Martin Hand

Professor Martin Hand


School of Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

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

My research focuses on understanding the development of metamorphic and allied deformational systems in the continental crust. Within this theme he has led/continues to lead multidisciplinary teams that integrate geology, geochemistry and geophysics in pursuit of several topics: (1) Strain localisation mechanisms, and the evolution of intraplate orogenic systems, (2) Causes of high geothermal gradient regimes in the lithosphere, (3) The lithospheric development of Australia during the Proterozoic era and (4) Tectonic frameworks for Fe-oxide Cu-Au mineralisation in the Australian Proterozoic era (5) The development and evolution of high and ultra-high temperature metamorphic systems in the crust. (6) Unconventional geothermal systems.

My research focusses on two mains areas of activity.  The first uses the mineralogical and geochronological record of metamorphic rocks to unravel tectonic histories and tectonic behaviour of crustal systems in space and time.  The bulk of the continental and oceanic crust has been processed by metamorphism.  These metamorphic mineral assemblages record the thermal and mechanical processes that form and/or modify the Earth’s crust.  Metamorphic rocks effectively encompass the entire duration of the Earth’s rock record, so they encode the rise and fall of continents and mountain belts, the birth and death of oceans and the evolution of the thermal state of the crust through Earth’s history.

The second main area of research is on mineral exploration, particularly copper, in Australia.  Copper is unambiguously the most critical metal in the transition to a lower carbon economy.  The bulk of the world’s copper endowment is contained in porphyry systems that developed in thick magmatic arcs, and exploration strategies in such systems are well understood.  However, Australia is notably lacking in thick arc systems.  Instead, Australia’s copper endowment is principally contained in tectonically ambiguous iron-oxide-copper-gold and diverse epi-genetic replacement systems in the Gawler Craton and Mount Isa regions.  Consequently, copper exploration in Australia is more complex than in young arc-dominant systems.  Our research is focussed on improving the age constraints on copper mineralisation to better understand the tectonic environment of ore formation in order to identify new areas of copper prospectivity.

In addition to these foci, I also work on the geochronological and mineralogical record of the early Solar System using materials derived from pallasite and mesosideritic meteorites.

Examples of current projects

Garnet speed dating to resolve tectonic histories.  Traditionally, the age and imageduration of high temperature tectonic events has been generally constrained by the age of zircon and monazite.  However, the age relationship between these minerals and minerals in the same rock used to constrained depths and temperature has to be inferred, rather than proven.  Consequently, there is no particular reason why the age of zircon and monazite is the age of the metamorphic mineral assemblage.  Using a new dating method we have developed for dating garnet, our research has shown that zircon and monazite ages may be drastically different to the age of high temperature metamorphism, requiring conventional tectonic histories to be rewritten.

Interrogating the thermal record of supercontinent formation.  Ultrahigh-figure1temperature (UHT) metamorphism represents the extreme limit of temperatures that are regionally attainable in the Earth’s crust and is typically assumed to be linked to supercontinent formation.  However, a common feature of UHT crust is UHT mineral assemblages are volumetrically minor.  Instead, the bulk of the crust is composed of apparently lower temperature rocks.  This common relationship calls into the question to what extent UHT mineral assemblages represent the ambient thermal state of deep supercontinental crust.

Behaviour of material in subduction channels.  Subduction channels are Figure 2dynamic systems within which material is simultaneously subducted and exhumed.  This two-way flow leads to complex interplays where material can be partially exhumed and then resubducted.  The time scales of these processes likely vary depending on whether the subducted material is oceanic or continental and are poorly understood.  Our research is focussed on determining the duration of matertial interactions in subduction channel and their implications for the size of ancient and now consumed oceans.

New horizons for copper exploration:  Large-scale copper mineralisation in southern Australia (most notably Olympic Dam, Carrapeteena, Prominent Hill) occurred 1580 figure 3million years ago.  However our recent work has identified a younger and unrelated copper system in the northeasten Gawler Craton that formed more than 100 million years later.  Our present work is focussed on determining the spatial and temporal distribution of this newly discovered copper system to provide a better framework for greenfields mineral exploration.

Projects for Honours and PhD available in 2024 include

  1. Taking the temperature of the deep Gondwanan crust.
  2. The tectonic significance of ultra-high temperature metamorphism in southern Australia.  
  3. What do hot and cold eclogites in eastern Australia tell us about subduction zone dynamics?
  4. The new copper corridor, linking southern and northern Australia to unearth new opportunities for mineral exploration.


