slogan slogan

26 - 30 June 2016 - Adelaide Convention Centre

Program Themes

The AESC 2016 offers six themes. Within each Theme there will be dedicated Sessions.

  • Earth's Environment - Past to Present

    Theme coordinator: John Tibby Contact:

    Session: Scientific Results of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) as the Australasian program intensifies [cross theme session]

    Convenor: Neville Exon and Richard Arculus [ANU]

    IODP is the world’s largest academic geoscience program, involving scientists from around the world including Australia and New Zealand. The main elements of the IODP Science Plan are climate and ocean change, biosphere frontiers, Earth connections, and Earth in motion, and these are addressed largely by deep continuous coring and associated geophysical logging, and borehole instrumentation. The Adelaide AESC is an excellent venue at which scientists from around the world can present fascinating results from past expeditions, and outlines of exciting expeditions and proposals for the future.  One IODP expedition will occur in our region in 2015, five more are approved for the next three years, and more strong proposals are expected to be approved and drilled in 2018.

    Session: Biogeochemical cycling in the marine biosphere
    Convenors: Toni Cox [UoM], Nicole Webster [AIMS]

    The marine biosphere (from coastal to open ocean to the seafloor) hosts a wide variety of ecosystems that drive the biogeochemical cycling of vital elements, such as carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus, on a global scale.  In the case of carbon, for example, marine microorganisms convert CO2 to biomass through photosynthesis and chemosynthesis, respire and ferment organic C, and induce the removal of C by biomineralisation. Identifying niche-specific roles for marine biota in key processes in different biogeochemical cycles is vital for understanding their contributions to global elemental fluxes and residence times.  This session welcomes submissions from the fields of marine biogeochemistry, environmental microbiology, metagenomics and ecogenomics, microbial ecology, biomineralisation or chemical/biological oceanography that focus on understanding biologically-influenced mechanisms for elemental cycling and fluxes in marine systems.


    Session: Biogeochemistry of Earth’s Critical Zone
    Convenors: Matthias Leopold [UWA], Mathew Watts [UoM]

    The ‘Critical Zone’ is Earth’s highly permeable near-surface layer, extending from the atmospheric boundary layer above vegetation canopies to the bottom of shallow groundwater systems and the start of fresh bedrock. The interactions between rock, water, air, and biota in this zone shape ecosystems and underpin the sustainability of life on Earth; yet fundamental questions around the formation, function, and future evolution of the Critical Zone remain unanswered. In particular, coupling between physical, chemical, and biological processes in the Critical Zone are poorly understood across temporal and spatial scales. This session seeks contributions relating to the investigation of nutrient, contaminant and energy cycling processes across a range of terrestrial and aqueous environments, particularly those that focus on the role of biota in mediating geochemical processes.


    Session: Sedimentary biosignatures and biomarkers: keys to unlocking the co-evolution of Earth and life through geologic time
    Convenors: Marco Coolen, Kliti Grice [Curtin]

    The record of evolutionary and environmental changes through deep time can be preserved by organic, mineral and isotopic biosignatures and biomarkers trapped within the rock record.  Some of these proxies reflect major changes or events in palaeo-ocean and/or palaeo-atmospheric chemistry, and include unique signs of the contributions of living organisms to various biogeochemical cycles.  In this session, we draw together experts in biogeochemistry, organic geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, geomicrobiology, geochemistry, mineralogy - working in natural, experimental or theoretical systems - to explore the topic of sedimentary biosignatures and biomarkers, and what they can tell us about where Earth has been, and where it may be going, in terms of the evolution of our environment and the nature of life on this planet.


    Session: Holocene-Pleistocene evolution, dynamics and geomorphology of Australian dune systems and barriers
    Convenor: Patrick Hesp [Flinders]

    Many of the coastal barrier systems of Australia remain non- to poorly studied, and this is particularly true of the transgressive dunefield and parabolic dunefield dominated barrier types. There is growing recognition of the importance of coupled dynamics between dune systems and climate changes. The primary goal of this proposed topical session is to present state-of-the-art knowledge regarding the long-term evolution of, and past and future climate-change-drivers and sea levels to barrier evolution and their associated dune systems. Presentations which span, ecology, botany, climate, geology, geomorphology and dating (or similar fields) of coastal dune systems on barriers are encouraged. This session will also serve to bring together the field and modelling communities and promote enhanced and integrated collaboration, which is critically needed to address the scientific challenges of projecting barrier system response to future coastal change.


    Session: Late-Quaternary coastal landscape evolution and human interaction in Australia
    Convenors: Craig Sloss, [QUT], Sean Ulm [JCU], Patrick Moss [UQ]

    Fluctuating sea-levels and climate during the late Quaternary have had a profound influence on coastal landscape evolution and as a result have influenced human habitation of coastal regions. As a result coastal and near-shore depositional environments offer an archive of changes in climate, sea-level fluctuations and human interaction with a dynamic environment.  This session aims to bring together diverse research communities ranging from marine geosciences, coastal geomorphology and those working in working in coastal archaeological settings.


