Lucy McGee

Lucy McGee

School of Physical Sciences

Faculty of Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.

The spectacular Crater Rayhuen in Southern Chile - a Holocene volcanic explosion crater infilled with lavas from the nearby Casablanca volcano


I am a high temperature geochemist with a background in volcanology and igneous geology. I use isotopes to constrain Earth System processes related to magmas and am currently interested in the processes of metal transport in active systems. As part of the MinEx CRC, I'm working on developing metal isotopes to look for mineral prospectivity in South Australia.                                                                                                                                           


                                                                                                                                                           Research themes

Lucy McGee
Chiloe, Southern Chile

Monogenetic and arc volcanism - How do volcanic deposits reflect magma genesis and ascent?

Basalt geochemistry - what does it tell us about the mantle source and how melts are released?

Mantle heterogeneity - how heterogeneous is the mantle really and on what temporal and spatial scale?

Uranium series chemistry (U-Th-Ra-Pb isotopes) to address timescale questions in igneous systems

Ore deposit genesis (new!) - what are the essential ingredients to form ore deposits and where can we find the next big one?

The beautiful tuff ring at Motukorea volcano, in the Auckland Volcanic Field.
The tuff ring at Motukorea volcano, in the Auckland Volcanic Field. Stratigraphic sampling revealed compositional variations linked to the melting process 



Much of my research since my MSci in the UK has centred around using the compositions of basalts erupted in small eruptive volcanic centres to understand the composition of the mantle, the way in which it melts and how these are reflected in small-scale volcanic deposits. My PhD work at the University of Auckland (supervised by Ian Smith and Jan Lindsay) focussed on the melting processes which have given rise to a city of miniature, Quaternary-age volcanoes: the Auckland Volcanic Field. During this time I studied the field using several key examples, and worked on its possible end-member basalt compositions with the use of radiogenic and U-series isotopes and major and trace element modelling. ‘Monogenetic’ certainly doesn’t mean ‘monotonous’!


Villarrica volcano
Villarrica Volcano in the Central Southern Volcanic Zone of the Andes is close to a small cluster of small basaltic centres

In my 3-year postdoc at the University of Chile (in addition to trialling U-Th dating on geothermal carbonates, as part of my project with the Andean Geothermal Centre of Excellence) I continued the theme of small volume basalts after being awarded a 3-year grant from the government. This time the volcanoes were in a far more complex arc context and in close proximity to large, active stratovolcanoes (the Pucon small eruptive centres close to Villarrica volcano, the Carran-Los Venados field close to Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano and the Antillanca volcanic complex, all in the Southern Volcanic Zone of Chile). I worked with Macquarie University in the U-series area of this project which provided important information on competing tectonic and source component-related signatures. I still continue to work with researchers from the Universidad de Chile and SERNAGEOMIN (the geological survey of Chile) on several volcanology-related projects in different areas of Southern Chile.


Montserrat enclave MT75
Mafic enclave from the January 2010 eruption of Soufriere Hills volcano (J. Barclay)


During my 2.5 year postdoc at Macquarie University I worked on what triggers explosive eruptions, applying the short lived isotopes of 210Pb and 226Ra (in the Uranium series decay chain) to recently erupted rocks from Soufriere Hills volcano in the Caribbean to examine the idea that volatile exchange is a major driver of explosive volcanism. 

As part of the MinEx CRC I will be working on developing metal isotopes to look for mineral prospectivity in South Australia.


