David Kelsey

Dr David Kelsey

Lecturer - Metamorphic & Field Geology

School of Physical Sciences

Faculty of Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

Department of Earth Sciences

The type of research I do can be described as utilising metamorphic geology, geochronology, tectonics, structural geology and tectonostratigraphy. I effectually investigate the natural rock record that is a consequence of chemical, thermal and physical processes that have redistributed material and shaped the architecture of Earth’s crust, in order to understand the processes involved in orogeny and crustal evolution.

More specifically, the types of research projects I run or am involved in use the above disciplines to better understand, for example:

  • large-scale tectonic processes (e.g. things such as continental assembly)
  • the geochemical organisation of the crust
  • thermal drivers for metamorphism
  • how tectonic and metamorphic reactivation of old, residual crust can occur
  • how the crust can get really hot on a regional scale
  • how does the geochronological record from minerals such as zircon and monazite tell us not only about timescales, but also about the possible drivers of metamorphism
  • how do minerals such as monazite behave as a consequence of prograde (up-temperature) metamorphism, and how does this impact on the heat-producing capability of crustal rocks

My principal research interests and passions are crustal metamorphism, the behaviour of accessory minerals monazite and zircon and developing quantitative tools that enable the study of mid- to deep-crustal systems.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2010 Lecturer University of Adelaide
    2006 Australian Research Council (ARC) Postdoctoral Fellow (with 25% teaching/lecturing component) University of Adelaide
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2016 Award Australian Research Council Discovery Project (DP16)
    2014 Invitation Invited Keynote oral presentation: International Association for Gondwana Research (IAGR) China University of Geosciences, Beijing China
    2014 Invitation Invited speaker at Yale University Fall Colloquium Yale University United States
    2013 Award Australia–China Young Researchers Exchange Program: collaborative research visit to Chinese research institutions University of Adelaide Australia
    2013 Invitation Invited Focus article: Geoscience Frontiers, 6, 311–356. doi: 10.1016/j.gsf.2014.09.006 Geoscience Frontiers, Elsevier journal based in China
    2013 Invitation Invited THERMOCALC short course organiser and presenter: Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur India
    2012 Invitation Invited Keynote oral presentation: 34th International Geological Congress (IGC), Brisbane Australia
    2010 Invitation Invited Keynote oral presentation: Geological Society of America annual conference, Denver CO United States
    2010 Award Australian Research Council Linkage Project (LP10R2) University of Adelaide Australia $192,000
    2009 Invitation Invited Keynote oral presentation: Granulites & Granulites conference, Hrubá Skála Chateau, Turnov Czech Republic
    2008 Recognition Journal of Metamorphic Geology Literature Highlight: Kelsey et al., v26, 199-212, doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1314.2007.00757.x
    2006 Invitation Invited Focus article: Gondwana Research, 13, 1-29. doi: 10.1016/j.gr.2007.06.001 Gondwana Research, Elsevier journal
    2006 Invitation Invited Keynote oral presentation: 16th V.M. Goldschmidt conference, Melbourne Australia
    2006 Fellowship Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship University of Adelaide Australia $295,000
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    University of Melbourne Australia PhD

Australian Research Council (ARC) grants awarded:

Lead Chief Investigator (CI) on ARC Discovery Project DP160101006 "Impact of melt loss on crustal heat production and Earth geodynamics". Will commence in 2016. Project PIs Professor Daniela Rubatto (University of Bern, Switzerland) and Professor Frank Spear (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA).

Lead Chief Investigator (CI) on ARC Linkage Project LP100200127 "Constraining conditions and timing of orogeny and reworking in the west Musgrave Province". Commenced 2010. Project partners Geological Survey of Western Australia and Curtin University.

Sole CI on 4-year research + teaching ARC Discovery Project DP0665094 (ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship) "Tectonic links between the Musgrave Province and the North Australian Craton: correlations, event chronology, and tectonothermal regimes”. Commenced 2006.


Other notable grants awarded:

Australia–China Young Researchers Exchange Program 2013, funded by Australia’s Group of Eight (Go8) and in China by the China Science and Technology Exchange Center (CSTEC). I was the only recipient from the University of Adelaide and there were 16 national recipients overall.



  • 2010-2016: level 3 metamorphic geology (in Igneous & Metamorphic Geology III course). Topics covered: petrography, thermobarometry, diffusion, heat transfer, pressure-temperature paths, metamorphism and tectonics, geodynamics from the metamorphic rock record; and
  • 2011-2016: coordinated and taught level 3 field geology (Field Geoscience Program III), which is a 2-week remote field-camp-based geological mapping course.
  • 2016: designed, coordinated and ran the Tectonics III 3-day field camp that showcased the geology of the Delamerian Orogen.
  • 2015: designed, coordinated and ran the industry sponsored Minerals Tertiary Education Council (MTEC) 5-day short course, Mineral Exploration Through Cover. It was designed around the national UNCOVER initiative theme of unlocking mineral resources.
  • 2006-2010: level 2 metamorphic geology (in Igneous and Metamorphic Geology II).
  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2017 Co-Supervisor Metamorphic Geology and Tectonics Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Renee Jade Tamblyn
    2016 Co-Supervisor Metamorphic Controls on K-U-Th distribution in the crust Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Kiara Louise Alessio
    2016 Principal Supervisor Impact of Melt loss on crustal heat production and Earth geodynamics Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Megan Alice Williams
    2016 Co-Supervisor Fluid Assistend Metamorphism at ultra-high pressures Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Kamini Bhowany
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2014 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Metamorphic and Crustal Evolution of Australian-Antarctic Proterozoic Margins Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Naomi Marie Tucker
    2012 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Characterising the P-T-t Histories and Effects of Melt Loss in High Thermal Gradient Terranes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Laura Jane Morrissey
    2011 - 2015 Principal Supervisor Thermo-mechanical evolution of orogeny in the Musgrave Province Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Alec Keith Walsh
    2011 - 2015 Principal Supervisor Metamorphic and isotopic characterisation of Proterozoic belts at the margins of the North and West Australian Cratons Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Jade Rachel Anderson
    2007 - 2011 Co-Supervisor Investigating the Metamorphic Evolution of Reworked Terrains Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Kathryn Cutts
    2004 - 2009 Co-Supervisor Reworking the Gawler Craton: Metamorphic and Geochronological Constraints on Palaeoproterozoic Reactivation of the Southern Gawler Craton, Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Rian Dutch
  • Position: Lecturer - Metamorphic & Field Geology
  • Phone: 83134886
  • Email: david.kelsey@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 6222
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Helen Mayo North, floor NG
  • Room: NG 18
  • Org Unit: Earth Sciences

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