geochronological, and isotopic constraints from NE Jordan xenoliths. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 436: 31-42.

Laurila, T.E., Hannington, M.D., Leybourne, M., Petersen, S., Devey, C.W. and Garbe-Schonberg, D. (2015) New insights into the mineralogy of the Atlantis II Deep metalliferous sediments, Red Sea. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 16, 4449-4478.

Timm, C., Leybourne, M.I., Hoernle, K., Wysoczanski, R.J., Hauff, F., Handler, M., Caratori-Tontini, F., de Ronde, C.E.J. (2016). Trench perpendicular geochemical variation between two adjacent Kermadec arc volcanoes Rumble II East and West: the role of the subducted Hikurangi Plateau on element recycling in arc magmas. Journal of Petrology.

van Zijll de Jong, S., Leybourne, M. I.  (2015). Anticipating Canada’s Rare Earth Element Potential: A Medical Geology Perspective. Environmental Considerations in Energy Production. Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration 2015.

Rissmann, C. F. W., Leybourne, M. I., Benn, C. and Christenson, B. (2015). The origin of solutes within the groundwaters of a high Andean aquifer. Chemical Geology, 396, 164-181.

Hashmi S, Ward BC, Plouffe A, Leybourne MI, Ferbey T. (2015). Geochemical and mineralogical dispersal in till from the Mount Polley Cu-Au porphyry deposit, central British Columbia, Canada. Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis, 15. 234-249.

Leybourne, M.I., Johannesson, K.H., and Asfaw, A. (2014). Measuring arsenic speciation in environmental media: sampling, preservation & analysis. In R.J. Bowell, C.N. Alpers, H.E. Jamieson, D.K. Nordstrom, and J. Majzlan (eds). Environmental Geochemistry, Mineralogy, and Microbiology of Arsenic. Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 79, 371-390.

Sun, L., Leybourne, M.I. Rissmann, C., Olariu, C., Sader, J. and UTD Lake Study Group (2015). Geochemistry of a large impoundment — Part I: solute sources, mixing dynamics, and seasonal anoxia. GEEA (Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis), 15, 12-26. DOI: 10.1144/geochem2013-214.

Peter, J. M., Leybourne, M. I., Scott, S. D. and Gorton, M. (2014). Geochemical Constraints on the Tectonic Setting of Basaltic Host Rocks to the Windy Craggy Cu-Co-Au Massive Sulfide Deposit, Northwestern British Columbia. International Geology Review, 56, 1484-1503.

Stern, R. J., Ren, M., Ali, K., Forster, H-J., Al Safarjalani, A., Nasir, S., Whitehouse, M.J., Leybourne, M. I. and Romer, R. L. (2014). Early Carboniferous (~ 357 Ma) crust beneath the northwestern Arabian Plate: Tales from Tell Thannoun (southern Syria). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 393, 83-93.

Hein, J. R., de Ronde, C. E. J., Koski, R. A., Ditchburn, R. G., Mizell, K., Tamura, Y., Stern, R. J., Conrad, T. A., Ishizuka, O., and Leybourne, M. I. (2014). Layered hydrothermal barite-sulfide mounds, East Diamante Caldera, Mariana Volcanic Arc. Special Issue, Economic Geology, 109, 2179-2206.

Stern, R. J., Tamura, Y., Ishizuka, O., Shukano, H., Bloomer, S., Embley, R. W., Leybourne, M. I., Kawabata, H., Nunokawa, A., Nichols, A., Kohut, E. and Pujana, I. (2014). Volcanoes of the Diamante cross-chain: evidence for a mid-crustal felsic magma body beneath the southern Izu-Bonin-Mariana arc. In Gomez-Tuena A., Straub S.M., and Zellmer G.F. (eds), Orogenic Andesites and Crustal Growth. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, v.385; p235-255.doi: 10.1144/SP385.6.

Johannesson, K. H., Telfeyan, K., Chevis, D. A., Rosenheim, B. E., and Leybourne, M. I. (2014). Rare earth elements in stromatolites – 1. Evidence that modern terrestrial stromatolites fractionate rare earth elements during incorporation from ambient waters. In Dilek, Y. and Furnes, H. (eds) Archean Earth and Early Life, Modern Approaches in Solid Earth Sciences, v. 7, p. 385-411. Springer Science.