    Session: Southern Hemisphere Quaternary palaeoenvironmental reconstructions and chronologies
    Convenors: Lee Arnold, John Tibby [Adelaide]

    Well-constrained regional palaeoenvironmental records are critical for reconstructing Southern Hemisphere Quaternary climate histories, evaluating inter-hemispheric climate teleconnections, understanding landscape evolution, and assessing the climatic context of mass extinctions and human dispersals. Continued advances in dating methods and environmental proxy development have played a key role in ensuring reliable interpretation of Quaternary sedimentary archives. This session brings together these complementary fields of Quaternary research and provides a platform for showcasing palaeoenvironmental and geochronology studies being undertaken on a range of terrestrial, marine and cryosphere records across the Southern Hemisphere. We welcome presentations on a broad range of dating techniques (radiocarbon, luminescence, uranium-series, cosmogenic nuclides, ESR, argon-argon, fission track, amino acid racemisation, palaeomagnetism etc) and a diverse array of environmental proxies (pollen, stable isotopes, organic content, XRF and ITRAX core data, grain size analysis, magnetic susceptibility etc). Palaeoenvironmental studies that attempt to integrate different chronological datasets and multi-proxy tracers are encouraged, as are studies that synthesise site-specific or regional-scale histories using advanced statistical approaches (e.g. Bayesian modelling).


    Session: Groundwater and Environment- past and future
    Convenors: Ken Lawrie, Ross Brodie, Steven Lewis [GA], Dioni Cendon [ANTSO]

    Papers are invited that explore future climate impacts on groundwater systems, as well as those that advance the understanding of ‘fossil’ groundwater systems. Papers that examine the significance of these investigations for groundwater management are encouraged.

  • Tectonics of the Planet: Craton and Continental Formation and Evolution, Ocean Plate Tectonics, Plate Margin and Plate Interior Tectonism

    Theme coordinator: Stijn Glorie Contact:


    Session: Supercontinent Cycles and Global Geodynamics (IGCP648 ).
    Convenors: Z.X. Li [Curtin], Alan Collins [Adelaide]

    Rapid recent progress in supercontinent research indicates that Earth's history has been dominated by cycles of supercontinent assembly and breakup. New developments in geophysical imaging power and computer simulation have provided increasingly clearer views of the Earth's interior, and how the moving plates on the Earth's surface interact with the deep planetary interior. We invite contributions from a diverse range of geoscience expertise to harness these breakthroughs in order to explore the occurrence and evolution history of supercontinents through time, and the underlying geodynamic processes.

    Session: Volcanism: modern to ancient, plate edge to plate interior
    Convenor: Jessica Trofimovs [QUT]

    Volcanism is a fundamental Earth process that has played a major role in the history of our planet and its resources, and continues to impact on life and human civilisation.  As such, the study of volcanology has evolved to encompass a broad range of science disciplines. The session entitled “Volcanism: modern to ancient, plate edge to plate interior” appeals to a diverse range of contributors from across the field of volcanology. The focus will be on advancing our understanding of modern or ancient volcanic successions and their associated emplacement mechanisms, volcanic geochemistry, provenance studies, volcano monitoring, volcanic hazards and mitigation, and natural resources. We invite contributions  from remote sensing, field-, laboratory- and/or desktop-based studies of the terrestrial or marine realm. The LAVA specialist group of the GSA will host this session and will also hold their Annual General Meeting during the conference. All welcome.

    Session: The origin, evolution and impacts of Cenozoic intraplate magmatism in Australia
    Convenors: Peter Reynolds, Simon Holford, John Foden [Adelaide]

    Most magmatism on Earth takes place where tectonic plates collide or are torn apart, but plate tectonic theory does not satisfactorily account for the origin of intraplate, dominantly basaltic volcanic provinces, often of Cenozoic age, that are widely distributed across our planet. One of the world’s great intraplate magmatic provinces is located in eastern Australia, though despite being intensely studied for decades, there is little agreement on the underlying driving geodynamic mechanisms responsible for this province. We invite submissions using geochemical, geophysical and field-based methods that seek to understand the genesis, products and implications of this magmatism in both onshore and offshore settings.


    Session: The Australian Neotectonic Record: Insights from Geology, Geophysics and Geomechanics.
    Convenors: Ros King, Simon Holford [Adelaide]

    The rich record of Australian neotectonic deformation has been increasingly well documented over the past decade, but there are still outstanding questions regarding the relationship between these features and the contemporary and palaeostress fields, the timescales over which neotectonic activity has taken place, and the relative contributions of mantle and plate boundary dynamics to shaping the Australian landscape. This session will address these questions, with multidisciplinary contributions integrating geological, geophysical and geomechanical datasets particularly welcomed.


