Noble gases in ancient fluid droplets in minerals

Unlocking rare noble gases from mineral fluid inclusions: A window into Earth’s ancient history

Apply your knowledge of and interest in geology and physics to study Earth forming processes with noble gases from some of the oldest fluid samples on earth: fluid inclusions in minerals.

Cornelia Wilkes honours project Noble gases in ancient fluid droplets in minerals

This exciting honours project will apply noble gas isotope measurements on fluid inclusions from magmatic or metamorphic rocks. The focus is on vacuum extraction of rare noble gas isotopes from specific mineral phases like quartz.

By analysing noble gas isotopes from fluid inclusions, you will determine the origin of the minerals and identify fluid pathways and exchange processes that occurred during the formation of the Earth. The ultimate aim is to provide evidence that the rock mass has not been in contact with groundwater for millions of years.

You will have a unique hands-on experience with measuring noble gases at CSIRO’s noble gas facility – one of the world’s most comprehensive noble gas labs – and learn about applications of noble gas isotopes as environmental tracers to study mineralization and fluid movement.


  • Mineral microscopy 
  • Extraction of mineral grains from rocks
  • Crushing experiments for fluid inclusion extractions
  • Technical development for noble gas analysis


Tagged in Honours projects - Physics, Honours projects - Geology, Honours projects - Environmental geoscience, Honours projects - Ecology and environmental science, Honours in Physics subtheme - Luminescence, Honours projects - Cornelia Wilske, Honours Projects - Nigel Spooner