To view the individual session descriptions please click on the titles below. 

Theme 1: Energy and resources

Jonathan CloutierUniversity of Tasmania
Caroline TiddyUniversity of South Australia

Dr Mojtaba Rajabi

Proponents: Dr Mojtaba Rajabi (UQ), A/Prof Rosalind King (Adelaide Uni), Dr Hamid Roshan (UNSW) and A/Prof Simon Holford (Adelaide Uni)

Geomechanics has been demonstrated over the past 30 years as having key importance for the safe and sustainable usage of underground environments. In particular, knowledge of geomechanics is critical for exploration and production of hydrocarbon, geothermal energy and mineral resources extraction, CO2 geo-sequestration, groundwater exploration and production. The main goal of this session is therefore to bring together researchers from various engineering and geo-disciplines to share their knowledge in recent advancements in experimental, numerical, theoretical and field application of geomechanics in conventional and unconventional petroleum reservoirs, mining engineering, geothermal and civil engineering.

Dr Julie Pearce, Alison Troup, Prof. Sue Golding

Unconventional resources are becoming a hot topic in Australia and world-wide.  In addition gas will become increasingly important in the transition to low emissions. We invite abstracts relating to unconventional gas and resources including coal seam gas (coal bed methane), tight gas, shale gas and shale oil. These may include well and basin scale geological, organic matter or isotopic (biogenic vs thermogenic) gas characterisation; experimental, modelling or field studies of unconventional stimulation technologies; emerging technologies for example CO2 fracture fluids, or enhanced recovery. We also invite contributions on overlying aquifer monitoring, local or regional drawn down of water resources, baseline monitoring or potential gas leakage studies.

Dr Robin Armit

Co-Convenors: T. Betts & P. McFarlane, H.

Regional tectonic analysis informs on the evolution of the crust through Earth’s history and plays an important role in helping us understand how and where mineral systems form. It encompasses a broad range of studies from basin development and rifting, to amalgamation of the continents and orogenesis. This session will focus on integrated regional tectonic studies that incorporate aspects of geophysics, structural geology or numerical modelling to inform on the tectonic and geodynamic evolution of the crust, and regional controls on mineral systems. Presentations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Regional case studies informing on the tectonic and geodynamic evolution of the crust related to mineral systems
  • Tectonic drivers and controls on mineral systems, from lithospheric architecture to structural controls on mineral deposits
  • Plate reconstructions and associated mineralising events
  • Understanding the lithosphere based on potential field, seismic or MT data and the controls on the spatial and temporal distribution of mineral deposits
  • Emerging geophysical techniques for imaging tectonic processes and lithospheric architecture related to mineral system genesis

Dr Anthony Budd

The National Drilling Initiative (NDI) will manage and deliver precompetitive drilling programs in multiple case study areas across Australia.  The NDI vision is to drill multiple holes in selected undercover areas of Australia to map the regional geology and architecture and define the potential for mineral systems in 3D. The session will include presentations on integrating diverse data to maximise the value of data and drilling through cover, to improve understanding of geological architecture and evolution, and to reduce exploration risk through better characterisation of mineral systems in covered terranes.

Mrs Georgina Gordon & Jessica Stromberg

The development and incorporation of spectral sensing technologies in the energy and resources sector has been increasing over the past decade. This session aims to present exciting developments in spectral applications from a wide variety of areas, e.g. exploration, analysis and spectral data mining and modelling.

Dr Adam Bath
Co-convenor – Yuan Mei

Orogenic gold systems span from the Archean to Phanerozoic and account for a significant proportion of the world’s gold. Despite their importance there is still much debate over the source of gold and fluids, time and length scales of transport, nature and chemistry of the transport medium and mechanisms of precipitation for these systems. For this session we aim to explore the types of fluids that drive gold systems through space and time. An emphasis on recognising processes related to the transportation and deposition of gold across a range of scales (i.e. terrane to nano-scale). Recognising the scale of hydrothermal footprints and the novel use of these data-sets towards exploration.

Dr Anita Parbhakar-Fox
Co-convenor – Gavin Mudd

Effective rehabilitation and relinquishment of mine waste sites across Australia is technically complex and expensive to get right, therefore very few well documented examples exist. Based on the limited success, consideration should be given to replacing conventional rehabilitation practices such as engineered capping of waste materials (e.g., soil-vegetation or water covers). One such alternative is to assess waste as a potential resource, particularly as many of the highly-sought new economy or critical metals (e.g., Co, In, W, Te, V, REEs) have long since been recognised as by-products of base (Cu, Zn, Ni) and precious (Au) metal mining. This session will: i) introduce effective techniques for new economy metal exploration in a range of mine waste materials (e.g., tailings, slag, waste rock, spent heap leach); ii) discuss case studies where potential secondary resources have been identified; and iii) describe new mineral processing technologies developed to unlock these complex ore bodies.