2022-2024 Garnet speed dating: Innovation for fast tectonic problem solving Hand M., Gilbert S., Tucker N. ARC
2022-2024 What goes on inside subduction zones? Clark C., Hand M., Tucker N. ARC
2021 An ICP-ToF-MS facility for environmental, mineral and biological science Lombi E, Payne, J., Raimondo, T., Hilder, E., Spandler, C., Lenehan, C., Kempson, I., Goodall, G., Hand, M., Moffat, I., Reid, A. ARC
2018-2020 East Antarctica: subglacial heat flux constraints for ice sheet modelling Hand, M., Halpin, J, Hasterok, D, McLaren S. ARC
2017 Mass spectrometry for next generation isotope analysis of silicate minerals Tyler, J., Hand, M., Bird, M., Lombi, E., Moffat, I., Moss, P., Clark, C., Davidson, G., Gell, P., Dutch, R., Gillanders, B., Tibby, J., Raimondo, T., Reepmeyer, C., Fairbairn, A. ARC
2016-2018 Source to spectrum: Finding deposits beyond the Fe oxide-Cu Au envelope Payne, J., Hand., M. Tomkins, A., Raimondo, T., Lilly, R, Reid, A., Dutch, R. ARC Linkage
2016-2018 Rehydration of the lower crust, fluid sources and geophysical expression Hand, M., Clark, C., Reddy, S., Hasterok, D., Rushmer, T. ARC Discovery
2015-2016 Fracture mapping Australia’s Energy basins Hand, M, King, R., Holford, S. ARENA
2014-2016 Quantifying the flux of fugitive greenhouse gasses associated with coal seam gas and calibrating it to natural  baseline and anthropogenic sources Kennedy, Prof Martin J; Hand, Prof Martin P; Vincent, Prof Robert A; Hamilton, A/Prof Murray W; Roberts, Mr Michael D; Malavazos, Mr Michael; Dwyer, Ms Carmen ARC Linkage
2013 High sensitivity and precision mass spectrometry for tracing Australia’s ancient evolution and securing our  future groundwater resources Hand, M. Kamenetsky, V et al ARC LIEF
2013-2015 The Windmill-Bunger connection: a key to geodynamic models for the Precambrian Australian-Antarctic continent Hand, M. Clark, C. Collins, A., Collins W.J. Australian Antarctic Science Program
2012-2013 Determining the Resource and Energy Potential of the northern Gawler Craton, Officer and Arckaringa Basins, Musgrave Domain and Torrens Hinge Zone, South Australia Hand, M., Musson, A., Bendall, B Australian Geophysical Observing system
2012-2013 Calibrating electromagnetic geophysics for its application to mapping stress orientations, temperature and permeability Thiel, S., Peacock, J., Hand, M ; Heinson, G; Didea, Y Australian Geophysical Observing system
2012-2014 Reservoir Quality in Sedimentary Geothermal Resources Hand, M. Pring, A., Bedrikovetsky, P., Kennedy, M.; Huddlestone-Holmes, C. Zwingmann, H; Sheldon, H; Matthews, Jenson, D. ARENA
2012-2014 Data fusion and machine learning for geothermal target exploration Durrant-Whyte, H; Williamson, B; Tiberi, C., Ramos, F., Hand, M; Sambridge, M; Sandiford, M., Rawling, T., Webster, R. Emerging Renewables program
2012-2014 Supercells and the supercontinent cycle Collins, W.J. Belousova, Elena; Murphy, J B; Hand, M ARC Discovery
2012 An advanced, macro-scale, hydro-thermo-mechanical testing chamber for sustainable deep geological applications Ranjith, P.G; Airey, David W; Sandiford, M; Hand, M, (and 15 others) ARC LIEF
2011-2014 South Australian Centre for Geothermal Energy Research M Hand, P. Dowd South Australian Government
2011 Developing world-class race element microanalytical imaging facilities for South Australia through key analytical infrastructure advances M. Hand, N. Cook, Y. Ngothai, B. Gillanders, M. Tester, D. Giles, J. Terlet, A. Pring, T. Baker, J. Kirby, J. Payne Premiers Science Research Fund
2011 High performance electron microprobe analyser optimised for the microanalysis of sulphides and heavy elements J. Brugger, M. Hand, H Ebendorff-Heidepriem C.E. Lenehan, A.G. Tomkins, W.M. Skinner, K.J. Ehrig. ARC LIEF
  Isotopic and Geochemical framework for mineral exploration in the central Musgrave Province S. Hill, M. Hand Pepinnini Minerals
2010-2012 Constraining conditions and timing of orogeny and reworking in the west Musgrave Province Kelsey, D., Hand, M., Collins, A., Jourdan, F., Smithies, R.H., Kirkland, C. ARC Linkage
2010-2012 The enigmatic link between crustal growth and supercontinent formation Collins W.J. Hand, M. & Condie, K ARC Discovery
2009-2010 Isotopic fingerprinting of prospective rocks in Australian Proterozoic basins: creating a new resource focussed capability for South Australia M Hand, K. Barovich, A. Collins, J. Foden Institute of Minerals Energy and Resources, University of Adelaide.
2009 TRaX engagement with State and Territory Geological Surveys: developing ARC-co-funded collaborations with the Northern Territory Geological Survey M Hand, K. Barovich, D. Kelsey, A. Collins Institute of Minerals Energy and Resources, University of Adelaide.
