Experimental Petrology


The Experimental Petrology group uses a laboratory-based experimental approach combined with filed observations to study the Earth, its origin, evolution and mineral wealth.  The group operates a wide range of experimental devices for generating the high temperatures and pressures that are needed to reproduce the natural conditions within the Earth.

The equipment includes:-

  • High temperature furnaces capable of reaching 1800⁰C, equipped for precise control of oxygen and sulphur fugacities by gas mixing;
  • Eleven solid-media piston-cylinder devices for generating pressures to 6 GPa and temperatures in excess of 2000⁰C;
  • A multi-anvil apparatus for achieving pressures of 26HPa;
  • A well-equipped hydrothermal  laboratory.

The group runs an array of microbeam analytical techniques, including:

  • Cameca SX100 electron microprobe for major element analysis;
  • Laser-ablation ICP-MS for trace element and isotopic analysis;
  • FTIR spectroscopy for the determination of H₂0, CO₂ and other volatile species;
  • STOE STADIP powder X-ray diffractometer.






Laura Crisp

 +61 4 37519999

Mr Hongda Hao

 +61 2 61257615


Picture of Terry Mernagh

Dr Terry Mernagh

 +61 2 6125 2109


Mr Dean Scott

 +61 2 61253336


  • Campbell, I. H., O'Neill H. St. C. (2012) Evidence against a chondritic Earth.  Nature, 483: 553-558,  DOI 10.1038/nature10901.
  • Campbell, I.H. and Griffiths, R.W. (1990) Implications of mantle plume structure for the evolution of flood basalts. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 99: 79-93.
  • Campbell, I.H., Griffiths, R.W. and Hill, R.I. (1989) Melting in an Archaean mantle plume: heads it's basalts, tails it's komatiites. Nature. 339: 697-699..
  • Campbell, I.H. and A.J. Naldrett.  (1979) The influence of silicate: sulfide ratios on the geochemistry of magmatic sulfides.  Econ. Geol., 74, 1503-1506.
  • Campbell, I.H., Naldrett, A.J. and Barnes, S.J. (1983) A model for the origin of the platinum-rich sulfide horizons in the Bushveld and Stillwater Complexes. J. Petrol. 24: 133-165.
  •  Cox, S.F., 2005. Coupling between deformation processes, fluid pressures and fluid flow in ore-producing hydrothermal environments.  Economic Geology, 1200th Anniversary volume, 39 - 75.
  • Cox, S.F., 2007. Structural and isotopic constraints on fluid flow regimes and fluid pathways during upper crustal deformation: An example from the Taemas area of the Lachlan Orogen, SE Australia, Journal of  Geophysical Research, 112, B08208, doi:10.1029/2006JB004734.
  • Cox, S.F., 2010. The application of failure mode diagrams for exploring the roles of fluid pressure and stress states in controlling styles of fracture-controlled permeability enhancement in faults and shear zones.  Geofluids, 10 (1-2), 217-233. doi:10.1111/j.1468-8123.2010.00281.x.
  • Arndt, M., Virgo, S., Cox, S.F. & Urai, J.L., accepted.  Changes in fluid pathways in a calcite vein mesh (Natih Formation, Oman Mountains): Insights from stable isotopes.  Geofluids. in press.
  • Jenner FE, O’Neill HSC, Arculus RJ and Mavrogenes JA (2010) The magnetite crisis in the evolution of arc-related magmas and the initial concentration of Au, Ag and Cu. Journal of Petrology, v. 51, p. 2445-2464.
  • Peterson EC and Mavrogenes JA (2014) Linking high-grade gold mineralisation to earthquake-induced fault-valve processes in the Porgera gold deposit, Papua New Guinea. Geology, published online March 17, DOI: 10.1130/G35286.1
  • Mavrogenes JA, Henley RW, Reyes AC, Berger B (2010) Sulfosalt melts: evidence of high temperature vapor transport of metals in the formation of high sulfidation lode gold deposits. Economic Geology, v. 105, p. 257-262.
  • Mavrogenes, JA and O'Neill, HS (1999) The relative effects of pressure, temperature and oxygen fugacity on the solubility of sulfide in mafic magmas. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 63, p. 1173-1180
  • Loucks, RR and Mavrogenes, JA (1999) Gold solubility in supercritical hydrothermal brines measured in synthetic fluid inclusions. Science, v. 284, p. 2159-2163.

Updated:  19 October 2017/Responsible Officer:  RSES Webmaster/Page Contact:  RSES Webmaster