PhD position exploring palaeothermometry using speleothems.

Our long-established palaeoclimate research group is undergoing a substantial new growth phase as a result of Prof Jon Woodhead’s recently awarded Laureate Fellowship. We are developing new geochronological tools, and climate proxies for use in speleothem studies with a major emphasis on reconstructing past precipitation trends across Australia throughout the Cenozoic.

This PhD scholarships, in collaboration with A/Prof Russ Drysdale (Melb Uni Geography) and Dr Florian Dux (Earth Sciences) will explore three different ‘state of the art’ methodologies for the determination of past temperature variations that can be applied to speleothem carbonates. The provision of accurate temperature estimates for Earth’s past climate states represents perhaps the most important aspect of palaeoclimate study and yet most existing temperature proxies are either confined to the marine realm or lack suitable radiometric chronologies. Speleothems offer great promise in this area being entirely terrestrial, widely available through the geological record, and highly amenable to radiometric dating by U-Th and U-Pb geochronological methods. The project exploits cutting edge analytical equipment  - MC-ICP mass spectrometers in the School of Earth Sciences and IR mass spectrometers in the School of Geography - and will be well suited to anyone with an interest in geochemistry and/or environmental reconstruction. Opportunities will also be available to participate in caving fieldwork trips.

For further information about our research group, including details of some of our more recent work see our website at

The PhD include tuition fees and a living stipend for 3 years. All costs associated with travel to undertake fieldwork and laboratory studies are covered by the project. Note: due to limitations associated with the funding source, this project is only available to domestic (Australian) students.

Applicants with a Masters Degree or a First Class Honours degree and an appropriate background in Isotope Geochemistry, Earth Sciences, or Physical Geography should contact Jon Woodhead ( for further information.