2009-2011 The Thermal Evolution of Peninsula India: Past Behaviours and Future Potential Collins, A., Hand, M., Kelsey, D., Halverson, G., Baines, G. Backe, G., Clark, C., Reddy, S, Kinny, P., Timms, N. Australia-India Strategic Research Fund
2009 Development of the Institute of Minerals Energy and Resources Geothermal Research Facility M Hand, A. Collins, D. Giles, G. Backe, G. Baines, S. Holford Institute of Minerals Energy and Resources, University of Adelaide.
2009 TRaX engagement with State and Territory Geological Surveys: developing ARC-co-funded collaborations with the Geological Survey of Western Australia A. Collins, M Hand, K. Barovich, D. Kelsey Institute of Minerals Energy and Resources, University of Adelaide.
2007 Ultratrace element and isotope analysis facility McLaughlin; M. JD Foden;  S Walker; AS Collins; P Marschner;. Smith; Smith;  DJ Chittleborough; A Ball;. JC Stangoulis;. JK Kirby;. BA Zarcinas;  M Hand;. BM Gillanders; GP Halverson ARC LIEF
2007-2009 'Modern-Style Subduction Reflected in the 2.0 Billion Year Old East African Eclogites A Collins, M Hand, A. Mruma, K. Barovich, G. Heinson ARC Discovery
2007 Geochemical and isotopic investigations of base-metal and Ni-PGE mineralisation potential in the Musgrave Block, South Australia M Hand & K Barovich Collaborative research contract with PIRSA
2006-2008 Enigmatic orogeny during the dispersal of Rodinia: deciphering the record of tectonic reworking in the Vestfold Hills, east Antarctica, Australia Collins, M Hand, Clark, Wartho, Chetty, Harley.  Antarctic Science Advisory Council
2006 Syngenetic and remobilised nickel in the Fowler Belt and potential for shear hosted Au systems. M Hand SA Government PACE scheme for accelerating mineral exploration in South Australia
2005-2007 How responsive are continental interiors to the geodynamic evolution of plate margins? An Australian case study. M Hand ARC Discovery
2005 Geochemical and isotopic framework for the Musgrave Province K Barovich & M Hand Collaborative research contract with PIRSA
2005-2008 Deciphering the tectonic history of the Musgrave Province to assist mineral explorers and regional synthesis programs.  M Hand, G. Heinson, P. Betts, B. Schaeffer, N. Direen, K. Barovich, J. Foden ARC Linkage
2005-2007 Developing a coherent tectonic  framework for the southern Australian Proterozoic: exploring linkages between the Curnamona Province and the Gawler Craton M Hand & K. Barovich Collaborative research contract with PIRSA
2004-2008 Developing a tectonic framework for the Gawler Craton: paving the way for successful mineral exploration programs M Hand, B. Schaefer, G. Heinson, P. Betts, K Barovich, N Direen ARC Linkage
2004-2006 Developing the tectonic and isotopic framework for Mesoproterozoic Fe-oxide Cu-Au and Au mineralisation in the Gawler Craton M Hand & K. Barovich Collaborative research contract with PIRSA
2004-2006 Crustal evolution of the Musgrave Block K. Barovich  & M Hand Collaborative research contract with PIRSA
2004 Deep Earth Resources Equipment Initiative G Heinson, N. Direen, M Hand, K. Barovich School of Earth and Environmental Sciences Strategic funding
2004 Magmatism, Metamorphism and Mineralisation:  The Development of an Isotopic and Geochemical Framework for the Curnamona Cu-Au Province M Hand, G. Heinson, K. Barovich, N. Direen University of Adelaide Strategic funding initiative
2003-2005 Thermal regimes, flexure and duration: establishing the framework for intracratonic orogeny in central Australia M Hand, K Barovich, J. Foden. ARC Linkage
2003-2005 Geochemical and Isotopic constraints on crustal evolution in the Musgrave Block M Hand, P Kinny, B. Schaefer, S. Samson ARC Discovery
2003 Crustal heat production rates and high geothermal gradient regimes: a central Australian perspective K Barovich & M Hand Collaborative research contract with PIRSA
2002 Age constraints on deformation and mineralisation in the southern Delamerian Fold Belt M Hand University of Adelaide Small Research Grant Scheme
2001-2003 Collaborative research contract with the South Australian Department of Mines and Energy M Hand ARC SPIRT grant
2001-2002 Spatial and temporal evolution of deformation in the southern Adelaide Fold Belt M Hand & K Barovich Collaborative research contracts with PIRSA
2001 Heat production and LPHT thermal regimes in the Mt Isa Inlier. M Hand University of Adelaide Small Research Grant Scheme
1998-2000 Heat production and thermal regimes during low-pressure metamorphism M Hand ARC Discovery
1997-2001 Heat production and thermal regimes in Australian low – pressure – high - temperature terrains. M Hand ARC: Research Fellowship
1995 Field constraints on driving stresses during continental deformation. A Himalayan test case M Hand, Sandiford, K. Stüwe University of Adelaide Small Research Grant Scheme
1994-1996 The contribution of deviatoric stress to metamorphic PT paths M Hand ARC: Research Fellowship

