Professor Ian Jackson

Emeritus Professor

Academic Qualifications

  • 1972  B. Sc. (Hons I, Physics) - University of Queensland
  • 1976  Ph. D. (Geophysics) - Australian National University - Thesis Title: - Phase equilibria in oxide and silicate analogue systems

Employment history

  • 1971 Tutor in Physics, University of Queensland
  • 1976-1977 Research Fellow in Geophysics, California Institute of Technology
  • 1978-1981 Research Fellow, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU
  • 1981-1991 Fellow, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU
  • 1992-2002 Senior Fellow, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU
  • 1994-1999 Director, Centre for the Science and Engineering of Materials, ANU
  • 2002-2005 Coordinator, Earth Materials, RSES
  • 2003-present Professor, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU

Primary research skills

The laboratory study of the physical properties of geological materials under conditions simulating those of the Earth's deep interior with applications in the interpretation of Earth structure and processes.

Professional society/editorial activities

  • Co-editor, Physics and Chemistry of Minerals (Springer) 1984 - 1996
  • Member, Editorial Advisory Boards of Physics and Chemistry of Minerals (1996-2003), Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors (2001 - ), Earth and Planetary Science Letters (2007 - )
  • Editor, The Earth's Mantle: Composition, Structure and Evolution, Cambridge University Press, 566 pp., 1998.
  • Associate Editor Journal of Geophysical Research 2001- 2004
  • Chair, Organising Committee, 31st Annual Condensed Matter and Materials Meeting, Wagga Wagga, NSW (2007)

Awards and Distinctions

  • 1988 Pawsey Medal of the Australian Academy of Science (for research in experimental physics)
  • 1989 Fellowship, Australian Institute of Physics
  • 2003 Fellowship, American Geophysical Union
  • 2003 Visiting Professor, Geodynamics Research Center, Ehime University, Japan

Research interests

  • The laboratory study of the physical properties of rocks and minerals under conditions which reproduce as faithfully as possible those which prevail within the Earth's interior - with particular current emphasis upon the measurement under conditions of high pressure, pore pressure and temperature of elastic wave speeds and attenuation;
  • Application of similar experimental methods in the characterisation of non-geological materials such as ceramics and metals;
  • The interpretation of such measurements in terms of the fundamental physics and chemistry of crystalline and partially molten materials, and fluid-saturated porous media;
  • Application of well-understood laboratory data in the interpretation of seismological models for the spatial variation of density, elastic wave speeds and attenuation;
  • Constraints imposed by such interpretation upon the constitution and evolution of the Earth.

Seismic wave speeds and attenuation: towards a robust lab-based understanding

Non-elastic strains resulting from the motion of crystal defects and/or the stress-induced migration of fluids contribute an inevitable frequency dependence to seismic wave speeds and attenuation. Accordingly, locally developed low-frequency (mHz-Hz) forced-oscillation methods and related creep tests, along with intermediate-frequency (kHz) resonance and high-frequency (MHz) wave propagation methods, are being used in conjunction with computational approaches to develop a robust lab-based framework for the interpretation of seismic wave speeds and attenuation.

At ANU, the research ream comprises Faculty members Ian Jackson and Andrew Berry, Emeritus Fellow John Fitz Gerald, postdoctoral researcher Emmanuel David, PhD students Yang Li, Richard Skelton and Chris Cline, and technical staff Harri Kokkonen and Hayden Miller. Key international collaborators are Ulrich Faul (MIT), Doug Schmitt (University of Alberta, Edmonton), Andrew Walker (University of Leeds), Seiji Nakagawa (Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory), and Shun Karato (Yale University).

Figure 1

A recent highlight is the first experimental indication (Figure 1) of strong shear modulus relaxation and associated strain-energy dissipation in a synthetic olivine polycrystal tested under water-undersaturated conditions - with potentially important implications for seismic wave propagation in the Earth’s upper mantle.