    Session: Tectonics of the Tasmanides
    Convenor: Gideon Rosenbaum [UQ]

    The Tasmanides, an assembly of late Neoproterozoic to Triassic orogenic belts in eastern Australia, occupy approximately third of the Australian continent. Recent research in the Tasmanides, facilitated by a larger volume of geochronological databases and higher resolution geophysical data, have resulted in new discoveries that may lead to a paradigm shift in the way that Tasmanide tectonics is understood. This session will focus on new ideas and developments in research related to the Tasmanides, with an emphasis on contributions that will deal with the lithospheric structure of the Tasmanides, curvatures and oroclines, role of terrane accretion, tectonic mode switches, and provenance of sedimentary successions.

    Session: Timing Tectonic Processes
    Convenors: Marnie Forster and Gordon Lister [ANU]

    Critical to timing events during tectonism is the recognition of event sequences, and then working out ways to date when individual events took place and how long they endured.

    Topics in this session will cover : i) dating ductile shear zones to time the movement of thrusts, strike-slip faults or detachments; ii) using geochronology to link modern geodetic observations into deeper time; iii) dating the growth of metamorphic minerals such as garnet and using various methods to determine how long individual growth events endured; iv) dating volcanic eruptions that deposit tephra over large regions, allowing constraint for the climatic record; v) using low temperature chronometers on coral or cave records to time the occurrence of events, e.g. in terraces; or vi) using diffusion to determine how long crystals sit in a magma chamber before eruption. 


    Session: Proterozoic orogens welding the West, South and North Australian Cratons
    Convenors: Rian Dutch [GSSA], Chris Kirkland [Curtin], Hugh Smithies [GSWA]

    This session will explore new developments in our understanding of the evolution of the Proterozoic orogens separating the West, South and North Australian Cratons, the timing and processes involved in the Proterozoic amalgamation of these cratons, and the resulting crustal architectures. Advances in our understanding of these fields have come from a range of sources including geologically well-constrained whole-rock and in-situ geochronological, geochemical, isotopic, metamorphic, and geophysical datasets. Recent seismic and magnetotelluric deep crustal imagery coupled with stratigraphic drilling is providing insight into key localities beneath deep cover. Age-constrained isotopic data, in particular, is allowing us to fingerprint the ancestry and character of basement to the Proterozoic orogens. Interpretations of these new datasets present important constraints that are challenging previous ideas on the nature and timing of amalgamation along all of these cratonic margins. This session compliments the session “Exposing the Nullarbor basement: Interpretation of the Eucla-Gawler deep crustal reflection seismic line 13GA-EG1”, which presents the first release of new seismic and magnetotelluric interpretations from the covered basement between the West and South Australian Cratons.


    Session: The Wilson Cycle at 50: do we understand the role of structural inheritance?
    Convenor: Myra Keep [UWA]

    In 1966 J. Tuzo Wilson published his seminal paper “Did the Atlantic close and then re-open?”. This became known as the ‘Wilson Cycle,” the concept that repeated opening and closing of oceans occurred along old orogenic belts. Inherent in this concept is the notion that tectonic processes weaken the crust and make them more susceptible to deformation during later orogenic events.

    This session aims to examine the processes that cause continental weakening, the role of structural inheritance during continental deformation, our understanding of the processes that govern strain localization, and also assess advancements in our comprehension over the ensuing 50 years.

    Session: Thermochronology of the continental crust - plate margins to plate interiors
    Convenors: Andy Gleadow, Barry Kohn [Melbourne] and Brent McInnes [Curtin]

    A range of increasingly well-understood thermochronometers are now available for investigations of the evolution of the continental crust across a wide range of temperatures.  These have found diverse applications at many scales in such areas as the evolution of orogenic belts, PTt paths in metamorphism, continental extension tectonics, the development of rifted continental margins, tectonism within plate interiors, the evolution of sedimentary basins and long-term landscape evolution.  Researchers in Australia have contributed significantly to the development of many of the constituent methodologies including (U-Th)/He, fission track, Ar/Ar, and U-Pb thermochronology across various mineral systems, amongst others.  The field continues to grow and contributions are invited across any of these areas.

    Session: Gondwana to Asia: Accretion tectonics and intracontinental reactivation of Central Asia and Australia
    Convenors: Stijn Glorie [Adelaide], Tom Raimondo [UniSA] & Johan De Grave [Ghent]

    This session aims to explore the tectonic evolution and intracontinental reactivation of Asia and Australia, focussing on (1) the break-up of Gondwana and its impacts on Australia; (2) the separation and accretion of Australia-derived terranes from Australia to Asia; (3) the Phanerozoic evolution of the Australian and Asian margins and (4) the intracontinental reactivation of Central Asia and/or Australia. We welcome contributions from several disciplines including but not limited to geochemistry, geo- and thermochronology, geophysics, structural geology and sedimentary geology.

    Session: Groundwater Geodynamics
    Convenors: Ken Lawrie, Ross Brodie, Steven Lewis [GA], Dioni Cendon [ANTSO]

    This session will examine the links between geodynamics and groundwater systems, including the links between Neogene tectonics and the development (and hydrodynamics) of surface and groundwater systems from continental to basin and local scales. Contributions that examine the impacts of earthquakes on groundwater systems, and the links between groundwater /energy development and induced seismicity, will also be welcomed.

