Skip to navigation Skip to content

Steve Hillier

Staff picture: Steve Hillier
Environmental and Biochemical Sciences
Environmental and Biochemical Sciences
Soil Mineralogist
+44 (0)1224 395336

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Steve Hillier is a mineralogist by training, he studied for his PhD at Southampton University and undertook post docs at the Laboratoire de Geologie de L'Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, and subsequently at the Geologisches Institut, Universitat Bern. Steve makes extensive use of X-ray powder diffraction in his work and his research interests revolve around a mixture of clay, soil and environmental mineralogy. Clay minerals are his specialty and he is a former Chairman of the Clay Minerals Group of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland.  He set up and maintains the 'Images of Clay' archive a free to use for teaching purposes - clay mineral image gallery.  Clay minerals are extremely varied and soil clay minerals are amongst the most difficult of all minerals to study and characterise.  Many of the properties of soils are controlled by the clay minerals they contain, but understanding how mineralogy controls properties requires accurate techniques for clay mineral identification, characterisation and quantification.  Steve's research is aimed at developing methods for clay mineral identification and quantification in soils and linking this to an understanding of soil properties and behaviour.

The innovation of the XRPD quantitative methods developed by Steve is world renowned through his consistent success in the Reynolds Cup, and many of the same methods are offered as commercial services to industry via www.claysandminerals.comIan Phillips, Helen Pendlowski and Nia Gray, all work together with Steve on various projects revolving around clay minerals.

Steve is a visiting Professor in the Department of Soil and Environment at the Swedish Agricultural University in Uppsala, and has collaborated with several colleagues there for many years.  Steve was also Chair of the scientific and organising committee for Euroclay 2015 in Edinburgh see the archived conference website for more details. 

Current research interests

My interests revolve around many aspects of clay, soil, and environmental mineralogy.  At present I am focused on promoting the concept and vision of 'digital mineralogy'.  I also have an ongoing interest in the mineralogy of halloysite nano tubes also know as HNTs.

Past research

You can view all my publications on my Web of Science Researcher ID page or at my Google Scholar page.


  • Dawson, L.A.; Campbell, C.D.; Hillier, S.; Brewer, M.J. (2008) Methods of characterising and fingerprinting soils for forensic application., In: Tibbett, M. & Carter, D.O. (eds.). Soil Analysis in Forensic Taphonomy. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 271-315.
  • Hillier, S. (2006) Formation and alteration of clay materials., In: Clay Materials Used in Construction (eds. G. M. Reeves, I. Sims and J. C. Cripps). Engineering Geology Special Publications 21, Geological Society, London, pp29-71. ISBN: 978-1-86239-184-0
  • Hillier, S.J. (2003) Chlorite in sediments., In: Encyclopedia of Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks (eds. G.V. Middleton, M.J. Church, M. Coniglio, L.A. Hardie and F.J. Longstaffe). Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp123-127. Encyclopaedia of Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks.
  • Hillier, S. (2003) Clay mineralogy., In: Encyclopedia of Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks (eds. G.V. Middleton, M.J. Church, M. Coniglio, L.A. Hardie and F.J. Longstaffe). Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp139-142. Encyclopaedia of Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks.
  • Hillier, S.J. (1999) Environmental interactions of clays., Mineralogical Magazine. Edited by A.Parker and J.E. Rae.
  • Hillier, S. (1995) Erosion, sedimentation and sedimentary origin of clays., Clays and the Environment (ed. B. Velde). Chapter 4.

Printed from /staff/steve-hillier on 05/06/23 10:26:55 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.