Geology and Geochemistry
SEB116 First Year Practical
QUT teamed up with Olympus to offer the students a real-world first year practical. Students from SEB116 used a X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) machine to identify the composition of geological samples.Watch the video here
Coral sample analysis reveals historical insight
Dr Luke Nothdurft and an international team are analysing shallow core samples from dead reef rock in the southern Great Barrier Reef to measure how the reef has responded to changing sea-levels, climate, and water quality over the past 130,000 years. Their research aims to show how the reef will respond to environmental change in the future.
Advanced technology to analyse human health
Associate Professor Charlotte Allen uses a combination of laser and spectrometer to measure element concentrations in solids. Using laser pulses, the hair is reduced to atoms so that compositional changes can be analysed and measured. Dr Allen and co-workers are using hair data to study human health near a mining community.
Understanding the lifecycle of supervolcanoes
Dr Henrietta Cathey’s research focuses on the lifecycles of large continental volcanic systems. She uses micro-analytical techniques to study the geochemistry of minerals and glass in silicic tuffs and lavas, thereby investigating the timescales and processes involved in the accumulation and storage of large volumes of pre-eruptive magma.
Investigating deep sea rock and crystals to understand volcanic evolution
PhD researcher Nick Dyriw’s research is based at Suzette, a submarine volcanic edifice off Papua New Guinea, which is associated with a deep sea copper and gold ore deposit. Nick uses a combination of tools and techniques to examine the role of magmatic processes related to the volcanic-ore forming system.
Exploring Australia's ancient mountain building event
PhD researcher Aidan Kerrison is investigating an Andean-style mountain building event, the Hunter-Bowen Orogeny, that occurred along eastern Australia 250 million years ago. He is seeking to better understand the timing, magnitude and tectonic origin of magma generation and mountain building during the Permian and Triassic.
Safeguarding south east Queensland's water
Dr Jessica Trofimovs is leading a research project in Queensland to stop landslides from depositing sediment into the waterways that feed our drinking water supply. Her research is seeking the exact trigger mechanisms of landslides, with the aim to relegate and remediate the slopes so that they don't collapse.
Deep sea exploration off Australia's east coast
Associate Professor Scott Bryan and international collaborators propose to explore the Lord Howe Rise in 2020. Using JAMSTEC drilling vessel Chikyu, the team will investigate plate tectonic cycles and continental evolution, recover new data to better constrain changes in ocean biogeochemistry, and test evolutionary concepts for sub-seafloor microbial life over a 100-million-year timeframe.
The Earth is an amazing place. It offers a unique natural laboratory that covers space and time.
We are a multidisciplinary science that applies chemistry, physics, biology and mathematical tools to understand earth processes, decipher its past and predict its future.
We work to monitor changes in the Earth’s environment and suggest solutions to issues including major global issues.
"I was fortunate enough to have a very, very engaging and passionate lecturer, and I think really it was his ability to connect with students that really drew me towards it in the first instance. I found that having that passion from the lecturer really facilitated learning."
Category 1 funded research projects
This project aims to understand why flies that cause maggoty fruit have so frequently evolved the generalist feeding habitat, and to test specific hypotheses to explain the high frequency of generalism in Bactrocera.
Outcomes will significantly advance understanding of the evolution of generalism, and so greatly advance herbivory theory. As Bactrocera are also globally significant horticultural pests, the project will provide under-pinning science for pest management.
This project aims to use DNA, fossils and biological cues to synergistically model evolutionary rate changes. Molecular dates allow direct comparison of evolutionary and ecological patterns and processes across the tree of life. However, current models struggle to identify the location and magnitude of molecular clock rate changes on phylogenies, often resulting in wildly inaccurate dates.
Expected outcomes include improved dating accuracy, and a novel statistical framework for morphological data, which allows fossils to be more accurately merged into the tree of life. In turn, the project aims to resolve intense debate on the origins of marsupial and placental mammals, and to trace the responses of these two groups to past environmental changes.
Generic delimitations in Rottboelliinae (Andropogoneae, Panicoideae, Poaceae) based on molecular and morphological data
Dr Tanya Scharaschkin
This project will provide a reliable framework for classifying a group of widespread but understudied grasses, including some rare and threaten species. The number of genera and species in the subtribe Rottboelliinae is uncertain. Analysis of DNA sequences from multiple regions will inform the taxonomic revision of ~11 genera and 98 species. Diagnostically important characters will be identified for the creation of reliable identification keys.
This research will train a new agrostologist and enhance our understanding of the biodiversity of mesic to savannah grasslands. It will provide clarity to decision-making processes regarding conservation and management of rare and threaten species.
Laminitis is a crippling foot disease in horses which incurs significant economic and social costs. Recent studies have shown that persistently high insulin concentrations can trigger laminitis, and that high insulin levels are caused by the excessive release of hormones called incretins.