During the past year, we have also demonstrated frequency-dependent behaviour of cracked sintered glass-bead aggregates in the presence of argon, and especially, water as pore fluid. The presence of pore fluid results in significant stiffening of the cracked medium when tested at 1 MHz (Figure 2), but not at sub-Hz frequencies. The different seismic properties for these two regimes are interpreted in terms of stress-induced fluid flow at sub-Hz frequencies between adjacent cracks, that is precluded at the higher MHz frequency – with implications for the seismic exploration of the Earth’s typically fractured and fluid-saturated crust.

Figure 2



  • Farla, R.J.M., H. Kokkonen, J.D. Fitz Gerald, A. Barnhoorn, U.H. Faul and I. Jackson. Dislocation recovery in fine-grained polycrystalline olivine. Phys. Chem. Minerals (submitted 2/09, in revision)
  • Faul, U.H., J.D. Fitz Gerald, I. Jackson and R.J.M. Farla. Dislocation creep of fine-grained olivine (J. geophys. Res., submitted 3/09, in revision).
  • Jackson, I. and U.H. Faul. Grainsize-sensitive viscoelastic relaxation in olivine: towards a robust laboratory-based model for seismological application. Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors (submitted 8.09, in revision).
  • Kung, J. I. Jackson and R.C. Liebermann. High-temperature elasticity of polycrystalline MgSiO3 orthopyroxene, Am. Mineral. (submitted 10.09, in revision).
  • Barnhoorn, A., I. Jackson, J.D. Fitz Gerald and Y. Aizawa. Grain-size sensitive viscoelastic relaxation in high-purity MgO (in preparation).
  • Jackson, I., H. Schijns and D.R. Schmidt. A versatile facility for laboratory studies of viscoelastic and poroelastic behaviour of rocks. Rev. Sci. Instrum. (in preparation).
  • Jackson, I., S.M. Rigden and L.J. Weston. The high-temperature elasticity of wadsleyite and ringwoodite (in preparation).


  • Jackson, I., A. Barnhoorn, Y. Aizawa and C. Saint. Improved experimental procedures for the study of high-temperature viscoelastic relaxation, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors, 172, 104-115.
  • Morris, S.J.S. and I. Jackson. Diffusionally-assisted grain-boundary sliding and viscoelasticity of polycrystals. J. Mech. Phys. Solids 57, 744-761.
  • Wang, R.P., A. Smith, B. Luther-Davies, H. Kokkonen and I. Jackson. Observation of two elastic thresholds in GexAsySe1-x-y glasses. J. Appl. Phys. 105, 056109.
  • Kennett, B.L.N. and I. Jackson. Optimal equations of state for mantle minerals from simultaneous non-linear inversion of multiple datasets. Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors 176, 98-108, doi:10.1016/j.pepi.2009.04.005.
  • Morris, S.J.S. and I. Jackson. Implications of the similarity principle relating creep and attenuation in finely-grained solids. Mat. Sci. Eng. A.521-522, 124-127.


  • Wang, G., I. Jackson, J.D. Fitz Gerald, J. Shen and Z.H. Stachurski. Rheology and nanocrystallisation of a Sr-Ti-Ni-Cu-Be bulk metallic glass. N. Non-Cryst. Solids 354, 1575-1581, doi:10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2007.10.029.
  • Aizawa, Y., A. Barnhoorn, U.H. Faul, J.D. Fitz Gerald, I. Jackson and I. Kovacs. Seismic properties of Anita Bay dunite: an exploratory study of the influence of water. J. Petrol. 49, 841-855, doi:10.1093/petrology/egn007.
  • Jackson, I. and J. Kung. thermoelastic behaviour of silicate perovskites: insights from new high-temperature ultrasonic data for ScAlO3, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors 167, 195-204, doi:10.1016/j.pepi.2008.04.005.


  • Barnhoorn, A., I. Jackson, J. D. Fitz Gerald and Y. Aizawa. Suppression of elastically accommodated grain-boundary sliding in high-purity MgO, J. Euro. Ceram. Soc., 27, 4697-4703.
  • Antao, S. M., I. Jackson, B. Li, J. Kung, J. Chen, I. Hassan, R. C. Liebermann and J. B. Parise (2007)  High-temperature elasticity of magnesioferrite spinel, Phys. Chem. Minerals 34, DOI 10.1007/s00269-007-0152-z.
  • Faul, U. H. and I. Jackson. Diffusion creep of dry, melt-free olivine, J. geophys. Res. 112, B04204, doi 10.1029/2006JB004586.
  • Gwanmesia, G., I. Jackson and R. C. Liebermann.  In search of the mixed derivative ¶2M/¶P¶T (M = K, G): joint analysis of ultrasonic data for polycrystalline pyrope from gas- and solid-medium apparatus, Phys. Chem. Minerals, DOI 10.1007/s00269-006-0130-x (9 pp.)


