Program Themes

The Australian lithosphere (Hadean to modern)

Geophysical Imaging of the Australian Continent

Theme leaders: Simon Johnson, Kate Selway

Geophysical Imaging of the Australian Continent Huge efforts are underway to geophysically image the Australian crust, lithosphere, and upper mantle, including massive data collection campaigns, developments in inversion and advances in integrated interpretations. In this session we welcome submissions detailing new geophysical images and interpretations of the Australian crust and upper mantle at the regional to continental scale, as well as advances in geophysical techniques, inversions or interpretation methods.

Chairs: JP O’Donnell, Caroline Eakin

Evolution and assembly of the Australian lithosphere
The present-day Australian lithosphere is the result of complex assembly in the Proterozoic and extensive growth in the Phanerozoic. Many aspects of the evolution of the Australian lithosphere are still poorly resolved. In this session, we invite submissions of new data and models for the growth and assembly of the Australian lithosphere from the Proterozoic to the Phanerozoic.

Chairs: Laura Morrissey, Luke Milan

The composition and dynamics of the Australian upper mantle
The Australian upper mantle is shaped by several geodynamic processes, such as mantle plumes, subduction, collision and the assembly of supercontinents, which are reflected in the structure, fabric and shallow mineral endowment of the mantle-lithosphere system. In this session, we aim to bring together researchers working on the dynamics, composition and structure of the Australian mantle and its interaction with the lithosphere, using methods and techniques ranging from computational modeling to mantle geochemistry, and from petrology to laboratory experiments and geophysical methods, aimed at elucidating the evolution of the Australian region, from surface to mantle, and through its tectonic cycles.

Chairs: Fabio Capitanio, Meghan Miller, Ping Zhang

The evolution of the Australian lithosphere in the early Earth
The Hadean and Archean eons witnessed many of the most fundamental events to have shaped our planet’s evolution, including the establishment of a lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. Plate tectonics may also have emerged at some time in the Archean, although precisely when, and what may have preceded it, are topics of longstanding debate. We invite contributions on any aspect of the evolution of the Australian lithosphere during the Hadean and Archean.

Chairs: Tim Johnson, Naomi Tucker

Australian Proterozoic Basins: tectonics, past water chemistry and resources
Rocks within Australian Proterozoic basins contain evidence for the evolving earth systems as the planet developed towards habitability. They also contain vast mineral and energy resources and are surrounded and affected by the tectonic events that created the western three quarters of the country. We seek diverse contributions to this session that address the formation, evolution, past water chemistries and tectonic setting of Australian Proterozoic Basins as well their entrained sedimentary hosted mineral and energy systems.

Chairs: Alan Collins, Morgan Blades, Weronika Gorczyk, Amber Jarrett

Magmas and mountain belts

Theme leaders: Meghan Miller, Steve Reddy

Brittle and ductile deformation: from microstructures to supercontinents

The dynamics and evolution of the Earth are controlled in part by structural processes that occur on scales that range from nano – micro up to supercontinent scale, visible in geophysics, structural mapping, regional geochronology geochemistry. Structural information can be used in conjunction with markers of fluid-rock interaction and geochemical modifications enhanced by deformation to understand geological processes more completely.  In this session, we invite contributions that relate to understanding brittle and ductile deformation of rocks at all scales and using a variety of methods, including field-based studies of rock and mineral deformation, numerical modelling, microstructural and textural analysis, structural geophysics, and any related field. Studies that investigate fluid-rock interaction during deformation and the links between ore deposit formation and deformation are of particular interest.

Chairs: Bruno Vieira Ribeiro, Melanie Finch, Tom Raimondo

Novel in situ geochronology and isotope fingerprinting techniques
With advances in reaction-cell laser ablation and increasing sensitivity of secondary ion mass spectrometry instruments, we are now able to solve geochronological and geochemical problems at unprecedented resolutions. In the last five years, we’ve seen novel in situ developments of Rb-Sr + K-Ca of K-bearing minerals, Lu-Hf of garnet, apatite and xenotime, Pb-Pb of K-feldspar, Re-Os of molybdenite, atom probe tomography of geological materials, Sr isotope tracing of apatite inclusions in zircon, and Sr-isotope stratigraphy of biogenic phosphates. We welcome any contribution that focusses on either developments or applications of these new chronometers and isotope fingerprinters, including others that may not be listed here.

