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NSW Tech talk: Continental fragment collision in subduction and the dramatic uplift acceleration in the Eastern Anatolian region

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Title: Continental fragment collision in subduction and the dramatic uplift acceleration in the Eastern Ana-tolian region

Presenter: Peigen Luo

Date and time: 1800 (Sydney) Oct 18, 2023

Registration: here


The interaction of the subducting lithosphere and embedded continental fragment is a characteristic feature in many subduction zones with complexity. We conducted dynamic subduction modelling to investigate the interactions between the subducting lithosphere and an embedded continental fragment in the Cyprus subduction zone. This study aims to elucidate the effects of the continental fragment on various aspects, including the evolution of regional uplift in the subduction back-arc, morphology of the subducting slab, and internal deformation in the central Anatolian back-arc region during the process of continental fragment indentation. The geodynamic models provide explanations for local seismic data that indicate the absence of lithosphere on the subducting slab ahead of the continental fragment and the puzzling acceleration of uplift in the Central Taurides region over the past 450,000 years. The models demonstrate that the removal of the detached slab due to slab tearing alters the surface deformation and mantle upwelling in the Central Taurides region by reducing the shortening deformation during the collision with the continental fragment. This shift in deformation results in a significant increase in the uplift rate during the subduction slab breakoff process in this region from 450,000 years ago to the present.


Peigen Luo is a dedicated researcher in the field of geological processes. After recently completing his PhD thesis, he's spent years studying plate tectonics, subduction modelling, and applying high-performance supercomputing to geological challenges. Starting his academic journey in 2020 as a PhD student, Peigen has consistently aimed to deepen his understanding and share insights with the academic community. He has also collaborated with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in a casual professional capacity since 2023. Passionate about both geology and computational science, Peigen seeks to continuously learn and contribute to the ever-evolving field of geoscience.

ASEG NSW - “Geophysics in the Park”: How can Industry support geophysics education?

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Title: “Geophysics in the Park”: How can Industry support geophysics education? with presenter Dr James Daniell 

Date and time: Wednesday 20th September at 1800 AEST



On Wednesday 20th September, ASEG NSW brings a presentation on Mergers, cutbacks, and closures of geoscience departments in Australia have been well documented in the media. Outreach events supported by industry and intended for university students and young professionals can provide an opportunity for ongoing education, gaining practical experience, and networking opportunities with industry professionals. In August this year, Fender Geophysics hosted its second outreach event to demonstrate basic geophysical surveying techniques. ‘Geophysics in the Park’ was attended by 14 students, 2 industry professionals, 1 academic, and 1 work experience student. Attendees were shown how to deploy, acquire, and process electrical resistivity imaging and seismic refraction datasets.
Data was acquired in Tunks Park in Cremorne (north Sydney). Tunks Park was chosen primarily as it was known to be a site with ‘thick alluvium’ and likely more interesting than most of the other local parks that were assumed to have Hawkesbury Sandstone located in the shallow subsurface. Tunks Park turned out to be an interesting choice as the existing park was actually constructed as part of land reclamation project in the 1940’s. Historical aerial photos showed the presence of an estuarine mudflats and creek, and it was this creek that was targeted by the geophysical surveying. Unsurprisingly, the creek was imaged as a highly conductive feature within the resistivity data. The refraction data differentiated a boundary between some upper ‘landfill’ and lower sediments but didn’t not image the top of bedrock. 
Despite the geophysical data providing results that were to be expected, Geophysics in the Park provided an opportunity to demonstrate some basic geophysical techniques in an area with an interesting geological history. Students benefitted from gaining some hands-on experience and participated in data acquisition and processing. There is an unmet need for education, training and demonstrations of basic geophysical techniques that can easily be filled by industry. Demonstrations of geophysical techniques do not necessarily require remote field sites. Local parks and sports ovals can be interesting targets for geophysical surveys to demonstrate the various survey techniques. As well as changes in geology and soil, buried debris, services and structures may also be suitable survey targets.
James has spent most of his career undertaking marine geophysical research for James Cook University (2012-2020) and Geoscience Australia (2001-2012). His expertise includes oceanography, geomorphology, sedimentology, geophysics, remote sensing and GIS. However, his research has been focused on mapping the seabed using acoustics and seismic reflection to understand geological processes, oceanography, and the distribution of benthic habitats in both deep and shallow water environments. Geographically his research has focussed on Torres Strait the Great Barrier Reef, however, he has also published research from the Gulf of Papua, Northwest Shelf, Gulf of Carpentaria, and the Tasman Sea. He initially studied palaeontology for a BSc at Macquarie University and followed that up with a Masters in Geology and Geophysics. He completed his PhD through the University of Sydney in 2011.
He returned to Sydney in 2020 and is now a senior geophysicist for Fender Geophysics. He is working at developing a ‘near surface’ geophysics division at Fender which will focus on environmental, groundwater and infrastructure related project. He maintains some ongoing research at JCU and enjoys not marking any more exams.

