Loop consortium PhD projects

We invite technically-minded students to apply for scholarships to work with us at The University of Western Australia (UWA), Monash University (MU) and the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) on a series of challenging PhD studentships and research projects related to the implementation and testing of this new platform and related novel methodologies.

Specific PhD topics include, but are not limited to:



3D Structural evolution of the Broken Hill Block. Application of the Loop project

Supervisors: Laurent Ailleres, Robin Armit, Peter Betts, Alexander Cruden and Lachlan Grose.

The highly mineralized Broken Hill Block is a paleo-proterozoic terrane comprising high grade metamorphic rocks and exhibiting poly-phased deformation. The geometry of structures within the Broken Hill Block is extremely complex with multiple vastly different hypotheses being presented about the tectonic evolution. The complexity of the deformational history has prevented the use of geological modeling to test different geological hypotheses. The Loop project will provide the next generation 3D geological modeling tools that will integrate all available geological knowledge and observations. Loop will provide the tools to be able to produce comprehensive and consistent geological interpretation of complex polydeformed geometries.
Research project:

The PhD candidate would synthesise a large amount of public data including geological maps, geochronological, geochemical data and structural data. These datasets will be complemented by fieldwork mapping at the Eldee structure to collect representative geological and structural data. The candidate will be applying new geological modeling tools from the Loop platform to representative case studies from the Broken Hill Block (e.g. the Eldee Structure). The candidate should have a strong background in structural geology. University level mathematics, statistics or computer science would also be beneficial.

Structural geological modeling as an inverse problem

Supervisors: Laurent Ailleres, Lachlan Grose, Robin Armit, Jerome Droniou and Tiangang Cui

Structural geological modelling can be framed as an inverse problem where a model describing the 3D distribution of rock units is non-uniquely derived from geological observations. The inversion framework provides a powerful platform for integrating both geological knowledge and observations into the structural modeling algorithms. Rather than producing a single best fit geological model the geological inversion an inversion scheme all possible model geometries given the available knowledge and data. Geological inversions will have important application to joint geological and geophysical inversion, and can also be used during field mapping to help guide the geologists while mapping.

Research project:

We are looking for candidates with a background in structural geology skills and knowledge of university level mathematics, statistics or computer science to work on applying and developing structural inversion tools. The focus of the project will be incorporating fault networks into the inversion scheme. This will involve developing statistical methods for identifying and inferring fault geometries from structural observations, including the topological relationship between faults and other geological structures (folds, unconformities etc). The primary focus of the project is to incorporate geological rules, knowledge and observations into the geological inversion scheme .

3D Structural model of the Amadeus Basin, NT

Supervisors: Laurent Ailleres, Robin Armit, Lachlan Grose, Peter Betts, Alexander Cruden

The Amadeus basin is an intracontinental Neoproterozoic to Early Carboniferous sedimentary basin. There is geological variation from the basin margins through to the central fold and thrust belt. There are two deformation events with interference folding seen in the NW of the basin. The basin is a current focus for NTGS with structural and stratigraphic work being completed. The Ph.D. candidate would work in collaboration with NTGS to apply the new developments in from the Loop project to help build a comprehensive 3D geological understanding of the Amadeus basin.

3D Structural modelling of analog models

Supervisors: Laurent Ailleres, Robin Armit, Lachlan Grose, Peter Betts, Alexander Cruden, Jerome Droniou, Tiangang Cui

Well constrained geometry resulting from analog modelling will be sampled in terms of structural data and orientation allowing to validate the Loop algorithms.  This project includes a study of data upscaling applied to 3D geological modelling and assessment of uncertainty related to varying the data input density.

Developing Structural constraints from geophysical datasets

Supervisors: Laurent Ailleres, Robin Armit, Lachlan Grose, Peter Betts, Alexander Cruden, Jerome Droniou, Tiangang Cui, Mark Jessell

How much information can be interpreted from varied geophysical dataset?  What is the influence of these constraints on 3D geological model geometries and topologies? Application to covered terranes.


Topology of Geology in 1D & 2D as a 3D geomodelling constraint

Supervisors: Mark Jessell, Mark Lindsay.

Topological constraints such as fault relationships, stratigraphy and magmatic intrusions form vital inputs to 3D geological modelling. Topology often defines the accepted tectonic scenario ascribed to a region, however are not always well-understood or constrained. Due to sparse and uncertain geological observations, multiple topologies are often possible for a given region, though we only ever consider the one thought to the most plausible. This project will investigate the use of the spatial and temporal topology of borehole and map data as constraints for 3D geological modelling to explore the full-extent of geological possibility from our geoscientific datasets.

3D geological modelling using the Loop Platform: Yalgoo-Singleton Greenstone Belt, Western Australia.

Supervisors: Mark Lindsay, Mark Jessell. 

The highly mineralized Yalgoo–Singleton greenstone belt (western Youanmi Terrane, Yilgarn Craton) has recently become data-rich since 1:100k digital mapping by GSWA. In particular, there is a stratigraphic and structural framework in place, augmented by complete geophysical coverage, and enhanced datasets for geochronology and geochemistry. This has provided a backbone for further 3D understanding and input into a coarse 1:1M scale 3D model, and investigate a range of mineralisation styles in 3D (Au, VHMS base-metals, Fe-ore, ultramafic-hosted Cu-PGE and intrusion-related W-Mo).

Data fusion methodologies for geology-geophysics inversion

Supervisors: Jeremie Giraud, Mark Lindsay, Mark Jessell.

Fusion of geological modelling and constrained geophysical inversion through geology-geophysics inversion: methodological development and application case study. The project will be focusing on the development and application of a technology capable of modelling geological and geophysical data simultaneously. The goal of the project is to fuse geological modelling approaches that translate geological measurements into geological potential fields with constrained geophysical inversion to provide a unified modelling framework.

Optimal drilling schemes in uncertain terranes

Supervisors: Mark Lindsay, Mark Jessell.

Geological drilling campaigns are routinely conducted when exploring for natural resources and form a large part of any mining and exploration company. Efficient organisation and deployment of these campaigns is thus a critical role for the company. Working with an industry-supplied drill hole databases, this project will investigate the optimal density and distribution of drilling needed to extract meaningful geological models in different geological scenarios. This project will not only determine what drilling deployment configuration is optimal, but also what survey parameters (depth and orientation of drilling) are required to generate the most geological information from a given geological region.

Multiscale 3D geological modelling from drill hole data

Supervisors: Mark Lindsay, Mark Jessell, June Hill.

Currently 3D geological models are built at a single scale chosen to be most appropriate for a single purpose. The geological model is a valuable tool for visualisation and time-consuming to produce, so it is often used for a more than one purpose. However, the scale at which the model was created may not be optimal for other purposes. Can we create a multiscale geology model, which allows the user to zoom-in or zoom-out revealing only the features relevant at the chosen scale of observation? Multiscale geological analysis can also be helpful in the process of correlating geological units across drill holes. New methods have recently been developed for identifying multiscale geological boundaries from drill hole data. Multiscale 3D geology models could take advantage of the full value of the data generated by this process. Monte Carlo methods provide alternative scenarios and will be used to estimate uncertainty of the final geology model.

Apply here