Chairs: Hugo Olierook, Juraj Farkas, Janne Liebmann

Special symposium on Dynamic Evolution of Earth and its Environment

Theme leaders: Meghan Miller, Steve Reddy

Special symposium on Dynamic Evolution of Earth and its Environment:

Symposium leaders: Zheng-Xiang Li, Maria Seton, Andrew Roberts

Plate tectonic theory developed 60 years ago answered many questions regarding crustal motions and dynamics. The Earth science community has been largely discipline-focused over the following decades, and many fundamental questions, such as the driving force(s) for plate tectonics and the relationships between Earth’s core, mantle, crust, biosphere and hydrosphere, remain unanswered. However, more holistic approaches, aided by open-source software and open-access databases, have been taken since the 1990s in order to understand the multiple Earth layers as a dynamically interrelated Earth System. A new, ongoing geoscience revolution has been occurring.  This special symposium is designed to take advantage of involvement by Australian researchers in this new revolution (including through running numerous IGCP projects, and contributions as lead research groups in international collaborations) to take stock of where we are in answering numerous blue-sky questions, and to develop new ideas and collaborations for the coming decades.



  • Global reconstruction and supercontinent cycles: geology, tectonics, palaeomagnetism, and data mining 

    Our ability to reconstruct global palaeogeography beyond 540 Myr ago over the past 30 years, and the recognition of the cyclitic occurrence of Pangaea-like supercontinents since at least 2 billion years ago, have brought a fundamental shift in our understanding of how the Earth engine works through Earth history. In this session we will have some world leaders presenting the current state of the field, and invite researchers to contribute to the debate from all key approaches including geological records, geophysics/palaeomagnetism, data mining, and plate reconstructions through time.

    Chairs: Derya Gürer, Yebo Liu

    Invited speakers: Dietmar Müller, Mathew Domeier, David Evans, Trond Torsvik

  • Evolving Earth dynamics: from observation to computer simulation 

    4D geodynamic modelling using supercomputer enables us to understand how the multiple layers of the Earth System interact with the evolving tectonic plates to produce the geologically- and geophysically-documented Earth history, and the present-day Earth structure, topography, and environment.  

    Chairs: Rhodri Davies, Weronika Gorczyk, Chuan Huang

    Invited speakers: Nicolas Flament, Shijie Zhong

  • Chemical geodynamics and mantle heterogeneity: differentiation vs. remixing 

    The present-day mantle is the result of 4.5 billion years of differentiation and remixing driven by various tectonic and geodynamic processes. A more accurately documented heterogeneity of the present-day mantle, and its evolution history using preserved ancient mantle-sourced rocks, will provide vital clues regarding how Earth’s dynamic system, including the supercontinent cycle, may have evolved which controlled the distribution and cycling of Earth materials (including water and carbon) and the formation of critical mineral resources. In this session we welcome presentation on both mantle heterogeneity and related processes of varying scale.

    Chair: Luc Doucet

    Invited speakers: Grace Shephard, Ben Mather, James Day

  • Evolving Earth environment and climate: an Earth System approach from the core to the biosphere and hydrosphere

    The unique nature of planet Earth made it habitable for complex life. In this session we will explore from an Earth System point of view how Earth’s evolving environment and climate, primarily driven by its internal dynamics such as the geodynamo in the core and the changing manner of mantle convection along with the related emergence of plate tectonics and the supercontinent cycle, plus interplanetary interactions, enabled life to evolve from single cells to an ecosystem that we enjoy today.

    Chairs: David Heslop, Martin Van Kranendonk

    Invited speakers: Andy Biggin, Richard Bono, Benjamin Mills, Liao Chang

  • Rock magnetism and applications: from resource exploration to archaeology

    This session covers the wide application of rock-magnetism, geomagnetism and palaeomagnetism to a variety of fields such as resource exploration, pollution monitoring and archaeology. 

