Funded PhDs in Sedimentology and Isotope Geology

  Agbor Taku Junior    July 9, 2019    0

The Curtin University is looking for two PhD students to join the Timescales team, Centre for Exploration Targeting -Curtin University, School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, to work in collaboration with other students and senior staff on the following projects which are generously financially supported.
Theme: First cycle provenance information for Western Australia
The aims of this research are to enhance stratigraphic understanding of sedimentary sequences in Western Australia through application of novel provenance fingerprinting tools in K-feldspar (Pb isotopes) and apatite (U-Pb, Sr isotopes and grain chemistry). In this work K-feldspar and apatite provenance investigation will be undertaken on a state wide basis and include case studies in the Yilgarn Craton and Canning and Northern Carnarvon Basins.
PhD 1: New detrital provenance tools applied to the late basins and Black Flag Group of the Yilgarn Craton.
The felsic volcano-sedimentary sequences forming the stratigraphy of the Kalgoorlie Terrane, in the Eastern Goldfields Superterrane, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia developed between c. 2690 and 2640 Ma, coincident with gold mineralisation. The stratigraphy of the Kalgoorlie Terrane is complex with multiple depositional cycles. We seek to fingerprint specific horizons within these units in order to determine if mineralization is restricted to, or favours, a given lithology. Fingerprinting these stratigraphic horizons using a new isotope based provenance tool-kit will clearly aid stratigraphic correlations in poorly outcropping areas and in drill core intersections. Specifically, the research will help address a range of issues pertinent to industry (Northern Star) and Government (Geological Survey – GSWA partners) in the Yilgarn Craton, by using provenance signatures to track fertile stratigraphy.
PhD 2: Provenance of the Northern Carnarvon and Canning Basins using non-conventional provenance tools
This project will explore two sedimentary systems:
1. The Ordovician-Cretaceous Canning Basin, a significant hydrocarbon-producing province, onshore Western Australia, which remains poorly explored. The provenance of some sandstone units in the Canning Basin has been explored using U-Pb detrital zircon dating, but the story is complex due to lateral and vertical variation within this large basin, and evidence for extensive recycling of detrital zircon in most samples. Geoscience Australia and GSWA are planning to acquire a deep cored stratigraphic drill hole in 2019. This work will obtain a suite of sandstone samples from this well, which will allow a unique case study of changing provenance through time at a single location within the basin.
2. The Northern Carnarvon Basin contains two important reservoirs in this prolific hydrocarbon province. Existing conventional provenance studies of zircon grains from this basin reveal significant Mesoproterozoic and Neoproterozoic sources, some of which may ultimately be derived from as far away as Antarctica. These studies reveal zircon populations that are similar to those of older sedimentary sequences elsewhere in Australia, which could either imply a long-lived supercontinent-scale fluvial system, or extensive sediment reworking. Analysis of the provenance of first cycle feldspar grains will enable these different contributions to be assessed.
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 Prof Chris Kirkland (;). 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.