    Session: Growth versus reworking of the Australian continent through time
    Convenors: Pete Betts [Monash], Ross Cayley [Geol Survey Victoria]

    The geological record of the Australian continent suggest at least two major episodes of continental accretion.  Major accretionary events occurred during the Paleoproterozoic and during the Phanerozoic.  Both these accretion episodes are characterised by protracted (100's millions of years) and complex orogenic and basin forming events along the edges of supercontinents.  There remains significant debate and uncertainty as to the extent of crustal growth versus continental reworking during accretion.  This session will explore the crustal architecture, reconstruction and geochemical signatures, and geodynamics of continental growth and reworking of the Australian continent through time.


  • Deep Earth Geodynamics: Core, Asthenosphere and Lithosphere Dynamics, Coupling the Dynamic Deep Earth with Surface Tectonics

    Theme coordinator: Dietmar Muller Contact:

    Session: AuScope 10 Year Anniversary
    Convenor: Helen Keogh [AuScope, Melbourne]

    The AuScope Symposium will showcase research outcomes that have been made possible using AuScope national research infrastructure. The day will be broken up into four sessions focusing on the Earth and Geospatial science research areas that AuScope infrastructure investments have had have had the biggest impact over the past decade. The final session will be an open discussion on the future needs of Australian researchers and will inform AuScope’s strategic planning to meet those needs over the next decade.

  • The four sessions will be:

    1. Temporal architecture  – led by Dr Christian Sippl, ANU -

    - Research into the evolution and geometry of the Australian Plate

    2. Changes and Impacts – led by Dr. Lucia Plank, UTAS -

    - Research into the nature and state of the Australian region

    3. Science Enablers – led by Mr Sabin Zahirovic – Sydney University -

    - Development and use of tools, software and data enabling world class research

    4. AuScope - Future directions – led by Dr Tim Rawling AuScope Acting CEO. -

    - “Town Hall” style discussion


    Session: From resistivity to geology: What can MT tell us about the Earth?Convenor: Graham Heinson [Adelaide], Stephan Thiel [DSD SA] and Janelle Simpson [GSQ]

    Magnetotellurics has grown in popularity in the last decade as a geophysical imaging method to define the resistivity of Earth from the top few metres to hundreds of kilometres depth.  With advances in 3D modelling and inversion techniques, resistivity images can be generated at finer scale than ever before.  However, the link from resistivity to geology is still poorly understood, due to the inherent non-uniqueness of inversion and uncertainty as to the geological causes of electrical conduction.  This session is aimed at bridging the gap between the MT method and geological interpretation.


    Session: Superswells, Superplumes and Their Control on Tectonics
    Convenors: Derrick Hasterok [Adelaide], Rhodri Davies [ANU], Juan Carlos Afonso [Macquarie]

    Observations of two large topographic highs over Africa and the Southern Pacific are linked to two large seismic low velocity provinces within the mantle.  Much discussion has surrounded the question of whether they are compositional or thermal anomalies, how they relate to deep mantle features, how they relate to heat loss across the core-mantle boundary, how long have they persisted in the geologic record, and their influence as a first-order global control on surface tectonics.  We seek submissions investigating the current state of knowledge, recent geophysical and geochemical observations, geodynamic models of their evolution, and observations or models of associated global tectonic activity.


    Session: Linking plate tectonics and mantle convection
    Convenors: Joanne Whittaker [UTAS], Louis Moresi [Melbourne] and Juan Carlos Afonso [Macquarie]

    Some fifty years on from the plate tectonics revolution, we are still working towards a quantitative understanding of how and why the plates move. We are still working towards understanding how the deep seated circulation in the mantle gives rise to, and is driven by, the motions of the lithosphere. The fundamental challenge is creating a detailed dynamical understanding of our planet, tying together oceanic and continental deformation, modern and early Earth, deep interior and surface motions.This session will examine the integrated dynamics of plate tectonics and mantle circulation by combining contributions from a range of disciplines including plate tectonics, geodynamics, and geochemistry.


    Session: Linking deep Earth to surface processes
    Convenors: Nicolas Flament [Sydney] and Karol Czarnota [GA]

    Earth’s topography results from the operation of multiple dynamic processes that occur across a large range of overlapping spatial and temporal scales. Recent advances in integrating geophysical and geological data are improving our knowledge of the crust and lithosphere, and our understanding of the origin of surface topography.In parallel, advances in modelling the plate-mantle system and surface processes have increased interest in exploring the relationships between plate motions, mantle flow, surface topography, sea level, erosion and sedimentation, and basin formation. This session will be a forum to address questions related to the spatial and temporal nature of the surface expressions of mantle convection.  We welcome contributions at all scales and from both a geological/observational and geodynamical/modelling perspective.  

  • Mineral Endowment: Formation and Exploration of Mineral Deposits; Their Tectonic and Geochemical Environment and Significance

    Theme coordinator: Richard Lilly Contact:

    Session: The Australian 1.5-1.6 Ga tectonic environment: origin and timing of world class ore systems
    Convenor: Justin Payne and Tom Raimondo [UniSA]

    This session aims to bring together researchers from a wide range of specialities in order to discuss one of the most significant ore-forming events in Earth’s history. The Gawler, Curnamona and Mount Isa cratons share significant links between geodynamics and ore-deposit genesis during this period. Multi-disciplinary comparison between these areas will assist in the identification of key drivers for mineralisation and will have implications for regional prospectivity.

