A.E. Williams-Jones

Professor and Logan Chair

Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
3450 University St.
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3A 0E8

Email: anthony.williams-jones [at] mcgill.ca

Tel: 514.398.1676

Research website



EPSC 452 Mineral Deposits 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

EPSC 561 Ore-forming Processes 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

EPSC 590 Applied Geochemistry Seminar 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


The main thrust of my research is to develop the genetic models that are needed to ensure the future successful exploration for economic deposits of metallic minerals. Many of these deposits form as a result of metal transport by fluids, mainly hydrothermal, and the subsequent precipitation of these metals in response to changes in physico-chemical conditions. In some cases, the fluids are of magmatic origin and there is often an intimate relationship between fluids and magmatic processes of metal concentration. The primary objectives of my research group are thus to determine the nature of such fluids (and melts), identify the factors which control their ability to dissolve high concentrations of metals, and establish the mechanisms which form ore deposits. In order to meet these objectives, we combine studies of natural systems, which can be used to reconstruct the environments of metal transport and deposition, with analytical, experimental and theoretical studies designed to evaluate the behaviour of the metals in fluids and magmas, and model the processes of ore formation.

Some recent contributions of my research have demonstrated that: 1) aqueous vapour can play a major role in metal transport in porphyry/epithermal ore-forming systems; 2) hydrocarbons can transport metals in concentrations sufficient to form ore deposits, and may have been contributed to the formation of MVT deposits and metal-rich black shales; 3) colloidal processes may be essential for the formation of ultra-high grade gold deposits, and not all Archean gold deposits are products of the widely accepted orogenic model; 4) the REE and strategic metals are concentrated to economic levels by a combination of magmatic (liquid immiscibility) and hydrothermal processes, and that the highly sought after heavy REE are effectively fractionated from the light REE by their lower solubility in hydrothermal fluids; 5) battery metals such as Co reach their highest concentrations as a result of redox dependent hydrothermal processes, and that aqueous fluids are essential to the formation of Li-rich pegmatites; 6) contrary to conventional wisdom, U can be transported in concentrations sufficient to form ore deposits by reduced hydrothermal fluids; and 7) the hydrothermal transport of W and Mo in granitic systems is dominated by fluorine- and sodium-bearing species, respectively, instead of simple tungstate and molybdate species.

Recent Publications

Zhao, P., Yuan, S., Williams-Jones, A.E., Romer, R.L., Yan, C., Song, S., & Mao, J. (2022). Temporal separation of W and Sn mineralization by temperature-controlled incongruent melting of a single protolith: evidence from the Wangxianling area, Nanling region, South China. Econ. Geol. 117, 667-682.

Vasyukova, O., & Williams-Jones, A.E. (2022). Constraints on the genesis of cobalt deposits: Part II. Applications to natural systems. Econ. Geol. 117, 529-544.

Williams-Jones, A.E., & Vasyukova, O. (2022). Constraints on the genesis of cobalt deposits: Part I. Theoretical considerations. Econ. Geol. 117, 513-528.

Wang, J., Williams-Jones, A.E., Timofeev, A., Liu, J., & Yuan, S. (2022). An experimental investigation of the solubility and speciation of scandium in fluoride-bearing aqueous liquids at temperatures up to 250°C. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2022.01.032.

Dong, G., Wei, H.-Z., Williams-Jones, A.E., Wang, J.-L., Zhu, Y.-F., Jiang, S.-Y., Ma, J., Hohl, S.V., Liu, X., Li, Y.-C., & Lu, J.-J. (2022). Silver isotope fractionation in ore-forming hydrothermal systems. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2022.01.024.

Zhao, P., Chu, X., Williams-Jones, A.E., Mao, J., & Yuan, S. (2022). The role of phyllosilicate partial melting in segregating W and Sn deposits in W-Sn metallogenic provinces. Geology 50, 121-125.

Zhao, Q., Zhai, D., Wang, J., Liu, J., & Williams-Jones, A.E. (2021). The geochemistry and geochronology of Permian granitoids from central Inner Mongolia, NE China: Petrogenesis and tectonic implications. Lithos, 404-405, doi.org/10.1016/j.lithos.2021.106489.

Beland, C.M.J., & Williams-Jones, A.E. (2021). The mineralogical distribution of the REE in carbonatites: a quantitative evaluation. Chem. Geol, doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2021.120558.

Liu, X., Wei, H.-Z., Williams-Jones, A.E., Ma, J., Lu, J.-J., Jiang, S.-Y., Li, Y.-C., & Dong, G. (2021). Chlorine isotope fractionation during serpentinization and hydrothermal ore-forming processes: A density functional theory study. Chem. Geol. 581, doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2021.120406.

Zhao, Q., Zhai, D., Mathur, R., Liu, J., Selby, D., & Williams-Jones, A.E. (2021). The giant Chalukou porphyry Mo deposit, NE China: the product of a short-lived, high flux mineralizing event. Econ. Geol. 116, 1209–1225.

Nisbet, H., Migdisov, A.A., Williams-Jones, A.E., van Hinsberg, V.J., Xua, H., & Roback, R. (2021). The solubility of thorium in carbonate-bearing solutions at hydrothermal conditions. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2021.04.035.

Liu, Z.-R.R., Zhou, M.-F., Chen, W.T., Williams-Jones, A.E., Li, X., O'Brien, H., & Lahaye, Y. (2021). Mercury and sulfur isotopic evidence for the linkages between the ca. 510 Ma Kalkarindji large igneous province and trilobite crisis. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 556, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2021.116947.