  • Lu, C. and I. Jackson.  Low-frequency seismic properties of thermally cracked and argon-saturated granite, Geophysics, 71, F147-F159.
  • Jackson, I., U.H. Faul, J.D. Fitz Gerald, and S.J.S. Morris.  Contrasting viscoelastic behaviour of melt-free and melt-bearing olivine: implications for the nature of grain-boundary sliding, Mat. Sci. Eng. A, 442, 170-174.


  • Faul, U.H. and I. Jackson. The seismological signature of temperature and grain size variations in the upper mantle. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 234, 119-134.
  • Jackson, I., S. L. Webb, L. Weston and D. Boness.  Frequency dependence of elastic wave speeds at high-temperature: a direct experimental demonstration, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors, 148, 85-96.


  • Faul, U. H., J. D. Fitz Gerald and I. Jackson.  Shear-wave attenuation and dispersion in melt-bearing olivine polycrystals II.  Microstructural  interpretation and seismological implications, J. geophys. Res. 109, B06202, doi:10.1029/2003JB002407 (20 pp.)
  • Jackson, I., U. H. Faul, J. D. Fitz Gerald and B. H. Tan.  Shear-wave attenuation and dispersion in melt-bearing olivine polycrystals I: Specimen fabrication and mechanical testing, J. geophys. Res. 109, B06201, doi:10.1029/2003JB002406 (17 pp.)


  • Webb, S. and I. Jackson.  Anelasticity and microcreep in polycrystalline MgO at high temperature: an exploratory study, Phys. Chem. Minerals 30,157-166.
  • Jackson, I., FitzGerald, J.D., Faul, U.H., and Tan, B. Grain-sized-sensitive seismic wave attenuation in polycrystalline olivine, J.Geophys. Res., 2360, doi: 10.1029/2001JB001225
  • Webb. S, and Jackson, I. Anelasticity and microcreep in polycrystalling MgO at high temperature: an exploratory study, Phys Chem Minerals, 30:157-166.


  • Jackson, I., Fitz Gerald, J.D., Faul, U.H. and Tan, B.H. Grain-size-sensitive seismic wave attenuation in polycrystalline olivine, JGR, 107:doi:10.1029/2001JB001225.


  • Tan, B.-H., Jackson, I. and Fitz Gerald, J.D. High-temperature viscoelasticity of fine-grained polycrystalline olivine, Phys Chem Minerals, 28:641-664.
  • Gregoire, M., I.Jackson, S.Y. O'Reilly and J.Y. Cottin. The structure of the upper mantle and crust-mantle boundary beneath the Kerguelen Islands (Indian Ocean) Part II: Petrophysical Characteristics of mantle rock types and correlation with seismic profiles, Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 142:244-259


  • I. Jackson, Laboratory Measurements of Seismic Wave dispersion and Attenuation: Recent Progress. In Earth's Deep Interior: Mineral Physics and Tomography from the Atomic to the Global Scale, AGU Geophysicsl Monograph Service, vol.117, S. Karato et al (eds), pp265-289.
  • Kung, J. Rigden, S.M. and Jackson, I, Silicate perovskite analogue ScAlO2: temperature dependence of elastic moduli, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors 120, 299-314.
  • Jackson, I. Fitz Gerald, J.D. and Kokkonen, H. High-temperature viscoealstic relaxation in iron and its implications for the shear modulus and attenuation of the Earth's inner core, J. geophys. Res. 105: 23605-23634.


  • Webb, S.L., Jackson, I. and Fitz Gerald, J.D., Viscoelasticity of the titanate perovskites CaTiO3 and SrTiO3 at high temperature, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors, 115: 259-291.