    Session: Hyperspectral applications in economic geology
    Convenors: Belinda Smith [NTGS], Alan Mauger [GSSA]

    New technology has led to rapid developments in the application of mineral spectroscopy as an effective tool across the exploration to mine value chain. This new technology has the capacity to record and analyse hundreds of thousands of continuous measurements every day, leading to the creation of high resolution datasets. Geologists can maximise the benefit of this growing data bank of rich resources (collected from the surface by satellites and aircraft or from drillcore by hyperspectral scanners) by identifying mineral assemblages and spectral parameters that can be used as vectors for mineralisation and visualisation in three dimensions.

    This symposium will be supported by the National Virtual Core Library community which comprises all State and Territory Geological Surveys, their downstream users and CSIRO. The opportunity to discuss technology will also be provided and will cover the use of automated hyperspectral and imaging technologies as applied to extracting value from drill samples (core, chips, pulps, etc). New users can learn about these new techniques and existing users can share their experiences across diverse geological environments.


    Session: Non-traditional isotopes in high- and low-temperature environments
    Convenors: Juraj Farkas, John Foden [Adelaide]

    New stable isotope tracers of heavy metals (Cr, Fe, Ni, Cu Zn, Mo, Cd, Hg), alkaline earth metals (Ca, Mg, Sr, Ba) and lighter elements (Li, B, Cl) are being increasingly used to solve problems relevant to the origin and evolution of ore deposits and the earth system over geological time, as well as for practical applications involving mineral exploration and isotope tracing of metal contaminants in the environment. This session invites contributions that use non-traditional isotopes to advance our knowledge and understating of ore forming processes, earth system evolution and geochemical pathways of metals in both high- and low-temperature environments.


    Session: Exposing the Nullarbor basement: Interpretation of the Eucla-Gawler deep crustal reflection seismic line 13GA-EG1
    Convenors: Catherine Spaggiari [GSWA], Rian Dutch [GSSA], Michael Doublier [GA]

    The Eucla-Gawler deep crustal seismic reflection line (13GA-EG1) and magnetotelluric (MT) surveys were conducted across the Nullarbor Plain of Western and South Australia to investigate the lithospheric architecture of hidden basement provinces under deep cover. The 870 km long west to east transect stretches from the eastern margin of the Yilgarn Craton and Albany-Fraser Orogen in Western Australia, across the Madura and Coompana Provinces and the South Australian border, and through to the Eastern Gawler Craton where it links with the GOMA seismic line at Tarcoola. The seismic and MT surveys are a national collaboration between Geoscience Australia (GA), the Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA), the Geological Survey of South Australia (GSSA) and AuScope Earth Imaging (part of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy). Additional new information from these key hidden basement provinces include regional magnetic and gravity data, and mineral exploration and stratigraphic drilling, all providing important constraints on 3D architecture and 4D evolution interpretations, which will be presented in a series of talks by the collaborators (GSWA, GSSA, GA, and ANU). The Eucla-Gawler line fills a 'gap' in seismic coverage to complete a series of deep-crustal seismic transects stretching from west to east across the Australian continent, and is an important asset in reconstructing the tectonic evolution of Australia.

    This session is run in conjunction with the session 'Proterozoic orogens welding the West, South and North Australian Cratons', which will explore current developments in our understanding of how and when the North, South and West Australian Cratons amalgamated.


    Session: Mining with microbes: harnessing microbial machinery to solve challenges in minerals and energy industries
    Convenors: Talitha Santini [UQ], John Moreau [UoM]

    Across the life-of-mine cycle, the augmentation or replacement of current exploration, processing, and remediation techniques with novel microbially-driven technologies can improve yields, decrease process costs, and reduce environmental impact. Microbially-based processes for discovery and extraction of minerals and energy resources offer opportunities to increase the efficiency of traditional methods and expand the range of ores to include those previously considered to be economically unviable. Microbial communities can also play key roles in addressing major environmental challenges posed by mine wastes and tailings by transforming the extreme chemical and physical properties of these materials to more closely resemble those of surrounding environments. This session seeks contributions relating to the investigation of coupled geochemical and microbiological processes in mining environments, including bioexploration, bioleaching, and bioremediation, at both laboratory and field scales.


    Session: Exploration Through Cover: Recent advances in geochemical and biogeochemical exploration techniques
    Convenor: Richard Lilly [MIM, Adelaide]

    The continued demand for world-class ore discoveries and the decreasing chance of finding outcropping ore deposits increases the need to explore for potentially buried mineralisation in areas of thick overburden and cover sequences. The development of new geochemical and biogeochemical sampling methods designed to measure the surface geochemical expressions of buried and blind mineralisation in a range of regolith settings continues to advance the ability to geochemically explore in covered terrains. This session also welcomes submissions of case-studies from industry geoscientists involved in active exploration campaigns.