Dr Gerrit Olivier

Seismic imaging has been a cornerstone of oil & gas exploration for decades and has been gaining popularity in mineral exploration in recent years due to its ability to image under cover. Advances in wireless seismic data acquisition technology and computational seismology has given rise to new methods that were not feasible a few years ago in the resource exploration context. In this session we invite contributions showing case studies of innovative applications of seismic imaging methods applied to aid in resource exploration and evaluation. These include (but are not limited to): Reflection Seismology, Ambient Noise Tomography, Travel Time Tomography, Passive Reflection Imaging, Full Waveform Inversion, Receiver Functions, HSVR, MASW, etc.

Dr Sarah Jones

A series of talks that describe the structural controls on a variety of ore deposits.

Yulia Uvarova, David Giles & Caroline Tiddy

Technological advancements in mineral exploration tools have been gaining interest and momentum as explorers move into buried and therefore more challenging terranes. Technology advancements include laboratory and field-deployable analytical techniques, remote sensing, data processing and data analysis. This session will present a range of technological advancements that aim to lower the risk of targeting and enable successful mineral exploration within buried terranes.

Dr Coralie Siegel & Dr Michael Baker

Co-convenors: Yuan Mei & Siyu Hu

Major ore deposits in the world have a hydrothermal-magmatic origin. The characterisation of geochemical variations and chemical equilibria of fluid-mineral interactions during the hydrothermal-magmatic process is critical for our understanding of associated ore-forming systems, as well as for potential applications in exploration of new and undercover ore deposits. We invite contributions that focus on the origin, architecture and geochemistry of these systems, along with tectonomagmatic controls, fluid-rock interaction, ore-forming processes, and recent case studies. Contributions may present the geochemical and mineral chemical characterisation of ore deposits/mineral systems, macro-to nano-scale observations, laboratory experiments, geochemical and isotopic analyses, as well as thermodynamic simulations.

Dr Phillip Blevin, Dr Matt Cracknell & Mr Mark Biggs

The application of machine learning tools and other data analytics to address geoscience problems has become more accepted and widespread in recent years. Nevertheless, successful machine learning outcomes typically require the analysis of big data sets where information is plentiful. This is not always the case when tackling geological dilemmas where opportunities for collecting a large number of observations is limited or economically infeasible. In this session we welcome presentations on:

  1. Methodologies and techniques
  2. Applications to exploration
  3. Applications to other geology fields not mentioned
  4. Machine learning successes and failures

Theme 2: Earth Structure

Jo WhittakerUniversity of Tasmania
Jack MulderMonash University

Prof. Zheng-xiang Li

In this session we invite researchers from all solid-Earth disciplines to present their latest findings on Earth’s dynamic evolution since the Proterozoic, featuring the assembly of major continental blocks such as the North, West and South Australian cratons, three supercontinent cycles (Nuna, Rodinia and Pangea), and related geodynamic driving mechanisms in a near-modern plate tectonic setting. Key scientific questions include (but not limited to):

(1) when did the supercontinent cycle start and what are the consequences of supercontinent cycles?
(2) how each of the supercontinents assemble and break-up, as recorded by orogenic, passive margin, and geophysical records?
(3) configuration of the supercontinents, and global paleogeography in-between supercontinents,
(4) what are the geodynamic processes behind the supercontinent cycle, and does this relationship evolve with time?
(5) how do plate tectonic processes and supercontinent relate to the mantle structure as we see today?
(6) what are the implications of such a dynamic Earth history to the formation and preservation of Earth resources, pale-climate, and the evolution of life?

This session will be co-sponsored by IGCP 648: Supercontinent Cycles and Global Geodynamics.

Dr John Greenfield

The Tasmanides of eastern Australia record the break-up of Rodinia, followed by the growth of a series of orogenic belts along the eastern margin of Gondwana. The Tasmanides have been a focus of tectonic and geodynamic research in recent years (e.g. Lachlan ARC-linkage grant, MinEx-CRC), spurred on by a new generation of regional datasets, improved isotopic techniques and innovative models. This has been coupled with a renewed surge in exploration for Cu-Au porphyry, epithermal Au, intrusion-related Au/Sn-W and Cobar-type deposits throughout eastern Australia, which has seen a collaborative approach to research involving industry, academia and government geoscientists. This session will summarise recent breakthroughs and seek to evaluate competing geodynamic models by asking “where-next?” in the search for the next major mineral discoveries.

Dr Renjie Zhou

Co-convenors: Dr Stijn Glorie (University of Adelaide), A/Prof. Martin Danisik (Curtin University), Prof. Andrew Gleadow (University of Melbourne) & Prof. Barry Kohn (University of Melbourne)

Evolution of continents exerts an impact on the Earth system. Assembly, break-up, uplift and erosion of continents influence global sea level and climate. Deformation and growth of continents build landscape, create geological hazards, and accumulate resources. Understanding continental processes usually requires a multidisciplinary approach. Low-temperature thermochronology, such as fission-track and U-Th/He methods, reveals rock’s thermal history at < ~300 °C and provides unique constraints regarding various processes including but not limited to continental rifting, fault movement, mountain uplift, basin subsidence, accumulation and preservation of petroleum and mineral resources. Our session invites studies that use low-temperature thermochronology to decipher continental processes of various spatial and temporal scales in the Australian continent as well as from around the globe. We also invite contributions that highlight technical advances in this field (e.g., in situ U-Th/He dating, single-grain double or triple dating, low-temperature thermochronology for non-apatite or zircon minerals) and collaborate with other geochronological or geochemical methods (e.g., cosmogenic nuclides, OSL, Ar/Ar, U-Pb, Lu-Hf) to solve questions in continental evolution.

