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We work all over the world

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Since the inception of our group, we have worked all across our planet investigating the thermal and tectonic evolution of continental crust.

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Featured Publication

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AusGeochem Geospatial Thermochronology Analysis Tools

A geospatial platform for the tectonic interpretation of low-temperature thermochronology Big Data

Samuel C. Boone, Fabian Kohlmann, Wayne Noble, Moritz Theile, Romain Beucher, Barry Kohn, 

Stijn Glorie, Martin Danišík, Renjie Zhou, Malcolm McMillan, Angus Nixon, Andrew Gleadow, Xiaodong Qin, Dietmar Müller & Brent McInnes 

Scientific Reports, Volume 13 (2023)

Low-temperature thermochronology is a powerful tool for constraining the thermal evolution of rocks and minerals in relation to a breadth of tectonic, geodynamic, landscape evolution, and natural resource formation processes through deep time. However, complexities inherent to these analytical techniques can make interpreting the significance of results challenging, requiring them to be placed in their geological context in 4-dimensions (3D + time). We present a novel tool for the geospatial archival, analysis and dissemination of fission-track and (U-Th)/He data, built as an extension to the open-access AusGeochem platform ( and freely accessible to scientists from around the world. To demonstrate the power of the platform, three regional datasets from Kenya, Australia and the Red Sea are placed in their 4D geological, geochemical, and geographic contexts, revealing insights into the tectono-thermal evolutions of these areas. Beyond facilitating data interpretation, the archival of fission track and (U-Th)/He (meta-)data in relational schemas unlocks future potential for greater integration of thermochronology and numerical geoscience techniques. The power of formatting data to interface with external tools is demonstrated through the integration of GPlates Web Service with AusGeochem, enabling thermochronology data to be readily viewed in their paleogeographic context through deep time from within the platform.

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Key Methodological Advances

The Melbourne Thermochronology Group has led, or been closely involved in, many key advances in the development and application of fission track dating and thermochronology methods since the 1970s. In addition to numerous geological application studies, these have included:

  • Development of routine analytical procedures for ~100µm scale grains of apatite, zircon and titanite (1970s)

  • First recognition of the influence continental rifting on regional fission track age patterns (1978)

  • Standardization of fission tack data reporting (1979)

  • Universal adoption of the External Detector Method for all mineral systems (1981)

  • Applications to basin analysis and hydrocarbon maturation (1981, 1983, 1989)

  • Establishing the statistical basis for track length distribution studies (1982)

  • Developing the fundamental principles of fission track interpretation that combined fission track ages with track lengths (1983)

  • Development of the first computer-controlled microscope stage systems for mirror image matching of mineral grains and eternal detectors (1985)

  • Demonstration that horizontal confined track length measurements are crucial indicators of past fission track annealing (1986)

  • Adoption of empirical calibrations for fission track methods against age standards (1983)

  • First identification of composition control on fission track annealing in apatite (1985)

  • Identification of uplifted Partial Annealing Zones in mountain ranges (1987)

  • Development of the first practical thermal annealing models for routine reconstruction of rock thermal histories (1987, 1989)

  • Integration of approaches as ‘Fission Track Thermochronology’ (1990-1991)

  • Applications to the evolution of metamorphic core complexes (1993)

  • Constructing the first continental-scale thermo-tectonic image of Australia (2002)

  • Routine integration of apatite fission track (AFT) and (U-Th)/He (AHe) thermochronology methods (2004)

  • Development of the first practical image analysis routines for the automatic counting of fission tracks (2006, 2009)

  • Optical detection of apatite grains and orientations for fission track analysis (2009)

  • integration of laser-ablation ICP-MS and automated fission track analysis (LAFT) methods (2010)

  • First comprehensive system for Automated Fission track Imaging and Analysis (AFTIA) (2016)

  • First studies of three-dimensional measurements of confined fission tracks in apatite (2018)

  • Development of automated methods for measurement of semi-track lengths and orientations (2018)

  • Development of monazite as an ultra-low temperature thermochronometer (2019)

  • Development of major cloud-based data systems for fission track thermochronology (2019-20)

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Read our work

Find the conference proceedings, research articles, textbook chapters and books that we have published pertaining to methodological and applied studies on our Google Scholar profile.

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