  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2021 McGee, L., Reagan, M., Turner, S., Sparks, R. S., Handley, H., Didonna, R., . . . Barclay, J. (2021). U-series histories of magmatic volatile phase and enclave development at Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat. Chemical Geology, 559, 119957.
    2021 Turner, S., McGee, L., Humayun, M., Creech, J., & Zanda, B. (2021). Carbonaceous chondrite meteorites experienced fluid flow within the past million years.. Science (New York, N.Y.), 371(6525), 164-167.
    2020 Friedrichs, B., Schmitt, A., McGee, L. E., & Turner, S. (2020). U–Th whole rock data and high spatial resolution U–Th disequilibrium and U–Pb zircon ages of Mt. Erciyes and Mt. Hasan Quaternary stratovolcanic complexes (Central Anatolia). Data in Brief, 29, 7 pages.
    DOI Scopus4
    2020 Hopkins, J. L., Smid, E. R., Eccles, J. D., Hayes, J. L., Hayward, B. W., McGee, L. E., . . . Smith, I. E. M. (2020). Auckland Volcanic Field magmatism, volcanism, and hazard: a review. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 23 pages.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS5
    2020 Rowe, M. C., Graham, D. W., Smid, E., & McGee, L. (2020). Unusually homogeneous helium isotope composition of the Auckland Volcanic Field and its implications for the underlying mantle. Chemical Geology, 545, 13 pages.
    2020 Godoy, B., McGee, L., González-Maurel, O., Rodríguez, I., le Roux, P., Morata, D., & Menzies, A. (2020). Upper crustal differentiation processes and their role in 238U-230Th disequilibria at the San Pedro-Linzor volcanic chain (Central Andes). Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 102, 11 pages.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS1
    2020 Friedrichs, B., Schmitt, A., McGee, L., & Turner, S. (2020). Corrigendum to ‘U–Th whole rock data and high spatial resolution U–Th disequilibrium and U–Pb zircon ages of Mt. Erciyes and Mt. Hasan Quaternary stratovolcanic complexes (Central Anatolia)’ [Data in Brief 29 (2020) 105113] (Data in Brief (2020) 29, (S235234092030007X), (10.1016/j.dib.2020.105113)). Data in Brief, 31, 106009.
    2019 Ruprecht, P., Caricchi, L., & McGee, L. (2019). SOTA7: State of the [continental] arc. Elements, 15(1), 68.
    2019 McGee, L. E., Reagan, M., Handley, H., Simon, T., Sparks, R. S., Berlo, K., . . . Turner, M. (2019). Volatile behaviour in the 1995-2010 eruption of the Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat recorded by U-series disequilibria in mafic enclaves and andesite host. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 524, 11 pages.
    DOI Scopus2 WoS1
    2019 McGee, L., Morgado, E., Brahm, R., Parada, M., Vinet, N., Lara, L. E., . . . Nowell, G. (2019). Stratigraphically controlled sampling captures the onset of highly fluid-fluxed melting at San Jorge volcano, Southern Volcanic Zone, Chile. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 174(12), 24 pages.
    DOI Scopus2 WoS2
    2018 Brahm, R., Parada, M., Morgado, E., Contreras, C., & McGee, L. (2018). Origin of Holocene trachyte lavas of the Quetrupillán volcanic complex, Chile: Examples of residual melts in a rejuvenated crystalline mush reservoir. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 357, 163-176.
    DOI Scopus4 WoS4
    2018 Handley, H., Reagan, M., Gertisser, R., Preece, K., Berlo, K., McGee, L., . . . Herd, R. (2018). Timescales of magma ascent and degassing and the role of crustal assimilation at Merapi volcano (2006–2010), Indonesia: constraints from uranium-series and radiogenic isotopic compositions. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 222, 34-52.
    DOI Scopus5 WoS4
    2017 Hopkins, J., Wilson, C., Millet, M., Leonard, G., Timm, C., McGee, L., . . . Smith, E. (2017). Multi-criteria correlation of tephra deposits to source centres applied in the Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand. Bulletin of Volcanology, 79(7), 35 pages.
    DOI Scopus13 WoS13
    2017 McGee, L., Brahm, R., Rowe, M., Handley, H., Morgado, E., Lara, L., . . . Valdivia, P. (2017). A geochemical approach to distinguishing competing tectono-magmatic processes preserved in small eruptive centres. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 172(6), 44-1-44-26.
    DOI Scopus9 WoS9
    2016 McGee, L., & Smith, I. (2016). Interpreting chemical compositions of small scale basaltic systems: A review. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 325, 45-60.
    DOI Scopus33 WoS31
    2015 McGee, L. E., Millet, M. A., Beier, C., Smith, I. E. M., & Lindsay, J. M. (2015). Mantle heterogeneity controls on small-volume basaltic volcanism: Reply. Geology, 43(11), e371.
    DOI Scopus2 WoS1
    2015 McGee, L., McLeod, C., & Davidson, J. (2015). A spectrum of disequilibrium melting preserved in lava-hosted, partially melted crustal xenoliths from the Wudalianchi volcanic field, NE China. Chemical Geology, 417, 184-199.
    DOI Scopus11 WoS10
    2015 Morgado, E., Parada, M. A., Contreras, C., Castruccio, A., Gutiérrez, F., & McGee, L. E. (2015). Contrasting records from mantle to surface of Holocene lavas of two nearby arc volcanic complexes: Caburgua-Huelemolle Small Eruptive Centers and Villarrica Volcano, Southern Chile. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 306, 1-16.
    DOI Scopus16 WoS16
    2015 McGee, L., Millet, M., Beier, C., Smith, I., & Lindsay, J. (2015). Mantle heterogeneity controls on small-volume basaltic volcanism. Geology, 43(6), 551-554.
    DOI Scopus18 WoS18
    2013 Le Corvec, N., Bebbington, M. S., Lindsay, J. M., & McGee, L. E. (2013). Age, distance, and geochemical evolution within a monogenetic volcanic field: Analyzing patterns in the Auckland Volcanic Field eruption sequence. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 14(9), 3648-3665.
    DOI Scopus30 WoS25
    2013 McGee, L. E., Smith, I. E. M., Millet, M. A., Handley, H. K., & Lindsay, J. M. (2013). Asthenospheric control of melting processes in a monogenetic basaltic system: A case study of the Auckland volcanic field, New Zealand. Journal of Petrology, 54(10), 2125-2153.
    DOI Scopus67 WoS66
    2012 McGee, L. E., Millet, M. A., Smith, I. E. M., Németh, K., & Lindsay, J. M. (2012). The inception and progression of melting in a monogenetic eruption: Motukorea Volcano, the Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand. Lithos, 155, 360-374.
    DOI Scopus50 WoS49
    2011 McGee, L. E., Beier, C., Smith, I. E. M., & Turner, S. P. (2011). Dynamics of melting beneath a small-scale basaltic system: A U-Th-Ra study from Rangitoto volcano, Auckland volcanic field, New Zealand. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 162(3), 547-563.
    DOI Scopus41 WoS40

