The CCFS research program

 The CCFS CoE builds on world-class infrastructure and has already multiplied the capabilities of the Collaborating and Partner Institutions.  The research program aims to amplify existing strengths in geology, geochemistry, geophysics, experimental petrology and petrophysical/dynamic modelling, and to promote closer integration of these disparate fields.

Major Research Objectives

  • to determine, using constraints from Earth’s oldest crust and mantle, lunar samples and meteorites, the role of fluids in creating a dynamic planet

  • to understand how Earth’s core-mantle system and its interaction with fluids have produced periodic cataclysms and controlled the evolution of the crust, hydrosphere and atmosphere

  • to develop new approaches to petrophysical and dynamic modelling, integrating geophysics, geodynamics and geochemistry

  • to develop an integrated Earth model linking tectonics, internal structure and dynamics, and the fluid-mediated transport of mass and energy from the interior to the surface

  • to develop new approaches to interpreting geophysical imagery, for application to basic science and resource exploration

  • to develop a new understanding of the timing and distribution of giant resource systems, based on a new level of understanding of Earth’s fluid plumbing systems, processes and dynamics

  • to undertake the strategic, frontline developments in hardware, analytical methodologies, theory and software technology that are required to fulfil the research goals

These objectives are being addressed through the Research Projects described below.

The scope of the research, and thus of the Foundation Projects, is determined by the funding base allocated by ARC with strategic leverage planned to expand available resources.


Foundation Projects are funded from the ARC Centre funds allocation, and many also include components from the Universities’ funding support.  The first tranche of Foundation Projects was chosen from formal applications by CCFS participants based on presentations and discussions at a 2-day meeting in October 2010, ratified by the Executive Committee, and accepted on report to the Advisory Board.  Foundation Projects are designed to be interdisciplinary, cross-node and to foster early-career/postgraduate researchers participation.  Several Foundation Projects reflect the focus of ARC grants relinquished consequent on the award of the CoE CCFS.  These latter were, by their nature, fully aligned with, and core to, Centre goals.

The range of topics covered by the Foundation Projects reflects the three major Themes prioritised within the imposed funding framework, and some aspects (especially some deep-Earth experimental aspects of Theme 1) had to be postponed.  Projects range across understanding Early Earth, identifying deep Earth fluids and element transport, tracking mantle evolution, geophysical imaging of deep-Earth flow, geodynamics of the Australian continent in the Proterozoic, and the 3-D architecture of the Yilgarn Craton (Australia) from new deep seismic and magnetotelluric datasets and crustal geochronology (see full list  below).  Projects matured and new directions were identified during 2013 as reported in Appendix 1.

Foundation Projects also include three whole-of-Centre projects undertaking Technology Development, one of the key goals embedded in the Centre strategy, and delivering on a key KPI.  

For Foundation Project summaries, progress for 2013  Appendix 1
For the workplan for 2014 see 
Appendix 2
Independently funded basic research projects are listed in  Appendix 3


Foundation Research Projects 

Project Coordinator and main Centre personnel
1.  The TARDIS project: Tracking ancient residues distributed in the silicate Earth O’Reilly, Griffin, Pearson, Fiorentini, O’Neill, Afonso, Yang, Cliff, Martin, Kilburn, Belousova, González-Jiménez (ECSTAR, ECR), Satsukawa (ECSTAR, ECR), Huang (ECR), Locmelis (ECR), Xiong, Saunders, Yao and McGowan (PhDs)

2a.  Metal sources and transport mechanisms in the deep lithosphere

Fiorentini, McCuaig, Barley, Rushmer, Griffin, Pearson, Evans, Reddy, Kilburn, Locmelis (ECR), Turner, O'Reilly, Davies and Owen (PhDs)

2b.  Dynamics of Earth’s mantle: assessing the relative roles of deformation and magmatism

Reddy, Kaczmarek


3.  Generating and stabilising the earliest continental lithosphere - Late granite blooms


Griffin, O’Reilly, O’Neill, Pearson, Van Kranendonk, Belousova, Gréau (ECR), Murphy and Gao (PhDs)

4.  Two-phase flow within Earth’s mantle: modelling, imaging and application to flat subduction settings

O’Neill, Afonso, Yang, Li, Gorczyk, Schinella, Grose, Jiang, Ramzan, Oliveira-Bravo, Peng, Tao, Zhu and Huang (PhDs)

5.  Early evolution of the Earth system and the first life, from multiple sulfur isotopes

Barley, Fiorentini, Kilburn, Wacey, Wilde, Nemchin, Griffin

6.  Detecting Earth’s rhythms: Australia’s Proterozoic record in a global context

Li, Pisarevsky, Wingate, Wang (ECR, ECSTAR), Niu (PhD)

7.  Fluid regimes and the composition of the early Earth

Wilde, Nemchin, Grange, Barley, Kusiak, Kaczmarek, Pidgeon, Wang (PhD)

8.  Diamond Genesis: Fluids in deep-Earth processes

Griffin, O’Reilly, Pearson, Cliff, Martin, Kilburn, Howell (ECR), Rubanova and Yao (PhDs)

9.  4D lithospheric evolution and controls on mineral system distribution: The Western Superior-Yilgarn comparison

McCuaig, Fiorentini, Kemp, Belousova, Cliff, Kirkland, Van Kranendonk, Lu (ECR, ECSTAR), Bjorkman (PhD)

10a.  3D architecture of the western Yilgarn Craton

Gessner, Van Kranendonk, Tyler, Belousova, Yang, Afonso, O’Neill, Gorczyk, Zhang (ECR)
10b.  Zircon Lu-Hf constraints on Precambrian crustal evolution in Western Australia Wingate, Belousova, Tyler

Whole of Centre


Cameca Ion microprobe development: maximising quality and efficiency of CCFS activities within UWA Ion Probe Facility

Kilburn, Cliff, Griffin, Fiorentini, McCuaig, Barley, Pearson, Reddy, Martin, Huang (ECR), Howell (ECR), Rubanova, Gao and Xiong (PhDs)

Frontiers in integrated laser-sampled trace-element and isotopic geoanalysis

Pearson, Cliff, Griffin, O’Reilly, Kilburn, Huang (ECR), Gréau (ECR), Murphy (PhD)

Optimising mineral processing procedures: From rock to micro-grains

Pearson, Belousova, Daczko, wide spectrum of Centre users