Dr Mark Duffett

Recent decades have seen major new data sets become available for the Tasmanian region, and as many or more interpretations. But how consistent are they? The time is now ripe to bring it all together. This session is dedicated to promoting a grand synthesis of passive seismic, magnetotelluric, xenoliths, geothermal, potential fields, structural observations, isotopes and all the other geoscientific data pertaining to the broad structure and evolution of Tasmania’s crust, Moho and upper mantle.

A/Prof. Carl Spandler

Jurassic and Cretaceous systems dominate the surface geology of eastern Australia but a clear understanding of the geodynamic configuration to which they relate remains largely unresolved. Did the enduring Cambrian-Triassic convergent margin regime for eastern Australia persisted through the Mesozoic, or was there was a switch to within-plate dynamics preceding continental rupture and opening of the Tasman and Coral Sea basins? The session focuses on new research of relevance to this question. It invites a diversity of contributions ranging across structural geology and tectonics, sedimentology, paleontology, igneous petrology and geochemistry to provide new perspectives on the patterns and processes that shaped eastern Australia and its resources in the mid to late Mesozoic.

Professor Mike Coffin

The Indian Ocean contains multiple submarine plateaus and volcanic islands, including traces of some of the most prominent hot spots globally – Amsterdam-Saint Paul, Cocos (Keeling), Comoro, Crozet, Kerguelen, Marion, and Réunion – as well as the world’s quintessential microcontinent, Seychelles. Much recent marine and terrestrial geoscientific research has been undertaken on these features’ basement rocks, sediment drape, and the overlying water column. This session aims to bring together biogeochemists, geobiologists, geochemists, geochronologists, geodynamicists, geologists, geophysicists, paleoceanographers, paleomagneticists, petrologists, sedimentologists, stratigraphers, and tectonicists across the realms of experimentation, modelling, and observation to summarise advances in knowledge, develop synergies, and plan future research

Dr Jacqueline Halpin

The modern Antarctic continent has been through multiple global supercontinent amalgamation and breakup cycles and includes some of the most ancient crust found on Earth through to crust generated in the youngest dispersal cycle. Although only tantalising glimpses are archived in exposed outcrop and detritus, the integration of the onshore and offshore geological records with a wealth of geophysical datasets continues to transform our view of Antarctic subglacial and submarine bedrock and lithospheric architecture. Here we invite contributions that explore the evolution of the Antarctic continent (and its neighbours) throughout supercontinent cycles.

Theme 3: Core to Crust

Jodi Fox – University of Tasmania

Prof. Graham Heinson

Large-scale geophysical MT and passive seismic imaging arrays and derived models are redefining our knowledge of the Australian lithosphere. Such 3D models can be integrated with national potential field, geochemical and geological databases to constrain the 4D evolution of the continent. To date, almost half the country has been covered with earth imaging arrays, with planning for completion over the next few years. This session focuses on what we have learnt from existing arrays, and identifying challenges and opportunities in the future.

Dr Jodi Fox

Co-convenors: Jodi Fox (UTas) Heather Handley (MacqU), Martin Jutzeler (UTas)

Understanding magma generation, transport, eruption and post-eruption processes is essential for addressing fundamental questions about the geological development of the Earth, life cycle of volcanoes, volcanic hazards and volcanic-magmatic resource geology. Volcanism occurs at a range of temporal and spatial scales, from intraplate settings to plate boundaries, during single eruptive events or spread over thousands to millions of years. Volcanic eruptions are strongly influenced by the tectonic setting, source magma composition and its evolution on ascent. The associated volcanic products are dependent on magma eruption dynamic, vent setting, fragmentation, transport and environment of deposition. Improving our understanding of volcanic eruptions and their context requires multi-disciplinary approaches that involve the detailed acquisition of data from the fields of physical volcanology, igneous petrology, geochemistry, geophysics and geodynamics that are ultimately combined with sophisticated experiments and models. We welcome submissions that explore interesting and fundamental questions about volcanic or magmatic processes. Submissions from students and early career researchers are strongly encouraged.

This session has been withdrawn, we would still like to hear about the work of researchers planning to submit to this session. You are encouraged to submit an abstract and it will be allocated to an appropriate session.

