Petrogenesis and PTt history of Paleoarchean gneisses from the East Pilbara Terrane

Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr David Murphy
Lecturer in Geoscience (Earth Mat)
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


The study of Paleoarchean terranes (3.6 Ga-3.2 Ga) provides invaluable information about the early Earth. During this time period up to 50% of the present day volume of continental crust was generated. The characteristic Archean dome and keel crustal architecture has been suggested to form during distinctly different tectonic regimes compared to the modern Earth.

Various projects are available including PhD, Masters, Honours and VRES to work on the Paeoarchean to Mesoarchean samples from the East Pilbara Terrane.

Research activities

The projects will integrate field studies with microstructure, petrochronology and thermobarometry to develop models for the origin of the different rock associations in the East Pilbara Terrane and to test the cyclic gravitational overturn model.


You will undergo comprehensive training in field work, petrology, geochemistry, microstructure and petrochronology with application to Early Archean terranes.

It is expected that the research will lead to high-impact journal articles.

Skills and experience

For PhD and masters students, you will need experience in the use of a variety of mineralogical and geochemical techniques including LA-ICPMS dating, XRF, XRD and EPMA (at the Central Analytical Research Facility). You will need a manual driver’s license and, ideally, some 4WD experience.

For honours and VRES students, you should have a demonstrable foundation in applied geology disciplines.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



For further information, please contact Dr David Murphy