    Chairs: Jim Austin, Agathe Lise-Pronovost

Earth resources - present and future

Theme leaders: Anita Parbhakar-Fox, Carl Spandler

Applications of Spectral Geoscience in the energy and resources sectors
The development and incorporation of spectral sensing technologies in the energy and resources sector has been increasing over the past decade. This session aims to present exciting developments in spectral applications from a wide variety of areas, e.g. exploration, analysis and spectral data mining and modelling.

Chair: Georgina Gordon

Metalliferous resources of Proterozoic Australia 
Proterozoic rocks host a wide range of deposit types that include diverse critical and non-critical elements including, but not limited to, magmatic sulphide deposits, iron oxide copper gold rare earth element systems, Proterozoic basin-hosted deposits, and metamorphosed base metal deposits. Yet only a small percent of Australian Proterozoic rocks crop out, presenting challenges for exploration, and the increasing demand for elements previously considered co- or by-products requires new conceptual and exploration models.

Chairs: Indrani Mukherjee, Katy Evans

New advances in critical mineral systems
‘Critical Minerals’ underpin advances in digital technologies and in the development of renewable and sustainable energy sources and storage solutions. Exponentially increasing demand for commodities requires new exploration strategies to enable discovery, as well as an enhanced knowledge of the deportment of critical minerals and impurities in ores, to optimise the economy and energy efficiency of mineral extraction and processing. This session aims to understand the geological controls on the formation and distribution of critical mineral resources in different mineral systems, and the physico-chemical processes that lead to the enrichment of the ore metals and minerals in the Earth’s crust. We invite contributions that employ geological, mineralogical, geochemical, experimental and numerical modelling approaches to study critical mineral resources formed in igneous, hydrothermal, and surface-weathering environments, and those seeking to develop new tools for the exploration, geo-metallurgy and recycling of these commodities.

Chairs: Lillian Kendall-Langley, Jason Bennett, Yanbo Cheng

Trash to treasure – mine waste, mineral processing, secondary resources 
The rise of green energy technologies for a low carbon future has led to a dramatic increase in the demand for new economy and critical metals (e.g., Co, In, W, Te, V, REEs). The mining sector has and continues to be challenged by the management and rehabilitation of mine waste facilities. An alternative management strategy is challenging the linear economy approach by instead regarding mine waste as a potential resource. This offers the opportunity to reduce the environmental footprint of mining, while meeting some of the projected demand. This session invites contributions on: effective techniques for metal exploration in a range of mine waste materials (e.g., tailings, slag, waste rock, spent heap leach); case studies where potential secondary resources, both metals and other gangue minerals, have been identified; new mineral processing technologies developed to unlock these complex ore bodies; valorisation of new waste streams.

Chairs: Laura Jackson, Jane Thorne, Gavin Mudd

Surface processes, including ARGA symposium

Theme leaders: Ignacio González-Álvarez, Anais Pagès

ARGA Symposium

  • Australasia’s changing landscapes
    With a focus on landscape evolution and regolith this session would concentrate on, but not be limited too, insights into Australasian sedimentology, climate science, palaeontology, ocean science and glaciology which give key understandings into surface and near surface processes and our changing landscapes through geological time.

Chairs: Leah Lynham, Nadir de Souza Kovaks

  • Mineral exploration in weathered and covered terrains
    One of the fundamental challenges for mineral exploration industry is targeting concealed mineral deposits in deeply weathered terrains. The geochemical footprints and geophysical responses of the buried mineralisation can be affected by regolith. However, weathering can produce secondary geochemical dispersion haloes larger than the ore body itself. To better targeting mineral deposits under cover, it is fundamental to understand landscape evolution, processes of metal dispersion in regolith, and to develop new tools and sensing technologies for exploration through cover. In this session we invite submissions on developing exploration and analytical tools that help towards vectoring mineral deposits under cover. These include, but not limited to, litho-, bio- and hydrogeochemical, geophysical, hyperspectral, indicator minerals, remote sensing and machine learning methods.

