Three PhD positions in geochemistry, economic geology and thermochronology, and geodynamics at the Queensland University of Technology

Applicants are invited to apply for one of three projects. Re-imagining new applications of Sr-isotopes: as a proxy for rock weathering, for reconstruction of magma passage through crust, and for testing whether the early Earth was an aquaplanet. Reconstructing the thermal evolution of the Mount Isa world class mineral province, with a focus on the tectono-thermo-chronology of major mineralisation events. Tectonic and magmatic evolution of Eastern Borneo in the Paleogene.

Scholarships are available. Applicants must meet QUT's PhD admission requirements.

Interested applicants are invited to send their CV and a short cover letter to Dr. David Murphy (david.murphy@qut.edu.au), School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Queensland University of Technology.

1. Re-imagining new applications of Sr-isotopes: as a proxy for rock weathering, for reconstruction of magma passage through crust, and for testing whether the early Earth was an aquaplanet.

The analysis of Sr isotopes on tandem ICP-MS mass spectrometers using a reaction gas to remove the isobaric interference of 87Rb was initially developed to permit Rb-Sr dating in thin section, without the need to perform chromatographic chemistry. Since then, the method has also shown promise for rapid inexpensive Sr isotope analysis across geological, environmental, archaeological and forensic materials. There is currently an opportunity to explore these new application areas in pursuit of long-standing research questions.

We are looking for a motivated PhD candidate with an Honours or MSc degree in earth, environmental or chemical science. This is a laboratory-based project that will involve hands-on mass spectrometry and advanced numerical data reduction. Candidates with an aptitude for working in a world-class laboratory and produce data of high quality are particularly encouraged to apply.

The project will be in conducted in collaboration mass spectrometer manufacturer Agilent Technologies and the successful candidate will work closely with Agilent R&D engineers. The project is fully funded from ARC Linkage project LP210200918 - Correction of Non-Linearity in Inductively-Coupled-Plasma Mass-Spectrometry.

For further information, please contact David Murphy (david.murphy@qut.edu.au) and Balz Kamber (balz.kamber@qut.edu.au)

2. Reconstructing the thermal evolution of the Mount Isa world class mineral province, with a focus on the tectono-thermo-chronology of major mineralisation events.

Critical metals are key to the transition of society to a new green economy. In order for the green economy to succeed there needs to be an increase in the supply of critical metals including Cu, Co, Zn and Pd. The Mount Isa mineral province has been a major producer of such critical metals for the last century from a number of world class mineral deposits. However, no world class mineral deposits have been discovered in the province in the 21st century.

Mineralisation in the Mount Isa province is complex and varied with many different styles of mineralisation that are often overprinted by local-scale to regional-scale deformation, magmatic and hydrothermal events. Mineral explorers need to know how the timing of mineralisation relates to the broader scale tectono-thermal evolution of the Mount Isa province to refine models for mineral exploration.

This proposed project will be to make use of detailed petrology and petrochronometers such as U-Pb isotopes in apatite, rutile, titanite and zircon from select mineralisation events to develop a thermo-chronology for major mineralisation events within the Mount Isa province and place these in context of the local to regional scale tectono-thermal evolution.

The successful candidate will potentially perform field mapping in structurally complex and remote locations and use a variety of mineralogical and geochemical techniques including LA-ICPMS dating (zircon, titanite, rutile & mica), XRF, XRD and EPMA (at CARF QUT). A manual driver's license is required and ideally some 4wd experience.

The project will be in collaboration with Elena Belousova of the Geological Survey of Queensland (GSQ). This collaboration will ensure access to the GSQ drill core collection, continuous core scanning datasets and whole-rock multi-element geochemistry available for the Mount Isa province. For further information, please contact David Murphy (david.murphy@qut.edu.au) and Elena Belousova (Elena.Belousova@resources.qld.gov.au).

3. Tectonic and magmatic evolution of Eastern Borneo in the Paleogene

Investigating the relationship between igneous and sedimentary processes and local tectonics can provide valuable constraints on the dynamic evolution of SE Asian crustal components. In Eastern Borneo there are a succession of Paleogene sedimentary basins, including the Barito Basin, that contain volcanic rocks that are interbedded with fluvial sediments. During formation of these basins there was a complex interplay between subduction zones to the northeast and southwest of Borneo and proto-Borneo underwent a significant rotation.

We are looking for a motivated PhD student with an Honours or MSc degree in Earth science. The project will combine field work in Borneo with laboratory analysis including geochemical characterisation and numerical modelling. Candidates with an ability to integrate field and laboratory analysis are encouraged to apply.

The project will be conducted in collaboration with colleagues from Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia.

For further information, please contact David Murphy (david.murphy@qut.edu.au) and Camen Gaina (carmen.gaina@qut.edu.au)

posted: 19 July 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.