    Session: New technologies in mineral exploration
    Convenors: Caroline Forbes, Dave Giles [DET CRC, Adelaide], Yulia Uvarova [CSIRO]

    The decline in economically significant mineral deposits and increase in global demand for metals over the last ~20 years signifies that we need to be innovative with the way we undergo mineral exploration.  The major hindrance to discovery is primarily viewed as deposits exposed at the Earth’s surface having mostly being discovered, forcing exploration into deeper, buried environments.  Exploration through cover is significantly more costly, slower and challenging compared to surface exploration. Samples that give critical information can only be returned through expensive drilling practices, and all sample media (cover and basement) needs to be utilised in a manner that will return maximum information.  This session will present recent technological advances and case studies that will enable successful mineral exploration through deep, barren cover rocks.


    Session: Industry Focus: The Next Generation of Economic Geologists
    Convenor: Richard Lilly [MIM, Adelaide]

    This session aims to bring together early career geoscientists from a cross section of the Australian minerals industry. Presentations and case studies on mining and exploration related in-house and collaborative applied geoscience research projects are encouraged. Submissions from all commodities including base metals, gold and coal are welcomed. The session will also involve discussion periods where geoscientists can express their views and opinions about the growing role of research in economic geology and how researchers from Australia’s geoscience community can most effectively engage with industry.


    Session: Critical Metals and Future Resources
    Convenor: Richard Lilly [MIM, Adelaide]

    Strategic metals, including Bi, Co, Ge, Ga, In, Li, Nb, PGE, REE, Ta, Te, Se and W are being increasingly used across a range of high-tech industrial and energy applications. Increasing demand worldwide has intensified research into the geology and geochemistry of these elements but has yet to extend into the exploration and mining implications. This session will incorporate innovative contributions to the understanding of their crustal cycles, and the factors controlling their concentration in minerals and their potential for practical economic future extraction. We encourage geological, geochemical, isotopic and experimental approaches as well as industry case-studies.


    Session: Deposit to Camp Scale Ore Systems: Zonation in space and time
    Convenor: Zhaoshan Chang [JCU]

    Most exploration activities are at deposit- to camp-scale. This session intends to reveal near-ore to far-field signals of and vectors towards mineralisation to help increase exploration success rate and efficiency. The session will focus on the transition between different styles of mineralisation with genetic links, spatial zonation at various scales (meters to 10s of kilometres; within a deposit or between genetically linked deposits), zoning patterns in all possible geological features (e.g., mineralogy, texture, whole rock geochemistry, mineral chemistry, spectral features, isotope compositions, etc.), zonation at various paragenesis stages, and ore genesis to ensure the validity of the spatial zoning patterns.


    Session: Groundwater in mineral exploration and mining
    Convenors: Ken Lawrie, Ross Brodie, Steven Lewis [GA], Dioni Cendon [ANTSO]

    Papers are invited on the following sub-topics:

    a. The use of novel techniques, including hydrochemical methods, in mineral exploration.

    b. New insights into the role of groundwater processes in the formation of uranium and potash deposits.

    c. Groundwater and mining. Studies that explore the impact of mining on groundwater systems (groundwater flow, groundwater contamination and remediation, and subsidence), are welcomed.


    Session: Integrating structure and geochemistry: Impact on ore fluids
    Convenor: Steve Micklethwaite and Andy Tomkins  [Monash]

    How far do fluids migrate due to dynamic processes such as earthquakes or earthquake swarms, and how does this affect their chemistry? What is the impact of rapid fluid removal from rocks undergoing prograde metamorphism? What are permeability changes at different levels in the crust during an earthquake cycle? Can we distinguish mineral zonation arising from fault-related fluid pulsing, relative to crystal-fluid interface effects? These questions and others like them are the topic of this session. We seek to bring together structural geologists and geochemists to share the latest insights of their respective fields, and explore the implications that each discipline has for the other. 

  • Geoscience and Society: Education, Integration and Translation of Earth Sciences for Societal Benefit

    Theme coordinator: Ian Clark Contact:


    Session: Field work for the future: Where to with the student field experience?
    Convenor: Karin Barovich [Adelaide]

    Field experiences are fundamental to the undergraduate student education, and academics and future employers around the world place great value on the learning outcomes of field teaching. There are substantial challenges in field instruction including but not limited to: OH&S developments, field trip costs and the need to rationalise budgets, the widening diversity of the student cohort resulting from the country’s increased higher education participation rates. We invite talks that present strategies to meet these and other challenges. We also invite the speakers to include details of learning outcomes and associated logistical, safety and financial matters, so that others may benefit from shared wisdom.