Chairs: Dr Walid Salama, Anna Petts

Early Earth System evolution
The Precambrian Earth evolution involved fundamental changes in the Earth system including the establishment of the plate tectonics and the supercontinent cycle, oxygenated atmosphere and hydrosphere, the rise of complex life, and the formation of mineral deposits that underpin modern society. Understanding the temporal, spatial, and causative links between these changes is key to deciphering the past, present, and future evolution of the Earth system and provides an important reference for understanding extra-terrestrial planetary systems. This session aims to highlight research promoting a holistic view of early Earth systems with an emphasis on feedbacks between the evolution of the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. We welcome contributions exploring connections between Precambrian plate tectonics, paleogeography, geochemical cycles, biological evolution, and the formation of ore deposits.

Chairs: Indrani Mukherjee, Jacob Mulder, Shuanhong Zhang, Alan Collins

Supergene resources
Many mineral deposits result from supergene processes. This is the case for Ni/Co/Sc developed on ultramafic rocks, bauxites, iron ores (martite, goethite and channel iron deposits) as well as Cu, Mn and REE.  Supergene alteration also affects primary mineralisation (Li, Au, etc…) and the understanding of the processes involved is critical. This session will encompass the entire value chain from genetic models, mining to environmental aspects of supergene resources.

Chairs: Erick Ramanaidou, Caroline Perring

Earth observation applications for the critical metals value chain
Securing access to critical metals is essential for the transition of the fossil fuel-based energy sector to a sustainable, renewable energy future. However, exploring for critical metals and their extraction is very energy intensive. Earth observation is the most cost-effective method of exploring for mineral deposits at a continental to regional scale. However, only the recent advent of hyperspectral spaceborne imaging instruments with a sufficient signal-to-noise ratio allow mapping of key minerals at the detail required for EOI applications across the critical metals value chain. This session invites contributions about EOI applications from base line mapping to exploration, ore body characterisation, mine site monitoring and remediation. Presentations could include, for example, case studies, current/planned required sensor specifications and integration with other geoscience data across scales.

Chairs: Carsten Laukamp, Matilda Thomas

Fluid-mineral interactions at the Earth’s surface
Fundamental geochemical processes at the Earth’s surface, which include those of primary mineral dissolution, element transport and fractionation and the precipitation of secondary minerals, are consequences of the interactions between fluids and minerals. These fluid-mineral interactions facilitate processes of chemical weathering, acid rock drainage, carbon capture and storage, and the formation of ore deposits. A detailed understanding of these fluid-mineral interactions, regarding their mechanisms and kinetics, is therefore critical to addressing some environmental and sustainability challenges. This session invites experimental and natural studies which contribute to understanding fluid-mineral interactions at the Earth’s surface, and studies reporting on the application of fluid-mineral interactions to solving practical problems, such as accelerated mineral carbonation, metal leaching and recovery, remediation of acid rock drainage and the formation of critical mineral deposits.

Chairs: Fang Xia, Andrew J Frierdich, Hans C Oskierski, Bree Morgan

Mineral exploration in weathered and covered terrains
One of the fundamental challenges for mineral exploration industry is targeting concealed mineral deposits in deeply weathered terrains. The geochemical footprints and geophysical responses of the buried mineralisation can be affected by regolith. However, weathering can produce secondary geochemical dispersion haloes larger than the ore body itself. To better targeting mineral deposits under cover, it is fundamental to understand landscape evolution, processes of metal dispersion in regolith, and to develop new tools and sensing technologies for exploration through cover. In this session we invite submissions on developing exploration and analytical tools that help towards vectoring mineral deposits under cover. These include, but not limited to, litho-, bio- and hydrogeochemical, geophysical, hyperspectral, indicator minerals, remote sensing and machine learning methods.