ANZIC logoCurrent grant: August 2019 - November 2020: ANZIC (Australian and New Zealand International Ocean Discovery Program Consortium) Legacy grant for the project: "Calibrating metal isotope proxies in modern hydrothermal environments for ancient ore deposit applications". Awarded $19,500 AUD to investigate the metal transport system in modern, active hydrothermal systems using a combination of redox sensitive metal isotopes and radiogenic magmatic-environmental sensitive isotopes. Studying in detail the behaviour of metal species in modern-day oceanic settings allows us to relate chemical behaviour directly to processes, something which is much harder to establish in ancient terrestrial settings, and which is critical for the new age of mineral exploration. Partner investigators: Dr Juraj Farkas (University of Adelaide) and Dr Chris Yeats (Geological Survey of New South Wales).


Previous grants: October 2013-October 2016: University of Chile. FONDECYT (Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico - national funds for the development of science and technology) Iniciación en Investigación (initiation of research), Project number 11130296. “Investigating the link between volcano size and melting dynamics along the Andean arc: a study of Chilean monogenetic volcanic fields”. In collaboration with researchers at Macquarie University, the University of Iowa and the University of Durham. Value approximately 100.000.000 CLP (c. 200,000 USD) over three years.

2020 onwards: Semester 1: Igneous and Metamorphic Geology III (GEOLOGY_3016)

2019: Semester 2: Igneous and Metamorphic Geology II (GEOLOGY_2502)

Tutor for Principles and Practice in Research II and III (BSc Adv course)

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2020 Co-Supervisor How do sediment hosted Cu-Pb-Zn deposits form? Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Bradley Wade Cave
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2021 - ongoing Principal Supervisor What role do mafic magmas play in metal transport from mantle to crust? University of Adelaide Honours Full Time Oliver Pring
    2021 - ongoing Principal Supervisor Petrogenesis of magmas in the Antillanca volcanic complex (S. Chile) over space and time University of Adelaide Honours Full Time Declan Gear
    2020 - ongoing External Supervisor Integrated framework for the igneous evolution of the greater Delamerian Orogen University of South Australia Doctorate Full Time Stacey Curtis
    2020 - ongoing Principal Supervisor Sr Nd isotopes at the Kanmantoo Cu-Au deposit, South Australia University of Adelaide Honours Full Time William Rowe
    2019 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Cu isotopes in the Gawler Range Volcanics: applications for mineral exploration The University of Adelaide Honours Full Time Chris Lowczak

Connect With Me
External Profiles