News and Events

Additional good news

November 14 2017

Congratulations to Dr Simon Williams on being a member of a successful ARC DP18 application!

Simon will be working with Dr Joanne Whittaker; Dr Andreas Klocker; Professor Carmen Gaina; Dr David Munday and Dr Sascha Brune on the following project:

How the complexity of continental breakup controls ocean circulation.

This project aims to address the evolution of oceanic seaways formed during separation of tectonic plates (such as Australia and Antarctica). The seaways that form are key components modulating the global ocean circulation system and are implicated in major glacial expansion events. This project aims to unravel their role relative to other drivers for example carbon dioxide (CO2). Unravelling the influence of seaway opening compared with declining CO2 in the onset of Antarctic and Northern hemisphere glaciation will enable more accurate future climate simulations. The project will also give international exposure and training to the next generation of numerically adept geoscientists and oceanographers.

Good news keeps coming...

November 14 2017

Congratulations to Sabin (PI), Dietmar (PI), Tristan, Adriana, Michael, Jody, and Simon, as well as colleagues from the Sydney Informatics Hub, and a team of international researchers who have been awarded a $130,000 grant by the Alfred P Sloan Foundation through the Deep Carbon Observatory. The project will run until September 2019, and will help link plate tectonics over geological time with the deep carbon cycle. The team covers several disciplines including evolutionary biology, microbiology, data science, geochemistry, volcanology, and geodynamics.

The funds will cover the expenses of a related workshop that will be held at Cambridge (where the DCO’s synthesis chair is based), and will hire two talented students from our School as casual Research Assistants to help link our open source software and open access data to themes ranging from studying carbonate platform development and interaction with volcanic arcs, the role of Large Igneous Provinces in perturbing the deep carbon cycle, the impact of tectonics in cycling carbon between shallow and deep reservoirs, and the role of ophiolite obduction in modulating atmospheric CO2. Many of these components are also complementary to the Basin GENESIS Hub, especially in terms of the “Reservoirs and Fluxes”, “Deep Energy”, and “Modeling and Visualisation” arms of the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO).

The project title is The Deep Carbon Cycle (DCC) through geological time: An interdisciplinary synthesis of the carbon cycle in the Earth’s lithosphere-biosphere system


Congratulations to Eleanor Bruce and Dale Dominey-Howes

November 14 2017

Dr. Eleanor Bruce and her team (which includes Associate Professor Dale Dominey-Howes) have been successful with their application for a Sydney Southeast Asia Centre Workshop Grant.

They have been awarded $15,000 for the workshop entitled “Climate adaptation in disaster-prone environments of Southeast Asia” to be held in Phnom Penh.

Well done Eleanor and Dale!

Congratulations to Emeritus Professor Philip Hirsch

November 14 2017

Congratulations to Emeritus Professor Philip Hirsch on being a member of a successful ARC DP18 application!

Philip will be working with Associate Professor Sango Mahanty; Dr Sarah Milne; and Dr Keith Barney on the following project:

Rupture: nature-society transformations in mainland Southeast Asia.

This project aims to understand the nexus between intense, cumulative processes of socio-ecological change and emerging forms of social agency. Three case studies of Cambodian and Vietnamese dams, and a review of Thai-Lao cases, will reveal local and civil society responses to nature-society rupture and how these responses affect the region, inform advances in environmental change management, and be relevant to Australia's security policies.

Congratulations to Dan Penny

November 14 2017

Congratulations to Dan Penny on his successful ARC DP18 application!

Dan is leading a team in Resolving the Maya climate-collapse hypothesis.

This project aims to test the climate-collapse theory by developing detailed records of climate and social change from Maya cities that did not collapse, and in doing so identify why some cities were more resilient to the impact of climatic variability than others. Catastrophic climate variability is often invoked to explain the historic collapse of large low-density urban centres in the global tropics. The collapse of the Maya civilisation of Central America after the 8th century AD is the archetypal social collapse yet, despite robust evidence for drought across Central America, archaeological evidence suggests a heterogenous social response. This project will reveal what social, material, or environmental properties facilitated resiliency in historic urban centres confronting climatic variability.

Read more

Geography Honours Masters Conference

November 9 2017

Geography Honours students from the University of Sydney participated in the 21st GSNSW Geography Honours/Masters Conference at the University of Newcastle on Thursday 9th November, along with students from Macquarie, Western Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle university.