The subduction channel is the interface between the subducting slab and overriding mantle and consists of a 100-1000m thick shear zone that experiences high fluid flux. It comprises a melange of altered oceanic crust, metasomatised mantle, and metasedimentary rocks that are intensely sheared and tectonically mixed, forming hybrid rocks seen nowhere else on Earth. Fluids generated during subduction move along shear zones within the subduction channel and into the mantle wedge. In both locations, these fluids can drive metasomatism, redox change, transfer of many elements including critical metals, and contribute to the development of arc magmas. This session focuses on fluid-mediated processes within and above the subduction channel, including geochemical and metamorphic studies of metasomatic and melting processes, (micro)structural studies on the controls of fluid migration in the subduction channel and mantle wedge, and geodynamic studies on fluid pathways and processes related to the subduction channel.

Dr Yongjun Lu

Co-convenors: Yongjun Lu (GSWA), Klaus Gessner (GSWA), Huaiyu Yuan (Macquarie University), Linda Iaccheri (University of the Witwatersrand)

The lithospheric architecture and crustal composition of Archean cratons suggest that each craton is unique, albeit sharing some common features. Understanding the processes that shape and modify Archean cratons and their margins is fundamental for unravelling how Earth’s continents have evolved and their controls on the economic accumulation of mineral resources. We invite contributions that utilise geophysical, geological and geochemical observations to image the architecture, composition and geodynamic evolution of cratons and their margins.

This session has been withdrawn, researchers planning to submit to this session are invited to submit to the Advances in understanding volcanic and magmatic processes session.

Eastern Australia contains a large suite of recent volcanism that commonly occurs with economically viable mineral deposits. Leucitite provinces almost exclusively occur in close vicinity to copper-gold porphyry deposits, while the basaltic provinces have enrichments in rare-earth-elements (REEs) and often produce gem-quality minerals such as corundum. Basaltic chemistry from these provinces requires an enriched mantle source, and entrained mantle xenoliths show evidence of extensive mantle metasomatism in the sub-lithospheric mantle, which could be the elusive source for the eastern Australian alluvial diamonds.

Recently the surface expressions of these volcanic provinces have been linked to lithospheric thickness, with almost all occurring close to major steps from thick to thin lithosphere. This may indicate that the lithospheric thickness and topography of the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary plays a role in influencing the location of mantle metasomatism, magma production and mineralisation throughout eastern Australia.

This session invites abstracts from a broad spectrum of relevant fields including igneous and metamorphic petrology, geochemistry, applied and theoretical near-surface geophysics, and geodynamics. The aim is to exhibit the interdisciplinary nature of these questions, with emphasis on highlighting the formation, evolution and related mineral deposits of eastern Australian Mesozoic-Cenozoic volcanism as a planetary process rather than mutually exclusive fields.

A/Prof. Marco Fiorentini

The session will focus on unveiling the recent advances in the utilisation of igneous accessory minerals, such as (but not limited to) apatite, zircon, titanite, chromite, tourmaline, as discriminants of magmatic metallogenic fertility in a wide range of mineral systems.

This session has been withdrawn, we would still like to hear about the work of the researchers planning to submit to this session. You are encouraged to submit an abstract and it will be allocated to an appropriate session.

The last decade has seen an unprecedented growth in capabilities in understanding Earth’s mantle and lithosphere, as well as interactions with other Earth processes, at a range of spatiotemporal scales. This session will show-case major advances in our ability to study the evolving Australian plate – including the role of the underlying mantle flow, the evolution of the lithosphere, and the response of the crust to tectonic and surface processes. The Australian continent records phases of tectonic growth and destruction, interactions with the planetary interior and the surface, over a number of supercontinent cycles. This session welcomes contributions for regional and global studies, covering “deep” and shorter geological timescales, as well as the implications for better understanding geochemical and geophysical processes, and the formation of mineral and energy resources.

This session has been withdrawn, we would still like to hear about the work of researchers planning to submit to this session. You are encouraged to submit an abstract and it will be allocated to an appropriate session.

Volatiles made up of C, H, O, S, N play important roles in triggering melting of various rocks in subduction zones. This session invites contributions on the effects of volatiles on melting of sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks in the subducted slab, and during melting of the mantle wedge beneath arc volcanoes, including rocks that result from reactions between melts of the slab and mantle peridotite. The session covers how variations in oxygen fugacity controls volatile speciation and the transport of elements, and the changes in melting regimes that occur maturation of arcs and migration of subduction zones. We will also examine the mineralogy of volatiles in deep subduction zones, addressing what proportion of subducted volatiles remain in the residue and take part in deep volatile cycles.

Prof. Leonid Danyushevsky

Australian geoscience community has always been at the forefront of micro-analytical technique developments and applications. Modern in-situ micro-analysis offers non-destructive and destructive techniques capable of characterizing physical and chemical properties of geological materials on scales from hundreds of microns to single atoms, utilizing interactions of electron, X-ray, ion and photon beams with the sample. This session invites oral and poster contributions describing new technological and technique developments; novel applications of the techniques; approaches to data reduction, data visualization and data integration from different techniques; and historical perspectives on micro-analytical developments, covering any of the methods used in Earth Sciences.

