Dr Richard Henley

Henley, Richard profile
Position Honorary Professor
Department Materials Physics
Research group
Office phone (02) 612 50231
Office Cockcroft 4 58


Over 50 years Dick Henley established an international reputation as an applied scientist in the economic geology and geothermal energy sectors and is particularly well known for innovative and practical solutions of complex problems relating to hydrothermal processes at all scales, and their exploration.

Following a PhD at the University of Manchester he moved to New Zealand as Lecturer in Applied Geology at the University of Otago. He moved to Wairakei in 1977 to join the Geothermal Research Group and was subsequently appointed Group Leader. He was a founding lecturer at the U.N. Geothermal Institute at the University of Auckland. Through 1983-84 he was a Fulbright Scholar in Washington with the US Geological Survey.

He moved to Australia in 1986 as Chief Scientist in the Bureau of Mineral Resources. From 1988 as Managing Director he initiated and developed a global consulting business in the minerals industry – SRK Australasia As a consultant, he is credited with direct involvement in a number of gold discoveries, including the world’s largest on Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea, and consulted to the UNESCO and UNDP in Central and South America and SE Asia. In 1995 Thayer Lindsley Speaker of the Society of Economic Geologists.

Dick Henley also became an experienced independent company chairman, including for a Canadian gold exploration company and Australia’s $ 11b Naval Shipbuilding Program. For several years he taught a range of governance disciplines on behalf of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Following retirement in 2007 he joined ANU as a Visiting Fellow and continued research into the understanding of high temperature gas plus solid reactions with a focus on processes inside active volcanoes. His current research is focussed on applications of high resolution X-ray microCT to industrial applications and understanding of natural processes.

In 2022 he received the Haddon Forrester King Medal from the Australian Academy of Science for life-long achievement and outstanding contribution to science. He also received the National Emergency Medal for support activities through the 2019-2020 Bushfire Emergency. 

Recent publications

Henley, R.W. and Fischer, T.P., 2021. Sulfur sequestration and redox equilibria in volcanic gases. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 414, 107181

Mernagh, T.P., Leys, C. and Henley, R.W., 2020. Fluid inclusion systematics in porphyry copper deposits: the super-giant Grasberg deposit, Indonesia, as a case study. Ore Geology Reviews: 103570.

Sieber, M., Brink, F.J., Leys, C., King, P.L. and Henley, R.W., 2020. Prograde and retrograde metasomatic reactions in mineralised magnesium-silicate skarn in the Cu-Au Ertsberg East Skarn System, Ertsberg, Papua Province, Indonesia Ore Geology Reviews, X: xx-xx.

Saadatfar, M., Henley, R.W. and al., e., 2020. High resolution 3D mapping of grain kinematics during high temperature sequestration of SO2 from flue gas by carbonate aggregates. Nature Materials, Nature Scientific Reports.

Renggli, C., King, P., Henley, R., Guagliardo, P., McMorrow, L., Middleton, J., and Turner, M., 2019a, An experimental study of SO, reactions with silicate glasses and supercooled melts in the system anorthite–diopside–albite at high temperature: Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v. 174, no. 1, p. 3.

Henley, R. W., and Seward, T. M., 2018, Gas-Solid Reactions in Arc Volcanoes; Ancient and Modern: Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, v. 84, p. 309-350.

Henley, R. W., Brink, F. J., King, P. L., Leys, C., Ganguly, J., Mernagh, T., Middleton, J., Renggli, C. J., Sieber, M., and Troitzsch, U., 2017, High temperature gas–solid reactions in calc–silicate Cu–Au skarn formation; Ertsberg, Papua Province, Indonesia: Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v. 172, no. 11-12, p. 106.

Henley, R. W., and Hughes, G. O., 2016, SO 2 flux and the thermal power of volcanic eruptions: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, p. 190-199.

Tanner, D., Henley, R. W., Mavrogenes, J. A., and Holden, P., 2016a, Sulfur isotope and trace element systematics of zoned pyrite crystals from the El Indio Au–Cu–Ag deposit, Chile: Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v. 171, no. 4, p. 33.

Henley, R. W., King, P. L., Wykes, J. L., Renggli, C. J., Brink, F. J., Clark, D. A., and Troitzsch, U., 2015, Porphyry copper deposit formation by sub-volcanic sulphur dioxide flux and chemisorption: Nature Geoscience, v. 8, no. 3, p. 210-215.

Henley, R., 2015, Hyperacidic volcanic lakes, metal sinks and magmatic gas expansion in arc volcanoes, Volcanic Lakes, Springer, p. 155-178.

Delmelle, P., Henley, R. W., and Bernard, A., 2015a, Volcano-related lakes, in Sigurdsson, H., Houghton, B., McNutt, S., Rymer, H., & Stix, J., ed., The Encyclopedia of Volcanoes (Second Edition), Elsevier, p. 851-864.

Delmelle, P., Henley, R. W., Opfergelt, S., and Detienne, M., 2015b, Summit acid crater lakes and flank instability in composite volcanoes, Volcanic Lakes, Springer, p. 289-305.

Berger, B. R., Henley, R. W., Lowers, H. A., and Pribil, M. J., 2014, The Lepanto Cu–Au deposit, Philippines: A fossil hyperacidic volcanic lake complex: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 271, p. 70-82.

Tanner, D., Henley, R. W., and Mavrogenes, J. A., 2014, Silica hydrate preserved with δ18O-rich quartz in high-temperature hydrothermal quartz in the high sulfidation copper-gold deposit at El Indio, Chile: Chemical Geology, v. 391, p. 90-99.

Henley, R. W., and Berger, B. R., 2013, Nature's refineries — Metals and metalloids in arc volcanoes: Earth-Science Reviews, v. 125, p. 146-170.

Weatherley, D. K., and Henley, R. W., 2013, Flash vaporization during earthquakes evidenced by gold deposits: Nature Geoscience, v. 6, no. 4, p. 294-298.

Henley, R., and Berger, B., 2012, Pyrite–sulfosalt reactions and semimetal fractionation in the Chinkuashih, Taiwan, copper–gold deposit: a 1 Ma paleo‐fumarole: Geofluids, v. 12, no. 3, p. 245-260.

Tanner, D., Henley, R. W., Mavrogenes, J. A., Holden, P., and Mernagh, T., 2013, Combining in situ isotopic, trace element and textural analyses of quartz from four magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposits: Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v. 166, p. 1119-1114.

Henley, R. W., Mavrogenes, J. A., and Tanner, D., 2012, Sulfosalt melts and heavy metal (As‐Sb‐Bi‐Sn‐Pb‐Tl) fractionation during volcanic gas expansion: the El Indio (Chile) paleo‐fumarole: Geofluids, v. 12, p. 199-215.

Berger, B. R., and Henley, R. W., 2011, Magmatic-vapor expansion and the formation of high-sulfidation gold deposits: Structural controls on hydrothermal alteration and ore mineralization: Ore Geology Reviews, v. 39, no. 1, p. 75-90.

Henley, R. W., and Berger, B. R., 2011, Magmatic-vapor expansion and the formation of high-sulfidation gold deposits: Chemical controls on alteration and mineralization: Ore Geology Reviews, v. 39, no. 1, p. 63-74.

Mavrogenes, J., Henley, R. W., Reyes, A. G., and Berger, B., 2010, Sulfosalt melts: Evidence of high-temperature vapor transport of metals in the formation of high-sulfidation lode gold deposits: Economic Geology, v. 105, no. 2, p. 257-262.