Leah Emmanuel, Rupert Legg and Brittany Betteridge represented the School of Geosciences and delivered very high quality presentations that showed the quality of research training offered in our school.

Brittany Betteridge received the Jim Rose Award for the best overall paper at the conference. Congratulations on this outstanding achievement.

For students interested in undertaking Honours in the School of Geosciences, see Read more below.

Read more

What are the job opportunities for graduates?

September 1 2017

Geologists, Geophysicists and Hydrogeologists study the composition, structure and other physical attributes of the earth, locate and advise on the extraction of minerals, petroleum and ground water, and detect, monitor and forecast seismic, magnetic, electrical, thermal and oceanographic activity.
Read more

GSNSW 90th Anniversary and Celebration of Geography event

August 26 2017

Photos from the GSNSW 90th Anniversary and Celebration of Geography event held in MacLaurin Hall at the University of Sydney on Saturday 12th August, 2017. The University of Sydney was represented through academic staff, honorary associates, former staff, former students now working at other universities, and through some of the prize winners of the photography competition.
Read more

Study and Careers in Environmental Studies

August 25 2017

Presented by Dr Jeff Neilson Check out the video link.

What we do in the School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney

August 25 2017

Check out the video presented by Prof Dietmar Müller.

Head of Geosciences looks forward to 2018

August 25 2017

The Head of the School of Geosciences, Professor Phil McManus, is excited about the educational improvements to commence in 2018. “The new curriculum is a big opportunity for academic disciplines such as geography, geology, geophysics, environmental studies, marine science and our teaching in sustainability,” said Professor McManus. “We welcome more students to learn about these important subjects in new and creative ways”. Read more

Revealed: Sydney's smashed avocado index

August 13 2017

Sydney's eastern suburbs hold a unique place in the city's smashed avocado economy.

In the upmarket inner-east neighbourhood of Edgecliff 100 per cent of cafes have avocado toast on the menu. That suburb also has the city's highest average price for the hipster favourite at $18 a pop, new research has found. Bondi Junction isn't far behind – 80 per cent of cafe menus there feature smashed avocado at an average price of $16 (equal second highest in the city). Students who did the research were studying in GEOS2123 The Geography of Cities and Regions, and this was their major project.
Read more.

2018 International Field Programs in Geography Announced

August 1 2017

In 2018, the Geography program of the School of Geosciences will include four different Asia-based field programs that are available to students. Field programs include opportunities to travel to Indonesia, India or Thailand. All programs earn students credit points, and in some cases can count towards a Geography major. Participation in these programs requires Special Permission, and all relevant details can be found here.

Crinkling News features Baltic Sea origins of EarthByte

June 8 2017

Crinkling News, Australia's only newspaper for kids, features four recently elected Australian Academy of Science Fellows, including EarthByter Dietmar Muller and Branca Vucetic from the School of Electrical and Information Engineering, also at the University of Sydney. The story depicts Dietmar's early fossil hunting days on Baltic Sea beaches, where a wild collection of rocks and sediments, scraped off Scandinavia, had been deposited by melting glaciers after the end of the last ice age.

Crinkling News is posted out weekly to 800 Australian schools and has 30,000 young readers. Until a few weeks ago, the newspaper faced closure after only a year in operation, but a crowd funding campaign saw it raise $200,000, which has secured its short-term future. Hopefully we are helping to inspire the next generation!
Read more.

Our world university rankings

March 18 2017

QS Rankings are in and we are proud to say that Geography at the University of Sydney was ranked 17th in the world in the QS Ranking by Subject for 2017 (up from 22 in 2016).

Find out more about Geography at USYD.

Read more about QS rankings

A new approach to climate management

March 17 2017

It is increasing likely we will have to develop negative emissions if we are to meet the COP21 target of less than 2 degrees rise in the temperature. Negative emissions are where you draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store in geological structures or in the ocean. A new paper by Dr Daniel Harrison of the University of Sydney has evaluated the capacity of the ocean to store carbon dioxide away from the atmosphere for a millennium.
Read more

GEOS2115 now being offered as a Study Abroad course

March 16 2017

GEOS2115 Oceans, Coasts and Climate Change is now being offered as part of the University of Sydney's Study Abroad program due to popular demand. Discover concepts about how the formation of ocean basins and their influence on climate govern the development of coasts and continental margins.
Read more

Chinese New Year with Dr Dong Xing

January 30 2017

We catch up with Geosciences graduate Dr Dong Xing to find out what he's working on with the City of Sydney for Chinese New Year. Read more

National Rock Garden

November 17 2016

Thank you to National Rock Garden representatives Mike Smith, John Bain (National Rock Garden Curator) and Kelsie Dadd (newly-appointed USYD Honorary Associate) for visiting and for introducing us to the National Rock Garden. Our academics were able to provide feedback relating to selecting some of the state’s best rocks. See the event gallery.

