Dating the structural evolution of Pichi Richi

Pichi Richi Pass

While you were mapping in the southern Flinders Ranges (Pichi Richi), you may have noticed that little is known about the absolute timing of fault movements and the landscape evolution in the area.

We know the stratigraphic age of the units that you mapped reasonably well (these rocks formed in the Neoproterozoic), but we have little information on the timing when these rocks were exhumed to the surface.

This honours project aims to solve this missing part of the puzzle by sampling:

  • sandstones (quartzites) for apatite thermochronology, which is used to model the thermal and deformation history at temperatures of ~60-120°C (shallow crustal exhumation and deformation); and
  • calcite veins for U-Pb dating (e.g. Roberts et al., 2016), which dates when the calcite formed and therefore provides constraints on fault movements.

The combination of these techniques is novel and has immense applications for the mineral and hydrocarbon exploration industries (providing important transferable skills).

Key activities

  • (limited) fieldwork (sample trip) in and around the Pichi Richi mapping area,
  • apatite U-Pb and fission track thermochronology,
  • calcite U-Pb dating, and
  • data integration and modelling.
Calcite Tension Gashes

Calcite tension gashes

Results will likely lead to a scientific paper in a peer-reviewed international journal.

Prerequisites:

  • Completed the Geology major with a credit average, but most importantly, enthusiasm for research in tectonics / structural geology.
  • This project would suit someone with ambitions for postgraduate studies or for a career in mineral / petroleum exploration.

Tagged in Honours projects - Geology, Honours projects - Environmental geoscience, Honours projects - Geophysics, Honours Projects - Stijn Glorie, Honours Projects - Rosalind King, Honours Projects - Alan Collins