Rachelle Kernen

Dr Rachelle Kernen

Internal Grant Funded Researcher B

School of Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology


I am currently the South Australian Representative for Women in Earth and Environmental Sciences Australasia (WOMEESA) and a Superstar of STEM (2023-2024) for Australia Science and Technology. As a Grant-Funded Research Fellow (and a recipient of the prestigious Global Talent Visa), my current research applies my expertise in sedimentology, stratigraphy, and salt-sediment interaction to subsurface carbon dioxide and hydrogen storage and critical mineral deposits.

I completed my PhD in Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso (2019) and my MSc in Geology at New Mexico State University (2008) with a specialty in salt-sediment interaction, intrasalt stratigraphy & deformation, caprock precipitation and dissolution, and energy. During my MSc and PhD, I was a researcher for the Salt-Sediment Interaction Research Consortium (Institute of Tectonic Studies).

Currently, I am an associate editor for an upcoming AAPG Special Bulletin in Salt Basins and editorial manager for the new Diamond Open-Acess (DOA) journal Sedimentologika. I host an energy-related podcast; Energy Geoscience, which is funded by the Midwest Regional Carbon Initiative (Battelle and United States Department of Energy).

My main research interests are the following:

1) salt-sediment interaction in the Flinders and Willouran Ranges, South Australia. This research is significant because it marks the onset of dramatic changes in Earth’s climate referred to as Snowball Earth and forms the depositional environments where the origin of complex life was enabled to evolve. Exposure of these specific stratigraphic units in relation to the diapiric breccia is limited to this region, making them rare and unique.

2) sedimentologic and stratigraphic studies in salt basins related to the development of subsurface carbon dioxide and hydrogen storage sites and critical mineral deposits. I am interested in regional to prospect scale studies that integrate different types of datasets (outcrop, seismic, wireline, gravity, magnetic) and enjoy working in collaborative teams within the academic, industry, and government sectors.

3) geoethics specifically related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the academic, industry, government, and non-profit sectors. I am passionate about elevating the status of women, non-cis, and minorities. I specialize in the intersection of data analysis and sociologic methods. Additionally, I am passionate about utilizing sustainable, non-destructive field methods and the conservation of the natural environment. 

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2021 - 2021 Exploration Geologist Sandfire Resources America
    2018 - 2019 Adjunct Faculty El Paso Community College
    2018 - 2018 Exploration Geologist BP Americas
    2017 - 2017 Visiting Research Fellow University of Texas Austin
    2017 - 2017 Lecturer Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
    2015 - 2019 Assistant Instructor University of Texas at El Paso
    2011 - 2015 Exploration Geologist Royal Dutch Shell
    2011 - 2011 Geologist Intern Samson Resources
    2008 - 2010 Teaching Assistant New Mexico State University
    2006 - 2008 Teaching Assistant University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2022 Achievement AAPG Salt Tectonic Session & Student Volunteer Chair American Association of Petroleum Geology United States -
    2022 Distinction South Australian Representative Women in Earth and Environmental Sciences Australasia Australia -
    2021 Award ALLY GRIT Award Finalist ALLY Energy United States -
    2020 Award GRIT Team Award ALLY Energy United States -
    2019 Scholarship Vernon G. and Joy Hunt Endowed Scholarship Fund in Geology University of Texas El Paso United States -
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    Penn State United States Professional Master in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems
    University of Texas El Paso United States PhD Geological Sciences
    New Mexico State University United States MSc Geology
    The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh United States Bachelor of Science
  • Postgraduate Training

    Date Title Institution Country
    2012 - 2015 Royal Dutch Shell Graduate Program Royal Dutch Shell United States
  • Research Interests

  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2023 Shin, T. A., & Kernen, R. A. (2023). Introduction to Salt Basins Special Issue Volume 1: Diapirism, deformation, dating, and exploration in honor of Bruno Vendeville and all the unsung heroes. AAPG Bulletin, 107(1), 1-5.
    DOI
    2021 Kernen, R., Lehrmann, A., & Poe, P. (2021). Lithostratigraphy and Chemostratigraphy of salt diapir sedimentary inclusions: unraveling Ediacaran salt tectonics in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia. MESA Journal, 95(2), 4-29.
    2020 Kernen, R. A., Giles, K. A., Poe, P. L., Gannaway Dalton, C. E., Rowan, M. G., Fiduk, J. C., & Hearon, T. E. (2020). Origin of the Neoproterozoic rim dolomite as lateral carbonate caprock, Patawarta salt sheet, Flinders Ranges, South Australia. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 67(6), 815-832.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS5
    2020 Rowan, M. G., Hearon IV, T. E., Kernen, R. A., Giles, K. A., Gannaway-Dalton, C. E., Williams, N. J., . . . Fischer, M. P. (2020). A review of allochthonous salt tectonics in the Flinders and Willouran ranges, South Australia. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 67(6), 787-813.
    DOI Scopus10 WoS9
    2015 Hearon IV, T. E., Rowan, M. G., Giles, K. A., Kernen, R. A., Gannaway, C. E., Lawton, T. F., & Fiduk, J. C. (2015). Allochthonous salt initiation and advance in the northern Flinders and eastern Willouran ranges, South Australia: Using outcrops to test subsurface-based models from the northern Gulf of Mexico. AAPG Bulletin, 99(02), 293-331.
    DOI
    2012 Kernen, R. A., Giles, K. A., Rowan, M. G., Lawton, T. F., & Hearon, T. E. (2012). Depositional and halokinetic-sequence stratigraphy of the neoproterozoic Wonoka Formation adjacent to patawarta allochthonous salt sheet, Central Flinders Ranges, South Australia. Geological Society Special Publication, 363(1), 81-105.
    DOI Scopus34
    - Kernen, R., Abu, C., Allen, J., Ahmed, S., Amos, K., Avary, K. L., . . . Rysak, B. (n.d.). Creating and Promoting Gender Equity and Diversity in Professional Geological Societies: A Focus on AAPG.
    DOI

The Midwest Regional Carbon Initiative (funded by Battelle and the United States Department of Energy) sponsors my Podcast focusing on CCS/CCUS called Energy Geoscience or "eGeos."

I am currently an co-instructor for Energy Geoscience and PETROGEO7013.

  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2022 - ongoing Chair Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage Case Studies Session Chair American Association of Petroleum Geologists United States
  • Event Participation

    Date Event Name Event Type Institution Country
    2022 - ongoing Women’s Network Webinar Series: Decarbonization Solutions for the Energy Transition Seminars American Association of Petroleum Geologists -
  • Review, Assessment, Editorial and Advice

    Date Title Type Institution Country
    2021 - ongoing Associate Editor Editorial American Association of Petroleum Geology -
  • Position: Internal Grant Funded Researcher B
  • Email: rachelle.kernen@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Santos Petroleum Engineering, floor 2
  • Org Unit: Earth Sciences

Connect With Me
External Profiles