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The Face of the Neoproterozoic Earth

A multidisciplinary project reconstructing the largest mountain belt of the last billion years.

Face of the Earth

Reconstructions of the the amalgamation of Gondwana along the East African Orogen – these are lovely, but we can address how they relate to other earth systems if we also model topography… The face of the Earth!

Why do we see the climate change dramatically, the atmosphere and hydrosphere get oxygenated and life evolve rapidly in the Neoproterozoic? Hypotheses focus on scrubbing CO2 from the atmosphere by weathering rocks—either weathering basalt from Large Igneous Provinces, basalt in anomalously shallow mid-ocean ridges or by eroding mountain ranges created by continental collisions, arcs or rifts… take your pick…

In this project the student will try to narrow down these hypotheses by looking at the evolution of the land surface in the largest mountain range of the last billion years—the East African Orogen. There is no fieldwork here, but data will be collected from existing publications, they will be interpreted for rock type and inverted for mountain elevation and evolution of elevation.

Once this is done, we aim to have the framework of a topography model that can be used in global climate models (GCMs) to constrain the evolution of the climate, the rates of weathering and the nutrient flux into the Neoproterozoic oceans.

In this project you will be an integral part of the Tectonics and Earth Systems (TES) Research Group that includes researchers, PhD and honours students all working towards understanding how plate tectonics effects earth system processes.


Professor Alan Collins


Professor Alan CollinsDr Derrick Hasterok, Dr Morgan Blades and Dr Andrew Merdith

Research area: Mineral and energy systems, Tectonics and solid earth processes

Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Geology


Tagged in Honours projects - Geology, Honours Projects - Alan Collins, Honours Projects - Derrick Hasterok, Honours Projects - Morgan Blades

Competition: Young Scientist of the Year

How do we feed the world’s growing population? How do we save our wildlife from extinction? Got an idea that will build a brighter, greener world?

Australian high school students are invited to submit a short video about one of Australia’s big science challenges.

Video competition