Earth Composition and Evolution

This component provides new geochemical instrumentation and improved access to existing quality geochemical infrastructure, with a national data management and delivery network that acts as a basis for understanding the formation mechanisms and time context of the geological components of the Australian continent.

AuScope investment for this component comprises two categories:

Technology Acquisition

The Cameca IMS 1280 Ion Probe has substantial co-investment from the NCRIS research capability “Characterisation” and is located at UWA at the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis (CMCA), which is a node of the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF). The facility is operated by the AMMRF, and accessible to all Australian publicly funded researchers on the basis of merit and a nominal fee schedule. Industry-based researchers can also access the facility for proprietary research at commercial rates.

To discuss your project and to arrange access please contact the Ion Probe Manager, Associate Professor, Matt Kilburn, ph. 8 6488 8068.

Installation at the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis (CMCA) at UWA was completed and opened in August 2009 by the Hon Kim Carr, Minister for innovation.

Technical and operational support

Technical and other operational support for the provision of national access to existing instruments, infrastructure, expertise and technical support at Australian geochemical research centres and includes:

  • Access to instruments at the (JDL) Centre of Mass Spectrometry at UWA/Curtin, for the principal purpose of undertaking high precision geochronology including SHRIMP ion probes and mass spectrometers.
  • Access to the range of thermochronology facilities at the University of Melbourne (with links to the University of Queensland).? The specific facilities include the Ar/Ar, fission-track and (U-Th)/He laboratories.
  • Access to the TerraneChron facility at Macquarie University; a unique methodology for analysing the geological evolution of the Earths crust on which we live, with applications in mineral exploration. It is based on in-situ analysis of the resistant mineral zircon to obtain the age and the isotopic and trace-element fingerprint of each grain.


For more information on current and potential projects or accessing AuScopes Earth Composition and Evolution infrastructure component for a project of your own please contact the Program Director.

Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis – University of Western Australia
John De Laeter Centre for Isotope Research – Curtin University
Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis – University of Queensland
TerraneChron GEMOC – Macquarie University
Geochronology and Isotope Geology Facilities – University of Melbourne