3D geology modelling and inversion

Investigating the 3D structure of the earth

New mineral discoveries are no longer being found at the surface of the earth, but deeper in the crust. Mining operations require accurate 3D models to determine the value of a mine and plan where to next extract more ore. These challenges mean three-dimensional geological modelling is becoming more crucial to the earth sciences as our need to discover and extract mineral deposits increases.

The PhD project will be part of the Automated 3D Modelling module in the $215 million MinEx CRC and the Loop Consortium, an international effort to develop an open source solution to the next generation of 3D modelling tools. We will be exploring various topics in geological modelling that will contribute to the success of the Loop Consortium:

  • Topology of Geology in 1D and 2D as a 3D geomodelling constraint
  • Optimal drilling schemes in uncertain terranes
  • Multiscale 3D geological modelling from drill hole data
  • Data fusion methodologies for geology-geophysics inversion
  • 3D geological modelling of complex metamorphic regions using the Loop Platform

We invite technically minded students to apply for scholarships to work with us on a series of research projects related to implementation and testing of the Loop Platform and development of technologies for the MinEx CRC. 


  • MinEx CRC: $50 million in government funding and $165 million in cash and in-kind funding from CRC participants ($215 million total). Phase one is three years, with the possibility of three phases
  • OneGeology Consortium and Loop ARC Linkage ($1.7 million over three years)

Project goals

Integration of all geoscientific data to the modelling process

Develop methods to include geological rules to produce consistent and reliable models

Assess and characterise uncertainty to better understand future data collection needs to aid decision-making

Research team leader: Professor Mark Jessell

 My research interests are divided between the development of advanced 3D geological modeling techniques, tectonics and mineralisation of West Africa, and the numerical simulation of microstructure evolution in rocks.

My focus in the 3D geological modelling realm is on developing the inclusion of topological constraints and rule-based approach for 3D modelling. I am a former Western Australian Fellow and was recently acting Director at the Centre for Exploration Targeting. This project is co-supervised by Dr Mark Lindsay, Research Fellow in the School of Earth Sciences, Centre for Exploration Targeting, at UWA.

PhD opportunities

Interested in becoming part of this project? Complete the following steps to submit your expression of interest:

Step 1 - Check criteria

General UWA PhD entrance requirements can be found on the Future Students website.

Requirements specific to this project:

  • Structural geology
  • Geophysical modelling and interpretation
  • Data sciences Matlab, R, Python C/C++ ArcGIS
  • Geophysical processing packages (e.g. Oasis Montaj, GMT)
  • 3D modelling (Geomodeller, GoCAD, Leapfrog, Micromine etc.)

Step 2 - Submit enquiry to research team leader

Step 3 - Lodge application

After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, you should be in a position to proceed to the next step of the UWA application process: Lodge an applicationDifferent application procedures apply to domestic and international students.