The Jim Rose Geography Award

November 16 2016

Congratulations to the 2016 GSNSW Honours / Masters Conference Award Winners! The Jim Rose Geography Award for a Highly Commended presentation on a Physical Geography topic and a cheque for $100 went to Alexandra Jones, University of Sydney. Congratulations Alex! See the event gallery.

Honours Research Fellowships

November 15 2016

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is pleased to announce the introduction of the Honours Research Fellowships to be awarded to eligible outstanding undergraduates intending to undertake an Honours year in 2017. Apply by 2nd December 2016. Read more.

Natural disasters affect some of the most disadvantaged

November 8 2016

Australian-first research has identified a disaster hotspot where many disadvantaged communities are located, indicating socio-economic status can determine whether hazards become disasters - but urban areas are not immune.

"If we don't deal with inequality... no amount of spending will stem the ever-increasing disaster losses."
Associate Professor Dale Dominey-Howes

Read more.

University of Sydney Fellowships

November 2 2016

Eleven outstanding early career researchers from around the world will join the University of Sydney in 2017 under the University of Sydney Fellowship scheme. Congratulations!

Dr Bradley Garrett
Joins the Sydney Environment Institute.
Project: 'Preppers: Defending against anticipated environmental collapse'

Dr Emma Calgaro
Joins the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre.
Project: 'Disasters and disability: Making inclusion a reality'

Read more.

School of Geoscience researchers part of team that wins 2016 NSW Resilient Australia Prize

October 13 2016

Congratulations to Dr Emma Calgaro and Associate Professor Dale Dominey-Howes of the School’s Asia – Pacific Natural Hazards and Disaster Research Group. Emma and Dale are part of a team comprising the Deaf Society of New South Wales, The Australian Red Cross, The NSW State Emergency Service, the NSW Rural Fire Service and the Fire and Rescue, NSW who’ve won the 2016 NSW Resilient Australia Award for their project "Get Ready! A model for Deaf Community Leadership". Get Ready was a project funded under the NSW Community Resilience Innovation Program (CRIP).

The team received their award on the 12th October at a ceremony held at the NSW Parliament in Sydney.

This team has now been nominated by the Premiere of NSW as the NSW entrant to the national Federal awards due to be announced in Canberra in early November. Good luck Emma and Dale!

For more details, check out the award announcement here.

Helping and caring for researchers dealing with traumatic research

October 13 2016


Congratulations to Dale Dominey-Howes who was invited by Nature to write a commentary for its Nature Careers section on the challenges researchers can face in undertaking work on traumatic events, people, places and material.

Dale says "many researchers undertake important research work that swirls around complex and distressing events and places, yet we are seldom prepared for the consequence to us as researchers of that work that include an assemblage of secondary trauma. Urgent efforts are required to support and prepare researchers for doing this sort of work. In the rapid pace of the modern demanding university and the need to publish, this has never been more important".

Check out the article here.

Congratulations to Prof Dietmar Müller for his Outstanding Research Award!

October 12 2016


Celebrating excellence: VC Award Winners

Professor Dietmar Müller is the world leader in geophysics. His sustained excellence in research funding, publications, supervision of research students and contribution to knowledge is unrivalled. He links custom software and research data so that we can see Earth through space and time. He leads a team of researchers in the School of Geosciences whose interactive, open-access models demonstrate the Earth’s dynamic history and answer important questions about the evolution of the planet.

Dietmar’s citations exceed 11,500 in number and his h-index 55. In 2016 he has co-authored three papers in Nature. Over his career to date he has published 17 papers in the most prestigious and difficult journals to gain publication, namely Nature, Nature Geoscience and Science.

