Matthijs A. Smit

Associate Professor

Canada Research Chair (Tier II)

EOS-South 363
(604) 827-0195
Not accepting students

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 dynamics 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 co-dependent siblings: the continental crust and mantle in ancient and modern cratons and orogens", 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 run the Lu-Hf garnet chronology laboratory at PCIGR, which is open to external users and can be used upon request.


2021-now:     Associate Professor, CRC Tier II, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

2014-now:     Visiting Researcher, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden

2014-2021:    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


PDFs and RAs

  • Postdoctoral Fellow

Graduate Students

  • MSc
  • MSc
  • PhD Geological Sciences
  • PhD

Zhu, M., Pastor-Galán, D., Smit, M.A., Sanchir, D., Zhang, F., Liu, C., Luo, Y., Miao, L. (2024) The beginning of a Wilson cycle in an accretionary orogen: The Mongol-Okhotsk Ocean opened assisted by a Devonian mantle plume. Geophys. Res. Lett. doi: 10.1029/2024GL109028 (link).

Cutts, J.A., Regis, D., Pehrsson, S.J., Graziani, R., Petts, D.C., Smit, M. A., & Knox, B. (2024). Circa 1.9 Ga Rae-Hearne collision from Lu–Hf garnet chronology in eclogites. Terra Nova, 1–8. doi: 10.1111/ter.12709 (link)

Smit, M.A., Vrijmoed, J.C., Scherer, E.E., Mezger, K., Kooijman, E., Schmitt-Kielman, M., Tual, L., Guilmette, C., Ratschbacher, L. (2024) Retentiveness of REE in garnet with implications for garnet Lu-Hf chronology. J. Metamorph. Geol. doi: 10.1111/jmg.12769 (link).

Smit, M.A., Musiyachenko, K.A., Goumans, J. (2024) Archaean continental crust formed from mafic cumulates. Nature Comm. 15, 692, doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-44849-4 (link).

Barnes C.J., Gilio, M., Bukała, M., Włodek, A., Majka, J., Smit, M.A., Alvaro, M. (2023) Garnet–quartz inclusion thermobarometry and Lu–Hf chronology detail the pre-ultra-high pressure metamorphic history of the Grapesvare nappe, Scandinavian Caledonides. J. Petrol. egad086, doi: 10.1093/petrology/egad086 (link).

Guilmette, C., van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., Smit, M.A., Godet, A., Fournier-Roy, F., Butler, J.P., Maffione, M., Li, S., Hodges, K.V. (2023) Formation of the Xigaze Metamorphic Sole under Tibetan continental lithosphere reveals generic characteristics of subduction initiation. Nature Commun. Earth Environ. 4, 339, doi: 10.1038/s43247-023-01007-w (link).

Berman, R., Cutts, J.A., Davis, W.J., Camacho, A., Sanborn-Barrie, M., Smit, M.A. (2023) The tectonic evolution of Thelon tectonic zone, Canada: a new model based on petrological modeling linked with Lu-Hf garnet and U-Pb accessory mineral geochronology. Can. J. Earth Sci. 60, 550-582, doi:  10.1139/cjes-2022-0147 (link).

Zhu, M., Zhang, F., Smit, M. A., Pastor-Galán, D., Guilmette, C., Miao, L.,Miao, L., Zou, Y., Yang, S., Ganbar, A., Tual, L., Wang, Z. (2023) Discovery of a >1,000 km Cambrian eclogite-bearing high-pressure metamorphic belt in the Central Asian Orogenic Belt: Implications for the final closure of the Pan-Rodinian Ocean. J. Geoph. Res. Solid Earth 128, e2022JB025388, doi: 10.1029/2022JB025388 (link).

Graziani, R., Larson, K.P., Smit, M.A., Cottle, J.M., Lamming, J., Piette-Lauziere, N. (2022) Modern style nappe stacking in the Paleoproterzoic lower crust: An example from the snowbird tectonic zone, Canadian Shield. Prec. Res. 380, 106817, doi: 10.1016/j.precamres.2022.106817 (link).

Caton, S., Smit, M.A., Emo, R.B., Musiyachenko, K., Kielman-Schmitt, M., Kooijman, E., Scherstén, A., Halla, J., Bleeker, W., Hoffmann, J.E., Pandey, O.P., Ravindran, A., Maltese, A., Mezger, K. (2022) Evolution of the sources of TTG and associated rocks during the Archean from in-situ 87Sr/86Sr isotope analysis of apatite by LA-MC-ICPMS. Lithos 428–429, 106830, doi: 10.1016/j.lithos.2022.106830 (link).

Tual, L., Smit, M.A., Kooijman, E., Schmitt-Kielman, M., Cutts, J.A., Majka, J., Foulds, I. (2022) Rapid, paced metamorphism of blueschists (Syros, Greece) from laser-based zoned Lu-Hf garnet chronology and LA-ICPMS trace element mapping. Chem. Geol. 121003, doi: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2022.121003 (link).

Tual, L., Smit, M.A., Kooijman, E., Schmitt-Kielman, M., Ratschbacher, L. (2022) Garnet, zircon, and monazite age and REE signatures in (ultra)high‐temperature and high‐pressure rocks: Examples from the Caledonides and the Pamir. J. Metamorph. Geol. doi: 10.1111/jmg.12667 (link).

