Geological Society of Australia
Victoria Division

General Meeting
Thursday 31st March at 6:15 p.m.
Fritz Loewe Theatre, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne
Talk will be proceeded by drinks from 5:30 pm in the 4th floor tearoom, cost $2.

How old is stream water?

Prof. Ian Cartwright
School of Earth, Atmosphere & Environment, Monash University

Documenting the time over which rainfall is transmitted through catchments to streams is critical for the protection and management of river systems. The observation that many upland streams continue to flow over prolonged dry periods indicates there are stores of water in soils, weathered rocks, or fractures with residence times of at least a few years. A series of projects carried out at Monash University has made use of the radioactive isotope tritium (3H) to estimate residence times of water in a number of Victorian streams. Tritium is generated in the atmosphere by the interaction of atmospheric gases with cosmic rays. Because of its half-life of 12.32 years and the fact that it forms part of the water molecule, it is ideal for estimating ages of waters that are up to 100 years old. Many upper catchment streams are fed by water that is a few years to several decades old and that even at high streamflows much of the water in the stream is relatively old water displaced from within the catchment. These observations imply that these streams are buffered against rainfall variations on timescales of a few years (and most of these streams continued to flow through the 1996-2010 Millennium drought). However, the impacts of any changes to landuse in these catchments or longer-term rainfall changes may take years to decades to manifest itself in changes to streamflow or water quality.

Ian Cartwright receiving the Selwyn Medal from Ingrid Campbell in 2015.

Australian Earth Sciences Convention 2016

Held between the 26th and 30th of June this year the AESC is a major conference hosted by the Geological Society of Australia every two years. Being held this year in Adelaide, the AESC 2016 will showcase the latest geoscience research, provide opportunities for professional development and the space to connect and collaborate with geoscientists.

More information is available at

Updates and reminders:

  1. The organising committee is pleased to announce an additional workshop for the line-up at the 2016 AESC . Invited Plenary speaker Dr. Richard Goldfarb will present a one day workshop on orogenic gold deposits.
  2. Early Bird Registrations close 15 April – register early to make savings. Link to the Registration page and prices:
  3. Some field trips require early registration. Here is a link to the pre and post-conference field trips with descriptions. Register through the registration page.
  4. Call for Abstract acceptance notifications: due by 24 March.

Report on IODP Expedition 346 “Asian Monsoon”
Second Post-Cruise Science Meeting
22nd-24th & Field Trip 25th-27th January 2016 at the University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Stephen Gallagher, School of Earth Sciences, the University of Melbourne.
Exp. 346 Micropalaeontologist and Meeting Convener

All Expedition 346 scientists wholeheartedly thank the following organisations who have provided the venue, and funded the lunch, morning and afternoon teas and the Friday 22nd evening function: the ANZIC IODP (primary funder) and the University of Melbourne. We are also grateful to ESSO Australia Pty Ltd and the Geological Society of Australia Victoria Division who provided additional funds that reduced the cost of the associated field trip. The provision of this sponsorship and the ready access to reasonable cost accommodation at the University of Melbourne encouraged fifteen graduate (Ph.D.) students to attend out of the fifty on-shore and offshore research scientist attendees.

The three day conference was split into five sessions consisting of a series of 15 minute talks, followed by a tea break, followed by 3 minute talks by poster presenters.

On Friday, 22nd Co-chief Professor Ryuji Tada (the University of Tokyo) summarised the Asian Monsoon Expedition 346 Background and Scientific Objectives. Friday's sessions focussed on 1) bio-, magneto and tephro- and OSL stratigraphic results to date and 2) the palaeoceanographic and palaeoenvironmental evolution of most expedition 346 sites. All participant enjoyed a Cocktail Reception sponsored by ANZIC IODP at University House

On Saturday, 23rd the Expedition 346 staff scientist Dr Carlos Alvarez Zarikian summarised IODP Publications, Obligations, Guidelines and Publications Deadlines. Saturday's sessions examined 1) ongoing provenance (geochemistry, mineralogy and IRD) and volcanism studies of several sites and 2) the detailed millennial scale isotope analyses being carried out on Site U1428 and U1429 in the East China Sea.

On Sunday, 24th the fifth session of the meeting examined ongoing XRF, RGB, and Geochemistry (not provenance, including diagenesis) analyses. This was followed extensive discussion and research planning that was combined with lunch and morning coffee. The breakout groups primarily focussed on Japan sea sites U1430 and U1427 and on the East China Sea sites U1428 and U1429. Discussions centred on producing refereed journal publications for submission by November 2016. It was a highly fruitful exercise and engendered convivial collaboration from all onshore and offshore scientific participants.

On Monday 25th to 27th 35 participant attended a field trip to southeast Australia. The bus left from outside the Earth Science department (conference venue) for field trip to the Otway Basin ~120 km southwest of Melbourne. In addition to field activities, all participants helped prepare a BBQ feast at the accommodation venue on Australia Day, this included kilos of kangaroo steaks as we were unable to actually observe these marsupials in the field!

Many thanks again to the Geological Society of Australia Victoria Division for supporting this event.



Group photo from the field trip to the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary.

Congratulations to Patricia Vickers-Rich!

Professor Patricia Vickers Rich has been apointed an Officer (AO) in the General Division of The Order of Australia. This honour was awarded "for distinguished service to the earth sciences, particularly palaeontology, as an academic, to education curriculum development, and to international scientific organisations". Patricia has worked at Monash University since the early 1970s, with roles including senior lecturer in earth sciences and biology and Head of Department for Earth Sciences, been a research associate at the Museum of Victoria since 1998 and been involved in numerous scientific organisations such as the Australasian Association of Palaeontologists, UNESCO, the Royal Institution of Australia and the Swedish Research Council. Patricia has won awards for her books "Dinosaurs of Darkness", "Wildlife of Gondwana" and "Magnificent Mihirungs" and been acknowledged with awards including the National Geographic Society's Chairman's Award and the Roy Wheeler Medallion for Excellence in Field Ornithology, as well as being the co-recipient  (with her husband Tom Rich) of the 2007 Selwyn Medal.

Forthcoming events

Unless otherwise noted, all 2016 talks will be held at the Fritz Loewe Theatre, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne.

April 28th:
Monthly meeting:
Steven Micklethwaite: Earthquakes with the Midas Touch

May 26th: Monthly meeting:
Titus Murray: Hydrocarbon traps in complex settings

June 23rd: Howitt Lecture (held at the Royal Society of Victoria):
Erin Matchan: Ar-Ar dating of volcanoes and Indigenous oral history

July 28th: Monthly meeting:
Dr Matthias Raab: CO2CRC Otway Project (date to be confirmed)

Student Scholarships

The GSAV are pleased to offer scholarships for honours and postgraduate students for assistance with travel costs associated with conferences (fieldwork excluded). The number and value of the scholarships awarded each year is made at the discretion of the GSA Victoria committee. Up to $500 for domestic travel and $700 for international travel is available. More information, including the eligibility criteria and application form, is available at

Contributions to The Victorian Geologist

If there are any events, happenings, news, or views that would be of interest to the membership, please send your details and information to Kieran Iles at
Newsletter deadline: First Friday of the month, except for December and January.

Contribute to TAG

It is member contributions which make TAG (The Australian Geologist) a member magazine – please keep the contributions coming and assist with informing all of the membership (not just your Division) about your activities.

Please send your news to:

About the GSA Victoria Division

General information about the Geological Society of Australia and GSA Victoria Division can be found at and
Contact details for the GSAV Committee can be found at

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