Metal Isotope Group

Limbla Syncline - Amadeus Basin Central Australia

The Limbla Syncline - Amadeus Basin, Central Australia
All images courtesy Juraj Farkas

The Metal Isotope Group (MIG) explores the source of metals, and their biogeochemical pathways and interactions between the geosphere and biosphere.

Our primary research focus is on stable and radiogenic isotope systems of selected metals, and their application to solve problems relevant to earth system evolution studies, geochronology, metallogenesis and environmental issues.

Specifically, we are interested in radiogenic isotope systems of heavy metals (Nd, Pb), and stable isotope systems of alkaline earth metals (Ca, Sr, Mg) and redox-sensitive elements (Cr, Cu, Zn).

The MIG group also investigates novel analytical approaches such as collision cell mass spectrometry. We use this for in-situ dating of selected low-temperature minerals such as glauconite and illite, based on laser-ablation analysis of Rb-Sr and K-Ca isotope systems via plasma mass spectrometry.

Water sampling in the Coorong

Sampling of waters in the Coorong - North Lagoon.

Environmental applications

Earth system evolution studies

Stromatolitic Reefs in the Ringwood Member (Aralka Formation), Amadeus Basin - image courtesy Juraj Farkas

Stromatolitic Reefs in the Ringwood Member (Aralka Formation), Amadeus Basin.

  • Isotope evolution of Phanerozoic seawater based on metal isotope analysis of modern and fossil brachiopods.
    Funded by: Base-LiNE Earth project - European Commission, Marie Currie ITN project
  • Metal isotope chemostratigraphy (Cr, Ca, Mg) and in-situ dating (Rb-Sr, K-Ca) of Proterozoic depositional systems in Australia, including:
    • Greater McArthur Basin - funded by ARC Linkage Project
    • Amadeus and Warburton Basins - funded with Northern Territory Geological Survey and Santos support
    • Paleozoic depositional systems in Europe (Prague Basin and Gotland) - funded via Czech Science Foundation

Mineral and energy resources

  • Isotope tracing of ore-forming processes and metal sources in mineralised systems and regolith studies
    Funded by: MinEx CRC
  • Novel isotope approaches on diagenetic processes and fluid/rock interactions in carbonate and shale-hosted hydrocarbon reservoirs
    Funded by: MinEx CRC, ARC Linkage
  • Callibrating metal isotope proxies in modern hydrothermal environments for ancient ore deposit applications
    Funded by: ANZIC/IODP


  • Professor M Santosh (CUGB, Beijing, China) 
  • Professor Toni Eisenhauer (GEOMAR, Germany)
  • Professor Chris Holmden (Uni Saskatchewan, Canada)
  • Dr Thomas Zack (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
  • Professor Stein Jacobsen (Harvard, USA)
  • Professor Martin Dietzel (Graz University of Technology, Austria)
  • Professor Robert Frei (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Professor Ramananda Chakrabarti (Indian Institute of Science)
  • Professor Jiri Fryda (Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague)
  • Dr Marin Novak (Czech Geological Survey)

The MIG offers Mawson Analytical Facilities which are available for industry use.

New positions and research opportunities

Industry PhD (UAiPhD) Position/Project

  • 4 year scholarship
  • funded via University of Adelaide/Santos
  • Exploring the Paleozoic Warburton-Amadeus Depositional System with Novel Isotope Techniques

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