Earth Sciences Research

New Zealand scenery

Earth science honours New Zealand trip - Image courtesy Alex Butter

Our earth scientists explore the planet we live on, how it works, its history and what it is capable of.

We research across the world, applying cutting-edge methods to understand and address issues vital to sustaining our way of life on this planet.

  • We explore the how the planet works, from deep time plate tectonics to the evolution of continents.
  • We focus on understanding the resource endowment of Australia and the planet, endeavouring to identify critical controls on their formation and pathways to discovery.
  • We investigate how life has developed and evolved from fundamental molecules, through basic cells to megafauna and the modern inventory of life.

Research strengths

Our scientists work across the following multidisciplinary themes. Across all themes, our research has been rated by Australian Research Council’s Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) as:

  • Well above world standard: Geology; Geochemistry
  • Above world standard: Geophysics

Mineral and energy systems

We undertake fundamental and applied geologic and geophysical research in the resources area.

Our research outcomes are used to support and influence exploration strategies in mineral and energy exploration.

Tectonics and solid earth processes

We study the current state and evolution of the major solid Earth processes that shape our planet. These processes serve as a framework from which the generation and concentration of mineral and energy resources may be placed in context.

Our investigations include the Earth's history of magmatism, metamorphism, deformation, and plate motion through a combination of geochemical, petrologic, sedimentological, structural, geochronological, and geophysical methods.

Palaeoclimatology, palaeontology and palaeoenvironments

We examine fossil remains, from mammals, plants and microorganisms, and date sediments using optical and radiogenic geochronology. We specialise in using isotope and molecular geochemistry to infer past temperature, water balance and biogeochemical cycles.

Our goal is to understand more about the history of Earth's life and climate to unravel the mechanisms of long-term change, and to provide context for an uncertain future.

Environmental geochemistry

We employ elemental, isotopic and molecular tracers to explore the origins and pathways of materials and water on Earth's surface.

Our research includes the tracing of water sources in coastal zones, calculating carbon burial in sediments, fingerprinting the origins of petroleum in the natural environment and quantifying the uptake of groundwater by terrestrial ecosystems. This work has relevance interdisciplinary research, including environmental forensics, land management and water quality.

The Faculty of Sciences offers a wide range of science facilities including the Mawson Analytical Facilities which are available for industry use.

  • Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (TIMS) Facility
  • Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) Facility
  • Organic Molecular Analyses & Characterisation (OMAC) Facility

Mawson Analytical Spectrometry Services

Here is a cumulative list of all theses completed by earth science students.

Dates shown are the year of completion of the thesis and entries within each degree category are ordered according to these dates.

A majority of theses can be viewed and downloaded via the Digital Database at the Barr Smith Library. The online repository is currently being updated with online copies of theses previously published in hard copy only.

For theses not available online through the Barr Smith Library repository please email the School of Physical Sciences.

Study with us

Explore your honours and PhD options in earth sciences.

Find a researcher

Search our researcher database for experts and supervisors.

Partner with us

Learn how we can help you solve your scientific problems.