Geological Society of Australia
Victoria Division

Joint meeting with
The Royal Society of Victoria

The 2016 Howitt Lecture
Thursday 23rd June at 7:00 p.m.
Royal Society of Victoria, 8 La Trobe Street, Melbourne
Entry to the lecture is free, but registration is essential to ensure a place. Food and drink at 6:15 ($20 for RSV and GSAV members, $25 otherwise, booking required). See for registration.

The age of Victoria's volcanoes

Dr Erin Matchan
School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne

Victoria is home to at least 400 short-lived basaltic volcanoes that erupted in geologically recent times (last 4.5 million years). These volcanoes, together with their eruptive products, form the ‘Newer Volcanic Province’ of southeastern Australia. The Newer Volcanic Province extends near-continuously from Melbourne to the Mt Burr Range in South Australia. It contains the youngest volcanoes in Australia (e.g. Mt Gambier, Mt Napier, Tower Hill) and is still considered to be volcanically active, as the most recent eruptions took place within the last 10,000 years. This means that future eruptions are highly likely.
The eruption triggers, frequency, and styles of volcanism in the Newer Volcanic Province are the subject of active research in the geosciences community. Understanding the frequency of this volcanism has been impeded historically by difficulties in ‘dating’ basaltic volcanoes that are younger than one million years. However, thanks to recent technological developments, geologists in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne are pushing the limits of the ‘Argon-Argon (40Ar/39Ar)’ dating technique to precisely date lava flows as young as 30,000 years.  Using this method, they are unraveling the last million years of volcanic activity in Victoria.
In this talk, Dr Erin Matchan will review the current understanding of the eruption history of the Newer Volcanic Province, and describe the different techniques that have been used to date the volcanoes. Dr Matchan will then present some recently obtained, key 40Ar/39Ar dating results, focusing on volcanic eruptions that occurred within the last 500,000 years, and will explain how these data improve our understanding of eruption frequency.

Mount Elephant and a map showing the distribution of the Newer Volcanic Province.

Speaker bio...

Dr Erin Matchan is a research fellow in the Noble Gas Geochronology Research Group within the School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne. Her research primarily focuses on applying the Argon-Argon dating method to 'very young' (< 100,000 year old) volcanic rocks; no mean feat when this technique is usually used for dating rocks that are millions of years old! Although she has studied volcanoes in Iceland, Italy and the USA, she has dedicated the most time to studying the fascinating array of young volcanoes in Victoria. 

Dr Matchan is interested in comparing Argon-Argon ages with those derived via complementary dating methods in order to inter-calibrate these different techniques. She is also interested in the potential implications these eruption ages have for better understanding the onset of human presence in Victoria, as well as eruption frequency in south-eastern Australia.

Student sponsorship

Lachlan Grose
Monash University

In November 2015 I attended the Specialist Group In Tectonics and Structural Geology meeting in Caloundra, a biannual meeting for the Australian structural geology community. We were lucky enough to have keynote speakers from around the world covering a range of areas in structural geology and tectonics from microscale development of foliations to analogue and numerical geodynamic modelling. Along with the key note speakers there were high quality talks from students and academics on similar topics. During the conference there was a mid-conference field trip where we were able to visit Noosa heads to both enjoy the scenery and explore the local geology.

I was given the opportunity to present a poster with my research titled “Characterising fold geometries from structural data for implicit modelling”, which is a part of the work I have been doing for my Ph.D. I presented a new method for that allows for more data and knowledge collected during fieldwork to be used to for building geometrical models of folded structures. It was a fantastic opportunity to discuss my work with other researchers and talk about potential case studies. I would like to thank the GSA Victoria Division for providing funding to help with some of the costs associated with attending the conference.

Last month's talk

Last month’s talk on Hydrocarbon traps in complex settings by Titus Murray was a quick overview of various techniques used to interpret fault seals when assessing oil and gas prospects (or other issues where leakage is an issue e.g. waste disposal). In reality it was a tour of both sealing and leaking especially using the principles of sequence stratigraphy. It was a highly technical and theoretical talk but which finished with some fascinating case studies of NW Australia and the Gulf of Thailand and some pertinent take home messages. These included the great value of good geological maps and sequence stratigraphy, and a caution against Shale Gouge Ratios and Allan maps to avoid confusion.

by Susan White

Australian Academy of Science

Public Lecture

On Thursday the 21st of July The University of Melbourne will be hosting the Australian Academy of Science's "New Fellows' and Medal Winners' Symposium". The symposium will include talks from Australia's Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, Professor Geoff Lindeman, Professor Patrick McGorry, Professor Neville Nicholls, Professor Stephen Nutt, A/Prof Katherine Kedzierska and A/Prof Jane Elith. 

The event will take place at 6:00-7:30 p.m. in the Auditorium at the Melbourne Brain Centre, 30 Royal Pde, Parkville.

New members:

In the past few months we have received a number of applications for new GSA members with affiliation to the Victoria Division. The GSAV would like to welcome the following new members:

Jessica Reeves                     Jeremy Lee
Martin Nguyen                        Maxwell Lechte
Alice Shuster                          Chava Rodriguez
Tzu-Ying Kuo                          Tori Brewster

Books Available

A selection of GSA publications will be available at the June meeting. They cover a range of topics. Free to a good home!

Australian Earth Sciences Convention 2016


the AESC 2016 will showcase the latest geoscience research, provide opportunities for professional development and the space to connect and collaborate with geoscientists. Being held this year in Adelaide, 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

More information is available at

During AESC the Society will hold its Nuclear Energy Public Forum. The Public Forum will be held on the 27th of June at 7:00 p.m. at the Adelaide Convention Centre and all are welcome to attend, conference attendees (cost included in registration) and the general public (modest fee) alike. The forum will be chaired by Michelle Cooper, moderated by Dr Paul Willis and feature a panel consisting of Dr Vanessa Guthrie, Dr Tony Irwin, Professor Ian Lowe, Professor Barry Brook, Greg Ward and Dr Mark Diesendorf.

More information can be found at

Forthcoming events

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

June 23rd: Howitt Lecture (held at the Royal Society of Victoria):
Erin Matchan: The age of Victoria's volcanoes

July 28th: Monthly meeting:
Dr Matthias Raab: CO2CRC Otway Project

August 25th: Monthly meeting:
Student Night - speakers to be announced

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 (Australia and New Zealand) 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

Copyright © 2016 GSA Victoria, All rights reserved.
GSAV website