School of Earth Sciences
Discovering Earth and beyond through time
UWA’s School of Earth Sciences is a group of internationally recognised educators and researchers who are excited by the diverse and complex ancient geological and modern environments of Earth and other planets in our solar system. Western Australia has a geological record of ancient processes and environments over the last 4.5 billion years including the record of early life evolution and major mineral, petroleum and groundwater resources. Our coastline is a natural laboratory to resolve important questions related to complex coastal systems including carbonate reefs, and the record of recent climate change in these systems.Geoscience draws on the fundamental sciences to understand how our planet works, and is set apart by the time scales and spatial scales on which geological processes operate. Our activities cover a wide range of fields of study including geology, geophysics, geochemistry, geobiology, geochronology, computer modelling and data analytics.
We integrate data from these fields to solve geoscience problems as we seek to advance our fundamental understanding of Earth processes through time. Many interesting problems relate to the formation of important natural resources for society’s use and using our scientific understanding for predicting future change.
The School occupies one of the oldest iconic buildings on campus, but within its walls our geoscientists use the latest instruments and digital technology in their projects. We provide a vibrant environment for research and high-quality training for our students, and have a long history of successful industry and government geoscience collaboration.
Our research programs focus on providing practical experience, including field-based work and problem-solving skills at undergraduate, honours and postgraduate levels. Students also have access to sophisticated instruments, industry-standard software, as well as the opportunity to learn from, and network with, industry professionals.
We work on a range of fundamental and applied research and teaching in the School of Earth Sciences, providing an impressive array of opportunities for staff and students.
Early life and biotic evolution
The fossil record provides the basis for our understanding of Earth’s biotic evolution. Our most ancient terranes present glimpses of life on the Early Earth.Read more about Early life and biotic evolution
Western Australia’s diverse mineral resources provide wide-ranging opportunities for mineral systems research.Read more about Mineral geoscience
Coral reef studies and coastal marine systems
Coral reef studies and coastal marine systems research investigates the effect of climate change on our coastal reefs and marine systems.Read more about Coral reef studies and coastal marine systems
Sedimentary basins are important records of Earth’s history and may host significant resources including petroleum, minerals and groundwater.Read more about Petroleum geoscience
Researchers in hydrogeology investigate the integrity and sustainability of groundwater systems and their interaction with surface environments.Read more about Hydrogeology
Our postgraduates carry out interesting and often vital research into all manner of subjects across all research areas. To promote their efforts, and to encourage others who are inspired to make their own mark on the world, we present the work of our current and past postgraduate students here.
275 million-year-old fossilised starfish found in Western Australia
A research team led by The University of Western Australia has discovered a 275 million-year-old fossilised starfish-like creature in the north-west town of Gascoyne Junction. Lead researcher Dr Aaron Hunter, an Adjunct Research Fellow in UWA’s School of Earth Sciences, said it was the first time fossil brittle stars (ophiuroids) had been found in Western Australia.Read more
Western Australia’s Pilbara region is Earth’s oldest stable crust
A research team comprising geoscientists from UWA and Queensland University of Technology have recently published a new model for the formation of the ancient crust of the Pilbara in Nature Geoscience. Lead author Dr Daniel Wiemar, in UWA’s School of Earth Sciences, and co-authors proposed that the Early Earth was too hot for plate tectonics to operate and, instead, newly formed igneous rocks could bend and flow creating unstable crust.Read more
Edward de Courcy Clarke Earth Science Museum
This interactive museum allows visitors of all ages to discover and explore earth sciences. Several thousand visitors come to the Museum each year to learn about past environments, plants and animals, examine beautiful crystals, and enjoy rare experiences such as touching a meteorite, creating their own (non-destructive) earthquake and handling some of Western Australia’s unusual minerals. The interactive sandbox is a great way to learn about Earth’s surface processes.
Faculty of Science
Faculty of Science is uncovering exactly how it has the power to change our world for the better
PhD opportunities in Science
You can research your PhD at UWA and join leading academics and researchers on innovative projects answering the world’s big questions through our PhD opportunities in Science.
Oceans Graduate School
UWA's Oceans Graduate School is providing innovative and effective solutions for the challenges facing the world’s oceans.
Harnessing resources and energy for a sustainable future
Our energy and geoscience research is helping create a world of secure, sustainable and emission-free minerals and energy.