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Research Activities 2006

Earth Materials


Click on the links below to read the 2006 Earth Materials research highlights Or download the 2006 Earth Materials Research Highlights in PDF format HERE 3.46Mb


The Earth Materials Area is comprises the Experimental Petrology, Rock Physics, Thermochronology and Structure & Tectonics Groups. The research of these groups centres around laboratory based measurements under controlled conditions, simulating those occurring in nature, but these activities are complimented by field based observations, often in collaboration with scientists from other institutions, nationally and internationally. Through such investigations we are developing understanding of the structure and chemical composition of planetary interiors and processes by which they evolve, such as accretion, core formation, mantle convection, volcanism, metamorphism, global tectonics and the formation of ore deposits.

Areas of current research activity include:

The making of terrestrial planets Chemical constraints on the accretion of the Earth and similar planets from the solar nebula, and the processes of core formation; mineralogical and chemical properties of the deep mantle and their influence on global tectonics.

The nature of the Earth's upper mantle. Experimental studies and thermodynamic modelling of the phase equilibria relevant to upper mantle melting and ultra-high-pressure metamorphism associated with crustal thickening and subduction; experimental and microstructural studies of phenomena associated with lattice defects and grain boundaries including incorporation of water into nominally anhydrous minerals and microscopic mechanisms of seismic wave attenuation; experimental studies and modelling of grain-scale melt distribution and its implications for melt transport, rheology and seismic properties.

Coupling between fluid flow and fault mechanics in the continental crust Experimental studies of the role of fault healing and sealing processes in controlling the time dependence of fault strength and permeability at high temperatures and pressures; complementary field-based and modelling studies exploring fluid-driven growth of shear networks with applications to understanding the development of lode gold systems, especially in the Western Australian goldfields.

Oxidation state and coordination of metal ions at high temperatures Studies of crystals, melts and hydrothermal solutions by X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Experiments are performed at very high temperatures under controlled redox conditions. Analysis of hydrothermal solutions trapped in synthetic fluid inclusions is providing important basic information on metal complexes at high temperatures.

Experimental Petrology Research Highlights

Redox Decoupling and Redox Budgets: Conceptual Tools for the Study of Earth Systems Katy A. Evans
Sediment melts at sub-arc depth Jörg Hermann
Quantitative absorbance spectroscopy with unpolarized light István Kovács
Subduction recycling of continental sediments and the origin of geochemically enriched reservoirs in the deep mantle :experimental constraints at 16-23 GPa Robert P. Rapp
Coupling of in-situ Sm-Nd systematics and U-Pb dating of monazite and allanite Chris McFarlane
The role of phosphorus in the incorporation of lithium into mantle olivine and potential implications for Li isotopic systematics Guil Mallmann
Carbon and Hydrogen in Melts and Fluids in Planetary Interiors James Tuff
Sulphur solubility experiment Thomas Ulrich
Metal partitioning from experiments and natural samples Thomas Ulrich

Rock Physics Research Highlights

Non-linear feedbacks and fluid chemistry effects on trace element concentrations in syntectonic hydrothermal veins Shaun L.L. Barker
High-temperature deformation processes in fine-grained ceramics: controls on grain boundary sliding Auke Barnhoorn
Finger on the trigger: insights on earthquake cycles via experiments Silvio B. Giger
Seismic wave attenuation in upper-mantle materials Ian Jackson
Exploration potential of stress transfer modelling in fault-related mineral deposits Steven Micklethwaite

Structure and Tectonics Research Highlights

On the evolution of orogens: Pressure pulses and deformation mode switches Marco Beltrando
Seismogenic strain rates during ductile deformation the example of The South Cyclades Shear Zone, Ios, Cyclades, Greece Marnie Forster
Utilising deformable mesh tectonic reconstruction software: South America , Africa and Gondwana Martin L. Smith
The nature and timing of Barrovian metamorphism Daniel R. Viete
Pplates Interactive plate tectonic reconstruction tool Joe Kurtz
Structural geology, tectonics, and gold mineralisation of the southern Anakie Inlier. David G Wood
Structural analysis of aftershock sequences from the 2004-2005 Great Sumatran Earthquake Gordon Lister

Thermochronology Research Highlights

New Constraints on the Age and Evolution of the Wishbone Ridge, Southwest Pacific Cretaceous Microplates, and Zealandia-West Antarctica Breakup W. James Dunlap
Precise 40 Ar/ 39 Ar geochronology for the upper Koobi Fora Formation, Turkana Basin, northern Kenya Ian McDougall