Student projects

Below we list potential student projects in RSES, with links to relevant supervisors and research groups. For a list of topics, research groups, and research projects in RSES, please see the research projects page

Geochemistry & Cosmochemistry

This project will measure volatile (H2O, CO2, SO2 and Cl) abundances and oxygen isotopes at micro-scales in selected glasses from tephras recovered by deep-sea drilling In the Izu-Bonin-Marianas (IBM) forearc. The data will help constrain the extent of submarine or subaerial volcanism, and alteration in the tephras.
An interstellar molecular cloud transformed into our Solar System through condensation of mineral grains, accretion and growth of planetesimals and planets in a short period of a few million years. Understanding the nature of these events is impossible without their precise sequencing. The aim of this...
All chemical elements heavier than lithium, that comprise the Earth and our Solar System, were produced by nuclear reactions in stars, and mixed during formation of the Solar System. It was once thought that that mixture once existed as a hot and almost homogeneous molecular cloud, and the minerals, planetesimals...


Magnetic minerals are almost ubiquitous in nature, which means magnetic techniques can be used to understand Earth’s magnetic field and deep-Earth dynamo processes, and act as proxies for system processes in palaeoclimate, paleoceanography, pollution tracing, and archaeology.
Research supports The group has funding to support one highly motivated PhD student, based on competition of applicants (academic background, research ideas, etc). Contact me if you are interested. We also welcome candidates who can raise fund (e.g., China Scholarship Council,...
“Lake George, an unsurpassed natural archive” is an ARC Linkage project, began in February 2015. The project is multidisciplinary, looking at the structural, sedimentological, hydrogeological, archaeological, and landscape evolution history...
Figure 1. The tropical waters around Indonesia are an important source region for Australia’s rainfall. The warm tropical waters around Indonesia are an important source of rainfall for Australia. When the temperature of the water in this area is warmer than usual Australia receives more rain...

Seismology & Mathematical Geophysics

Tectonics, dynamics and river systems
River systems hold information on tectonic history in their sediment load and their morphology. Coupled models of tectonics, topography and surface evolution help us to understand continental deformation patterns. This project uses state-of-the-art tools in models of collision, basin formation and plate boundaries.
Some of the oldest continental building blocks (e.g. cratons) are found in Australia. At depth, the ancient rock record has invaluable information about the dynamics of the Earth. Seismology can provide remarkable views into the deep lithospheric structure using imaging techniques on broadband seismic data.
Seismology is much more than a study of earthquakes – in fact, it is a study of the propagation of seismic waves through the Earth and across its surface, but the sources of these waves can be tectonic, volcanic, glacial, atmospheric, oceanic, and man-made explosions, to mention only a few.
Geodynamics occupies a unique position in the solid Earth Sciences. It is primarily concerned with the dynamical processes affecting the Earth, both within its interior and at its surface, although it can also be applied to the interiors and surfaces of other terrestrial planets and their moons.
Project to analyse the pattern of seismic anisotropy beneath the continent utilising data from temporary broadband networks deployed across Australia
Himalayan Model
Congested subduction happens whenever buoyant material such as an oceanic plateau gets caught up on a moving plate and eventually arrives at a subduction zone. The buoyant material may be scraped off or subducted but t always puts up a fight which leaves characteristic scars on the over-riding plate.
The objective of this work is to provide a compilation of 3-D models of the crust and lithosphere, which will be an effective characterisation of the 3-D structure of the craton and its margins through deployment of 25 seismometers in Southwest WA.
The lowermost mantle sits atop the core-mantle boundary – the most dramatic boundary within our planet, with contrasts in physical properties that exceed those that exist at the surface. Despite significant progress, this region is not well understood, and global seismology paves the path towards new understanding.
Zealandia, the Earth’s hidden continent submerged in the southwest Pacific Ocean, is the youngest and thinnest geological continent in the world. Yet, how this continent is formed remains to be further explored, mostly due to a poor understanding of its sub-surface structure.

Improving tsunami warning systems: fast and reliable estimation of source parameters of large earthquakes using long period W-phase data

This project uses state-of-the-art computational tools to calculate seismic waveforms for large tsunamigenic earthquakes. It will assess how critical is the effect of 3D seismic velocity structure in determining earthquake parameters like focal mechanism and rupture area, which are crucial for improved tsunami warning.
Moment tensors in seismology provide a theoretical framework to understand physical mechanisms of earthquakes (how they are generated in their source); in fact, apart from tectonic and volcanic earthquakes, the same framework is used to characterise explosions, landslides, meteorite impacts and other phenomena.
The newly developed distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) instrument transforms how we can image and monitor the Earth at high spatio-temporal resolution.
Earth’s internal structure and processes, which cannot be observed directly, must be inferred from data that can be collected at (or above) Earth’s surface. Our research in Mathematical Geophysics at ANU attempts to address the question of `How to do this?' `How robust are the results? '.
Seismic imaging of the Earth's mantle
We wish to understand the Earth’s internal structure and processes, but we cannot observe these directly: everything must be inferred from data that can be collected at (or above) Earth’s surface. This project explores novel mathematical and computational methods for solving these challenging problems.
Mantle convection is the `engine' that drives our dynamic Earth. It is the principal control on Earth's thermal, chemical and tectonic evolution. The mantle transition zone plays a critical role in this fundamental process, by controlling the passage of material between Earth's upper and lower mantle.
Subduction zones are the most prolific producers of seismic and volcanic activity on Earth, yet many aspects of the subduction factory remain poorly understood. Surrounded by plate boundaries Australia has a unique advantageous location for recording earthquakes originating from nearby subduction zones.
Plate tectonics is the surface expression of a cooling Earth and convection in the Earth’s interior. Constraining the patterns of convective mantle flow is therefore important for understanding the dynamics of our planet and how the surface of the Earth evolves through time. Most of our inferences about mantle flow...