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Project availability

This specific project may be currently unavailable but is listed to show the diversity of research opportunities in this area. Contact the supervisor below to discuss similar projects that may be available or view the current handbook for more information.

Reconstructing past plate configurations using radiogenic heat production

Gondwana Heat Production

Gondwana heat production

This project will use geochemical, geophysical, structural and geochronologic data to reconstruct the past history of Gondwana (a supercontinent ~570 to 510 Ma).

Over a few billion years of continental evolution, plate tectonics has brought plates together and broken them into pieces many times, creating a complicated jigsaw puzzle that spans 4-dimensions. Add the processes of sedimentation, erosion and metamorphism and the existing continental architecture is a mess.

This has left us with the difficult task of reconstructing past plate configurations using a complex and limited dataset that is increasingly challenging the further back in time one tries to go.

Specifically this project will focus on developing a new techniques to use radiogenic heat production and surface heat flow observations to refine and/or discriminate between reconstructions of portions of India, Madagascar, Africa, and Antarctica.

As part of this project, you will learn to use software for reconstructing past plate motions, develop a geochemical database, and learn to use some simple thermal modelling techniques. You will learn to do simple coding and use GIS software.


  • Tectonics III and/or Geophysics III
  • Geology or Geology/Applied Geology major

Tagged in Honours projects - Geophysics, Honours projects - Geology, Honours Projects - Martin Hand, Honours Projects - Derrick Hasterok, Honours Projects - Alan Collins