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Philippe Claeys

Key Interests

  • Planetary Sciences

  • Asteroid and Comet Impact on Earth

  • Biogeoevolution of the Earth and Mass Extinctions

  • Biogeochemistry

  • Exo / Astrobiology

  • Global Changes and Paleoenvironmental Reconstructions

  • Geoarcheology

  • Environmental Geology

Dr. Philippe Claeys is a geologist, planetary scientist and geochemist working on the consequences of asteroid and comet impacts on the evolution of the bio-geosphere, such as mass extinction of organisms, or large scale global climatic changes. In 1993, he obtained a PhD from the University of California at Davis (UC Davis), carried out postdoctoral research at UCLA, before moving to UC Berkeley as research geologist in the team of Walter Alvarez. He also held the position of senior scientist at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, prior to accepting, in 2001, a professorship at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).

He heads the research unit Analytical- Environmental- & Geo-Chemistry and the interfaculty Earth System Science group.

He also teaches as a visiting professor in Ghent University, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and University of Liège. He was president of Geologica Belgica, the Belgian Geological Society and is the author of numerous scientific publications including several in Nature and Science. In 2016-2017 he was a Visiting Professor in the department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and International Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver.

When not traveling the world looking for clues to better understand the 4.5 billion years of evolution of planet Earth, Philippe enjoys working in the lab with PhD students and close colleagues on projects ranging from astrobiology to geoarcheology. A hot research topic is currently the search for meteorites in the blue ice fields of Antarctica, together with partners from the ULB and National Institute of Polar Research in Tokyo.  More than 1200 samples have been recovered so far; each new meteorite provides clues to understand the evolution of the solar system and the formation of planets.

Main Publications

Van Ham-Meert*, A., Rademakers, F., W., Claeys, Ph., Gurnet, F., Gyselen, R., Overlaet, B., Degryse, P., Novel analytical protocols for elemental and isotopic analysis of lead coins—Sasanian lead coins as a case study, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 11, 7, 3375-3388, 2019


Van Ham-Meert*, A., Overlaet, B., Claeys, Ph., Degryse, P., The use of µXRF for the elemental analysis of Sasanian lead coins from the collections of the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels, Res Orientales, XXVI, 121-128, 2017. ISBN 979-10-97059-00-2


Makarona, C., Mattielli, N., Laha, P., Terryn, H., Nys, K., Claeys, Ph., Leave no mudstone unturned: Geochemical proxies for provenancing mudstone temper sources in South-Western Cyprus, Journal of Archeological Science: Reports, 7, 458-464, 2016, DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2015.08.012


Renson, V., Ben-Shlomo, D., Coenaerts, J., Charbit-Nataf, K., Samaes, M., Mattielli, N., Nys, K., Claeys, Ph. Coupling lead isotope analysis and petrography to characterize fabrics of storage and trade containers from Hala Sultan Tekke (Cyprus), Archeometry, 56, 2, 261-278, 2014, DOI: 10.1111/arcm.12017


Renson* V., Jacobs A., Coenaerts J., Mattielli N., Nys K., Claeys Ph., Using lead isotopes to determine Cypriote pottery provenance - Signature of Cypriote clay sources and comparison with Late Bronze Age Cypriote pottery, Geoarcheology, 28, 517-530, 2013, DOI:10.1002/gea21454

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