SEG Distinguished Instructor Short Course (DISC) - Distributed acoustic sensing for seismic measurements – what geophysicists and engineers need to know

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

We are delighted to share with you the details for an upcoming SEG Distinguished Instructor Short Course (DISC) being hosted by the ASEG. 

This course will be run virtually over two days. 


Who: Dr Mark E Willis, Chief Scientific Advisor of Borehole Seismics at Halliburton

What: Distributed acoustic sensing for seismic measurements – what geophysicists and engineers need to know - DISC course

Where: Virtually. There will be a streaming of the virtual course in Brisbane at Anglo-American office, Brisbane, QLD. Please contact if you would like to join the streaming (ensuring that you also register for the virtual DISC)

When: September 12th and 13th 2023, 9am - 1pm ACST each day. 

Cost: $250 USD for SEG and ASEG members which includes access to software and a copy of the accompanying e-book. ASEG members need to use the code emailed to them, or contact Registration cost for non-members is $375 USD.

Register: Please register here by September 12th.


Course description: Geoscientists and engineers are very comfortable using seismic data sets acquired with geophones, hydrophones, and accelerometers because we have a long, well-defined set of standards for acquiring, processing, and interpreting them. However, distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) seismic measurements are rapidly augmenting, and in some cases replacing, the data from these conventional tools. Technologists are frequently unaccustomed to using DAS seismic data sets since it directly acquires relative strain or strain rate measurements and not the more familiar pressure, displacement, velocity, and acceleration data. There are also acquisition parameter selections that must be made to optimize the acquired data to accomplish the purpose of the seismic survey. This course is designed to build an intuition and understanding of the value, limitations, and applications of DAS seismic technology. In addition to the lecture and accompanying book, software will be provided, which will allow the student to interactively explore DAS seismic technology.


For more details visit Current DISC - SEG.

NSW talk: The Seven Deadly Sins Of Scale: Why Petrophysics + Structure + Mineralogy Can Solve The Scale Paradox.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Title: The Seven Deadly Sins Of Scale: Why Petrophysics + Structure + Mineralogy Can Solve The Scale Paradox.

Presenter: Jim Austin

Date & Time: Wednesday, 16th August 2023 at 1800



Prior to the last decade, Petrophysicists typically had access to contextual information on the geology, but that information was qualitative, and unreliable.  of non-contextual (cf. geochemistry, maths, statistics). The advent of quantitative methods for mapping mineralogy and rock texture on palaeomagnetic samples took petrophysics out of the dark ages. It provided quantitative geological information on mineralogy and rock texture, which in turn provide insights into a range of contextual constraints, including alteration, deformation and metamorphism. Quantitative mineralogy allows us to classify our petrophysical data accurately, this providing a framework to interrogate data meaningfully. Inversely, petrophysics provides a lens through which to convert mineralogy into physical properties, many of which (unlike mineralogy and geochemistry) are truly scalar. If we can convert mineralogy to physics, we can understand crustal architecture across scales. Whilst petrophysics is gradually becoming more widely used, physics can be complex, magnetic and conductivity in particular. In this talk, Jim will outline the Integrated Petrophysics approach, illustrate how to integrate and use the data, citing case histories on IOCG, Magnetite and Magmatic Nickel deposits across Australia. We’ll discuss seven of the most common traps which lead to misinterpretation.  