Extra-Terrestrial Geoscience: This course provides an opportunity to use the skills of a geoscientist to observe and understand terrestrial bodies other than Earth, how they formed, how they evolved and their differences and similarities with Earth.   The course introduces geophysical, geochemical, geochronological and stratigraphic datasets to understand internal and surface processes of different terrestrial objects. Do these bodies have water, is it available, and can they support life?

Igneous and Metamorphic Geology II: This course introduces mineralogy (mineral chemistry, classification and structure) of igneous and metamorphic rocks.  It provides the working basis of optical mineralogy and crystallography required to use the petrographic microscope to undertake petrography, mineral identification and rock classification. The course also provides introduction to geochemical classification of rocks.

Igneous and Metamorphic Geology III: This course examines the origin and evolution of igneous and metamorphic rocks. It focuses on both descriptive work and theoretical background related to rock formation and development. Igneous Geology: This section examines the controls on the generation and differentiation of silicate melts within the earth and the contribution these processes have made to the composition of the crust and mantle through time. It also uses the basis of elemental and isotope geochemistry to understand these processes. We examine case studies of magma generation in key tectonic settings on the earth through time. Metamorphic Geology: This examines the nature and change of sub-solidus and supra-solidus mineral assemblages and textures in rocks. This basis is used to explore the resolution to range of tectonic problems via a series of micro-projects that comprise a lab program that incorporates thermobarometry, mineral equilibria modelling and geochronology. 

Mineral Resources III: This course covers the processes that control the formation of ore deposits and mineral resources. Mineral resource forming processes are examined in the framework of the tectonic, petrogenetic and geochemical evolution of the Earth's crust on local, regional and global geological scales. Thus, the course draws upon igneous and metamorphic processes, geochemistry and structural geology. Practical work emphasises the mesoscopic recognition of ore minerals and mineralisation associated rock textures in both hand sample and drill core, and the methods of data collection presentation and analysis of geochemical data in mapping ore deposits.

