Prof Steffen Büttner

Steffen Büttner is the lecturer for Structural Geology and Tectonics at Rhodes University. He has extensive field experience in the Variscan Belt of Europe, the Alps, the Central Andes, and the Cape Orogen and the Namaqua Belt in South Africa. His research interests are broad, covering aspects of the evolution of the continental crust from the micro- to the orogenic scale. Every now and then he is involved in consulting for the minerals industry in a variety of fields. He is a member of the GSSA and the DGGV (German Geological Society) and he regularly acts as an academic reviewer for a number of international journals and for research funding organisations, particularly for the NRF as a panel member of the National Equipment Program (NEP), of which he has been a member since 2011.

Steffen Büttner studied Geology at the Technical University in Darmstadt (Germany) where he obtained his MSc with projects on pressure-temperature analysis of medium- and high-grade metamorphic rocks from the Variscan Belt in Bavaria. During his PhD studies at the Goethe University in Frankfurt between 1992 and 1996 he investigated the tectonic and metamorphic evolution of high-T/low-P metamorphic crust in the late- and post-collisional crustal evolution in the Bohemian Massif (Austria). The project, supervised by Jörn Kruhl, was part of the Special Research Programme “Orogenic Processes” funded by the German Research Council (DFG). More recently, in 2016, he obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education (PGDipHE) from Rhodes University.

Between 1997 and 2002 he was a lecturer at the Technical University at Berlin, working in a research team led by Gerhard Franz. As a member of the DFG funded Special Research Programme “Tectonic Processes in the Andes” Steffen Büttner investigated the Ordovician-Silurian crustal evolution of the proto-Andean continental back-arc in the Sierras Pampeanas (NW Argentina), a region that since the 1980s had been interpreted as a collisional orogen. Together with other researchers of the Berlin team this view was successfully challenged.

In 2002 Steffen Büttner accepted a position as a Structural Geologist at Rhodes University where he continued to work in high-temperature/low-pressure metamorphic crust, now in the Namaqua Belt of South Africa, an orogen that received increasing interest in the past view years. Similar to the Sierras Pampeanas, the traditional tectonic model for the Namaqua Belt had proposed a collisional setting characterised by the accretion of exotic terranes. In a number of studies this view has been questioned on the basis of abundant evidence for a period of at least 200 m.y. crustal evolution in a high-temperature continental back-arc that reworked and overprinted coherent Paleoproterozoic lithosphere. This interpretation has become increasingly accepted in the contemporary literature.

Research related to the focus of, and funded by, CIMERA includes the analysis of hydrothermal gold deposits in the Kibaran basement of the Twangiza-Namoya Gold Belt in eastern DRC. This research aims at understanding the nature of the mineralising fluids and the timing and orogenic setting in which gold mineralisation took place. Another project, including the recently completed PhD project by Dr Charles Kankuzi, investigates the timing, nature and economic potential of gem-mineralised pegmatites in Malawi. These projects are in collaboration with the geochronology and isotope labs at Stellenbosch and the GFZ Potsdam (Dirk Frei, Johannes Glodny, and Michael Wiedenbeck, respectively).

A further CIMERA-funded project investigates the genesis and evolution of kimberlitic melt inclusions in olivine and ilmenite megacrysts from Monastery mine (South Africa). This project, in collaboration with Geoff Howarth (UCT), yielded the first comprehensive description and geochemical characterisation of kimberlitic glass.

Recent publications

Howarth, GH, Büttner, SH (2019) New constraints on archetypal South African kimberlite petrogenesis from quenched glass-rich melt inclusions in olivine megacrysts. Gondwana Research 68, 116–126.

Prevec, SA, Büttner, SH (2018) Multi-phase emplacement of impact melt sheet into footwall: offset dykes of the Sudbury Igneous Complex, Canada. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, DOI: 10.1111/maps.13076.

Büttner, SH, Reid, WK, Glodny, J, Wiedenbeck, M, Chuwa, G, Moloto, T, Gucsik, A (2016) Fluid sources in the Twangiza-Namoya Gold Belt (Democratic Republic of Congo): evidence from tourmaline and fluid compositions, and from boron and Rb-Sr isotope systematics. Precambrian Research 280, 161–178.

Bial, J, Büttner, SH, Appel, P (2016) Timing and conditions of regional metamorphism and crustal shearing in the granulite facies basement of south Namibia: Implications for the crustal evolution of the Namaqualand metamorphic basement in the Mesoproterozoic. Journal of African Earth Sciences 123, 145–176.

Büttner, SH, Reid, WK, Erasmus, R. (2016) Late Permian tectonics and fluid influx during the Cape Orogeny: evidence from fault-bound quartz veins in the Cape Supergroup, South Africa. South African Journal of Geology 119 (2), 379–398.

Bial, J, Büttner, SH, Schenk, V, Appel, P (2015) The long-term high-temperature history of the central Namaqua Metamorphic Complex: Evidence for a Mesoproterozoic continental back-arc in southern Africa. Precambrian Research 268, 243–278.

Büttner, SH (2015) Comment: “One kilometre-thick ultramylonite, Sierra de Quilmes, Sierras Pampeanas, NW Argentina” by M.A. Finch, R.F. Weinberg, M.G. Fuentes, P. Haslova, and R. Becchio, Journal of Structural Geology 72 (2015) 33-54. Journal of Structural Geology 76, 80–83.

Bial, J, Büttner, SH, Frei, D (2015) Formation and emplacement of two contrasting late- Mesoproterozoic magma types in the central Namaqua Metamorphic Complex (South Africa, Namibia): Evidence from geochemistry and geochronology. Lithos 224/225, 272–294.

Büttner, SH, Sherlock, S, Fryer, L, Lodge, J, Diale, T, Kazondunge, R, Macey, P (2013) Controls of host rock mineralogy and H2O content on the nature of pseudotachylyte melts: evidence from Pan-African faulting in the foreland of the Gariep Belt, South Africa. Tectonophysics 608, 552–575.

Büttner, SH (2012) Rock Maker: an MS Excel spreadsheet for the calculation of rock compositions from proportional whole rock analyses, mineral compositions, and modal abundance. Mineralogy and Petrology 104, 129–135.