Emma Hunt

Emma Hunt

Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences

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Emma Hunt is a geologist who studies petrology – the origin, crystallisation, composition and small-scale structure of rocks along with their potential as mineral resources. She uses a variety of tools to understand rock formation from the microscopic to kilometre scale imaging. Her main research interests are igneous petrology, economic geology, geochemistry and geophysics.

Before arriving at Furman, Dr Hunt studied for her MGeoscience at the University of Keele in the UK, completing her thesis on the development of chromitites. She obtained her PhD from the University of St Andrews, UK, focusing on the formation of layered kakortokite (agpaitic nepheline syenite) from the Ilímaussaq Complex, South Greenland. Dr Hunt’s postdoctoral work focused on the formation of complex igneous structures, known as potholes, in the Bushveld Complex, South Africa at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Throughout her career, Emma has completed geology fieldwork within the US, UK, Europe and South Africa.

Dr Hunt’s goal at Furman is to engage students within Earth Systems sciences. Using a range of field and lab experiences to discover scientific principles and develop knowledge of the role of minerals in our society and their requirements within our sustainable future.

Honors & Awards

  • 2017-2018: NRF Innovation Postdoctoral Fellowship concurrent with a DST-NRF CIMERA Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa: Integrated geoscience: cutting edge techniques for understanding complex 3D geological structures
  • 2015-2017: NRF Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa: An innovative framework for understanding the Merensky Reef Potholes, Bushveld Complex.


  • University of Keele, UK, MGeoscience
  • Ph.D, University of St Andrews, UK


  • Hunt, E.J., Latypov, R. & Horváth, P. (2018). The Merensky Cyclic Unit, Bushveld Complex, South Africa: reality or myth? Minerals, 8, 144, doi: 10.3390/min8040144;
  • Manzi, M.S., Hunt, E.J. & Durrheim, R. (2019). 3D Reflection Seismic for Gold and Platinum Exploration, Mine Development and Safety. In Ore Deposits. Eds: Decrée, S. & Robb, L. doi:10.1002/9781119290544.ch11;
  • Latypov, R., Costin, G., Chistyakova, S. Hunt, E.J., Mukherjee, R. & Naldrett, T. (2018). Platinum-bearing chromite layers are caused by pressure reduction during magma ascent. Nature Communications, 9, 462, doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-02773-w;
  • Hunt, E.J., Finch, A.A. & Donaldson, C.H. (2017) Layering in peralkaline magmas, Ilímaussaq Complex, S Greenland, Lithos, 268-271, 1-15, doi: 10.1016/j.lithos.2016.10.023

Research Interests

Emma Hunt specializes in igneous petrology, understanding the processes involved in the nucleation and crystallization of igneous rocks and the natural resources they can host. Her main research tools combine using microscopic, chemical, field, and 3D seismic reflection studies to understand the developments of rocks. She is particularly fascinated by the processes through which magma cools and solidifies to form layered igneous intrusions and the debates on the role of various mechanisms of crystallization. Emma and her students investigate a region through a combination of fieldwork, lab analyses, and image analyses from techniques involving petrology, geochemistry, and geophysics. Emma collaborates with scientists at a range of institutions in the US, UK, and South Africa.