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2024 Co-Supervisor Cosmic insights: Meteorites as fundamental reference materials for objects in the solar system Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jake Craig Jolly
    2022 Co-Supervisor Thermochronology of the evolution of the solar system Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Thomas David Burke
    2022 Co-Supervisor Thermochronology of the South Australian-Antarctic margin Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Sharmaine Verhaert
    2022 Co-Supervisor Low-temperature thermal history of the Antarctic - South Australian conjugate margins Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ferdinand Mayer-Ullmann
    2021 Principal Supervisor The geodynamic framework of Central Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Samantha Nicole March
    2021 Co-Supervisor Thermochronology of ‘The Gap’ Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Alejandra Maria Bedoya Mejia
    2019 Principal Supervisor An exploration of the obscured metamorphic expression of subducted polytectonic rocks Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Dillon Brown
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2023 Co-Supervisor Development of laser ablation collision/reaction cell Lu-Hf geochronology Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Alexander David Simpson
    2018 - 2023 Principal Supervisor The early Mesoproterozoic tectonic systems and IOCG mineralisation in the northern Gawler Craton Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jie Yu
    2018 - 2023 Principal Supervisor The early Mesoproterozoic tectonic and thermal evolution of the eastern Gawler Craton: implications for mineral systems in eastern Proterozoic Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Mitchell Jae Bockmann
    2018 - 2023 Co-Supervisor Constraining Subglacial Heat Flux in Antarctica from Thermal Conductivity and Subglacial Lakes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Simon Robert Willcocks
    2017 - 2019 Co-Supervisor Thermal History of Central Australia: Cooper Basin, South Australia & Anmatjira Range, Northern Territory: Insights from Apatite Fission Track and U-Pb Thermochronology Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Nicholas Stewart Fernie
    2017 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Subduction zone metamorphism: Timescales and emergence in the geological record Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Renee Jade Tamblyn
    2016 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Constraints on the thermal state of the continental lithosphere Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Matthew Geoffrey Gard
    2016 - 2019 Principal Supervisor The Effects of High Temperature Metamorphic and Melting Processes on Granulite-Facies Rocks Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Kiara Louise Alessio
    2014 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Metamorphic and Crustal Evolution of Australian-Antarctic Proterozoic Margins Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Naomi Marie Tucker
    2013 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Proterozoic Crustal Growth in the Southeastern Gawler Craton; The Development of the Barossa Complex, and an Assessment of the Detrital Zircon Method Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Kieran Meaney
    2012 - 2016 Principal 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
    2012 - 2016 Principal Supervisor Structural Permeability in Australian Sedimentary Basins Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Adam Henry Edward Bailey
    2012 - 2016 Principal Supervisor What do Epsilon Hafnium Isotopic Arrays tell us about Wilson Cycle Tectonics? Implications for the Type Area in the Appalachian-Variscan Orogen Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Bonnie Joanne Henderson
    2012 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Optimisation of Geothermal Systems Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Josephine Varney
    2011 - 2015 Co-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
    2011 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Thermo-mechanical evolution of orogeny in the Musgrave Province Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Alec Keith Walsh
    2009 - 2012 Co-Supervisor Magnetotelluric Monitoring Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jared Peacock
    2008 - 2017 Co-Supervisor A Geochronological U-Pb Zircon La-ICPMS Age and Provenance Study of Wanni, Highland and Vijayan Complexes of Sri Lanka and Proterozoic Pranhita-Godavari Purana Basin of India Unveils Origin of Sri Lanka Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Udeni Bandara Amarasinghe
    2008 - 2012 Co-Supervisor Basin Analysis and the Geochemical Signature of Paleoproterozoic Sedimentary Successions in Northern Australia: Constraints on Basin Development in Respect to Mineralisation and Paleoreconstruction Models Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Lex Lambeck
    2008 - 2011 Principal Supervisor The Architecture and Evolution of Intracontinental orogens: a structural, metamorphic and geochemical characterisation Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Tom Raimondo
    2007 - 2011 Principal Supervisor Investigating the Metamorphic Evolution of Reworked Terrains Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Kathryn Cutts
    2007 - 2012 Principal Supervisor Geotectonics in the Gawler Craton: Constraints from Geochemistry, U-Pb Geochronology and Sm-Nd and Lu-Hf Isotopes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Katie Howard
    2006 - 2010 Co-Supervisor The Source and Origin of High Heat Production Granites in the Mt Printer and Other Proterozoic In tires Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Kamonporn Kromkhun
    2006 - 2011 Co-Supervisor Palaeoproterozoic eclogite formation in Tanzania: a structural, geochronological, thermochronological and metamorphic study of the Usgaran and Ubende orogenic belts Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Rachael Brick
    2004 - 2009 Principal 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
    2004 - 2008 Co-Supervisor Palaeo- to Mesoproterozoic Evolution of the Gawler Craton, Australia: Geochronological, Geochemical and Isotopic Constraints Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Justin Payne
    2003 - 2007 Co-Supervisor Magnetotelluric Experiments in Central and Southern Australia and their Implications for Tectonic Evolution Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Katherine Selway
    2003 - 2006 Co-Supervisor Unravelling the Tectonic Framework of the Musgrave Province, Central Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Benjamin Wade
    2001 - 2006 Principal Supervisor Developing a Tectonic Framework for the Southern Curnamona Cu-Au Province: Geochemical and Radiogenic Isotope Applications Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Lachlan Rutherford
  • Position: Professor
  • Phone: 83135324
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Mawson, floor G
  • Org Unit: Earth Sciences

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