    Session: New developments in groundwater and environmental mapping, characterisation, assessment and modelling
    Convenors: Ken Lawrie, Ross Brodie, Steven Lewis [GA, Dioni Cendon [ANTSO]

    New approaches and technologies for the rapid cost-effective, mapping, characterisation, monitoring and visualisation of complex natural hydrological (surface and groundwater) systems. This session encompasses the following themes:

    a. Smart and big data approaches. This session welcomes papers that explore the current and future use of data fusion techniques, deterministic and stochastic methods, data mining, machine learning and self-organising mapping methods. The session also welcomes papers that deal with the use of novel techniques for assessing data redundancy (e.g. compressed inversions), and the calculation and assessment of uncertainties in data acquisition, measurement and integration.

    b. Water in the landscape: advances in the use of remote sensing technologies and advanced computational capabilities for mapping surface and groundwater systems. Papers that utilise new capabilities to map and measure surface water availability through time, landscape hydrological properties (including soil moisture and evapotranspiration), surface-groundwater interaction and groundwater-dependent ecosystems, will be particularly welcomed.

    c. Advances in the use of geophysical and hydrogeophysical techniques. This session welcomes contributions on a wide range of ground, borehole and airborne technologies, including electrical methods (e.g. airborne electromagnetics (AEM)), surface and borehole Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), magneto-tellurics (mT), seismic reflection and gravity techniques including satellite methods (GRACE), airborne gravity gradiometry, and ground gravity. Papers on the use of new borehole geophysical and visual logging technologies for aquitard, aquifer and fault damage zone characterisation will also be welcomed.

    d. New hydrochemical and hydrodynamic methods and technologies for the characterisation of groundwater systems, aquitards and aquifers. Papers documenting advances in new hydrochemical/isotopic tracers, the use of passive technologies (e.g. geological weighing lysimeters), and laboratory methods, are encouraged.

    e. Advances in the parameterisation, visualisation and modelling of groundwater systems. Papers are welcomed that demonstrate advances in the incorporation of geological heterogeneity (e.g. lithological, structural, hydrogeological), into groundwater system visualisation and modelling. The session will also examine the use of conceptual models and simulation techniques and the use of methods for predicting data and knowledge gaps.


    Session: Regional groundwater and Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) investigations and opportunities.
    Convenors: Ken Lawrie, Ross Brodie, Steven Lewis [GA, Dioni Cendon [ANTSO]

    This session encompasses the following themes in regional groundwater and MAR investigations

    a. Groundwater systems and MAR in northern and inland Australia. With recent announcements on the development of northern Australia, this session encourages papers examining the potential for the use of groundwater and MAR options to underpin agricultural development. Papers that highlight potential hazards (e.g. seawater intrusion, groundwater salinity, and broader hydrochemical issues), are encouraged.

    b. Groundwater systems in the SW Pacific. This session will encourage the submission of papers on the state of knowledge, vulnerability, and opportunities to build community resilience through the improved understanding and management of groundwater systems and MAR.

    c. Groundwater in arid zones. Papers that examine the groundwater in paleo-valley systems will be particularly welcomed.

    d. Groundwater in coastal zones. With the increasing development in many of the world’s coastal zones, this session will deal with recent investigations that document water balance in coastal aquifers, and the threat posed by seawater intrusion and coastal inundation.


    Session: War Records of Australian geologists.
    Convenor: Ian Withnall [GSQ]

    In recognition of the ongoing remembrances marking the centenary of World War 1, this session will highlight the records of Australian geologists who served in that conflict and their contributions to geology before or after that service. Papers are therefore invited on such geologists, although papers of a more general nature such the geology of particular battlefields and its effects on the course of the war will be considered. It is anticipated that Edgeworth-David’s service as a geologist on the Western Front will be a keynote address. Other papers already confirmed are on: Leslie Blake, who mapped Macquarie Island as part of Mawson’s Australian Antarctic Expedition, and who as an Artillery officer, received a Military Cross for applying his surveying skills in mapping the British Lines while under fire during the battle of The Somme; and Walter Heywood Bryan, later Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Queensland, who also received a Military Cross for service in the Artillery in France.

    Session: Recent advances in Geotourism in Australia and beyond?
    Convenors: Bernie Joyce [Melbourne], Angus Robinson [Leisure Solutions]

    In November 2014, the Geotourism Standing Committee was established following a three year period formed as a subcommittee of the Geological Heritage Standing Committee and six years after the convening of the inaugural Global Geotourism conference held in Fremantle.

    Geotourism is emerging as a new global phenomenon which is tourism focusing on an area's geology and landscape as the basis for providing visitor engagement, learning and enjoyment. Geotourism can be delivered within a wide range of both protected and non-protected areas including heritage mine sites, as exemplified overseas particularly within geoparks, and so far in Australia through Australian National Landscapes such as Flinders Ranges, Kangaroo Island and Australia's Red Centre. The concept of geotrails has provided an alternative and attractive approach to nurturing regional development by celebrating geotourism, geological and mining heritage.

    This symposium explores recent developments in  geotourism practice in Australia and overseas, geological heritage issues and opportunities for embracing earth sciences history as representing a key component of the overall visitor experience. Our invited international speaker, Professor Patrick McKeever, Chief of Section, IGCP Secretary, Section on Earth Sciences and Geo-Hazards Risk Reduction for UNESCO will open the sessions in Adelaide in 2016, and we now invite papers to consider past and current work on geotourism, including the relationship of work in Australia to international developments, and in particular the story since our major discussions at the IGC in Brisbane in 2012, and the AESC in Newcastle in 2014.


