The CCFS research program

The CCFS CoE builds on world-class infrastructure and world-leading research expertise and track record, and has already multiplied the capabilities of the Collaborating and Partner Institutions.  The research program aims to enhance existing strengths in geology, geochemistry, geophysics, experimental petrology and petrophysical/dynamic modelling, and to integrate knowledge and datasets from 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 Programs for 2011-2014 were funded from the ARC Centre funds allocation, and include components from the Universities’ funding support.  The first tranche of Foundation Programs 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 Programs are designed to be interdisciplinary, cross-node and to foster early-career/postgraduate researchers participation. 

The research directions of the Foundation Programs were designed to contribute to the overarching  three major Themes identified to bring about a new level of understanding of Earth and its resource dispersion.  They include three integrated projects targeted at Technology Development required to deliver the research goals.

Summaries and progress are detailed in  Appendix 1
Appendix 2 presents the Flagship Programs set up from 2014, and the 2015 workplan
Independently funded basic research projects are listed in  Appendix 3


Foundation Research Programs 

Program Coordinator and main Centre personnel
1.  The TARDIS program: 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)
Castillo, Lu, McGowan, Saunders, Tilhac, Xiong, Xu, Yao (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  
Koelleger, Davies, Owen (PhDs), Guergouz (MSc)

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

Reddy, Kaczmarek
Gray (PhD)


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


Griffin, O’Reilly, O’Neill, Pearson, Van Kranendonk, Belousova, Gréau (ECR)
Murphy, Gao, Tretiakova (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, Huang, Wasiliev, Matthews (PhDs)

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

Barley, Fiorentini, Kilburn, Wacey, Van Kranendonk, Wilde, Nemchin, Griffin
Isaac (PhD), Djokic (MPhil)

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

Li, Pisarevsky, Wingate, Wang, (ECR, ECSTAR)
Huang, Zhu, Yao, Pang, Tao, L. Liu, Y. Liu,  Meng (PhDs), Niu (MSc)

7.  Fluid regimes and the composition of the early Earth

Wilde, Nemchin, Grange, Barley, Kusiak, Kaczmarek, Pidgeon
Wang, Ge, Sun, Li (S) (PhDs)

8.  Diamond Genesis: Fluids in deep-Earth processes

Griffin, O’Reilly, Pearson, Cliff, Martin, Kilburn, Howell (ECR)
Rubanova, 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, Parra-Avila, Stevenson, Iaccheri (PhDs)

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
Mole (PhD)

Technology Development


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)
Gao, Xiong (PhDs)

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

Pearson, Cliff, Griffin, O’Reilly, Kilburn, Huang (ECR), Gréau (ECR)
Gao, Genske, McGowan, Xiong  (PhDs)

Optimising mineral processing procedures: From rock to micro-grains

Pearson, Belousova, Daczko, wide spectrum of Centre researchers



2014 Flagship Programs 

Program Coordinator and main Centre personnel

1. Deep Earth fluids in collision zones and cratonic roots (TARDIS II)  

Themes 1, 2, 3

Earth Fluids, Earth Architecture

O’Reilly, Griffin, Pearson, Cliff, RA (TBA), Kilburn, Martin, Huang (ECR), Satsukawa (ECSTAR, ECR), Abily(ECSTAR, ECR), Gréau, Saunders (ECR’s)    McGowan, Xiong, Xu, Tilhac, Colas, Lu, Liptai (PhDs)

2.  Genesis, transfer and focus of fluids and metals

Themes 2 and 3

Earth Fluids

Fiorentini, McCuaig, Foley, O’Reilly, Griffin, Reddy, Rushmer, Adam, Turner, Lu (ECR), Bagas, Gorczky, Piazolo, Kilburn, Clarke   Thébaud, Guergouz, Bjorkman, Xu (PhDs)   Arting, Burley, Johannesen (MSc)

3.  Modelling fluid and melt flow in mantle and crust

Themes 2 and 3

Earth Fluids, Earth Architecture

O’Neill, Afonso, Yang, Li, Foley, Clark, S. Zhang (ECR), Shan, Gorczky, Smith, O’Reilly, Griffin Wasilev, Ramzan, Oliviera, Grose, Jiang (PhDs)


4.  Atmospheric, environmental and biological evolution

Theme 1

Earth Fluids, Earth Architecture


Van Kranendonk, Wacey, Fiorentini, Foley, McCuaig, Cliff, Kilburn, Grange, Kirkland, Alard Baumgartner (PhD), Djokic (MPhil)

5.  Australia’s Proterozoic record in a global context

Themes 2 and 3

Earth Architecture

Li, Pisarevsky, Wang, Yao (ECR), Wingate, O’Reilly, Griffin, Pearson, Belousova, McCuaig, Wang (ECR) Tao, l. Liu, Y. Liu (PhDs)

6.  Fluid regimes and composition of early Earth

Themes 1 and 3

Earth Fluids, Earth Architecture

Wilde, Nemchin, Grange, Martin, O’Neill Gu, Ge (PhD)

7.  Precambrian architecture and crustal evolution in WA

Themes1,2 and 3

Earth Architecture

Kirkland, Belousova, Gréau, Gessner, Yuan, Merdie, Wingate, Tyler (ECR) PhD/ECR 2015 (TBA)

Technology Development


Cameca Ion microprobe

Themes 1, 2, 3

Earth Fluids, Earth Architecture

Kilburn, Cliff, Martin, Fiorentini, McCuaig, Wacey, Wilde, Griffin Students of CIs and ECRs utilising the Ion Probe Facility are active in the program

GAU multi-instrument development

Themes 1, 2, 3

Earth Fluids, Earth Architecture

Pearson, Griffin, O’Reilly, Cliff, RA (TBA), Kilburn, Martin, Huang (ECR), Saunders (ECR) McGowan, Gao, Xiong (PhDs)