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Prof. Dr. Philippe Claeys

Head of Research Group AMGC, Professors


Dr. Philippe Claeys is a geologist, planetary  scientist and geochemist working on the consequences of asteroid and comet impacts on the evolution of the bio-geosphere, such as mass extinction of organisms, or large scale global climatic changes. In 1993, he obtained a PhD from the University of California at Davis (UC Davis). He then carried out postdoctoral research at UCLA in John Wasson's lab measuring platinum group elements using NAA. In January 1994, he moved back to UC Berkeley as research geologist in the team of Walter Alvarez to continue working on the Chicxulub crater in Yucatan. In the late nineties, Dieter Stoeffler recruited him as senior scientist at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin. In 2001, he accepted a professorship at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).

At the VUB, he established the research unit Analytical- Environmental- & Geo-Chemistry and the interfaculty Earth System Science group. He also teaches as a visiting professor in Ghent University. He was president of Geologica Belgica, the Belgian Geological Society and is the author of numerous scientific publications including several in Nature and Science. In 2016-2017 he was a Visiting Professor in the department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and International Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver. In 2016, he participated in the IODP-ICDP of the Chicxulub crater, and participated in several of the major advanced that resulted from drilling the peak-ring of the best preserve large scale crater on Earth. 

When not traveling the world looking for clues to better understand the 4.5 billion years of evolution of planet Earth, Philippe enjoys working in the lab with PhD students and close colleagues on projects ranging from astrobiology to geo-bio-archeology. A hot research topic is currently the search for meteorites in the blue ice fields of Antarctica, together with partners from the ULB and National Institute of Polar Research in Tokyo.  More than 1200 samples have been recovered so far; each new meteorite provides clues to understand the evolution of the solar system and the formation of planets.

Vintage images

UC Berkeley working days

UC Berkeley

1997 Field trip to Popigai Siberia, with Falko Langenhorst, Mikhail Naumov, Marc Pilkington, Richard Grieve, Doreen Ames, two geologists from Norilsk and Victor Masaitis to the very right. Front line Boris Ivanov and Alex Deutsch


1994 field trip to K-T boundary outcrop in NE Mexico as part of the "Snowbird III" conference. With Robert Rocchia, Jan Smit, and Eric Robin (left to right)

Mimbral field work


Room F8.16
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussels