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Research Activities 2009



Click on the links below to read the 2009 PRISE research highlights or Click HERE to download the PDF version



PRISE continued to operate as an externally funded research group within the Research School of Earth Sciences, providing access to the Research School’s specialised equipment and expertise in areas of geochronology, geochemistry and petrology. PRISE scientists also undertake their own research projects as supported by competitive grant applications. They supervise postgraduate students, both within the Research School and internationally.

During 2009, Dr Greg Yaxley was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship. Drs Richard Armstrong and Marc Norman have been succesful in ARC Discovery Projects and as part of a LIEF grant to purchase a new thermal ionisation mass spectrometer.

All PRISE staff members are actively involved in wide-ranging collaborative research projects with academic colleagues throughout the world, as well as providing research and analytical skills to industry and Government agencies on a commercial basis. During 2009 PRISE hosted twenty-nine local and international visitors, most of whom undertook collaborative projects using the SHRIMP, Laser ablation- and solution ICPMS, electron microprobe and TIMS analytical facilities. PRISE staff also participated in a number of field-orientated studies in Australia, Africa, North and South America and Europe.

Some areas of current research include:

  • Investigations of the origins of pyroxenite bodies in peridotite massifs of the Western Gneiss Region, Norway (PhD student A. Rosenthal)
  • High pressure experimental investigations of kimberlite and carbonatite petrogenesis (PhD student K. Kiseeva)
  • Impactor fluxes in the inner solar system from the ages and compositions of lunar glasses (PhD student S. Hui)
  • Bioarchaeology in early Cambodian populations and in situ oxygen and strontium analysis of human teeth
  • Multi-isotopic and trace element zircon studies to constrain magmatic evolution of plate margins and continental reconstructions; combined U-Th-Pb, Lu-Hf, Ti geothermometry, trace and REE chemistry, and oxygen isotope studies.
  • Development of in situ sulphur isotope analytical protocols for the SHRIMP
  • Use of sulphur isotopes to aid in understanding the origin and conditions of formation of metal sulphides
  • Chronology of the Archaean-Proterozoic transition and the rise of oxygen in the atmosphere
  • Geological Connection between West Antarctica and Patagonia since the late Paleozoic: Tectonism, Paleogeography, Biogeography and Paleoclimate
  • Placing realistic constraints on the timing of world-wide Neoproterozoic glacial events: a critical examination of the “Snowball Earth” hypothesis
  • Ages of granites and related mineralisation in NSW
  • Origin and evolution of plume magmas and Hawaiian volcanoes
  • Hydrochemistry of groundwater resources in the Sydney basin and Murrumbidgee Irrigation area of NSW

Research Projects