Our research concentrates on fundamental questions about how minerals form and how metals are transported in the geological environment. The mineralogy research group at the Museum is lead by Allan Pring and Joël Brugger, and we have a number of post-doctorial research fellows and research students associated with the Minerals Metals and Solutions research group. Much of our work is devoted to understanding the formation of sulfide minerals and the ores of nickel, uranium, copper and gold.
We are interested in questions such as how sulfide minerals grow from geological fluids, how metals are transported in solutions and vapours under geological conditions, how rapidly minerals grow, and what controls the diversity of minerals. We use a wide variety of techniques in our research such as x-ray absorption spectroscopy, UV-Vis, Raman and NMR spectroscopy, x-ray and neutron diffraction, and transmission electron microscopy. A major part of our current research programs involves building high temperature and pressure hydrothermal cells so that we can look at the transport of metal and the formation of minerals under geological conditions.
The group has a wide network of links to the three universities in South Australia, to the Australian National University, Monash University, CSIRO and the research groups at the Universities of Cambridge, Münster, Lausanne, etc.