introducing GEMOC


  • to  create a new paradigm for the formation of  metallogenic provinces by undertaking fundamental research on the evolution of the upper 200 km of the Earthís crust-mantle system, integrating petrological, geochemical and geophysical information

  • to give the Australian minerals exploration industry a competitive edge into the 21st century by  transferring this new knowledge base and the methodologies to the industry and to the next generation of students


    THE NATIONAL KEY CENTRE for the Geochemical Evolution and Metallogeny of Continents (GEMOC) formally commenced in January, 1996.  Funding started from July 1995 on very short notice, so GEMOC is operating on a 6-month delay with fund rollover.  GEMOC was based on the pre-1995 collective profiles of the core participants at Macquarie and the networked group at ANU (Faculties), with collaborative links to CSIRO, AGSO and colleagues at other Australian Universities. GEMOC has diversified and expanded from this base with shifts in linkages, especially the formation of strong new collaborative programs nationally and internationally that have extended from the original core activities of GEMOC.

    The main targets of GEMOCís activities are large-scale problems related to lithosphere evolution and understanding the relevance of different types of crust-mantle domains to area selection for mineral exploration.

    Continual strengthening of links with industry, especially the increasing number of collaborative funded projects related to lithosphere studies, has fulfilled one of our original strategic goals of delivering new tools and a new framework of terrane analysis to the minerals exploration industry.  Some of these new tools and concepts are summarised in the Research Highlights section and projects are listed in Appendix 5.

    Major strengths are the diversity of the individual strands that relate to this focus, crossing conventional subdiscipline boundaries, and the range of scales being used in an integrated way to interpret fundamental Earth processes.  The scales range from global, to regional, to outcrop, to the micron.

    The front cover for the 2000 Report emphasises:

    the global aspect ? islands on oceanic plateaus (Heard Island on the Kerguelen Plateau featured here) are providing us with information about one way that continental nuclei may form

    and the micron aspect - the zircons in the inset frieze are proving to be an ideal standard for U-Pb dating of zircons (see Research Highlights)

    Parallel advances in the integration of geophysical and geochemical information to image the lithosphere and its properties continue to be driven by end-user needs and the knowledge required to solve major geological problems.


    GEMOC's distinctiveness lies in its interdisciplinary and integrated approach to interpreting Earthís lithosphere as a 4-dimensional dynamic system (in space and time).

    This approach links

    petrology and geochemistry

    within the important contexts of

    time (4th dimension)
    thermal state

    to understand the significance of large-scale mantle and crustal domains and the processes that have formed and modified them.


  • fundamental insights into the processes that create and modify the continental mantle and crust through time

  • a better understanding of the assembly of the Australian continent and its geological architecture to 100-200 km depth through work in Australia and global analogues

  • results and concepts exportable to other terrains, including Southeast Asia and other potentially resource-rich areas of interest to Australian exploration companies

  • a new conceptual framework for understanding the localisation of economic deposits, which will influence exploration strategies for world-class ore deposits, and improve the competitiveness of the Australian exploration industry both on- and off-shore

  • a realistic 3-D geological framework for the interpretation of lithospheric-scale geophysical datasets

  • a training program for senior undergraduate and postgraduate students (and continuing education) that will help maintain the technological edge of the Australian mineral industry and improve the industryís ability to rapidly assimilate new concepts and methodologies

  • new analytical strategies for determining the chemical and isotopic compositions of geological materials (including fluids)

  • development of in situ analytical methods (including dating) to maximise information encoded in mineral zoning and to enhance interpretation of data using spatial contexts

  • strategic and collaborative alliances with technology manufacturers in design and application innovation

  • international research, teaching, industry and technology links of benefit to Australia

    • A basaltic sill on the edge of Mt. Drygalski, Heard Island

    2000 Annual Report