Mineral exploration, environmental geology, creationism-evolution debate.
Field of Research (FoR)
I am President of the UNSW Academic Board. From 2008-2016 I was head of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Deputy President of the Academic Board. My main research interests are in geochemistry with a focus on exploration methods for mineral deposits. I have been involved in research projects in North America, Indonesia, Europe, PNG, Pakistan, Iran and, of course, Australia. I led the Geochemical Atlas of...view more
I am President of the UNSW Academic Board. From 2008-2016 I was head of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Deputy President of the Academic Board. My main research interests are in geochemistry with a focus on exploration methods for mineral deposits. I have been involved in research projects in North America, Indonesia, Europe, PNG, Pakistan, Iran and, of course, Australia. I led the Geochemical Atlas of Cyprus.
- BSc 1983 (Sydney) in Geology
- MSc 1986 (Queen’s) in Geochemistry
- PhD 1990 (UNSW) in Geochemistry
- FRSN, FAAG, FAIG, MAICD
My Research Goals
Develop better methods of geochemical exploration, especially in areas containing deep cover.
Investigate the use of biogeochemistry and selective chemical extractions in both exploration and contaminant detection.
Implement regional geochemical mapping programs in various parts of the world.
Evaluate various approaches to processing geochemical data with a view to separating "signals" related to either the effects of mineralisation or contamination from other processes or effects.
My Research in Detail
My research group examines the relationships between the geochemical characteristics of the surficial environment (soils, sediments, vegetation) and parent material, with a focus on the development of geochemical methods suited to mineral exploration in a variety of environments. This extends from mapping and trying to understand geochemical patterns in various sampling media at scales ranging from mineral deposits to entire countries.
Current Student Projects (PhD and Honours)
- Eric Chen (PhD candidate) - Use of Na carbonate salts from CSG production on acidiferous and metallic drainage
- Joe Schifano (PhD candidate) - Biogeochemical mapping of the Cobar Basin (supported by the MineEx CRC)
- Behnam Sadeghi (PhD candidate) - Geochemical anomaly detection methods
- Wilson Gewargis (MPhil candidate) - Geochemical dispersion form Cu mineralisation in Cyprus
- Ryan Lagaida (Hons candidate) - Biogeochemistry at Copper Hill, NSW
- Erica Guo (Hons candidate) - Detection of buried mineralisation at Copper Hill
- Hugo Floyd (Hons candidate) - AMD issues in the Drake area
- Iain Dalrymple (PhD) - Optimisation of selective geochemical extraction methods.
- Alex Cherry (Hons) - Paragenesis of gold-sulphide mineralisation in the Wyoming One and Caloma Two deposits, Tomingley, NSW.
- Ricky Li (Hons) - Cobaltiferous pyrite mineralogy, Railway deposit, Thakaringa.
- Carlos Constantinou (Hons) - Application of factor analysis in characterising the effects of acid mine drainage on regolith in Cyprus.
- Angela Lay (Hons) - Platinum group element mineralisation, Timor Leste.
- Dayna McGeeney (Hons) - Gold Distribution within the Kiriwina Formation, Woodlark Island, Papua New Guinea.
- Ahmad Reza Mokhtari (PhD) - Geochemical dispersion through transported regolith.
- Mira Van der Ley (Hons) - Mineralogical controls on the speciation of heavy metal contaminants in urban soils.
- Morteza Jami (PhD) - Genesis of the Esfordi phosphate deposit, Iran.
- Madeline Sutton (Hons) - Practical application of field portable XRF for mapping the effects of contamination on vegetation at Woodlawn, NSW.
- Kiah Ostowari (Hons) - Biogeochemical mapping at Sunny Corner.
- Oliver Delves (MPhil) – Gold mineralisation in the Woods Point Dyke Swarm deposit, Victoria.
- Patrick Bryant (Hons) - Regolith and biogeochemical mapping Lady Annie area, QLD.
- Emma Cohen (Hons) - Cobalt dispersion in the secondary environment at the Thackaringa cobaltiferous pyrite deposits, Broken Hill, NSW.
- Juee Vohra (MPhil) - Biogeochemistry of Sunny Corner Ag-Pb-Zn deposit, NSW
- Ksenia Chistyakova (MPhil) – Mapping of structures using soil helium patterns.
- Angela Lay (PhD) - Geochemistry of selected silver deposits in NSW
- Justin da Costa (Hons) - Use of siderophile organic chelants to release fossils from Fe matrices
- Hamid Zekri (PhD - co-supervisor at IUT) - Multivariate data methods in detecting buried miernalisation
Ongoing analysis of the very large set of soil samples collected as part of the Cyprus Atlas project.
Geochemical dispersion in the weathered zone for a range of mineral deposits in various landscapes from the arid to the tropical.
Mapping urban metal contamination.
Otherwise.... come and talk to me about projects you would be interested in undertaking! UNSW does have a large array of analytical facilities.
Advice for prospective students
PhD or MPhil students should think about the research topic that you would like to undertake and then talk to me or others in the group about details. In essence it is your project to design, implement, present (at conferences) and write up. For BSc(hons) students we can provide more assistance with things.
Whereas I have supervised a number of different styles of project over the years, my preference is probably a project that gets you into the field (especially in remote and interesting localities).
TEACHING & OUTREACH
Courses I teach
GEOS3141 - Mineral & Energy Resources
GEOS3281 - Environmental & Contaminant Geochemistry (Course Coordinator and main lecturer)
GEOS1111 - Fundamentals of Geology (economic geology section)
Professional affiliations and service positions
- President of the Academic Board and member of UNSW Council
- President of the Australian Geoscience Council
- Formerly Head of School, Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences
- Past-president of the (International) Association of Applied Geochemists and symposium coordinator
- UNSW nominee on the Board of New College
- Chair of Academic Board and member of Governing Board for Moore Theological College
- Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors
- Fellow of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists
BSc (Hons), Sydney University, 1983
MSc, Queen's University Canada, 1986
PhD, UNSW, 1990
Fellow of the Association of Applied Geochemistry (international association), 2000
Fellow of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists, 2015
Silver Medal of the Association of Applied Geochemists, 2015
Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales, 2017
My Research Activities
Biogeochemical methods in mineral exploration and general regional mapping. Selective extractions in palaeontology. Use of field-portable analytical methods.