AG Petrology of the Ocean Crust

Room 5320

Department of Geosciences
University of Bremen
Klagenfurter Straße 2
28359 Bremen

Phone: +49 421 218 65405
Fax: +49 421 218 65429

Elmar Albers

Research Theme

Mass transfers during water-rock interactions at divergent and convergent plate boundary settings

Low-angle detachment faults at slow spreading ridges commonly lead to the formation of oceanic core complexes, which expose mantle rocks at the seafloor. Next to typical mantle material, detachment faults in many cases exhibit troctolites that appear to have their origin in magmatic impregnations. The troctolites form mechanically weak minerals such as talc and other hydrous minerals (e.g., serpentine, chlorite) during alteration, which may lubricate fault zones and facilitate slip along faults. A relation between magmatism and detachment faulting has thus been suggested. With the goal to test the hypothesis that melt impregnation plays a key role in early detachment fault evolution, I work on ODP samples from the 15°20’ N region of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Multiple petrological and geochemical approaches provide insights if magmatic impregnation or fluid-induced metasomatism play a larger overall role in weakening detachment fault rocks and stabilising the detachment, allowing it to persist for time spans approaching millions of years and accumulate tens of km of throw on a single fault.

With the aim to contribute to furthering our understanding of subduction zone processes, I as well work on clasts of serpentinised mantle peridotite that are being erupted at several mud volcanoes along the Mariana forearc. Earlier studies have shown that these clasts provide unique windows into mantle wedge and subduction channel processes: the poly-stage evolution of reactions between ultramafic rocks and fluids in one of these mud volcanoes were reconstructed based on geochemical compositions of the varied phases and textural analyses of the rocks. In my project, I focus on investigating the history of veining and hydrothermal alteration of mantle peridotites in the root and feeder zones of the mud volcanoes and how they may differ along the trench. Main approaches include the use of µ-CT imaging, electron microprobe analyses of secondary phases, and phase equilibria analyses during the different stages of water–rock interactions.


  • 09.09.2016 - 23.10.2016: PS101 / ARK XXX-3: Karasik seamount (Gakkel Ridge, Arctic Ocean) at 86°N 60°E; Tromsø (Norway) - Bremerhaven
  • 08.12.2016 - 07.02.2017: IODP Exp. 366: Mariana forearc region; Guam (US) - Hongkong (China)

Scientific career

  • 2008 - 2011: B.Sc. Geociences at Bremen University
    • 2010: Exchange semester at Háskóli Íslands, Iceland
    • 2011: Bachelor thesis: "The development of a polar South Pacific biofluctiation stratigraphy based on the radiolarian Cycladophora davisiana" (AWI Bremerhaven)
  • 2011 - 2014: M.Sc. Marine Geosciences at Bremen University
    • 2014: Master thesis: "Petrological investigations of peridotite xenoliths occuring in a tephriphonolite lava from La Palma (Canary Islands)"
  • 2015 - 2019: Ph.D. student at the research group "Petrology of the Ocean Crust" at Bremen University
    • February 2019: Dr. rer. nat. in Geosciences


  • Albers E, Bach W, Klein F, Menzies CD, Lucassen F, Teagle DAH (in review): Fluid–rock interactions in the shallow Mariana forearc: carbon cycling and redox conditions. Solid Earth Discuss..
    | doi:10.5194/se-2019-51 |
  • Albers E, Schroeder T, Bach W (2019): Melt-impregnation of mantle peridotite facilitates high-temperature hydration and mechanical weakening: implications for oceanic detachment faults. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 20(1), 84-108.
    | doi:10.1029/2018GC007783 |
  • Debret B, Albers E, Walter B, Price R, Barnes JD, Beunon H, Facq S, Gillikin DP, Mattielli N, Williams H (2019): Shallow forearc mantle dynamics and geochemistry: New insights from the IODP expedition 366. Lithos 326-327, 230-245.
    | doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2018.10.038 |
  • Fryer P, Wheat CG, Williams T, Albers E, Bekins B, Debret BPR, Deng J, Dong Y, Eickenbusch P, Frery EA, Ichiyama Y, Johnson K, Jonston RM, Kevorkian RT, Kurz W, Magalhaes V, Mantovanelli SS, Menapace W, Menzies CD, Michibayashi K, Moyer C, Mullane KK, Park J-W, Price RE, Ryan JG, Shervais JW, Sissmann OJ, Suzuki S, Takai K, Walter B and Zhang R (2018): Expedition 366 summary, in: Fryer P, Wheat CG, Williams T and the Expedition 366 Scientists, Mariana Convergent Margin and South Chamorro Seamount. Proceedings of the International Ocean Discovery Program 366, College Station (TX).
    | doi:10.14379/iodp.proc.366.101.2018 |
  • Walter M, Albers E, Bäger J, Diehl A, German C, Hand KP, Horn M, Köhler J, McDermott J, Molari M, Steinmacher B, Wegener G, Wischnewski L, Mertens C, Sültenfuß J, Hoppmann M, Damm E, Bach W, Seewald J (2017): Physical oceanography and biogeochemistry of hydrothermal plumes, in: Boetius A, Purser A (eds.) The expedition PS101 of the Research Vessel POLARSTERN to the Arctic Ocean in 2016. Reports on Polar and Marine Research 706, 63–80.
    | doi:10.2312/BzPM_0706_2017 |
  • Diehl A, Albers E, German CR, Hand KP, Bach W (2017): Geology and hard rock petrology, in: Boetius A, Purser A (eds.) The expedition PS101 of the Research Vessel POLARSTERN to the Arctic Ocean in 2016. Reports on Polar and Marine Research 706, 41–50.
    | doi:10.2312/BzPM_0706_2017 |
  • Fryer P, Wheat G, Williams T, and the Expedition 366 Scientists (2017): Expedition 366 Preliminary Report: Mariana convergent margin and South Chamorro seamount, International Ocean Discovery Program.
    | doi:10.14379/ |


Conference Abstracts

  • Debret B, Mattielli N, Albers E, Walter B, Price R, Barnes J D, Beunon H, Williams H (2018): Role of the forearc in the geochemistry of subduction zones: new insights from the IODP Expedition 366. Goldschmidt Conference 2018, Boston, United States.
  • Albers E, Klein F, Bach W, and the Expedition 366 Scientists (2018): Carbon mobilisation in the shallow Mariana subduction zone: insights from IODP Exp. 366. EGU Galileo Conference, Leibnitz, Austria.
  • Menapace W, Albers E, and the Expedition 366 Scientists (2018): IODP Expedition 366: Mariana convergent margin & South Chamorro seamount. IODP/ICDP Kolloquium, Bochum, Germany.
  • Albers E, Klein F, Bach W, and the Expedition 366 Scientists (2018): Carbonate–silicate–sulfate veins in metavolcanic clasts recovered from serpentinite mud volcanoes in the Mariana forearc (IODP Exp. 366). EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria (Poster).
  • Albers E & Exp. 366 Scientists (2017): IODP Exp. 366 to the Mariana forearc: blue mud from serpentinite mud volcanoes. GeoBremen 2017, Bremen, Germany.
  • Beyer L, Albers E, Kahl W-A, Bach W & Exp. 366 Scientists (2017): Polyphase alteration of ultramafic clasts from a serpentinite mud volcano (Mariana forearm) unveils shallow subduction zone processes. GeoBremen 2017, Bremen, Germany (Poster).
  • Albers E, Schroeder T, Bach W (2017): High-temperature hydration of melt impregnated lithospheric mantle in the 15°20’N F. Z. Area, MAR. Goldschmidt Conference 2017, Paris, France (Poster).
  • Marcon Y, Purser A, Diehl A, Albers E, Türke A, McDermott J, German C, Hand K, Schlindwein V, Dorschel B, Wegener G, Boetius A, Bach W (2017): Geological settings of hydrothermal vents at 6°15’W and 55°30’E on the Gakkel Ridge, Arctic Ocean. Goldschmidt Conference 2017, Paris, France (Poster).
  • McDermott J, Albers E, Bach W, Diehl A, German C, Hand K, Koehler J, Seewald J, Walter M, Wegener G, Wischnewski L (2017): Geochemistry, physics, and dispersion of a Gakkel Ridge hydrothermal plume, 87°N, 55°30’E. Goldschmidt Conference 2017, Paris, France (Poster).
  • Albers E, Bach W, Kahl W-A (2016): Ultramafic clasts from serpentine mud volcanoes (Mariana forearc). DMG Sektionstreffen Petrologie/ Petrophysik & Geochemie, Bremen, Germany (Poster).