Jim Austin occupies the core of a Venn diagram in which petrophysics, geophysics, structural geology, alteration and magmatic mineralogy, GIS and guitar overlap. He is focussed on dissecting the petrophysical and structural anatomy of ore deposits, to understand the interaction of structural controls on alteration.


NSW tech talk: Engaging Students in Geophysics with Interactive Notebooks and Team-Based Learning

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Title: Engaging Students in Geophysics with Interactive Notebooks and Team-Based Learning

Speaker: Dr Stuart Clark, Associate Professor, The University of New South Wales

Time: 5:30 for 6 pm start

Address: Level 2, Club York (99 York St. Sydney. Room ‘York 2’)

Zoom Registration:


Dr Stuart Clark

Associate Professor·The University of New South Wales

Stuart is currently an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering at UNSW Sydney. His research interests are understanding the influence on deep Earth processes on the development of sedimentary basins and the use of machine learning in developing geological models. Stuart teaches geology and geophysics at UNSW and is a passionate advocate for Team-Based Learning. Stuart has presented the design and results of his teaching methodology at a number of conferences and events as well as running workshops and training events for colleagues in higher education. In 2019, Stuart was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Rising Star category.

Unveiling New Horizons Of The Cosmos With The James Webb Space Telescope

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Title: Unveiling New Horizons Of The Cosmos With The James Webb Space Telescope

Speaker: Jaime A. Alvarado-Montes

Date & Time: Apr 19, 2023 at 1800



The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) marks the dawn of a new era in astronomy. Not only is JWST important regarding its technological advances applied to the forefront of science, but also because it portends many other significant achievements. Among the most complex and expensive science instruments ever constructed, JWST can potentially be a preeminent tool that will deepen human knowledge about the cosmos and its contents. JWST was put in orbit at the second Lagrange point, a special place around the Sun where the telescope is out of the Earth's shadow and its solar shield will block out the heat from the Sun, Earth, and Moon. This is a unique advantage that maintains JWST at exceptionally low temperatures, enabling observations in the infrared previously unattainable by other instruments such as the Hubble Space Telescope. Such a thermally stable position, combined with the cutting-edge instruments on board JWST, grants us unprecedented access to the most remote corners of the Universe. This will facilitate an understanding of its origin, the formation and evolution of ancient galaxies, the properties of extrasolar planets, and ultimately the formation of the Solar System and the evolution of life as we know it. In this talk, I will discuss the significance of JWST and its long and intricate path to orbit. Also, I will showcase some of the most important findings made by JWST to date and how this instrument is revolutionizing our capacity to do far-reaching astronomy.


My name is Jaime Andrés Alvarado Montes and I’m a professional astronomer originally from Colombia. Currently, I’m a PhD candidate at Macquarie University and I’m passionate about computing techniques, software skills, writing, and learning about science and its constant evolution. My research field are the planetary sciences, with an emphasis on extrasolar planets, moons, rings, asteroids, and comets. Most of my work is about how extrasolar systems evolve: the study of such systems can give us valuable information about their formation and can subsequently help us understand more about the history of our own Solar System. At the moment I'm in the last three months of my PhD and I’m planning on continuing my career in academia as a postdoctoral research fellow, because my ultimate goal is to become a full-time researcher and professor.


AuScope Special Seminar with ChEESE Program Leader Prof Arnau Folch

Monday, February 6, 2023
1200 AEDT
1330 AEDT

HPC is increasingly being used in solid Earth Geophysics in Europe and AuScope has organised this Special Seminar with Arnau Folch, leader of the EU ChEESE Program

ChEESE is the EU Centre of Excellence for Exascale in Solid Earth and develops translational research capabilities in High Performance Computing to the Exascale in geophysics, enabling multiscale, multiphysics and multi-hazard analysis.

In this seminar, Arnau will present the results of ChEESE-1P Exascale Pilot Demonstrators, including:

·  Rapid probabilistic forecasts of tsunami inundations; 

·  Earthquake source prediction; and

·  The atmospheric volcanic ash dispersal models validated in real time against high-resolution geostationary satellite data.