    Session: Geoheritage
    Convenor: Margaret Brocx [GSA National Heritage Convenor]

    The scope of the session will be the reporting on the state-of-the-art of Geoheritage in Australia, as well as the challenges and opportunities for Geoheritage nation-wide.  The scope of the session is intended to be broad, and authors are invited to present papers in the realm of geoheritage involving any of the disciplines such as palaeontology, mineralogy, stratigraphy, sedimentology, igneous, metamorphic, and structural geology, volcanic terrains, karst, coastal science, geodiversity, methodology, the identification and management of geosites and geoparks, and building stones & ornamental rocks: resource evaluation, technical assessment, geoheritage designation.

    Session: Communicating for Social Acceptance
    Convenor: Melissa Muller [SA Department for State Development]

    There is no one unique formula for mining companies to gain social acceptance, however there are some necessary principles to apply.  These principles include the establishment of good relationships, which are based on mutual respect, open and ongoing communication, inclusion of all stakeholders, honesty, transparency and provision of information suitable to the audience.  It is important to start engaging with stakeholders early for exploration and mining developments.



  • Earth Science for Energy: From Hydrocarbons to Renewables

    Theme coordinator: Peter McCabe Contact:

    Session: Australasia’s petroleum systems
    Convenor: Simon Holford [Adelaide] 

    Understanding petroleum systems is essential for exploration in frontier areas as well as looking for new plays in more mature basins.  This session will examine petroleum systems around Australia and New Zealand, both onshore and offshore. It will look at all elements of petroleum systems including source rocks, maturation, migration, reservoirs and seals.  It will also look at the tectonic evolution of the basins that host petroleum systems and discuss how that has influenced the petroleum systems. 

    Session: Gas from coal
    Convenor: Tennille Crombie [Santos],Carmine Wainman [Adelaide]

    Coal seam gas from the Permian and Jurassic basins of Queensland has dramatically increased Australia’s gas production and LNG from that area is now being exported to East Asia by LNG.  The challenge is to ensure that Australia’s coal seam gas remains cost competitive compared to other LNG on the international market.  At the same time other coals are being explored as potential new major sources of gas.  Of special interest are the deep coals of the Cooper Basin.  This session will look at the coals and coal-bearing strata emphasizing the economic relevance of  geologic studies.

    Session: Shale gas/oil
    Convenors: David Dewhurst [CSIRO], Martin Kennedy [Macquarie]

    Oil and gas from shale formations has radically increased North America’s energy production.  This has resulted in substantially lower gas prices in the United States and was a major cause of the marked fall in the price of oil in late 2014 and early 2015.  The big question is when will the shale revolution go global?  It is critical to understand Australia’s true resource potential by better understanding the geologic nature of the region’s shale formations.  It is also important to understand early the environmental implication of any shale development to help preserve the environment and ensure the industry has a social license to operate.

    Session: Reservoir analogues
    Convenor: Kathryn Amos [Adelaide], Bruce Ainsworth [Chevron]

    Both modern and ancient analogues are useful in the exploration and development of petroleum resources.  The session will discuss the use of analogues that range from understanding the distribution of reservoirs on a basin-scale to understanding compartmentalization on a reservoir-scale.  It will discuss the appropriate use of analogues and the challenges of applying lessons learned from modern sedimentary environments to understanding the architecture of ancient strata.  Aspects to be discussed may include variations in source rock richness, reservoir geometry and seal integrity.


    Session: Groundwater and Unconventional Energy
    Convenors: Ken Lawrie, Ross Brodie, Steven Lewis [GA], Dioni Cendon [ANTSO]

    This session will explore new insights into the hydrogeology of groundwater systems related to coal seam gas, shale resources, CO2 geosequestration and geothermal energy.  It will encompass the hydrostratigraphy, tectonics, hydrochemistry and hydrodynamics of such systems. The session welcomes papers that examine the evidence for groundwater processes including inter-aquifer leakage, the recognition of natural fugitive emission zones, and the potential for near-surface impacts.

    Session: Energy in 2050
    Convenors: Elinor Alexander [SA Dept State Development] and Pete McCabe [Adelaide]

    What will Australia’s and the world’s energy mix be in the year 2050?  What percentage will come from fossil fuels?  How much can the renewable energy industry expand over the next 35 years? Will nuclear energy become a more significant component of the energy mix?  How might the demand for energy expand and what are the geopolitical implications?  What will be the effect on greenhouse gas emissions? These are some of the important questions that will be addressed in this session.  An emphasis will be on how best scientists can best engage the public and decision-makers in future debates about how the energy mix should evolve.


If you have Session suggestions please contact Alan Collins


Please email any comments, or problems with the site to

Suite 8, 141 Peats Ferry Road,
Hornsby NSW 2077 AUSTRALIA


Tel +61 2 9290 2194
Fax +61 2 9290 2198