Leybourne, M. I., Cameron, E. M., Reich, M., Palacios, C., Faure, K. and Johannesson, K.H. (2013). Stable isotopic composition of soil calcite (O, C) and gypsum (S) overlying Cu deposits in the Atacama Desert, Chile: implications for mineral exploration, salt sources, and paleoenvironmental reconstruction. Applied Geochemistry, 29, 55-72. doi: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2012.10.030.

Layton-Matthews, D., Leybourne, M. I., Peter, J. M., Scott, S. D., Cousens, B., and Eglington, B. (2013). Multiple sources of selenium in an ancient seafloor hydrothermal system: Compositional and Se, S, and Pb isotopic evidence from volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposits of the Finlayson Lake District, Yukon, Canada. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 117, 313-331. 10.1016/j.gca.2013.05.002.

Timm, C., Bassett, D., Graham, I. J., Leybourne, M. I., de Ronde, C. E. J., Woodhead, J., Layton-Matthews, D. and Watts, A. (2013). Effects of Louisville seamount subduction: geochemical evidence in lavas from central Tonga-Kermadec arc volcanoes. Nature Communications, 4, article# 1720. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2702.

de Ronde, C. E. J., Butterfield, D. A., and Leybourne, M. I. (2012). Metallogenesis and mineralization of intraoceanic arcs 1: Kermadec arc – introduction. Economic Geology, 107, 1521-1525.

Leybourne, M. I., Schwarz-Schampera, U., de Ronde, C. E. J., Baker, E. T., Faure, K., Walker, S. L., Butterfield, D.A., Resing, J., Lupton, J.E., Hannington, M.D., Gibson, H.L., Massoth, G. J., Embley, R.W., Chadwick, W.W.-Jr., Clark, M.R., Timm, C., Graham, I. J. and Wright, I. C. (2012). Submarine magmatic-hydrothermal systems at the Monowai Volcanic Centre, Kermadec Arc. Economic Geology, 107, 1669-1694.

Leybourne, M. I., de Ronde, C. E. J., Wysoczanski, R., Walker, S. L., Timm, C., Gibson, H., Layton-Matthews, D., Faure, K., Baker, E. T., Clark, M.R., Lupton, J., Massoth, G. (2012). Geology, hydrothermal activity, and seafloor massive sulfide mineralization at the Rumble II West caldera. Economic Geology, 107, 1649-1668.

Caratori Tontini, F., Davy, B., de Ronde, C. E. J., Embley, R. W., Leybourne, M. I., and Tivey, M. A. (2012). Crustal magnetization and the hydrothermal system at Brothers volcano, southern Kermadec arc. Economic Geology, 107, 1571-1581.

Timm, C., de Ronde, C. E. J., Leybourne, M. I., Layton-Matthews, D. and Graham, I. (2012). Sources of chalcophile and siderophile elements in kermadec Arc Lavas. Economic Geology, 107, 1527-1538.

Wysoczanski, R. J., Handler, M. R., Schipper, C. I., Leybourne, M. I., Creech, J., Rotella, M. D., Nichols, A. R. L., Wilson, C. J. N. & Stewart, R. B. (2012). The magmatic source of SMS- related metal and volatile elements in the southern Kermadec Arc. Economic Geology, 107, 1539-1556.

Noble, R. R. P., Stalker, L., Wakelin, S., Pejcic, B., Leybourne, M., Hortle, A. and Michael, K. (2012). Biological monitoring for carbon capture and storage – A review and potential future developments. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 10, 520-535. doi: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2012.07.022

Stalker, L., Noble, R., Pejcic, B., Leybourne, M., Hortle, A., Michael, K., Dixon, T., and Basava-Reddi, L. (2012). Feasibility of monitoring techniques for substances mobilised by CO2 storage in geological formations. Energy Procedia, 23, 439-448. doi: 10.1016/j.egypro.2012.06.039.

Olariu, C., Bhattacharya, J. P., Leybourne, M. I., Boss, S. K., and Stern, R. J. (2012). Interplay between river discharge and basin topography in a hyperpycnal lacustrine delta. Sedimentology, 59, 704-728; doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3091.2011.01272.x