Earth and resources

Earth and Resources studies cover a range of disciplines including petrology, mineralogy, geochemistry, structural geology, tectonics, sedimentology, stratigraphy and hydrogeology and underpin our capacity to ensure a sustainable supply of natural resources.

Fundamental research aims to understand interactions between the solid earth, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere and how these evolved through time.

We examine many aspects of plate tectonics including continental collisions and mountain building, magma generation and the formation and deformation of sedimentary basins.

Field-intensive studies are combined with sophisticated laboratory analyses and modelling to investigate geological processes and histories relevant to formation of minerals, energy and groundwater resources and the occurrence of geological hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes.

Research topics span the entirety of earth history but also include the practical impact that geological factors have on exploration, discovery and exploitation of minerals, energy and groundwater resources and advanced methodologies for site remediation and for carbon storage.

Tectonics

We examine many aspects of plate tectonics including continental collisions and mountain building, magma generation and ocean formation. Our work is global but particularly concentrated along ancient and modern plate boundaries.

We have extensive experience in the ancient Tethyan ocean from the Mediterranean through the Himalaya and Tibet to New Caledonia, New Zealand and eastern Australia. We also undertake research elsewhere across Australia, Asia and the Americas.

Research spans geological time and scales, from the initiation of plate tectonics through mountain building, uplift and erosion to processes actively shaping modern landscapes. Our detailed field investigations constrain quantitative investigations and modeling.

Minerals and Energy

The Earth is the foundation upon which we live, and it provides natural, mineral and energy resources that sustain economic growth and quality living standards. Earth and Environmental sciences underpin all aspects of the value chain from exploration through extraction to market and environmental stewardship. Research spans fundamental understanding of minerals and mineral and energy systems developing through biogenic and abiogenic processes at surface and at depth, to applied and industry focussed modelling and visualisation of deposits, and progressive and post-closure mine site rehabilitation.  World class laboratory facilities, global partnerships and researcher expertise are best explored through the website.  

Geophysics

We use mathematical models and geophysical data analysis to understand and reconstruct subsurface processes on various spatial and temporal scales. The impact of human intervention in the subsurface, including CO2 sequestration, geothermal energy production and unconventional (coal seam gas) extraction, are the primary focus of our studies. 

Our research activities contribute to the enhancement of geostatistical methods and data inference techniques.

A key component of our work is geophysical data inversion, involving processing and interpretation of both seismic and non-seismic data, for imaging and monitoring of the subsurface. Our group has extensive experience in scientific software development and parallelization of large-scale data processing and simulations. 

The research on modelling of onshore gas extraction at UQ is supported by the Canadian Energi Simulation Foundation. Here we look into new ways of building static and dynamic models to improve gas forecasting and water management.

Geomicrobiology

Geomicrobiology is the scientific field at the intersection of geology and microbiology. It concerns the interactions of microorganisms with geological and geochemical processes, including the weathering and formation of rocks, minerals, soils and sediments and their influence on the hydrosphere. 

Geomicrobiology includes the study of extremophile organisms, microorganisms that thrive in environments normally considered hostile to life, extending to the origin of life on earth or other planets.

Understanding these limits of life, are important in applied ecosystems, e.g., the microbial degradation of hydrocarbons associated with oil spills, in bioleaching - the use of microbes to extract metals from mine waste, and in mine site bioremediation.

Geochemistry and Geochronology

Geochemistry and geochronology studies rely on precise determination of the elemental and isotopic compositions of rocks, minerals, waters and gases. Geochemistry research addresses both fundamental and applied research questions from past environmental conditions to the origin of mineral and fossil fuel deposits and the impact of CO2 injection into subsurface aquifers. Geochronology research involves the application of a variety of isotope systems to determine the ages and cooling histories of rocks and minerals, with relevance to the dating of volcanic eruptions and igneous intrusions, metamorphic and uplift histories, and the formation of ore deposits and weathering profiles.

Atmospheres and Oceans

Weather affects all aspects of our lives, from the clothes we wear to the value of our homes, the cost of insurances, our health and quality of life. Yet the atmosphere does not work alone to produce our daily weather, but is inherently linked to our oceans and change therein. In SEES research focuses on direct observation and measurement of atmospheric process and their interaction with the Earth’s surface. We focus on coastal and severe weather and ocean drivers of interannual variability in meteorology such as the Indian Ocean Dipole and the El Niño Southern Oscillation.  

Environmental Geology

The school is exceptionally well equipped for environmental geology with the RIF lab [suggest hyperlink here] and the Stable Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory [hyperlink] as well as a suite of related facilities in hydrogeology and geomorphology. Areas of research includes water quality both marine and freshwater and acid mine drainage and there is also considerable medical research undertaken. 

Volcanology

Volcanoes create beautiful landscapes, fertile soils and economic resources. They are also a major natural hazard, particularly along the Ring of Fire surrounding the Pacific Ocean. Volcanology research at UQ aims to understand the nature, architecture and timescales of magmatic plumbing systems feeding major volcanic eruptions, as well as the connections between tectonic cycles and the generation of magma inside the Earth. State-of-the-art petrological, geochemical and geochronological techniques in the SEES and research collaborations around the world provide an ideal framework to investigate how volcanoes work and when, why and how they erupt

Projects

Link to projects once projects are retagged!

People

Tectonics

Minerals and Energy

Geophysics 

Geomicrobiology

Geochemistry and Geochronology

Atmospheres and Oceans

Environmental geology

Volcanology