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Is the mantle under SA primed & ready for copper deposits? Insights from Cu isotopes

Gawler Range Volcanics

Gawler Range volcanics

Gain knowledge and skills in digestion of rock samples for chemical analysis, column chemistry and mass spectrometry, and be part of the newly formed MinEx Cooperative Research Centre involving government and industry partners.

South Australia – especially along the borders of the Gawler Craton – is known worldwide for being an area of prolific copper mineralisation. Although a consensus has not yet been reached on whether the juicy package of important elements comes from the mantle or crust, new research has suggested a key correlation between regions of mantle metasomatism and the location of economic copper mineralisation.

This project will use innovative techniques based on the stable copper isotope tracer (δ65Cu), which will be measured in mafic rocks from the Gawler Range Volcanics to test the hypothesis that mantle metasomatism is a key process in ‘priming’ the source region for copper enrichment. Samples will be chosen from different time periods to investigate temporal variations.

The student will employ novel the δ65Cu isotopic method involving semi-automatic chemical purification of Cu from sample matrix using the new PrepFAST MC system, and followed up by measurements of Cu isotope abundances using Multi Collector ICP MS.

Prerequisites:

  • Completion of Igneous and Metamorphic III, and an enjoyment of the geochemical aspects of the course.
  • This project would suit someone with ambitions for postgraduate studies and/or career in mineral exploration.

Tagged in Honours projects - Geology, Honours Projects - Lucy McGee, Honours Projects - Juraj Farkas, Honours Projects - Karin Barovich