Dating shales in the world’s oldest petroleum basin

Greater McArthur Basin

At the University of Adelaide we’ve developed a new dating technique using a new instrument called the QQQ LA-ICPMS to date shales with the Rb–Sr decay system.

Shales in the greater McArthur Basin in the Northern Territory form some of the oldest known petroleum source rocks and illuminate the evolution of the atmosphere and life… yet we have very few techniques that can date them… until now!

This is quite a break-through technique as dating the depositional age of Proterozoic sediments is a hard thing to do, yet it is essential for correlation within basins.

The successful applicant for this project will become an expert at this technique and really get into unravelling the systematics of the technique, while using it to date shales within the Mesoproterozoic Roper Group of the McArthur Basin. This contains an immense gas resource in the Northern Territory and the student will join a large research team that includes a government partner (Northern Territory Geological Survey) and industry partners (Origin, Santos and Imperial Oil & Gas).

This is an exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of a new dating technique with many industry applications in both minerals and petroleum as well as considerable research potential.

Prerequisites

  • A credit average in the geology major or equivalent.
  • Enthusiasm, a desire to learn, an open mind and an interest in being a good team player in a major research enterprise.

Tagged in Honours projects - Geology, Honours Projects - Alan Collins, Honours Projects - Juraj Farkas, Honours Projects - Morgan Blades