And, introduce ChEESE-2P and highlight its role in an ecosystem of projects that are shaping Europe’s Digital Future, including:

·  A Digital Twin for GEOphysical Extremes (DT-GEO);

·  Destination Earth (DestinE); and 

·  European Plate Observing System (EPOS)

Date: February 6th from 12 pm to 1:30 pm AEST.

Please register here via Eventbrite.



The first phase (ChEESE-1P) ran from 2018-2022 and addressed scientific and technical computational challenges in moving existing systems to Exascale in seismology, tsunami science, volcanology, and magnetohydrodynamics. ChEESE-1P initiated the optimisation of 10 Community flagship European codes for the European pre-Exascale and Exascale supercomputers and developed 12 Pilot Demonstrators (PD) that enabled services oriented to critical aspects of geohazards, including hazard assessment, urgent computing, and early warning forecasting.

Following the success of ChEESE-1P, a second 4-year phase (ChEESE-2P) with funding of € 7.8 million was launched in January 2023. Arnau will lead a team of Earth and Computer Scientists across multiple programs that will further develop the ChEESE-1P codes and new codes in geodynamics and glaciology.

We are delighted to be hosting Arnau and welcome you to join us in what will surely be a great seminar.

Exploring the structure, composition and resources of the New Caledonia peridotite ophiolite (SW Pacific): Contributions of geophysics and land-to-sea drilling

Monday, February 13, 2023

Title: Exploring the structure, composition and resources of the New Caledonia peridotite ophiolite (SW Pacific): Contributions of geophysics and land-to-sea drilling

Presenter: Marguerite Godard

Date: Monday 13th February 2023

Time: 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm AEDT



The New Caledonia (NC) ophiolite extends over more than 900 km at the northeastern limits of the Zealandia submerged continent, along the Australia – Pacific convergent plate boundary. It comprises large peridotite massifs forming the Island of Grande Terre (GT) and its recently discovered off-shore extension to the south. The subaerial NC ophiolite is of strategic importance for mineral resources (mainly Ni, Cr and Co from peridotites). Several subaerial and submarine alkaline, and H2-rich hydrothermal vents are observed along the NC ophiolite, the most famous being the Prony Bay Hydrothermal Field. The New Caledonia Ophiolite Land-to-Sea Drilling Project (NCDP), submitted to the International Continental Scientific Program (ICDP) and the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), aims at (1) sampling the peridotites and associated lithologies on-land, in coastal waters, and the deep oceanic sub-seafloor, and (2) developing borehole observatories to measure in situ the hydrogeological and (bio-)geochemical processes controlling serpentinization driven hydrothermal systems from continental to marine environments. NCDP will provide a unique sampling to quantify interplays between serpentinization, H2 production, CO2 mineralization and ore mobilization over the different stages of obduction.


Dr. Marguerite Godard is Senior Researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research. She is a geochemist, specialist of the study of magma- and fluid-peridotite interactions in the oceanic and ophiolitic lithosphere; she (co-)authored more than 100 publications in international scientific reviews and books. She coordinated and participated to several European and French academic and industrial projects on serpentinization and carbon trapping in peridotite basements and their impact on resources, environment and life (e.g., TotalEnergies 2017-2021; ANR LISZT 2018-2023). M. Godard is one of the main PIs of the New Caledonia Ophiolite Land-to-Sea Drilling Project.

NSW Branch: Special Presentation by Ken Witherly and Annual Student Night

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

ASEG NSW November Meeting

Time and Date: 5:30 for 6pm start, Wednesday 16 th November 2022
Location: Club York, 99 York Street, Sydney

This year, our November technical meeting will consist of two parts:
Special Presentation: By Ken Witherly (Condor Consulting, Inc)
The Greatest Obstacle to Discovery Is Not Ignorance - It Is the Illusion of Knowledge.

Annual Student Night:

Recipients of the 2022 student scholarship will present their research:

Mackenzie Baker (UNSW) - Australia Going Under: Mantle processes and their geomorphological and biogeographical implications.
Eric Wang (USYD) - Seismic Hazard and Risk Modelling in Sydney.

