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mineral systems

Mineral systems, fluids and ore deposits

Research on fluid-rock interaction underpins a wide range of geological processes from the deep crust to the Earth’s surface. We study rocks and ore minerals from nanoscale chemical and microstructural characterization to regional geological and geochronological studies of mineralised terrains. Our projects involve both fundamental studies of mechanisms and kinetics and collaboration with industry and government on processes leading to ore formation.

Contact: Chris Clark, Katy Evans, Pete Kinny, Andrew Putnis, Birger Rasmussen, Steve Reddy.


Tectonics and geodynamics

Our research into tectonics and geodynamics, involves the study of continental formation and configuration through Earth’s history: especially the assembly and breakup of a series of supercontinents such as Pangaea, Rodinia and Nuna, and regional and global tectonic evolution and kinematics. We also examine the links between supercontinent cycles and global episodes of magmatism and Earth resource formation. Our approaches into understanding tectonics and geodynamics include palaeomagnetism, all sub-disciplines of geology, geographic information system data mining and 4D computer modeling.

Contact: Zheng-Xiang Li, Simon Wilde



Geodesy involves the study of the shape, size and gravity field of the Earth, Moon and Mars. It forms the scientific basis for precise positioning over large areas – navigation, mapping and charting – and for studying the physics and dynamics of the Earth. The Geodesy Research group uses modern geodetic instruments and computer software, often in close collaboration with other universities, industry and government in Australia and overseas.

Contact: Will Featherstone, Jon Kirby


Planetary sciences

Research into planetary sciences includes tracking fireballs and meteorite recovery; microanalysis of samples from the Moon, Mars, asteroids and other meteorites; and studies of meteorite impact craters and shocked minerals.

Contact: Phil Bland


Sedimentary environments, basins and energy resources

Research into sedimentary basins uses subsurface geophysical data, field studies and geochemistry to investigate structural and stratigraphic evolution, ancient sedimentary environments and modern sedimentary systems, with applications to regional tectonics, geodynamics and the understanding of petroleum systems.

Contact: Chris Elders


Organic and isotope geochemistry

Research in the fields of organic and stable isotope geochemistry, and geomicrobiology involves the use of geochemical and biological signatures in a wide array of geological records. These records are utilised for petroleum and mineral exploration, discovering changes in modern and deep-time environments, climates, and ecosystems such as those associated with mass extinction events and their recovery intervals, and for understanding the limits, evolution, and biogeochemical processes in the subsurface to deep biosphere.

Contact: Kliti Grice, Marco Coolen


Exploration geophysics

Our research covers a wide range of areas related to theoretical and experimental rock physics. It aims to provide a sound basis for geophysical imaging and reservoir characterisation for applications to petroleum, mining and environmental geophysics.

Contact: Boris Gurevich


Extraction metallurgy and microbes

Research into fundamental mechanisms of the interaction between microbes and mineral surfaces is being applied to large-scale processes of bioleaching of metal ores, linking the chemistry and mechanisms of the leaching process with microbiology.

Contact: Jacques Eksteen, Elizabeth Watkin