⭐Today I am featuring a Rockstar by the name of Kelly Heilbronn! Please give her a warm welcome! 👏 Kelly is currently working on her PhD at James Cook University in Australia! Her PhD project title is Traces of pre-Cenozoic Australian crust in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and not long ago I had the pleasure of hearing her talk about it at the GESSS-Q (Geological Society of Australia Earth Sciences Student Symposium Queensland). Kelly’s main PhD objectives are to analyse offshore Jurassic and Cretaceous detrital zircons. One might ask, what is a zircon? 🤔 A zircon is a nesosilicate mineral with the chemical formula ZrSiO4. It is one of the most widely distributed accessory minerals in igneous rocks. The word ‘detrital’ is suggestive of loose material derived from the weathering, erosion or abrasion of rock which has been transported away from its place of origin and is concentrated in rivers, lakes, beaches, etc.
Kelly’s research aims to reconstruct the Australian Eastern margin, prior to the breakup of Eastern Gondwana. Gondwana is the former supercontinent of the southern hemisphere from which number of modern day continents (Australia being one of them) is derived. Kelly has collected sampled from various locations but her talk focused on the detrital zircons in Port Moresby (the capital of Papua New Guinea). Kelly explains that Papua New Guinea is part of a complex plate boundary system between the northeast Australian plate and the southwest pacific plate. “Recently (2014) a number of papers were published that have shown evidence of Australian continental material on the other side of the subduction zone, and that includes parts of the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.” Kelly tell us that... Visit Geology is for Rockstars on Facebook for full story 😘