Theme 4: Crust, surface and cosmos

Indrani MukherjeeUniversity of Tasmania
Ashleigh HoodUniversity of Melbourne

A/Prof. Malcolm Wallace (Melbourne) & Ashleigh Hood (Melbourne)

Carbonate minerals and sediments are increasingly being used to reconstruct past climate and environments. This session is aimed at  highlighting all aspects of this carbonate research including paleoceanography, paleoclimates, paleoenvironments, carbonate diagenesis  and carbonate geochemistry.

Prof. Alan Collins & Dr Shuan-hong Zhang

Co-convenors: Dr Ashleigh Hood (Melbourne), Dr Juraj Farkas (Adelaide), Richard E. Ernst (Canada) & Peng Peng (China)

The Proterozoic world (2.5-0.54 Ga) is the Earth’s Middle Age –it sees the evolution of eukaryotes, the protracted oxygenation of the atmosphere and ocean; it sees the earth system survive tumultuous climate changes to become a world habitable for multicellular life. Multiple supercontinents form and breakup during this time with corresponding changes in ocean and atmosphere circulation, erosion and nutrient supply, planetary albedo and the magnitude of deep planet cycling of greenhouse gasses. The links between these deep earth plate tectonic features and the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere have been long postulated, but until the recent development of full plate models for the Proterozoic (the latter part at least!), they have been largely untestable. Plate tectonics and large igneous provinces (LIPs) may also play an important role in driving ocean redox conditions, nutrient fluxes and biological activity. In this session we invite tectonic geologists, palaeomagnetic specialists, plate reconstruction geologists, earth system scientists and geodynamicists to explore the links between the deep earth and the earth surface systems. We welcome presentations connecting Precambrian tectonics, LIPs, crustal composition and evolution, ocean redox conditions, atmospheric oxygenation and early life.

Ms Elizabeth Mahon (Melbourne) & Brennan O’Connell (Melbourne)

Observations from the rock record allow us to deconstruct past conditions and processes at Earth’s surface. The erosion, transport and deposition of sediments are integral to shaping our planet, and providing analogues for other planets in our solar system. The interactions of sedimentation, climate, biogenic formation and eustacy can be identified through careful analysis of sedimentary rocks, from outcrop, core, well logs, or seismic. This allows a greater understanding of how these systems occur and interact with one another. The connection between how surface processes are linked to preserved stratigraphic architecture in the subsurface is an area of ongoing research. Understanding how these surface processes have shaped sediments preserved in the rock record through direct observation and interpretation of the rocks provides insights to our dynamic planet and solar system.

We invite submissions including but not limited to: clastic systems, biogenic systems, field-based studies, industry sourced data, planetary geology, and from any geologic Eon.

Dr Brendan Duffy (Melbourne) and A/Prof. Meghan Miller (ANU)

Australia’s northward drift toward Asia has dramatically reconfigured eastern Indonesia over the Neogene, building barriers to the flow of water and air, and thereby fundamentally controlling the biogeographic, oceanographic and climatic development of Australia, the maritime continent and beyond. This session provides a platform for cross-disciplinary science that explore 1) the rocks, processes and margin characteristics that have controlled the geodynamic and oceanographic development of eastern Indonesian lithosphere, and 2) the paleo and continuing impact of that development on the bio-, hydro and atmosphere. We particularly welcome studies that link new insights into the timing, rates and style of earth processes with societal and environmental outcomes, including but not limited to resources, climate and weather, geohazards, groundwater, biodiversity and ecosystem development.

Dr Agathe Lise-pronovost (Melbourne)

Co-convenors: Zanna Chase (UTAS) & Stephen Gallagher (Melbourne)

The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) is an international marine research collaboration with a mission to progress our understanding of the significant proportion of the Earth’s crust that underlies the ocean. In the last decade the program has cored locations in the Indo-Pacific with many legs focussed around Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica to obtain high resolution archives of tectonic, oceanic and climate history. We welcome contributions from IODP and other research initiatives that explore Earth’s history and dynamics using ocean-going research platforms to recover data from seafloor sediments and rocks and to monitor subseafloor environments. Topics of interest include climate and ocean change, deep life and environmental forcing of evolution, the life cycle of ocean basins and continents, deep processes, hazards, and their impact on natural and anthropic environments.

Dr Sandra Mann (Adelaide) & Kathryn Amos (Adelaide)

This session aims to explore current research on the sedimentology and geomorphology of dryland continental systems, including but not limited to alluvial, fluvial, aeolian, and playa-lacustrine settings.

Sustainable manipulation of our natural environment with population growth and a changing global climate requires a robust fundamental understanding of continental sedimentary processes.

Dryland settings, including arid, semi-arid and dry subhumid areas, comprise approximately half of the Earth’s continents, support forty-four percent of the world’s cultivated systems, are highly sensitive to environmental change, but remain understudied compared to other settings. Considerable progress has been made with the advancement of remote sensing technologies, however the integration of field-based data, subsurface studies, geophysical methods, lab-based experiments and numerical modelling is important in characterising these systems.

