Dr Bob Cliff


D.Phil, Oxford, 1968 "Geological studies in the southeast corner of the Tauern Window, Austrian Alps"

Post-doctoral appointments at the University of Heidelberg (1967-69)  and University of Califronia, Los Angeles (1969-71)

Lecturer then Senior Lecturer in Metamorphic Geology, University of Leeds, 1972-2008

  • teaching: metamorphic geology, geochemistry, mineralogy, isotope geology, lunar geology, mountain building and crustal evolution
  • laboratory responsibilities: radiogenic isotope laboratory (1985-2008), mineral separation

Visiting Research Fellow, University of Leeds, 2008 to present


Research interests

My research interests focus on applications of radiogenic isotopes in geochronology and geochemistry. Dating of metamorphism and its links to overall tectonic processes in the Earth’s crust has been a recurring theme, most recently using microsampling techniques to date white micas by rubidium-strontium and allanite by uranium-thorium-lead in rocks from the Alps and the Cyclades (Greece). I have used uranium-lead isotopes to determine the age of previously undatable, older speleothems from Britain, the Alps and South Africa to constrain the age of environmental changes and hominin fossils.

In geochemistry I have used strontium isotopes to link sedimentation in the Nile/East Mediterranean region to environmental changes and strontium, neodymium and lead isotopes to investigate the origins of ocean island volcanics. Chlorine isotopes in fluid inclusions have been used to constrain the sources of fluid in ore deposits. More recently I have used strontium isotope analysis of microsamples from specific microstructural settings to investigate patterns of interaction of seawater with gabbroic rocks of the ocean crust at mid-ocean ridges.

I introduced the use of a 202 spike in lead isotopic analysis and subsequently developed a highly enriched lead 202-205 spike and used it to re-examine the isotopic composition of international lead standards

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • Chartered Geologist
  • BA, University of Oxford
  • D.Phil. University of Oxford

Professional memberships

  • Fellow Geological Society
  • Member Geochemical Society
  • Associate Member Mineralogical Society
  • Member American Geophysical Union

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics
  • Rocks, Melts and Fluids