Talk Overviews:

The Greatest Obstacle to Discovery Is Not Ignorance - It Is the Illusion of Knowledge

The title of this piece I term the Paradox of Discovery, has been attributed to Daniel J. Boorstin, Stephen Hawking, Henry Thomas Buckle, William H. Whyte, Anonymous and others. Like so many “quotes” available on the Internet, no one knows for sure who said it, why she or he said it, and what it really means, if it was said at all. My journey to ‘discovering’ this adage had me assembling a string of words that in a rough way, replicated the expression I found was a good encapsulation of what I was trying to express. After a relatively short time, the text as shown emerged. So for me, what does this expression convey? First, I was trying to find something which could capture how I feel about the 50 year career I have had in minerals exploration as a geophysicist. Specifically, could I convey what I feel has been the greatest obstacle to success; mostly typically the discovery of new mineral resources. To achieve this outcome, we typically rely on data which either we have caused to be gathered or is available due to the work of others. The data you generate is typically thought as being the ‘best guess’ of what is required to make the discovery for a certain deposit model which you have either accepted based on work of others or that you developed. The data you acquire is expensive compared with preexisting data and will often require time to decide what data is required, the definition and justification of budgets to pay for the work and then the impact of the time for planning, field preparation, acquisition and assessment, followed finally by the execution of a field program. Data acquired by others, while relatively inexpensive compared with ‘acquired for purpose’ data, is not likely carrying the critical information required to build a working hypothesis as to whether an unknown mineral deposit is located in the location you have deemed prospective. There is a commonly held belief in minerals exploration that when the same information is presented to different groups, the same outcome is most likely. So if previous explorers failed to locate a deposit using a given data set, other explorers are not likely to do any better. Collective industry experience suggests that the same data needs to be reviewed by five groups before a discovery is likely. This can be where the illusion of knowledge can first appear. This is a person’s or group’s belief that they possess some unique knowledge beyond the factual information available which will enable them to make better decisions that others with the same data. Can such data actually exist? Yes but its very nature can make our understanding and value of such data very difficult. Unless such knowledge is validated, the assessment process can be biased to the point that it is no longer a process whose outcomes are to be trusted. Moving past what might be called ‘dodgy data’, we can enter into the realm of ‘unknown unknown’ information. To pursue the discovery quest relying on such knowledge is inherently risky since the very nature or value of such information can be almost impossible to define.In the span of the 50 years I have pursued the discovery of new minerals deposits, the greatest gap in knowledge can only be termed ‘willful ignorance’ on the part of many of the fellow travelers in the exploration journey, those termed economic geologists who have not been able to appreciate the knowledge available to them which they chose to ignore or not take full advantage which geophysics can provide. Break this barrier down and the illusion of knowledge will be a manageable challenge and pursuing ‘unknown unknowns’ will be an enjoyable pastime.


Mackenzie Baker – Australia Going Under: Mantle processes and their geomorphological and biogeographical implications.

My project will assess the implications that tectonics, particularly dynamic uplift, intra-plate stress fields and palaeodrainage, has had on biogeography across the Australian continent. Australia has been chosen due to the intraplate setting that has made the continents tectonic activity relatively stable (Quigley et al., 2010; Sandiford, 2007). Throughout the history of Australian biogeography studies, climate has been frequently assumed as the main driver to biodiversification (Crisp et al., 2004). However, as we understand more about the connection between the mantle and the Earth’s surface, it becomes increasingly evident that alternative factors such as tectonics, must be considered in the biogeographical classification process (Ebach and Michaux, 2020). The previous narrative that climate acts as the main driver to bioregionalisation does not adequately explain the diversification of Australian species, river and drainage changes, nor does it fit into the climate schemes assumed by other continents that take on the equatorial climate approach (Ebach and Michaux, 2020). By studying the mantle and tectonic processes causing dynamic topography and other geomorphological changes, new constraints to the evolution of life on Earth can be gained. My project will examine the changes to the Australian landscape that have been brought about by tectonic and mantle processes since the Neogene (23.03Ma), including the continent-wide asymmetry of the Australian shorelines known as the ‘tilt’. As Australian traverses northward towards SE Asia, there are manifestations of geomorphological change that can be seen on the surface due to mantle processes. Previous studies of the Australian continent have determined a NNE down, SSW up, ‘tilt’ of the continent. The cause of this tilt has been determined to occur through mantle undulations causing dynamic topography. Due to this tilt, geomorphological changes have occurred on the surface, and can be seen through drainage changes, river reversals and sea level changes. As the continental surface is undergoing geomorphological change, the environments in which plant and animal species are situated upon are directly impacted by this and can be expected to alter the distributions of various species. Due to this, Australia provides an excellent canvas for studying the potential effects tectonics can have on the distributions of species across a given study area. The project will aim to determine this link through modelling the Australian continent from 40Ma to the present, using the PyBadlands software. By using PyBadlands, varying parameters of the Australian continent can be set and tested in order to reach conclusions about the relationship between tectonics and changes to the Australian landscape that may ultimately lead to changing of species distributions. 


