Funded PhDs in Sedimentology and Geo-Computing

  Agbor Taku Junior    July 10, 2019    0

Curtin University is seeking two PhD students to join the Timescales team, Centre for Exploration Targeting -Curtin University, School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, to work on the following major industry-partnered research theme. The positions will involve engaging with fellow students, senior collaborators and industry both locally and internationally, and is generously financially supported.

Theme: Integrated 3G-geochronology-geochemistry-grain shape: a new toolkit for mineral sands understanding



The aims of this research are to establish the effectiveness of new integrated approaches to characterise enigmatic aspects of grain and basin histories, and ultimately, define significant controls on heavy mineral sand systems. Fundamentally, the basic understanding of mineral sand deposit genesis has remained largely unchanged for several decades, and while the geological logic remains sound, most accepted primary controls/considerations (e.g., source-transport-upgrading-trap-preservation) remain untested or unquantified in terms of their relative significance for deposit magnitude.

PhD 3: To see the world in a grain of sand: integrating techniques and phases to reconstruct more complete geological histories

This project will apply integrated single-grain geochronology-thermochronology-geochemistry of targeted detrital heavy mineral phases (e.g., zircon, rutile, apatite, etc.) in heavy mineral deposits, recent sands, and source basement from key Australian and global sites. The different closure temperatures targeted by the planned dating techniques, as well as dissimilar source fertility and robustness of the various target minerals will allow a detailed picture of sediment origin and transport history. The work will: (i) fingerprint specific fertile source rocks, (ii) understand the crystallisation/metamorphic and exhumation histories of source regions, (iii) reveal cryptic aspects of intermediate detrital mineral grain histories between erosion and ultimate incorporation into a final sedimentary package and (ii) quantify multi-cycle burial-lithification-erosion. Ultimately, this project will provide improved understanding of fundamental aspects of regional geological histories and contextualise world class heavy mineral deposit genesis.

PhD 4: Harnessing computing to resolve industry and academic geological problems; grain shape analysis as a new provenance tool

The generation of increasingly large datasets in the geosciences presents significant potential for innovative data-mining approaches to establish new tools for both academic and industrial application. One area that shows promise is the use of grain shape to cheaply and rapidly determine the source and transport history of eroded particles. This project will utilise the resources of the world’s largest mineral sand company and state survey repositories to develop a new analytical tool that can be integrated with standard geological approaches for basin analysis and heavy mineral sand exploration. Furthermore, this project will be involved in developing rigorous statistical analysis of large geochronological and sedimentological datasets by the broader geological community.

Applicant requirements


  • A BSc Hons (first class) or Masters (preferably by research) in Geoscience by the time of appointment
  • Ability to work with a broad range of people from varying research backgrounds and evidence of strong oral and written communication skills
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently while contributing to overall team performance and proven ability to meet performance deadlines during the course of a project
  • Demonstrated commitment to publish the results of research in scientific journals
  • High competency in relevant scientific disciplines as required by project (e.g. sedimentology/basin analysis/geochronology/thermochronology/geocomputing/statistics/programming desirable)
  • Demonstrated experience in a research environment/laboratory or research team would be beneficial
  • Evidence of academic awards and academic publications/presentations at conferences desirable

Application details

The deadline for applications is 30th July, but candidates will be considered after this date if suitable applications are not received by the deadline. Preferably applicants would start as soon as practically possible after this date.

To apply for any of these projects please send an email (with subject heading “Detrital Mineral PhD”) including a CV, and a one page summary explaining why you are a good fit for the project, and summarising your research interests to Dr Milo Barham (milo.barham@curtin.edu.au; PhDs 3 & 4). Please feel free to contact the selector at the same address to obtain any additional details about the project. Selection of candidates will be a competitive process. Shortlisted candidates will be required to provide further academic transcripts and contact information for two academic references.