We invite contributions on both modern and ancient continental systems, preferring a focus on process-based sedimentology or geomorphology relating to drylands. We hope to receive submissions from a diverse range of perspectives, including academia, industry and government. Studies covering a wide range of physical scales and investigation methods are welcomed.

Dr Sara Morón

Co-convenors: Chris Elders & Rebecca Farrington

This session sets out to explore current research into a better understanding of basin formation and evolution from a plate-tectonic perspective. We invite contributions based on observation and experimentation, from large scale structural analysis to analogue or numerical modelling. We aim to cover a large range of basin-driving processes including mantle convection, lithospheric deformation, structural evolution, tectonic versus thermal subsidence and interactions with surface processes, particularly erosion, transport and deposition of sediment.

Sedimentary basins form in a wide range of geological settings and are associated with all tectonic regimes; convergent, divergent, transform and intraplate. Their formation and evolution through time represent a fundamental part of the Wilson cycle and a key part of the plate tectonics theory. Basins around the world have been widely documented, both by academics and the industry, using a wide range of approaches and techniques and have arisen as objects of high scientific and economic importance. Yet explaining the structural complexity of sedimentary basins and how it relates to the tectonic context remains a significant challenge of our communities. It requires integrating field data and experimental results across all the disciplines of Earth Sciences.

Theme 5: Geoscience in society, education and environment

Claire KainMineral Resources Tasmania

Dr Sandra Villacorta

There is an urgent need to improve understanding of the approaches to educational content in Geosciences worldwide.

Geoscience education is an interdisciplinary field dedicated to the processes that will lead to geoscientists’ formation. In this context, new contributions to research are required.

The scope of this session is to discuss conceptual bases and research approaches to geoscientific knowledge at the secondary and university levels, including approaches specific to Australia.

We welcome the participation of professionals from the International Geoscience Education Organization.

Keywords: Teacher training; geoscience education; environmental education; school teaching; primary and secondary

Ms Simone Meakin

Earth science and its societal impacts are increasingly prominent in the media and everyday lives of people, and geoscientists are having to learn to communicate better, to enable the wider population to participate in informed debate. Outreach activities enable us to share our science widely, inform public debate and inspire future geoscientists to address the challenges facing humanity.  A broad range of innovative methods are being used globally to inform, educate, sharing wonderment and raise awareness of geoscience-related topics. This session will explore new ideas and technology being adapted in geoscience story-telling. Some successful outreach projects and initiatives will be presented, sharing lessons learnt. It will also explore the diversification in roles that geoscientists play in society today, and how we can adapt to fill them.

Dr Sandra Villacorta

There is an urgent need to promote geoethical values to deal with the implications of geosciences activities and discuss the appropriate behaviours and practices, wherever human activities interact with the Earth system worldwide.

The scope of this session is to discuss the ethical implications of developing geoscience activities. Acknowledging the role of Geoscientists at the service of society, this session will develop discussion on ethical and social problems related to the management of land, coasts and open oceans; socio-environmentally sustainable supplies of energy and geo-resources; geoscience communication and education, role of geosciences in socio-economic development, sustainable development and intercultural exchange among others.

It is expected participation of professionals of the International Association for Promoting Geoethics – IAPG (

Keywords: Geoethics, Professionalism, values

Angus M Robinson

The Geological Society of Australia has defined geotourism as ‘tourism which focuses on an area’s geology and landscape as the basis for providing visitor engagement, learning and enjoyment’. Geotourism adds considerable content value to traditional nature-based tourism  as well as cultural tourism, thus completing the holistic embrace of ‘A’ (abiotic – landscape and geology) plus ‘B’ (biotic – flora and fauna) plus ‘C’ (culture, both indigenous and post European settlement) aspects.  The Australian Geoscience Council is currently working on a draft national geotourism strategy, and this session invites presentations on all aspects of geotourism, including the development and function of geosites, geotrails and geoparks around Australia, with particular reference to the following strategic themes.

  • Geotourism as a means of celebrating geodiversity through identification of new digital technologies (e.g. smartphones, 3D visualisation, AR & VR) and GIS technologies.
  • Examples of new geotrail development – local, regional and national engagement with existing walking, biking and rail trail interest groups and operators.
  • Examples for collaboration with providers of other areas of natural (bioregion) and cultural heritage content, inclusive of mining heritage.
  • Identification of professional development opportunities for geoscientists, including tour guiding, interpretation and natural area management.

Claire Kain

Geohazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, erosion, and tsunamis can pose a significant threat to life, property and the natural environment we value. Climate change research indicates that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense, which will lead to increased incidence of certain natural disasters.  As such, it is important to improve our understanding of these environmental processes and their associated physical, economic and social risks.

This session invites submissions on all aspects of natural hazards and engineering geology, including physical process based studies and those focusing on vulnerability, recovery and resilience. We also hope to generate discussion around engineering solutions to complex geological problems, from site-specific investigations through to large-scale geoengineering ideas.

