Fully funded PhD projects available at JCU

We are seeking several enthusiastic and highly motivated students to undertake fully funded PhD projects in geochemistry. Ideally candidates will have a background in geoscience and a strong theoretical understanding of geochemistry or economic geology. Previous experience in clean laboratory geochemistry and/or mass spectrometer experience, will be advantageous although having all these skills is not essential. The candidates will be based at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, and will have access to the Advanced Analytical Centre at JCU which contains a suite of world-class research facilities including XRD, XRF, SEM, LA-ICP-MS, TQ-ICP-MS and MC-ICP-MS and a recently installed FE-EPMA and anerobic chamber. The successful applicants will join a vibrant cohort of existing PhD candidates and will be able to interact with researchers from both the Isotropics Geochemistry Laboratory and the Economic Geology Research Centre (EGRU).

Project 1: Tracking temporal variations in the Hamersley Group Banded Iron Formations insights from radiogenic and stable isotope compositions.

Sustained continental emergence (i.e. above sea-level) was a pivotal moment in Earth's history, however, this process remains poorly constrained. This PhD project will involve detailed geochemical analysis of a comprehensive suite of BIF assembled from all BIF horizons within the 2.63-2.42 Ga Hamersley Group, Western Australia. It will involve extensive clean laboratory and MC-ICP-MS work. The main aims will be to: 1) using sequential leaching techniques determine the trace element distribution between the main phases (e.g. oxides, silicates, carbonates); and 2) construct a Sr-Nd-Fe (both stable and radiogenic) isotope record from this important reference suite.

Project 2: Interrogating the rare earth element potential of Queensland's IOCG deposits.

Rare earth elements are a critical component of our transition to a low carbon future. The Mt Isa region in western Queensland possess a number of world class examples of iron oxide-Cu-Au (IOCG) some of which contain significant amounts of REE bearing minerals. This project will focus on using LA-ICP-MS techniques to 1) quantify the REE abundance of the main REE-bearing minerals (allanite, bastnasite, apatite, secondary monazite etc.); and 2) Use U-Pb geochronology and Nd isotope compositions to place further constraints on the generation of these IOCG deposits and why only some possess REE endowments. There will also be the potential to undertake stable Nd isotope analyses the first measurements ever on this type of samples. This project will form part of wider EGRU project.

Candidates should submit to alex.mccoywest@jcu.edu.au a complete CV (including academic transcripts) and a letter containing the following information - motivation for applying, research interests and experience, and the name and contact details of two or more academic referees. Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information.

This opportunity is independent of normal JCU application deadlines. Applications received on or before 1st May 2024 will be considered, although the positions will remain open until filled. Ideally successful applicants will be available to start in the 2nd half of 2024, and no later than the 1st of February 2025.

Dr Alex McCoy-West
IsoTropics Geochemistry Laboratory
James Cook University, Townsville QLD, Australia

posted: 22 March 2024     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.