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James Brenan

Professor, Departmental Chair


Starting: January 1st, 2016

Department of Earth Sciences

Email: JBrenan@Dal.Ca
Phone: +1 902 494 2358
Fax: +1 902 494 6889
Mailing Address: 
Dalhousie University
1459 Oxford Street
PO BOX 15000
Halifax NS B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Petrology
  • Mineral deposits


   Life Sciences Centre
   3rd Floor Ocean Wing
   Rm. 3612
  Floor Plans


Brenan’s research focuses on experimental studies related to the behaviour of trace elements during igneous and hydrothermal processes.

High Pressure Laboratory

Current areas of study investigated  by his research group include:

  1.  the role of chromite and olivine in fractionating Re and platinum group elements in mafic igneous systems
  2. diffusion of Re, Os and Pt in sulfides and oxides with implications for “closure” of the Re-Os and Pt-Os isotopic systems
  3. constraints on Earth differentiation from siderophile element geochemistry
  4. behaviour of siderophile and chalcophile elements during the solidification of massive sulfide ore
  5. partitioning of redox-sensitive elements in mineral-melt systems
  6. fluid/mineral partitioning with application to the origin of subduction zone magmas.


Ph.D. (Geology) Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, USA) 1990
B.Sc. (Geological Sciences, Honours), McGill University (Montreal, Canada) 1985


Julian Boldy Award for Best Paper in Mineral Deposit Research, 2012

Dean’s Outstanding Teaching Award, University of Toronto, 2004

Hawley Medal, Best Paper Award, Mineralogical Association of Canada, 2003

Young Scientist Medal, Mineralogical Association of Canada, 2002

Premier’s Research Excellence Award, 2000

Fellow and Life Member of the Mineralogical Society of America, 1998-present

Mineralogical Society of America Award, 1998