A/Prof. Margaret Brocx

Geoheritage and Geoconservation are linked endeavours with Geoheritage being the geological heritage of the Earth and Geoconservation being the process of preserving sites and areas of geoheritage significance. This session is focused on the ‘State of the Art’ of Geoheritage and Geoconservation in Australia, with presentations crossing the range of geological disciplines and encompassing sites of geoheritage significance from the large scale to the small scale, as well as geo-education (including museums, signage, coursework, the media, publications, etc.), and inventory development.

Dr Rachel Przeslawski

Geoscientists are often attracted to the discipline because it typically involves fieldwork, including to remote locations across both land and ocean. Such fieldwork provides both opportunities and challenges regarding stakeholder engagement and outreach. This session will include talks related to this topic, including but not limited to:

  • Issues of land access and indigenous engagement often require approaches that are not yet entrenched in the geoscience canon.
  • Fieldwork at remote locations may provide opportunities otherwise not available for scientists to engage local communities in the earth sciences.
  • Field-based projects can yield a range of engaging imagery, specimens and other materials that can be used to promote research for a range of audiences, including academic, government, schools, and the general public.
  • The Earth sciences are impacted by social licence requirements and changing regulatory frameworks for Industry.

By strategically considering stakeholder engagement and outreach activities, geoscientific research can deliver impact and optimise the value of fieldwork.

Dr Andrew McNeill

The role of geological surveys has historically been centred around mapping the landscape, understanding its history, and maintaining a record of mineral and energy resources. As government agencies, their role is controlled not only by the geographic setting but also by the political context in which they operate. This session will explore current activities, constraints and planned directions for surveys in Australia and internationally. These issues will be explored in a panel discussion, which will include representatives from both Australian and international surveys of varying size. We also welcome submissions for oral presentations.

Dr Unnikrishnan Karumathil

Petroleum exploration data is a State / Federal asset which the respective government should take care of. Better managed data augment exploration activities and expedite positive results for the State / Nation. Not all government organisations are capable of managing their data as far as the storage, back-up and supplying copies are concerned. Private sector companies with expertise and experience in different aspects of data management play a crucial role in managing / preserving the precious and invaluable exploration data. Examples of private sector helping government organisations can be drawn from many organisations across the country. This is a mutually beneficial collaboration which ensures that the data gets expert treatment and care and at the same time, creates job opportunities in the private sector companies. There are several geoscience / survey / services companies which offer data transcription, data copying and data storage facilities which many government organisations utilise. It is difficult for government organisations to maintain various hardware and software for this purpose. Some of the data stored in old tapes and cartridges need special equipment to transcribe the data they contain before the media and drive become obsolete. This is one of the challenges faced by many government organisations dealing with petroleum exploration data. Private sector can play a major role in recovering the data and preserve them for future use. Similar collaborations can be observed in all aspects of exploration and production of oil and gas. Sharing the success stories of public-private partnerships in a forum like this would be beneficial for all the participants.

Theme 6: Earth observations and models

Matt KingUniversity of Tasmania

Dr Mehdi Khaki

The recent advancements in satellite remote sensing have gained a lot of attention for improving our understanding of Earth’s climate system and its hydrology. Traditionally, various types of models such as hydrologic and atmospheric models have been used for modelling/simulating and predicting hydro-climate processes at regional and global scales. Nevertheless, due to various sources of uncertainties such as imperfect modelling, data limitations on both temporal and spatial resolutions, their errors, as well as limited knowledge about empirical model parameters, the accuracy of model simulations can be degraded. Integrating satellite geodetic data such as satellite gravimetry, satellite radar and radiometer measurements, synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) and radar interferometry data, and satellite altimetry have been shown to be effective for improving the models’ performance and their forecasting skills. This allows us to better study, for example, water resources and their distributions, mass variations and balance, extreme events such as droughts and floods, ice transfer, and help to adapt to long-term environmental challenges posed by climate changes on continental scales.

Data integration, e.g., through data assimilation (DA) constrains the models’ simulations based on observations and error associated with them. The method has become more popular with the advent of the space era since scientific observational methods were not limited any more to terrestrial only and offer high spatiotemporal resolution data with global coverage. Specifically, the application of satellite geodetic measurement has been proven to successfully improve various models such as atmospheric and oceanic models, hydrological models and also coupled (e.g., land-atmosphere) systems. Therefore, satellite data integration has great potential in hydro‐meteorological studies. The main objective of establishing this session is to bring together people with this expertise to share their knowledge, address the current challenges, and draw more attention to the application of satellite remote sensing for an improved modelling.

Dr Anya Reading

This session spans the Earth and Environmental science disciplines with an emphasis on data-driven inference and sharing innovations in methodologies and/or applications.  We encourage submissions including, but not limited to, single dataset analyses, multi-variate analyses, probabilistic inference, machine learning, automation-assisted processing, Earth informatics, spatial applications, computation or imaging.  We also encourage submissions relating to new or improved methodologies in open source and other software, robust and repeatable mechanisms of communicating information and uncertainty for interdisciplinary research, and/or data visualisation for content engagement or research insight.

