Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
We're launching a new website soon and would love your feedback. See the new design
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton
(023) 8059 6607

Professor Martin Palmer BSc, PhD

Professor of Geochemistry

Professor Martin Palmer's photo

Professor Martin Palmer joined the School of Ocean and Earth Science in September 2000 as Professor of Geochemistry. Since this time he has been Head of the Geochemistry research group in Ocean and Earth Science.

Having come from a chemistry background, Martin's research interests are in applying fundamental chemical principles to understanding Earth system processes. In over three decades of interdisciplinary research he has applied this principle to studies of volcanism in collisional and subduction zones, submarine and subaerial geothermal activity, ore deposits, marine sedimentary processes, river water chemistry, bio mineralisation, sensor development and the impact of subaerial volcanism on the oceans.

He also has a broad range of research interests outside of Earth Science that includes the application of geochemical techniques to archaeological studies, the sources and impacts of dust in human health, the chemistry of landfill leachates, and the role of metals in the human body released from prosthetic implants.

This research has resulted in over 150 publications in the peer-reviewed literature and led to him being recognized as a Highly Cited Scientist in 2004. He was also made a Fellow of the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry in 2014 – an award made to “outstanding scientists who have made major contributions to the field of geochemistry”.

At various times, Martin has served as Head of Education in Ocean and Earth Science and Associate Dean of Education in the Faculty of Engineering, Science and Mathematics. He has also served as Director of Research in Ocean and Earth Science.

Research interests

Martin is interested in all aspects of geochemistry, but with a particular focus on the application of isotope and trace element tracers to studying the biogeochemistry of Earth Surface processes.

Current research projects

Marine sediment tephra: These tephra layers are the result of deposition of volcanic ash in the oceans. Their physical and geochemical composition can be used to study the evolution of the volcano from which they were derived. They are also highly reactive and exert important impacts on the biogeochemistry of the background marine sediments around them.

Collisional tectonics: The size and composition of the Earth’s continental crust is a balance between creative and destructive processes. Continental collisional zones are an important setting where new crust is both created and preserved. We are carrying out a long term study of the relative contributions of volcanic and plutonic rocks to the formation of new crust in western Anatolia.

Research group


Research project(s)

A 4.3 million year record of arc volcanism in the Caribbean

Development of a volcano – Tracking the evolution of Montserrat, Lesser Antilles.

Marine diagenesis of tephra and the carbon cycle

Nanoparticles and associated metals in landfill leachates

Transport of toxic metals in clay landfill linings: influence of nanoparticles

Collisional magmatism

Director of GSNOCS

Sort via:TypeorYear


Book Chapters




Martin teaches a variety of undergraduate courses in Ocean and Earth Science, including Introductory Geochemistry and Earth Evolution from a geochemistry perspective.


Professor Martin Palmer
Ocean and Earth Science
National Oceanography Centre Southampton
University of Southampton Waterfront Campus
European Way
Southampton SO14 3ZH

Room Number : NOCS/676/15

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings