Matthijs A. Smit

Assistant Professor

Canada Research Chair (Tier II)

EOS-South 363
(604) 827-0195

My research focuses on constraining the dynamics and geochemistry of the lithosphere through time. Current research topics are: 1) timing and duration of petrological processes; 2) formation and differentiation of the early continental crust; 3) processes of continental collision and exhumation; 4) controlling factors and novel applications in chronology (Lu-Hf, U-Pb, Sm-Nd); 5) feedbacks among reactive fluid flow, phase changes and deformation in subducted crust.

The research is done as part of the collaborative research initiative "Earth’s codependent siblings: studying dynamic interactions between crust and mantle in ancient and modern continents", which is funded through CFI, BC-KDF and NSERC. The main goals of this program are to determine when and how the (early) continental lithosphere was made, and how it has since been processed along active margins and in collisional mountain belts. The project makes use of the world-leading analytical infrastructure at PCIGR and integrates field research, and petrological and micro-structural analysis, with analytical geochemistry and mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS, LA-ICPMS, TIMS). Current research focuses on rocks from the deep crust and mantle exposed in Scandinavia, Greenland, Canada, South Africa, and Central Asia. As part of this program, I established and coordinate the Lu-Hf garnet chronology facility at PCIGR. This facility is open to external users and can be used upon request.


2014-now:    Assistant Professor, CRC Tier II, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
2013-2014:   Adjunct Professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
2011-2013:    Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.
2010:             PhD (Mineralogy), Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany.
2006:            MSc (Earth Sciences), Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Graduate Students

PhD Geological Sciences
MSc Geological Sciences
  • Cutts, J.A., Smit, M.A., Spengler, D., Kooijman, E., van Roermund, H.L.M. (2019) Two billion years of mantle evolution in sync with global tectonic cycles. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 528, 115820 (link).​
  • Giordano, D., ​González-García, D., Russell, J.K., Raneri, S., Bersani, D., Fornasini, L., Di Genova, D., Ferrando, S., Kaliwoda, M., Lottici, P., Smit, M.A., Dingwell, D.B. (2019) A calibrated database of Raman spectra for natural silicate glasses: implications for modelling melt physical properties. J. Raman Spectrosc., doi: 10.1002/jrs.5675 (link).
  • Thiessen, E.J., Gibson, H.D., Regis, D., Pehrsson, S.J., Cutts, J.A., Smit, M.A. (2019) High-grade metamorphism flying under the radar of accessory minerals. Geology 47, 568-572 (link).
  • Walczak, K., Cuthbert, S.J., Kooijman, E., Majka, J., Smit, M.A. (2019) U-Pb zircon age dating of diamond-bearing gneiss from Fjørtoft reveals repeated burial of the Baltoscandian margin during the Caledonian Orogeny. Geol. Mag., doi: 10.1017/S0016756819000268 (link).
  • Soret, M., Larson, K.P., Cottle, J.M., Smit, M.A., Johnson, A., Shrestha, S., Ali, A., Faisal, S. (2019) Mesozoic to Cenozoic tectono-metamorphic history of the South Pamir – Hindu Kush (Chitral, NW Pakistan): insights from phase equilibria modelling, and garnet – monazite petrochronology. J. Metamorph. Geol., doi: 10.1111/jmg.12479 (link).
  • Cutts, J.A., Smit, M.A., Schmitt, M., Kooijman, E. (2019) Two-stage cooling and exhumation of deeply subducted continents. Tectonics 38, 863-877 (link).
  • Pourteau, A., Smit, M.A., Li, Z.-X., Collins, W.J., Nordsvan, A.R., Volante, S., Li, J. (2018) 1.6 Ga crustal thickening along the final Nuna suture. Geology 46, 959-962 (link).
  • Guilmette, C., Smit, M.A., van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., Corfu, F., Gürer, D., Charette, B., Maffione, M., Rabeau, O., Savard, D. (2018) Forced subduction initiation revealed by crust-sole geochronology of the Semail ophiolite. Nature Geosci. 11, 688–695 (link).
  • Emo, R.B., Smit, M.A., Schmitt, M., Kooijman, E., Scherer, E.E., Sprung, P., Bleeker, W., Mezger, K. (2018) Evidence for evolved Hadean crust from Sr isotopes in apatite within Eoarchean zircon from the Acasta Gneiss Complex. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. 235, 450-462 (link).
  • Briggs, S.I., Cottle, J.M., Smit, M.A. (2018) Record of plate boundary metamorphism during Gondwana breakup from Lu–Hf garnet geochronology of the Alpine Schist, New Zealand. J. Metamorph. Geol. 36, 821–841 (link).
  • Cutts, J.A., Smit, M.A. (2018) Rates of deep continental burial from Lu-Hf garnet chronology and Zr-in-rutile thermometry on (ultra-)high pressure rocks. Tectonics 37, 71-88 (link).
  • Smit, M.A., Mezger, K. (2017) Earth’s early O2 cycle suppressed by primitive continents. Nature Geosci. 10, 788-792 (link) (N&V).​
  • Shrestha, S., Larson, K.P., Guilmette, C., Smit, M.A. (2017) The P-T-t evolution of the exhumed Himalayan metamorphic core in the Likhu Khola region, East Central Nepal. J. Metamorph. Geol. 35, 663-693 (link).​
  • Kooijman, E., Smit, M.A., Ratschbacher, L., Kylander-Clark, A.R.C. (2017) A view into crustal evolution at mantle depths. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 465, 59-69 (link).​
  • Smit, M.A., Waight, T.E., Nielsen, T.F.D. (2016) Millennia of magmatism recorded in crustal xenoliths from alkaline provinces in Southwest Greenland. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 451, 241-250 (link).
  • Hagen-Peter, G., Cottle, J., Smit, M.A., Cooper, A.F. (2016) Coupled garnet Lu-Hf and monazite U-Pb geochronology constrain early convergent margin dynamics in the Ross orogen, Antarctica. J. Metamorph. Geol. 34, 293-319 (link).
  • Borst, A.M., Friis, H., Andersen, T., Nielsen, T.F.D., Waight, T.E., Smit, M.A. (2016) Zirconosilicates in the kakortokites of the Ilímaussaq complex, South Greenland: Implications for fluid evolution and HFSE-REE mineralisation in agpaitic systems. Mineral. Mag. 80, 5-30 (link).​
  • Smit, M.A., Ratschbacher, L., Kooijman, E., Stearns, M.A. (2014) Early evolution of the Pamir deep crust from Lu-Hf and U-Pb geochronology and garnet thermometry. Geology 42, 1047-1050 (link).​
  • Smit, M.A., Hacker, B.R., Lee, J. (2014) Tibetan garnet records early Eocene initiation of thickening in the Himalaya. Geology 42, 591-594 (link).​
  • Kellett, D.A., Cottle, J.M., Smit, M.A. (2014) Eocene deep crust at Ama Drime, Tibet: Early evolution of the Himalayan orogen. Lithosph. 6, 220-229 (link).​
  • Smit, M.A., Scherer, E.E., Mezger, K. (2013) Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd garnet geochronology: chronometric closure and implications for dating petrological processes. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 381, 222-233 (link).​
  • Smit, M.A., Scherer, E.E., Mezger, K. (2013) Peak metamorphic temperatures from cation diffusion zoning in garnet. J. Metamorph. Geol. 31, 339-358 (link).​
  • Kooijman, E., Smit, M.A., Mezger, K., Berndt, J. (2012) Trace element systematics in granulite facies rutile: implications for Zr geothermometry and provenance studies. J. Metamorph. Geol. 30, 397-412 (link).​
  • Smit, M.A., Scherer, E.E., John, T., Janssen, A. (2011) Creep of garnet in eclogite: Mechanisms and implications. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 311, 411-419 (link).​
  • Smit, M.A., Bröcker, M., Kooijman, E., Scherer, E.E. (2011) Provenance and exhumation of an exotic eclogite-bearing nappe in the Caledonides: a U–Pb and Rb–Sr study of the Jæren nappe, SW Norway. J. Geol. Soc. London 168, 421-439 (link).​
  • Smit, M.A., Scherer, E.E., Bröcker, M., van Roermund, H.L.M. (2010) Timing of eclogite facies metamorphism in the southernmost Scandinavian Caledonides by Lu–Hf and Sm–Nd geochronology. Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 159, 521-539 (link).​
  • Smit, M.A., Bröcker, M., Scherer, E.E. (2008) Aragonite and magnesite in eclogites from the Jæren nappe, SW Norway: disequilibrium in the system CaCO3–MgCO3 and petrological implications. J. Metamorph. Geol. 26, 959-979 (link).​