Underlying subject material is welcome from across interest areas of all conference attendees including fundamental knowledge generation in the terrestrial and marine geosciences, industry and environmental applications. The assembly of case studies and demonstration examples across the disciplines in this technique oriented session will enable a wide range of quantitative methods to be presented side-by-side.  In so doing we hope to accelerate innovation and build cross-community links.

Mr Alex Leith

The Digital Earth Australia (DEA) Program is about digital transformation and driving growth in Australia’s digital economy. DEA has long supported government and academia, but has a new focus supporting industry across Australia. With applications ranging from agriculture to the mining sector, from bushfires and landcover to defining our coastlines, DEA’s data products provide an excellent platform for industry to build upon. This session will describe how DEA empowers industry, and will include presentations from leaders in DEA and from organisations who are developing businesses utilising the platform.

A/Prof. Simon McClusky

Geodesy is the of study of the size and shape of the Earth, its gravity field, and its rotation. Modern geodetic science provides a powerful suite of techniques and tools for observing and modelling deformation of the Earth. This session is a showcase of research into the application of geodetic techniques for observing and modelling a broad range of both natural and anthropogenic processes.

Dr Laurent Ailleres

Convenors: Robin Armit, Lachlan Grose & Mark Jessell

The scope of the session is to highlight recent advancements in the field of 3D geological modelling including:

  • advances in data discovery, retrieval and structuring for 3D modelling
  • advances in method for structural modelling in poly-deformed terranes
  • advances in integration with geophysical modelling
  • uncertainty computation, characterisation and mitigation
  • applications to exploration and estimation of energy and mineral resources (multi-scale)


Prof. Gordon Lister

Professor Ian McDougall was a pioneer in the field of argon geochronology, with impact on an enormous range of topics in the Earth Sciences, ranging from early man, the magnetic anomaly timescale, analysis of thermal histories using potassium feldspar, hot spot volcanism, the duration of events during mountain building, and the analysis of spectra from metamorphic tectonics. His textbooks provide a lasting legacy.

His passing led to scientists world-wide deciding to hold a symposium at a significant Earth Science meeting, with likely attendance at the Hobart event already encompassing geochronologists from Europe, China and America.

The symposium will address a number of themes in turn, and if possible be launched by a plenary address by Dr Courtney Spain. In the evening, a public lecture by Prof David Phillips would conclude the day’s proceedings.

Dr Carmen Krapf

ARGA Symposium AESC 2021 Hobart (1-day)

Steering Committee: Carmen Krapf, Leah Moore, John Keeling, Ian Roach, Anna Petts, Ignacio González-Álvarez, Nadir de Souza, and Savannah McGuirk

The Australian Regolith Geoscientists Association merged with the GSA in 2019 to become the Society’s newest Specialist Group, the Australian Regolith Geoscientists Alliance (ARGA). To celebrate this, ARGA is proposing a special Regolith Symposium for the upcoming AESC 2021. ARGA builds upon the legacy of several decades of Australian regolith research and promotes the important role that regolith science plays in Australia.

Regolith covers over 70% of the Australian continent. Regolith is the surficial blanket of material, including weathered rock, sediments, soils, and biota that forms by the natural processes of weathering, erosion, transport and deposition. Prolonged deep weathering over the last 50 to 300 million years, on a relatively stable continent, has generated a complex and unique ‘Australian’ regolith context. It has a complex architecture, and may vary in thickness from a few centimetres to hundreds of metres. An understanding of regolith architecture and the processes that act within it is essential to address the challenges of sustainable development. Regolith science has a key role in the fields such as environment, mineral exploration, natural resource management, and geo- and archaeo-heritage in Australia.

This Symposium aims to promote the science of regolith with a holistic approach including and beyond geoscience, with special emphasis on the emerging international critical zone research. In this Symposium, we invite research contributions that showcase or assist elucidating a better understanding of novel and innovative approaches to the research on regolith, spanning from environment, hydrogeology, economic geology, archaeology, landscape evolution, sedimentary systems, agriculture and soil quality, geoheritage, geochemistry, mineralogy, to surface processes, and technical challenges to greenfields and brownfields technologies for mineral exploration.

Session 1: The physical controls on water movement and regolith-hydrogeochemistry (Convenors: Leah Moore, John Keeling, and Carmen Krapf)
Session 2: Mineral exploration in and through the critical zone (jointly with MinEx CRC; Convenors: Ian Roach, Anna Petts and Walid Salama)
Session 3: Regolith and Landscape evolution (Convenors: Ignacio González-Álvarez, Carmen Krapf, Nadir de Souza)
Session 4: Planetary and regolith oddities (Convenors: Nadir de Souza, Savannah McGuirk, and Ian Roach)

About the GSA

The Geological Society of Australia was established as a non-profit organisation in 1952 to promote, advance and support Earth sciences in Australia.

As a broadly based professional society that aims to represent all Earth Science disciplines, the GSA attracts a wide diversity of members working in a similarly broad range of industries.