I am Emeritus Associate Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Cape Town (click to visit the UCT website). I received my bachelor’s degree in Chemistry/Earth Science from the University of California at San Diego in 1981. I did my post-graduate studies  in Earth Sciences receiving my doctorate degree (PhD) in 1986 from Harvard University.  I taught marine geology at the University of South Florida from 1986 to 1996 and I have  been at the University of Cape Town since 1996.   At UCT I taught an intro course to Earth and environmental sciences and  marine geochemistry and palaeoclimates to senior undergraduates.

John S Compton


I have published over 60 papers in scientific journals covering a broad range of topics (some of which you can view on my Research Gate web page). My research interests include: the history of high productivity in the Benguela Upwelling System and the genesis of large phosphorus-rich deposits on the western margin of southern Africa; the impacts of sea-level and climate fluctuations on human evolution in southern Africa; the importance of wind-blown mineral dust as a source of nutrients to the highly diverse fynbos plant biome; and the dynamics of coastal environments from lagoonal salt marshes to mobile sand dune cordons.

In addition to writing popular science books, I have been involved with several TV documentaries on the geology of Cape Town, such as SABC’s Shorelines series, Life after People (History Channel), and documentaries on the evolution of the African continent  (“Voyage of the Continents” by la Compagnie des Taxi-Brousse).