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Research Activities 2008

Earth Chemistry


Click on the links below to read the 2008 Earth Chemistry research highlights or Click HERE to download the PDF version 35 pages 2.9Mb



The Extended Jaeger 5 bldg

The chemistry and isotope chemistry of natural materials is highly indicative of provenance and process throughout geological history. Our studies range in time from the earliest solar system through to processes that are actively taking place today, and in scope from planetary systems to individual molecules. Active areas of research centre on planetary studies, metamorphic and igneous geochemistry and geochronology, geochemistry of life processes, and chronology of all processes encompassed.

Most of our analytical work involves detailed analysis on the microscale, or concentrating trace elements from larger samples for high precision analysis. Isotopic systems can reveal both the nature of the processes involved (stable isotopes) as well as the timing of events (radiogenic isotopes), while chemical abundances can reflect protolith contributions and processes affecting various systems including biologic systems. As revealed in this year's research contributions, analytical work can be applied to topics in tectonics, ore genesis, metamorphic petrology, paleoclimate, paleoecology and regolith dating. 


The J5 building extension was completed in 2008. The project involved doubling the length of the extant building and adding a second floor to house offices, a seminar room (The D. H. Green Room), and geochemistry laboratories. Starting in July, SHRIMP II was moved from J3 to its new position in the J5 SHRIMP building and is now operational again.  Construction of SHRIMP SI has now recommenced and is proceeding well with expectations of testing in mid 2009.  The fit out of the J5 chemistry laboratories is underway with installation of extraction hoods nearly complete.  These laboratories will be established under the direction of Dr Yuri Amelin.  The completion of the office space upstairs sees a focal point for the Planetary Science Institute at RSES.

Inside the new lab.


Dr Stewart Fallon joined Earth Chemistry in 2008.  In January 2009, Dr Vickie Bennett will be taking leave of absence from RSES to take up a position at Johnson Space Center, Houston.  The SHRIMP team, comprising Dr John Foster, Dr Peter Holden, Mr Peter Lanc, Mr Ben Jenkins, and Mr Norm Schram, received a Vice Chancellor's Award for Innovation and Excellence in Service Quality for 2008.

PhD studies were completed by Diane Valente, Courtney Gregory, and Joe Hiess. Congratulations Doctors.
Postgraduate studies were commenced by Ms Heejin Jeon [supervised by Dr Ian Williams], Mr Alexandr Stepanov [Dr Daniela Rubatto], Mr Jung Woo Park [Professor Ian Campbell].

Research Projects


U-Pb ages of angrites - Yuri Amelin

Tungsten isotopic compositions of presolar silicon carbide grains - Janina Avila

Small continents on the Hadean Earth: New Isotopic Evidence from combined Hf and 142Nd Isotopic Signatures - Vickie Bennett

Integrating community proteogenomics and lipid biogeochemistry to unravel ancient evolutionary history - Jochen J. Brocks

Supercontinents, supermountains and the rise of atmospheric oxygen - Ian Campbell

Hf isotopes in rutile measured in-situ by LA-MC-ICPM - Tanya Ewing

A simple radiocarbon dating method for determining the age and growth rate of deep-sea sponges - Stewart Fallon

Argon enters the retentive zone: Reassessment of diffusion parameters for K-feldspar - Marnie Forster

Behaviour of allanite during incipient partial melting in the Southern Central Alps - Courtney Gregory

An inclusion suite of "granitic" phases within 3.81 Ga tonalite zircons: Restrictions for studying Hadean crustal evolution with detrital zircons - Joe Hiess

Links between abiogenic-methane and gold, indicated by Ar, Ne and Cl in fluid inclusions - Masahiko Honda

Contamination-free biomarker analysis of shales using oxidative microwave digestion - Janet Hope

The Mystery of the Missing Solar Wnd Oxygen in Lunar Soil - Trevor Ireland

Preliminary zircon U-Pb dating of late Paleozoic granites across the boundary between the Lachlan and New England fold belts - Heejin Jeon

Evolution of the Angrite Parent Body and Concordancy of Isotope Chronometers in Angrite Meteorites - Seann J. McKibbin

Copper concentrations in silicate mineral phases of the Boggy plain zoned intrusion - Jung Woo Park

Dating the allanite-monazite metamorphic reaction - Daniela Rubatto

Molecular Fossils of the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian Interval: Lipid Biomarker Geochemistry and Ancient Microbial Ecosystems - Richard Schinteie

In situ oxygen isotopic analyses of zircon from granites of the Bega Batholith, south-eastern Australia - Ian S. Williams