Professor Müller was the youngest Australian to be elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2006). He was awarded an Australian Laureate Fellowship (2009). Professor Müller leads the international EarthByte e-research group, which comprises over 100 members from seven countries, and is the core of the Virtual Earth Laboratory.

Dietmar’s research has huge international impact, and the media coverage of his work brings prestige and credibility to the University of Sydney. His work on industry engagement through the ARC Basin Genesis Hub (2015–20), involving five industry partners, is exemplary of academic/industry links. Professor Muller continues to attract the brightest PhD students from around the world and his teaching and supervision has inspired many local and international students interested in careers that integrate advanced computing, geology and geophysics and the desire to answer important questions about the past, present and potential future of the planet.

See full list of award winners.

The Ballad of the Skeletons: Lining up to Ratify the Paris Climate Agreement

October 11 2016


The path of climate change, if the Paris Agreement is adhered to but not strengthened, would seem to lock the planet into a path of rapid and widespread disruption to animal, plant and human environments.
Read Bill Pritchard's blog post via the Sydney Environment Institute blog.

5 Minutes with Bill Pritchard

September 12 2016

We talk to Professor Bill Pritchard, Associate Dean for Honours in Geosciences, about his research, his work with honours students and the University’s Honours Week, from 12 to 16 September. The Geosciences Honours Information Session is on 14 September, 2-3pm at Madsen Conference Room 449 - everyone is welcome.
Read more

Outstanding Achievement in Research Collaboration

September 8 2016

A project team and PhD student have been recognised with CRC awards at AFAC16 powered by INTERSCHUTZ, the CRC's annual conference held in colloboration with AFAC in Brisbane last week.
Read more

A supercontinent without plume has no less panache

September 7 2016

The aggregation and dispersal of supercontinents control the Earth’s geological history, and influences the Earth’s climate and the evolution of species. But, what is the impact of these supercontinents on the deep Earth interior?
Read more

The Great Barrier Reef Has Been Hiding A Massive New Reef?!

August 30 2016

University of Sydney, James Cook University and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) scientists working with laser data from the Royal Australian Navy have discovered a vast reef behind the familiar Great Barrier Reef!
Read more

Open Day 2016

August 27 2016

Thank you all for visiting us at our VirtualGeoLife and Magic Planet hands on booths on Saturday 27th August for Open Day!

A big thank you to all our staff and students who helped out on the day in our workshops, lectures and information booths, you guys rock! Check out our Open Day photos.

Welcome to the Anthropocene

August 16 2016


Humans are changing the Earth at the scale of the planet. Welcome to the Anthropocene! Since the evolution of modern Homo Sapiens, people have been at the mercy of planetary processes. However, we stand at the point, unique in geological history, where a single species has begun to change the Earth at the scale of the planet and shape its physical and biological processes. The arrival of the so-called ‘Anthropocene’ (if we accept such a construct) presents a myriad of philosophical, economic, practical, scientific, moral and political issues amongst others, for contemporary societies to consider and debate.

In this Special Lecture Series, a range of experts drawn from numerous disciplines present and debate the meaning and consequences of the arrival of The Anthropocene.
Attend one of our seminars.

Taking the pulse of the global ocean

August 16 2016


When organic particles sink from the surface ocean to the seafloor, a small but significant proportion of atmospheric carbon is stored away. Adriana Dutkiewicz and colleagues at the University of Sydney and Data61/CSIRO have now used global data sets collected over decades combined with cutting-edge big data analysis to understand how this process depends on surface ocean environments.
Read more

Urbino Summer School in Paleoclimatology

August 15 2016

One of our post-grad students, Nicky Wright, recently returned from the Urbino Summer School in Paleoclimatology in Italy. The summer school focused on past climate dynamics with special emphasis on the analysis of the long-term carbon cycling and its implications in the understanding of present and future climates.
Read more

Deep Carbon Observatory Summer School

August 15 2016

One of our academics, Sabin Zahirovic, attended the recent Deep Carbon Observatory Summer School in Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, USA.
Read more

The politics of Pokemon Go...Is the augmented reality app more than just a game?

August 9 2016


One of the panelists involved in this discussion is our very own Assoc Prof Kurt Iveson - Listen now via the Al Jazeera website.

Make sure you also check out Assoc Prof Iveson's article on 'How Pokemon Go will make money from you' published via The Sydney Morning Herald.