Dr Robert (Bob) Musgrave

Honorary Associate

Dr Robert Musgrave is the Research Geophysicist in the Geological Survey of New South Wales, based in the rural town of Maitland. Bob also operates the PALM (“Palaeo- Archaeo- Litho-Magnetic”) laboratory in the NSW Institute for Frontier Geoscience at the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources. He was formerly a Senior Lecturer in the (now defunct) Department of Earth Sciences at La Trobe University.

Research interests


Bob has diverse research interests spanning the interpretation of potential field (gravity and magnetic) data, the Palaeozoic tectonic history of the Tasmanides (eastern Australia) and the Cenozoic tectonics of the western Pacific, palaeomagnetism applied to plate tectonics and studies of the Earth’s magnetic field, and rock magnetism applied to mineralisation, fluid migration in marine sediments, and gas hydrates. He is a veteran of five research cruises with the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) and its successor, the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), two of them as an ODP Staff Scientist.

Bob has joined the School of Geosciences as an Honorary Associate in support of his participation as a shipboard palaeomagnetist on IODP Expedition 350. Expedition 350 cored volcanic-rich sediments of the Izu rear-arc, a submarine volcanic chain south of Japan, which is considered to be a modern example of how new continental crust is created. Bob lent his long experience in the interpretation of the magnetic record of marine sediments to determining the magnetostratigraphy of the sequence, one of the principal means by which their age was determined. Bob’s post-cruise research on samples he collected during the expedition will focus on the history of movement of the Phillipine Sea tectonic plate, and the record of circulation of fluids in the volcanic sediment sequence preserved in their magnetic minerals.

Selected publications

  • Rawlinson, N., Arroucau, P., Musgrave, R., Cayley, R., Young, M., and Salmon, M., 2014. Complex continental growth along the proto-Pacific margin of East Gondwana. Geology, in press.
  • Musgrave R.J. 2013. Evidence for Late Eocene emplacement of the Malaita Terrane, Solomon Islands: Implications for an even larger Ontong Java Nui oceanic plateau. Journal of Geophysical Research 118, 1-17, doi: 10.1002/jgrb.50153.
  • Musgrave R.J. & Fussell M.S. 2011. Paleosecular variation during the Kiaman Superchron: a 1150-year record from glacial varves of the Seaham Formation, New South Wales. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 58, 375–389.
  • Greenfield J.E., Musgrave R.J., Bruce M.C., Gilmore P.J. & Mills K.J. 2011. The Mount Wright Arc: A Cambrian subduction system developed on the continental margin of East Gondwana, Koonenberry Belt, eastern Australia. Gondwana Research, 19, 650–669.
  • Musgrave R.J. & Rawlinson N. 2010. Linking the upper crust to the upper mantle: comparison of teleseismic tomography with long-wavelength features of the gravity and magnetic fields of southeastern Australia. Exploration Geophysics, 41, 155–162.
  • Larrasoana, J.C., Roberts, A.P., Musgrave, R.J., Gràcia, E., Piñero, E.; Vega, M., and Mart'nez-Ruiz, F., 2007. Diagenetic formation of greigite and pyrrhotite in gas hydrate marine sedimentary systems. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 261, 350–366.
  • Musgrave, R.J., Bangs, N.L., Larrasoaña, J.C., Gràcia, E., Hollamby, J.A., & Vega, M.E., 2006. Rise of the base of the gas hydrate zone since the last glacial recorded by rock magnetism. Geology, 34, 117–120.
  • Musgrave, R.J., Grewar, J., & Vega, M., 2006. Significance of remanence in Stawell goldfield aeromagnetic anomalies. Australian J. Earth Sci., 53, 783–797.
  • Spencer, R., & Musgrave, R.J., 2006. Isostatic and decompensative gravity anomaly maps of New South Wales. Exploration Geophysics, 37, 210–214.
  • Hare, A.G., Cas, R.A.F., Musgrave, R., and Phillips, D., 2005. Magnetic and chemical stratigraphy for the Werribee Plains basaltic lava flow-field, Newer Volcanics Province, southeast Australia: implications for eruption frequency. Australian J. Earth Sci., 52, 41–57.
  • Bangs, N.L.B., Musgrave, R. & Tréhu, A., 2005. Upward shifts in the south Hydrate Ridge gas hydrate stability zone following post-glacial warming, offshore Oregon. J. Geophys. Res., 110, B03102, doi:10.1029/2004JB003293.
  • Opdyke, Neil D., and Musgrave, Robert, 2004. Paleomagnetic results from the Newer Volcanics of Victoria: Contribution to the Time-Averaged Field Initiative. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 5, No. 3, Q03H09, DOI 10.1029/2003GC000632.
  • Musgrave, R.J., 2003. Early to Middle Miocene Pacific-Australia plate boundary in New Zealand; an alternative transcurrent fault system. Geol. Soc. Australia Spec. Publ. 22 and Geol. Soc. America Spec. Pap. 372, 333–342.
  • Musgrave, R.J., and Firth, J.V., 1999. Magnitude and timing of New Hebrides Arc rotation; paleomagnetic evidence from Nendo, Solomon Islands. J. Geophys. Res., 104, 2841–2853.