Chairs: Dr Walid Salama, Anna Petts

The science behind the next phase of the International Ocean Discovery Program
The International Ocean Discovery Program is a research collaboration that addresses fundamental questions about the interconnected processes that characterise the complex Earth system and shape our planet’s future. We invite submissions on the broad Earth science research being done with scientific ocean drilling material. This session is highly interdisciplinary and welcomes presentations focused both on past accomplishments as well as those that form the foundation of scientific ocean drilling through to 2050: ground truthing future climate change; probing the deep Earth; assessing earthquake and tsunami hazards; diagnosing ocean health; exploring life and its origins. We encourage submissions that bring together partnerships and collaborations with organisations that have complementary goals to the future of scientific ocean drilling, including continental drilling, technology development, and big data analytics.

Chairs: Sarah Kachovich, Agathe Lise-Pronovost

Molecular palaeontology of the 21st Century
Molecular palaeontology applies state of the art analytical techniques, including biomarker analysis, stable isotopes, and imaging techniques, to unravel organic and inorganic molecular information preserved in the fossil record. Exceptionally preserved fossils reveal information on ancient environments and mass extinction events, extinct species and evolution, and mechanisms of preservation throughout geologic time.

Chairs: Kliti Grice, Stephen Poropat, Alex Holman, Madison Tripp, Jasmina Wiemann

Geoheritage: fundamental or applied science with an emphasis on scientific, cultural, and social aspects of geoheritage-significant areas
The scope of contributions invited can range from ancient rocks to Holocene processes and products, and can encompass arenas such as stratigraphic geology, impact craters, volcanoes, geomorphology, sedimentary systems, climate science, environmental science, and geologically-related processes and products of the biosphere.  These can focus on fundamental research or applied science, and emphasise scientific, cultural, and social aspects of geoheritage-significant areas.

Chairs: Margaret Brocx, Kathy Meney 

Critical role of geoscience in Australia’s future

Theme leaders: Geoff Sharrock, Angus M Robinson

Cultural Landscapes and Geotourism
Consistent with the purpose of Goal 5 of the National Geotourism Strategy to develop geotourism in regional mining communities and formerly developed/industrialised/managed sites that have potential geoheritage, geodiversity and/or cultural heritage value, this session is aimed at identifying the potential for geotourism in areas with regional communities (especially past and present mining communities) typically not covered by significant conservation legislative protections, but still worthy of recognition and promotion. Specifically, this session will explore and support geotourism potential in places containing geodiversity and mining heritage that: 1. Has been exposed or modified by human activities (especially mining & quarrying); and, 2. Has significant additional value to people, through cultural history, recreational use, or educational opportunity.

Chairs: Dr Melinda McHenry, David Turvey

Digital Technologies
Assessment and promotion of new digital technologies to highlight and interpret natural and cultural heritage, highlighting geology and landscape. Consistent with the purpose of Goal 1 of the National Geotourism Strategy, this session will explore the current and future use of technologies (e.g., 3D visualisation, augmented reality, virtual reality, holograms, and live streaming using smartphones and drones) and GIS technologies as a cost-effective means of accessing and better communicating natural and cultural heritage content for tourists and visitors throughout Australia. The session will also explore these new digital applications in their effectiveness in meeting consumer needs, particularly from international visitors, now increasingly accustomed to the use of digital devices to underpin all aspects of their tourism experience.

Chairs: Mark Williams, Ken Moule

Diversity and inclusion in geoscience
Geoscience is one of the least diverse STEM disciplines, which leads to reduced innovation and a failure to attract the best people to our discipline. This session will explore the various factors contributing to this lack of diversity and the changes that can be implemented to make geoscience more inclusive.  Contributions are invited from from both within and outside geoscience, on research about groups that identify as minority genders (women and non-binary), LGBTIQ+, people with disability, neurodiverse, indigenous, and minority races in Australian geoscience.

Chairs: Erin Martin, Mardi McNeil, Teresa Ubide

Geoethics to responsibly manage local and global challenges of our times
Geoscience knowledge and expertise are essential to address a wide range of the most pressing social-environmental concerns, inform decision-making, and guide education at all levels. All branches of geosciences have cultural, social and ethical implications. Hence, geoscientists face ethical issues in their professional and civic roles. Geoscientists are becoming increasingly aware of their ethical responsibilities to serve society and foster public trust in geosciences. Geoethics aims to provide a common framework to responsibly manage questions such as geo-resources, geological risks, pollution, geoheritage, as well as geoscience-society-policy interaction and relationships with Indigenous communities. This session aims to nourish the discussion on appropriate behaviours and practices, also through case-studies, wherever human activities interact with the Earth system. Session sponsored by the IAPG.