Lihter, I., Larson, K.P., Smit, M.A., Cottle, J.M., Ashley, K.T., Shrestha, S. (2022) Decrypting the polymetamorphic record of the Himalaya. Geology doi: 10.1130/G49467.1 (link).

Gaidies, F., Heldwein, O.K.A., Yogi, M.T.A.G., Cutts, J.A., Smit, M.A., Rice, A.H. (2021) Testing the equilibrium model: An example from the Caledonian Kalak Nappe Complex (Finnmark, Arctic Norway). J. Metamorph. Geol. doi: 10.1111/jmg12648 (link).

Bovay, T., Lanari, P., Rubatto, D., Smit, M.A., Piccoli, F. (2021) Pressure–temperature–time evolution of subducted crust revealed by complex garnet zoning (Theodul Glacier Unit, Switzerland). J. Metamorph. Geol. 40, 175-206. doi: 10.1111/jmg.12623 (link).

Godet, A., Guilmette, C., Labrousse, L., Smit, M.A., Cutts, J.A., Davis, D.W., Vanier, M.-A. (2021) Lu‐Hf garnet dating and the timing of collisions: Paleoproterozoic accretionary tectonics revealed in the Southeastern Churchill Province, Trans‐Hudson Orogen, Canada. J. Metamorph Geol. 39, 977-1007. doi:10.1111/jmg.12599 (link).

Yang, S., Miao, L., Liu, C., Zhang, F., Smit, M.A., Zhu, M., Baatar, M. (2021)  Late Carboniferous-Middle Permian granitoids in South Mongolia: Implications for post-subduction processes in Southern Central Asian Orogenic Belt. Int. Geol. Rev. doi: 10.1080/00206814.2021.1878395 (link).

Shrestha, S., Larson, K.P., Martin, A.J., Guilmette, C., Smit, M.A., Cottle J.M. (2020) The Greater Himalayan thrust belt: Insight into the assembly of the exhumed Himalayan metamorphic core, Modi Khola valley, central Nepal. Tectonics doi: 10.1029/2020TC006252 (link).

Larson, K.P., Shrestha, S., Soret, M., Smit, M.A. (2020) The P-T-t-D evolution the Mahabharat, east-central Nepal: The out-of-sequence development of the Himalaya. Geosci. Frontiers doi: 10.1016/j.gsf.2020.08.001 (link).

Bauer, K., Byrne, J., Kenward, P., Simister, R., Michiels, C., Friese, A., Vuillemin, A., Henny, C., Nomosatryo, S., Kallmeyer, J., Kappler, A., Smit, M.A., Francois, R., Crowe, S. (2020) Magnetite biomineralization in ferruginous waters and early Earth evolution. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 549, 116495 (link).

Thiessen, E.J., Gibson, H.D., Regis, D., Pehrsson, S.J., Smit, M.A. (2020) Distinct metamorphic stages and structural styles within the 1.94 to 1.86 Ga Snowbird Orogen, Northwest Territories, Canada. J. Metamorph. Geol. doi: 10.1111/jmg.12556 (link).

Smit, M.A., Pogge von Strandmann, P.A.E. (2020) Deep fluid release in warm subduction zones from a breached slab seal. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 534, 116046 (link).

Volante, S., Pourteau, A., Collins, W.J., Blereau, E., Li, Z.-X., Smit, M.A., Evans, N.J., Nordsvan, A.R., Spencer, C.J., McDonald, B.J., Li, J., Günter, C. (2020) Multiple P-T-d-t paths reveal the evolution of the final Nuna assembly in northeast Australia. J. Metamorph. Geol. doi: 10.1111/jmg.12532 (link).

Godet, A., Guilmette, C., Labrousse, L., Smit, M.A., Davis, D.W., Raimondo, T., Vanier, M.-A., Charette, B., Lafranche, I. (2020) Contrasting P-T-t paths reveal a metamorphic discontinuity in the New Quebec Orogen: Insights into Paleoproterozoic orogenic processes. Prec. Res. 342, 105675 (link).

Cutts, J.A., Smit, M.A., Vrijmoed, J.C. (2020) Evidence for non-lithostatic pressure in subducted continental crust. Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 175, 3​ (link).

Godet, A., Guilmette, C., Labrousse, L., Davis, D.W., Smit, M.A., Cutts, J.A., Vanier, M.-A., Lafrance, I., Charette, B. (2020) Complete metamorphic cycle and long lived anatexis in the ~2.1 Ga Mistinibi Complex, Canada. J. Metamorph. Geol. doi: 10.1111/jmg.12521 (link).

Smit, M.A., Scherstén, A., Næraa, T., Emo, R.B., Scherer, E.E., Sprung, P., Bleeker, W., Mezger, K., Maltese, A., Cai, M.Y., Rasbury, E.T., Whitehouse, M. (2019) Formation of Archean continental crust constrained by boron isotopes. Geochem. Persp. Lett. 12, 23-26 (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).​

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).​

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).

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).​

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. 37, 633-666 (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 Geosci10, 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).​