This project aims to determine the role of incretins and their receptors in causing abnormal equine insulin secretion. The distribution of equine incretin receptors will be described for the first time, and the consequences of incretin receptor binding will be characterised. Understanding equine incretin biology may lead to novel therapies for laminitis.
This project aims to identify the earliest pathogenic factors of disease by investigating two key hormones, ghrelin and GLP-2, and whether a specific genetic mutation underlies insulin dysregulation.
Using innovative approaches the project will enable the identification of at-risk animals and pinpoint novel treatment strategies. In the long term improved disease treatment and prevention will reduce the suffering associated with painful and often lethal co-morbidities.
Some of the other projects we are contributing to with other disciplines and institutions are:
- Geomorphological development of coral reefs, southern Great Barrier Reef: an integrated record of Holocene palaeoecology and palaeoclimate from cores, 2012-2015
- Australian membership of the International Ocean Discovery Program
- Decision intelligence: determining pest natal origins (Plant Biosecurity CRC)
- Timing and duration of extension, magmatic and mineralization events in the southern part of the Sierra Madre Occidental: an integrated U-Pb, Ar-Ar and fission track study (237745, CONACyT, Mexico); in collaboration with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
- Oligo-Miocene magmatism of the southern part of the Sierra Madre Occidental and Comondú Group (Mexico): terminal phase of subduction or initiation of rifting of the Gulf of California? in collaboration with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
Australian Research Council (ARC) funded projects
The missing link in the Tasmanides: evaluating tectonic evolution and resource exploration potential of the southern Thomson Fold belt
Understanding the Thomson Orogen, which straddles the NSW-Qld border, is critical for developing geodynamic models for the evolution of eastern Australia, and assessing resource potential. However, it lies under the Great Artesian Basin.
This project focusses on groundtruthing geophysical acquisition studies using drillcore from a targeted drilling program, designed to maximise the available tectono-stratigraphic information. The outcome will be a 3-D geological map of the region, which can be interrogated for mineral exploration targeting, and from which 4D evolutionary geodynamic models of eastern Australian can be integrated.
Pressure waves on the mechanics of earthquakes and faulting. This project aims to decipher the physics of faulting and earthquakes from damage zones around seismogenic faults. It will examine a mechanism for instability in solids: volumetric collapse due to a dissipative pressure wave. This pressure wave may control damage-zone geometry and relate to earthquake stress and rock material properties.
The project will research the instability through theoretical, laboratory and field studies. Anticipated outcomes include advances in earthquake and fault prediction, tools to determine the stress state and material properties of Earth’s crust, and knowledge of a class of solid instabilities.
Slope and deep marine sedimentation: IODP Expedition 359: Maldives Monsoon & Indian Peninsula Paleoc
Dr Craig Sloss is collaborating with 15 investigators across multiple universities.
This proposal is for a 5-year membership of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), the world’s largest collaborative research program in Earth and ocean sciences addressing intensively reviewed, international priorities. The Program conducts seagoing coring expeditions and monitoring of instrumented boreholes to study the history and current activity of the Earth, recorded in sediments and rocks below the seafloor.
The program’s aims include understanding past global environments on multiple time scales, the deep biosphere, plate tectonics, occurrence and distribution of resources, and generation of hazards. Several multinational expeditions are scheduled and planned in our marine jurisdiction and within the Australasian region.
Deformation up to large strains and rotations is important in rocks, metals, polymers, and biomaterials. Computational mechanics is a standard tool for modelling such deformations. However, in earth sciences, mechanical theories use small-strain formulations or large-strain approaches with classical stress rates. Classical stress rates can lead to incorrect stored energies.
This project proposes to test a new large-strain theory tailored to rocks experimentally, and to apply it to a pivotal geological problem: shear zone formation. The project will advance our fundamental understanding of the mechanics and energetics of rock deformation and provide a novel tool for the
modelling of large deformations.
Novel, multi-dating of continental sedimentary rocks will be undertaken to examine the effects of a high sediment flux from an enigmatic, major mountain-building event on a distant continental margin. This will expand our understanding of the range of tectonic influences between continental interiors and margins and onshore resource potential.
Coral reefs are critical for Australia's tourism and fisheries industries, cultural heritage and international conservation responsibilities. The proposed research will test and document two newly identified stress indicators in corals, one of which will allow stress to be documented by visual inspection on living reef flats.
Both new techniques will allow documentation of historical records of stress events, thus improving understanding of reef dynamics through intervals of climate change, and importantly, they also may help detect 'early warning signs' of poor health in living reef corals. Thus, the research will inform
both palaeoclimate studies and current reef management strategies.
Are you looking to study at a higher or more detailed level? We are currently looking for students to research topics at a variety of study levels, including PhD, Masters, Honours or the Vacation Research Experience Scheme (VRES).
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