Eric Wang (USYD) - Seismic Hazard and Risk Modelling in Sydney.

My Honours project is on seismic hazard and risk modelling for Sydney. Southeast Australia receives an alarmingly large number of low magnitude earthquakes. However, the 1989 Newcastle Earthquake and 2021 Mansfield Earthquake has shown that this area, and therefore Sydney, is vulnerable to moderate magnitude earthquakes, and increasingly so with growing population density. In 2018, Geoscience Australia created the National Seismic Hazard Assessment Map (NSHA18). It successfully integrates various datasets to allow for large-scale peak ground acceleration probability analysis, and it has found that Sydney is within a region of high seismicity (also known as the SE Seismic Zone). However, there are many variables for small-scale analysis it does not consider due to the enormity of the project such as elevation and seismic site conditions (i.e. soil/geological properties). Furthermore, it does not consider risk, the human vulnerability aspect, such as fatalities, economic loss, and infrastructure. As such, the aim of this project is to create local scale hazard models for Sydney, identify areas of high hazard, and create risk models (specifically targeted at infrastructure) for those areas. I aim to use OpenQuake by the Global Earthquake Model Foundation, an open-source software (python based) that has been used to create many national probabilistic seismic hazard maps such as in Italy, Canada, and Australia. In general, OpenQuake requires three input variables for their various hazard models: fault characteristics (fault location, dip, rake, etc.), ground motion models, and site conditions. Subsequent infrastructure data can be overlayed for risk analysis. All datasets are obtained from online sources such as government websites (e.g. Geoscience Australia) or journal articles. Below is a preliminary probabilistic seismic hazard analysis map for my thesis and it is the most common for determining seismic hazard of an area. It estimates the chance of sites to exceed a certain ground motion level (usually in peak ground acceleration). This is typically described by 10% probability of exceedance in a 50- year period or 1/475 annual exceedance probability. The figure shows two major areas of high hazard in Sydney: the Botany Bay area (east) and Yarramundi area (west). Botany Bay is an area of concern due to its high population density while Yarramundi is relatively less concerning as it is sparsely populated. Therefore, future risk models will be focused on Botany Bay, followed by Yarramundi if time permits.

Is there a seismic refraction signature for sulphide mineralisation?

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

On Tuesday 19th October, 6:00pm AEDT, ASEG NSW is bringing you a talk by Derecke Palmer (UNSW) titled Is there a seismic refraction signature for sulphide mineralisation?

Although I accepted retirement from UNSW almost two decades ago, I have continued with my longstanding research interests in near surface refraction seismology. The major theme of my research has been full trace processing. Inexorably, full trace processing leads into detailed model building with traveltimes and amplitudes. My presentation addresses three important questions.

The first is “Is there a seismic refraction signature for sulphide mineralisation at the base of the regolith?” The second is: “Will full waveform elastic inversion rapidly replace traveltime acoustic tomographic inversion, and become routine with most geotechnical investigations?” The third is: “Would a detailed analysis of the refraction component of selected regional reflection profiles recorded by GA be useful?” The presentation employs seismic data recorded by GA near a major operational gold mine.

Attendance is by joint Zoom virtual + physical presentation at Geoscience Australia.

Register Here:

Please bring your own drinks and nibbles if attending online.