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 Programs described below.

The scope of the research, and thus of the Research Programs, are determined by the funding base allocated by ARC with strategic leverage planned to expand available resources.



The original Foundation Programs for 2011-2014 were funded from the ARC Centre funds allocation, and included components from the Universities’ funding support.  Programs were 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.  The Programs were designed to be interdisciplinary, cross-nodal and to foster early-career/postgraduate researcher's participation.  Research directions 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 included three integrated projects targeted at Technology Development.

In 2014 the Flagship Programs were restructured to identify the most productive research directions relevant to fulfilling the CCFS vision of “Delivering the fundamental science needed to sustain Australia ’s resource base.”  All the research programs were scrutinised, reassessed and realigned (following advice from the Science Advisory Committee).

This resulted in seven Flagship Programs based on the benchmark outcomes of the first 3 years and extending in new directions; programs that had come to fruition in the first three years were finalised.  These Flagship Programs target the research goals through to 2018, providing a new focus and realigned strategies to deliver more transformational outcomes and leave a legacy in knowledge, new technology and methodologies, and vital new knowledge about Australia's geological evolution to guide smart new mineral exploration.  They are underpinned by two Technology Development Programs designed to deliver more leading-edge geochemical breakthroughs, capitalising on the outstanding geochemical instrumental infrastructure across CCFS.


Summaries and progress are detailed in  Appendix 1
Appendix 2 presents the 2016 workplan
Independently funded basic research projects are listed in  Appendix 3


2015 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), Gréau, Saunders (ECR's)

McGowan, Xiong, Xu, Tilhac, Colas, Lu, Liptai, Chasse (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

Bjorkman, Iaccheri, Stevenson, Davies, Dering, Poole, Bennett, Lampinen (PhDs), Poh (Masters)

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, LaFlamme

Baumgartner, Selvaraja, Barlow, Pearse (PhDs), Djokic, Blake, Gogouvitas, Tadbiri (MPhils), Dang (Honours)

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

Tao, Stack, Y. Liu (PhDs), Chamberlain (Honours)

6.  Fluid regimes and composition of early Earth

Themes 1 and 3

Earth Fluids, Earth Architecture

Wilde, Nemchin, Grange, Martin, O'Neill

Ge (PhD)

7.  Precambrian architecture and crustal evolution in WA

Themes1,2 and 3

Earth Architecture

Gessner, Belousova, Gréau, Yuan, Merdie, Wingate, Tyler

Derring (PhD)

Technology Development


Cameca Ion microprobe

Themes 1, 2, 3

Earth Fluids, Earth Architecture

Kilburn, Martin, Jeon, Fiorentini, McCuaig, Wacey, Griffin, LaFlamme, Reddy

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, Gréau (ECR), Kilburn, Martin, Huang (ECR), Saunders (ECR)

McGowan, Gao, Xiong (PhDs)