Leo Kriegsman

Leo Kriegsman

My research and teaching concern the deep and early Earth, because knowing the history of our planet will help making reasonable predictions about our future. After studying geology in Utrecht and working in Mainz, Sydney and Leoben, I became Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at Turku University (Finland, 1998-2002). After many years in management I am now a senior researcher at Naturalis and 1 day per week associate professor at Utrecht University.


Deep Earth, Precambrian, tectonics, metamorphism, crustal melting, geochronology, meteorites

Dr. Leo Kriegsman

Senior researcher geology
Taxonomy & systematics


Precambrian geology

I notably study the first 88% of Earth’s history, the Precambrian, when Earth, the rest of the Solar System, and Life, all started, and when most mineral resources were formed.

Key events in the Precambrian include: (i) formation of the Solar System, including the Earth, and subsequent core-mantle separation (see Current Topic 1); (ii) growth and stabilisation of Earth’s crust and, eventually, the continents and oceans (see Current Topic 2); (iii) origin of life; (iv) making and breaking of supercontinents, global ice ages, rise of atmospheric oxygen; and much more. Some unresolved issues, figuring in my research and teaching, are the onset of modern plate tectonics, and the demise of greenstone belts (see Current Topic 3).

typical Precambrian gneiss, Munwatte, Sri Lanka


A selection of topics I am currently working on.

chondrule in Broek in Waterland meteorite

Dutch meteorites

Characterization of two new Dutch meteorites in our collections, namely the Diepenveen carbonaceous chrondrite and the Broek in Waterland ordinary chondrite. Both meteorites provide information on the early days of our Solar System. The first results on…
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spinel crystals in melted xenolith, Cerro del Hoyazo, Spain

Processes in deep, ultrahot crust

Deep crustal processes underneath active collisional mountain belts commonly involve high-temperature metamorphism and crustal melting, which has stabilized the crust in the early days of our planet. Research into such processes has brought me to Sri Lanka…
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open pit goldmine Suriname

Precambrian geology of Suriname

Since two years I work with staff and students from Utrecht University on age patterns (U-Pb zircon geochronology by LA-ICP-MS), tectonics and Au mineralisation of Suriname. We focus on the Precambrian geology of the Marowijne Greenstone Belt, one of the…
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The last young researcher to finish a PhD under my (co-)supervision was Prasanna Dharmapriya of Peradeniya University, Sri Lanka. He succesfully defended his PhD thesis on the ultrahigh-temperature metamorphism of Precambrian Sri Lanka and obtained his doctoral title on 14 December 2016. Prasanna is now a Lecturer at the same university.

Another PhD researcher, Mahinda Ratnayake, whom I supervised in recent years and who worked at the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau in Colombo, sadly passed away March 2019. I dedicate the field picture in Sri Lanka to the memory of this kind colleague with whom I shared many field adventures.

Mahinda Ratnayake (r.) and Leo Kriegsman (l.) studying a road section in Sri Lanka


I regularly contribute to teaching in three Dutch universities:

  • Utrecht: 12-16 hours within MSc course (GEO4-1403) Petrological and Geochemical Evolution of the Earth (since 2016); 8-12 hours within MSc course (GEO4-1435) Advanced Mineralogy and Petrology (since 2018); full BSc course (GEO3-1306) Chemical Geodynamics (since 2020)
  • VU Amsterdam: 3 hours within MSc course (AM_450164) Precambrian Geology (2017-2020)
  • Leiden: 4 hours within MSc course Palaeobiology (since 2018); 2 weeks' excursion with 25 students to Normandy and Brittany, second half of August, as part of the honours' curriculum (since 2015)
  • In June 2019, I co-supervised fieldwork with 40 first-year students  from Utrecht University in Aliaga, Spain; hopefully again in 2022
  • Finally, I co-supervise several BSc and/or MSc students at Utrecht University each year.

In the

De 1e aflevering (van 6) van de tv serie ‘Govert naar de grenzen van het heelal’ begon in Broek in Waterland waar Govert Schilling en ik spraken over de meteoriet met dezelfde naam. Dinsdag 14 Mei 2019 om 21:10 op NPO2.

Te bekijken op  http://www.ntr.nl/govert.

Leo Kriegsman met meteoriet