  • Jackson, I. and S.M. Rigden. Composition and temperature of the Earth's mantle: seismological models interpreted through experimental studies of mantle minerals. In The Earth's Mantle: Composition, Structure and Evolution, (I. Jackson, ed.), Cambridge University Press 405-460, Jackson, I. (ed.) The Earth's Mantle: Composition, Structure and Evolution, Cambridge University Press, 566pp.
  • Jackson, I., Elasticity, Composition and Temperature of the Earth's Lower Mantle: a Reappraisal. Geophys. J. Int., 134, 291-311.
  • Lu, C., I. Jackson, Seismic-frequency Laboratory Measurements of Shear Mode Viscoelasticity in Crustal Rocks II: Thermally Stressed Quartzite and Granite, Pure appl. geophys., 153, 441-473.
  • Jackson, I., Laboratory measurements of seismic wave dispersion and attenuation: Recent progress, in Earth's Deep Interior: Mineral Physics and Tomography from the Atomic to the Global Scale, Geophysical Monograph 117, S. Karato (eds), 265-289).


  • Tan, B.H., I. Jackson and J.D. Fitz Gerald, Shear wave dispersion and attenuation in fine-grained synthetic olivine aggregates: preliminary results. Geophys. Res. Lett. 24, 1055-1058.


  • Lu, C. and I. Jackson, Seismic-frequency laboratory measurements of shear mode viscoelasticity in crustal rocks I: competition between cracking and plastic flow in thermally cycled Carrara marble. Phys. Earth. Planet. Interiors 94, 105-119.
  • Jackson, I. and S.M. Rigden, Analysis of P-V-T data: constraints on the thermoelastic properties of high-pressure minerals. Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors 96, 85-112.
  • Li, B., I. Jackson, T. Gasparik and R.C. Liebermann, Elastic wave velocity measurement in multi-anvil apparatus to 10 GPa using ultrasonic interferometry. Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors 98, 79-91.


  • Rudnick, R.L. and I. Jackson, Measured and calculated elastic wave speeds in partially equilibrated mafic granulite xenoliths: Implications for the properties of an underplated lower continental crust. J. geophys. Res. 100, 10211-10218.


  • Jackson, I. Viscoelastic relaxation in iron and the shear modulus of the inner core, High-Pressure Science and Technology - 1993 (Eds.: S.C. Schmidt, J.W. Shaner, G.A. Samara & M. Ross), AIP Conf. Proc. 309, Amer. Inst. Phys., New York, pp.939-942.


  • Jackson, I. Progress in the experimental study of seismic wave attenuation. Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 21 , 375-406.
  • Jackson, I. The high temperature shear mode inelasticity of iron - an exploratory foray into the fcc field. In Electron Microscopy in Geology and Mineralogy (J. N. Boland and J. D. Fitz Gerald, editors), Elsevier, pp. 213-228.
  • Jackson, I. Dynamic compliance from torsional creep and forced oscillation tests: an experimental demonstration of linear viscoelasticity. Geophys. Res. Lett. 20, 2115-2118.
  • Webb, S. L. and Jackson, I. The pressure dependence of the elastic moduli of single-crystal orthopyroxene (Mg0.8Fe0.2)SiO3. Eur. J. Mineral. 5, 1111-1119.
  • Jackson, I. and M.S. Paterson A high-pressure, high-temperature apparatus for studies of seismic wave dispersion and attenuation. PAGEOPH (Pure Appl. Geophys.) 141,445-466.


  • Jackson, I., M.S. Paterson and J.D. Fitz Gerald Seismic wave attenuation in ?heim dunite: an experimental study. Geophys. J. Int. 108, 517-534.
  • Rigden, S.M., G.D. Gwanmesia, I. Jackson and R.C. Liebermann Progress in high-pressure ultrasonic interferometry, the Pressure dependence of elasticity of high-pressure Mg2SiO4 polymorphs and constraints on the composition of the Transition Zone of the Earth's Mantle. High Pressure Research in Mineral Physics, Y. Syono and M.H. Manghnani (eds), pp. 167-182.