Li, M.Y.H., Kwong, H.T., Williams-Jones, A.E., & Zhou, M.F. (2021). The thermodynamics of rare earth element liberation, mobilization and supergene enrichment during groundwater-regolith interaction. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2021.05.002.

Beland, C.M.J., & Williams-Jones, A.E. (2021). The genesis of the Ashram REE deposit, Quebec: insights from bulk-rock geochemistry, apatite-monazite-bastnäsite replacement reactions and mineral chemistry. Chem. Geol. 578, doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2021.120298.

Liu, X., Wei, H.-Z., Li, Y.-C., Williams-Jones, A.E., Lu, J.-J., Jiang, S.-Y., Dong, G., Ma, J., & Eastoe, C.J. (2021). Chlorine isotope mantle heterogeneity: Constraints from theoretical first-principles calculations. Chem. Geol. 572, doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2021.120193.

McLeish, D.F., Williams-Jones, A.E., Vasyukova, O.V., Clark, J.R., Board, W.S. (2021). Colloidal transport and flocculation are the cause of hyperenrichment of gold in nature. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 118, doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2100689118.

Hurtig, N.C., Migdisov, A.A., & Williams-Jones, A.E. (2021). Are vapor-like fluids viable ore fluids for Cu-Au-Mo porphyry ore formation? Econ. Geol. 116, 1599–1624.

Li, Y.-C., Wei, H.-Z., Palmer, M.R., Jiang, S.Y., Liu, X., Williams-Jones, A.E., Ma, J., Lu, J.-J., Lin, Y.-B., & Dong, G. (2021). Boron coordination and B/Si ordering controls over equilibrium boron isotope fractionation among minerals, melts and fluids. Chem. Geol. 561, doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2020.120030.

Wang, X.-S., Williams-Jones, A.E., Hu, R.-Z., Shang, L.-B., & Bi, X.-W. (2021). The role of fluorine in granite-related hydrothermal tungsten ore genesis: Results of experiments and modeling. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 292, 170-187.

Tombros, S.F., Kokkalas, S.C., St. Seymour, K., Voudouris, P.C., Williams-Jones, A.E., Zhai, D.A., Liu, J.A., & Fitros, M.G. (2021). The Kallianos Au-Ag-Te mineralization, Evia Island, Greece: A detachment-related distal hydrothermal deposit of the Attico-Cycladic Metallogenetic Massif. Mineral. Deposita 56, 665-684.

Fitros, M., Tombros, S.F., Kokkalas, S., Kilias, S.P., Perraki, M., Skliros, V., Simos, X.C., Papaspyropoulo, K., Avgouropoulos, G., Williams-Jones, A.E., Zhai, D., Hatzipanagiotou, K. (2020). REE-enriched skarns in collisional settings: The example of Xanthi's Fe-skarn, Rhodope Metallogenetic Massif, Northern Greece. Lithos, 370-371, doi.org/10.1016/j.lithos.2020.105638.

Gaillard, N., Williams-Jones, A.E., Clark, J.R., Salvi, S., Perrouty, S., Linnen, R.L., Olivo, G. (2020). The use of lithogeochemistry in delineating hydrothermal fluid pathways and vectoring gold mineralization in the Malartic district, Québec. Ore Geol. Rev. 120, doi.org/10.1016/j.oregeorev.2020.103351.

Shang, L., Williams-Jones, A.E., Wang, X., Timofeev, A., Hu, R., & Bi, X. (2020). An experimental study of the solubility and speciation of MoO3(s) in hydrothermal fluids at temperatures up to 350 °C. Econ. Geol. 115, 661-669.

Li, M.Y.H., Zhou, M.-F., & Williams-Jones, A.E. (2020). Controls on the dynamics of rare earth elements during subtropical hillslope processes and formation of regolith-hosted deposits. Econ. Geol. 115, 1097-1118.

Yang, J.-H., Zhou, M.-F., Hu, R.-Z., Zhong, H., Williams-Jones, A.E., Liu, L., Zhang, X.-C., Fu, Y.-Z., & Mao, W. (2020). Granite-related tin metallogenic events and key controlling factors in peninsular Malaysia, southeast Asia: new insights from cassiterite U-Pb dating and zircon geochemistry. Econ. Geol. 115, 581-601.

Sanz-Robinson, J., & Williams-Jones, A.E. (2020). The solubility of Nickel (Ni) in crude oil at 150, 200 and 250 °C and its application to ore genesis. Chem. Geol. 533, doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2019.119443.

Sanz-Robinson, J., Sugiyama, I., & Williams-Jones, A.E. (2020). The solubility of palladium (Pd) in crude oil at 150, 200 and 250 °C, and its application to ore genesis. Chem. Geol. 531, doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2019.119320.

Zhai, D., Williams-Jones, A.E., Liu, J., Selby, D., Voudouris, P.C., Tombros, S., Li, K., Li, P., & Sun, H. (2020). The genesis of the giant Shuangjianzishan epithermal Ag-Pb-Zn deposit, Inner Mongolia, NE China. Econ. Geol. 115, 101–128.

Vasyukova, O.V., & Williams-Jones, A.E. (2020). Partial melting, fractional crystallisation, liquid immiscibility and hydrothermal mobilisation – a recipe for the formation of economic A-type granite-hosted HFSE deposits. Lithos, 356-357, doi.org/10.1016/j.lithos.2019.105300.

Complete list


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