Emma Hunt

Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences

swipe to see more

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 analyses. Her main research interests are igneous petrology; economic geology; how "critical minerals" are concentrated; and sustainable mining practices.

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. She and her students apply a range of field and lab experiences to discover scientific principles; develop knowledge of the role of minerals in our society; their requirements within our sustainable future and how to responsibly mine them.

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.


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

Research Interests

Emma Hunt specialises in igneous petrology, understanding the development of igneous rocks and the natural resources they can host from their origin, crystallisation, recrystallisation, composition, and structures at a range of scales. She is particularly fascinated by the processes through which magma cools and solidifies to form a spectacular range of rocks from layered intrusions through to pegmatites and the critical minerals they can host.

Emma and her students work to investigate research themes including origins of magmatic layering in intrusive environments; origins of pegmatites; development of ore deposits and critical minerals; responsible mining for the energy transition. Their main research tools combine field, textural, mineralogic, geochemical and geothermobarometric data to understand the formation of rocks. Emma also researches pedagogic techniques for best practices in teaching mineralogy, petrology and mineral resources and collaborates with scientists at a range of institutions in the US, UK, Canada and South Africa.


  • Hunt, E.J., O’Driscoll, B. & Day, J.M.D. (2022). Sintering as a key process in the textural evolution of chromitite seams in layered mafic-ultramafic intrusions. Canadian Mineralogist, 59(6), 1661-1692, doi: 10.3749/canmin.2100021
  • van der Ven, M.A.J., Borst, A.M., Davies, G.R., Hunt, E.J. & Finch, A.A. (2019). Hydrothermal Alteration of Eudialyte-Hosted Critical Metal Deposits: Fluid Source and Implications for Deposit Grade. Minerals, 9, 7, doi: 10.3390/min9070422
  • Chistyakova, S., Latypov, R., Hunt, E.J. & Barnes, S. (2019). Merensky-type platinum deposits and a reappraisal of magma chamber paradigms. Scientific Reports, 9, 8807, doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45288-8
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Latypov, R. Chistyakova, S Barnes, S.J. & Hunt, E.J. (2017). Origin of Platinum Deposits in Layered Intrusions by In Situ Crystallization: Evidence from Undercutting Merensky Reef of the Bushveld Complex. Journal of Petrology, 58, 715-76, doi: 10.1093/petrology/egx032
  • Hunt, E., O’Driscoll, B. & Daly, J.S. (2012). Parental magma composition of the syn-tectonic Dawros Peridotite chromitites, NW Connemara, Ireland. Geological Magazine, 149, 590-605, doi: 10.1017/S0016756811000872