Chairs: Silvia Peppoloni, Peter T Bobrowsky, John Ludden, Sandra Villacorta Chambi

Geotourism, GeoRegions and Geoparks
Consistent with Goals 2 and 6 of the National Geotourism Strategy to enhance Australia’s international geoscience standing and establish linkages of Australia’s geoscience community with geoscience communities around the world, this session will explore effective ways of sharing Australia’s National Geotourism Strategy with overseas counterparts, particularly in the pursuit of geotourism, GeoRegions, and geoparks.  Various proposed GeoRegions throughout Australia will also be identified and discussed for geotourism development, including their potential of becoming aspiring geoparks in the near future. Presentations of international geotourism best practices would be welcome as well as suggesting mechanisms to strengthen ties with overseas counterparts through geotourism.

Chairs: Young Ng, Angus M Robinson

Establishing a framework for creating high quality, sustainable geotrail
Consistent with the purpose of Goal 3 of the National Geotourism Strategy, this session will compare and contrast the latest developments in geotrail development (both location and type) across Australia and to invite presentations about new opportunities that are emerging including the enhancement of interpretive content of existing walking, rail or cycling trails, with a regional focus on Western Australia.

Chairs: David Robson, Michael Vicary

Towards national geoheritage listing criteria for geotourism
The AGC recognises that geoheritage listings are a key consideration when formulating major geotourism projects, particularly given that some sites need to be protected from public access because of the risk of vandalism to outcrops containing type geological features (e.g., fossils, minerals, and stratigraphic, soil or geomorphic locations). Significant work has been done in the past 30 years to provide a foundation on which to develop an effective geoheritage identification system, with the goal of systematic conservation of Australian geoheritage. Some form of geoheritage register has been compiled for most States and Territories but these vary greatly in scope, detail and accessibility.   Consistent with Goal 4 of the National Geotourism Strategy to establish a national listing for geoheritage sites suitable for geotourism, this session will review the revised global framework for the application of criterion (viii) of the World Heritage Convention as it applies to World Geological Heritage.  Geodiversity is also an essential element of Aboriginal culture, with landscape respected as an ancestor. Presentations which discuss the issues relating to the suitability of geoheritage sites for geotourism are welcome.

Chairs: Jason Bradbury, Michael Freeman

Geocommunication: sharing the geo-love!
Communicating complex geoscience in an engaging and accurate way to the community is an important part of ensuring its future by demonstrating its relevance. From geotourism to education, this session will look at a range of ways that such information is being (or could be) delivered in accessible formats to diverse audiences, using a range of technologies.

Chairs: Simone Meakin, Heidi Allen

Inspiring the Next Generation of Geoscientists
It is critical to engage the next generation in the key role that geosciences play, both now and in the future. This session will explore how primary and secondary school students can be encouraged to choose to be geoscientists or champions of the importance of geosciences.

Chairs: Jo Watkins, Aditi Subramanya

Medical Geology and our Changing World
The direct connection between geology and human and ecosystem health was understood by ancient peoples but is poorly recognised by modern society. The link between the geological environment and the incidence of human disease and human wellbeing requires greater exploration and greater promotion. This session will explore a diversity of medical geology problems and solutions ranging from but not limited to, the effects of trace elements on human and animal health, climate change induced health issues, air pollution, dust, the effects of landscape on health and elements in the water we drink.

Chairs: Kim Dowling

Special Symposium: Planetary geoscience

Symposium leader: Katarina Miljkovic

Planetary science makes fundamental exploration of the Solar System bodies. Together with Earth Science, it enables a holistic view of the structure and evolution of the Solar System. This session will explore aspects of planetary science and space exploration, including: a) extra-terrestrial sample analyses (meteoritical and samples returned by space missions), b) numerical modelling, and c) analyses of geological, geophysical and geochemical remote sensing data collected by space missions.