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Experimental Petrology

Experimental Petrology uses a laboratory-based experimental approach combined with field observations to study the Earths' origin, evolution and mineral wealth.

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About

The Experimental Petrology group uses a laboratory-based experimental approach combined with field observations to study the Earth, its origin, evolution and mineral wealth. The group operates a wide range of experimental devices for generating the high temperatures and pressures that are needed to reproduce the natural conditions within the Earth.

The equipment includes:

  • High temperature furnaces capable of reaching 1800 ⁰C, equipped for precise control of oxygen and sulphur fugacities by gas mixing;
  • Eleven solid-media piston-cylinder devices for generating pressures to 6 GPa and temperatures in excess of 2000 ⁰C;
  • A multi-anvil apparatus for achieving pressures of 26 GPa;
  • A well-equipped hydrothermal laboratory.

The group has access to and expertise in an array of microbeam analytical techniques, including:

  • JEOL 8530F Plus electronprobe microanalyser (hosted in the Centre for Advanced Microscopy, CAM)
  • Various scanning electron microscopes and a QEMScan (CAM)
  • Laser-ablation ICP-MS for trace element and isotopic analysis;
  • FTIR spectroscopy for the determination of H₂0, CO₂ and other volatile species in minerals and glasses;
  • X-ray fluorescence microscopy and X-ray absorption spectroscopy at various synchrotron facilities

Projects

This project will investigate controls on the abundances of niobium and tantalum, two important "critical metals", in cassiterite mineralisation associated with Paleozoic granitoid intrusions in eastern Australia. A further key aspect will investigate novel technologies for extraction of Nb and Ta from cassiterite.

People

  • Dr David Champion
  • Dr David Huston

Experimental petrology is about subjecting rocks and minerals to pressure, temperature and other conditions that occur in the Earth, in order to investigate and understand processes that lead to diverse processes including volcanism, plate tectonics, ore deposit formation, differentiation of the Earth and many others.

Revising the chlorite geothermometer to understand the formation mechanisms of ore deposits

Pyrochlor is the main ore mineral for the critical metal niobium, and is most commonly found in carbonatites. This project aims to use experimental petrology to understand the conditions under which economic deposits of pyrochlor can form, during crustal evolution of carbonatite magmas.

The rocks of the Sydney Basin and Lachlan Fold Belt exposed along the south coast of NSW contain numerous basaltic (basalt and dolerite) intrusions (e.g. Bingie Bingie Point, Dolphin Point, Snake Bay, Long Reef, North Bondi).  The ages of these dykes and sills are unknown, however, they are assumed to be Tertiary...

Members

Leader

Professor
Head of the Geochemistry Research Area

Researcher

Research Fellow

Research Fellow

Postdoctoral Fellow

Visiting Fellow

Professor of Economic Geology

Postdoctoral Fellow

Postdoctoral Fellow

Professor of Experimental Petrology

Research support officer

Technical Officer

Student

PhD Candidate

PhD Candidate

PhD Candidate
Research Assistant

Phd Candidate

PhD Candidate

Chris Ingles

PhD Candidate

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PhD Candidate

PhD Candidate

PhD Candidate

PhD Candidate

PhD Candidate

PhD Candidate

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PhD Candidate

PhD Candidate

No photo provided

PhD Candidate

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Emeritus Professor

Emeritus Professor

Emeritus Professor

Emeritus Professor

Honorary Associate Professor

Visiting Fellow

Visiting Fellow

News

Giant mountain ranges rivalling the Himalayas supercharged the evolution of early life on earth, Australian National University researchers say.

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Looking at a diamond under a microscope

Almost all volcanic rocks come from the Earth's upper mantle (or lava).
Volcanism, on the other hand, can have many different chemical and physical effects and can sometimes bring rare things to the surface, like diamonds and various strange rock fragments.

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They are in your smartphone, electric vehicles and used widely in renewable energy technology. But what exactly are ‘rare earth’ elements and just how rare are they?

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More information

critical metals pyrite

The Australian Rare Earth Conference is the first conference to bring together industry, government and academia to discuss the state of the Australian Rare Earth industry.

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List of our publications

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