Dr Carl Spandler uses petrology and geochemistry to research many different aspects of Earth Science, including the evolution of the Earth's mantle, the production of basaltic magmas, subduction zone processes, magmatic growth of island arcs and the formation of metalliferous ore deposits.  

His current research focuses on:

1. Hydrothermal mobility and concentration of rare earth elements in the crust. 

2. Crustal evolution of NE Australia and the SW Pacific

3. Geochemistry of high/ultrahigh pressure metamorphic rocks

4. Earth-scale geochemical cycling

  • EA2220: Minerals and Magmas (Level 2; TSV)
  • EA2900: Introductory Field Geology (Level 2; CNS & TSV)
  • EA3100: Igneous Petrology and Processes (Level 3; TSV)
  • EA3400: Ore Genesis (Level 3; TSV)
  • EA5041: Igneous Petrology and Processes (Level 5; TSV)
  • EA5330: Field Techniques (Level 5; TSV)
  • subduction zone recycling and arc magmatism • high-pressure metamorphism • mantle geochemistry • basaltic magmatism • element diffusion in minerals • magmatic ore deposits • rare earth element ore deposits • experimental petrology • analytical geochemistry • tectonics of the SW Pacific • evolution of the Australian continent
  • 2015 to present - Associate Professor, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2011 to 2014 - Senior Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2008 to 2010 - Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2006 to 2008 - Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Bern (Switzerland)
  • 2005 to 2006 - APD Postdoctoral Fellow, Australian National University (Canberra, Australia)
  • 2000 to 2005 - PhD student, Australian National University (Canberra, Australia)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2010 - Deans Excellence in Research Prize, Faculty of Science and Engineeering
  • 2012 - Future Fellowship
  • 2005 - Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2012 - National Committee for Earth Sciences, Australian Academy of Science
  • 2012 - Treasurer/conference organiser for the Specialist Group for Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Petrology, Geological Society of Australia

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Conference Papers

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 59+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Carl Spandler from 2003 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Jurassic Arc? Reconstructing the Lost World of Eastern Australia

Indicative Funding
$284,390 over 3 years
This project aims to resolve a long-standing enigma about the geological formation of the Great Artesian Basin ? Australia?s most important onshore reservoir for groundwater and hydrocarbon resources. Specifically, the project will integrate sedimentological and geochemical studies to investigate the geodynamic configuration of Eastern Australia during the Jurassic Period of basin formation. The intended outcomes are an improved understanding of the evolution of the Australian continent and better knowledge of the formation of intercontinental sedimentary basins, which includes better assessment of their potential to contain hydrocarbon resources.
Carl Spandler, Eric Roberts, Anthony Kemp and Bob Henderson (College of Science & Engineering and The University of Western Australia)
Jurassic; Great Artesian Basin; Zircon; Tectonics

Qld Dept of Natural Resources and Mines - Future Resources Program

Characterising and assessing prospectivity of intrusion-related hydrothermal mineral systems in north-east Queensland

Indicative Funding
$1,779,736 over 2 years
The project is to assess the prospectivity of intrusion-related hydrothermal mineral systems in NE Queensland, through characterising the geological features and understanding the genesis and ore formation controls of known deposits, and investigating on regional alteration, magma fertility, geodynamic setting and evolution, and uplift/exhumation histories. The project will introduce new ideas and new approaches to help improve exploration success rate and to invigorate and revitalise exploration activities in NE Queensland.
Zhaoshan Chang, Paul Dirks, Carl Spandler, John Carranza, Jan Huizenga and Bob Henderson (College of Science & Engineering and Division of Tropical Environments & Societies)
Mt Carlton; Queensland; gold-copper; high-sulfidation epithermal deposit; porphyry deposit; Exploration

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Life and death of Australopithicus sediba: how a potential ancestor ended up dead in a cave in world heritage site in South Africa

Indicative Funding
$256,000 over 2 years
In August 2008 the remarkable Malapa fossil site was discovered with remains of the first and only fossils of Australopithecus sediba - a potential direct human ancestor. The fossils are in an exceptional state of preservation, and excavations will start in late 2013, creating a unique opportunity to develop a detailed understanding of the chemical, physical and biological factors that led to burial and fossilisation. This research will focus on the complex interplay between termites, sediment chemistry, landscape conditions and palaeo-climate as contributing factors to fossil preservation. Results will document the environment in which sediba lived and died, and assist future exploration for hominid fossils.
Paul Dirks, Eric Roberts, Carl Spandler and Tom Blenkinsop in collaboration with Lee Berger and Zubair Jinnah (College of Science & Engineering and University of the Witwatersrand - Johannesburg)
Australopithicus sediba; Taphonomy; Geochemistry

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Future Fellowships

Rare earths unearthed: Resolving the mystery of how rare earth elements are mobilised and concentrated in continental crust

Indicative Funding
$711,098 over 5 years
Shifts towards green energy and technology in modern society are dependant on continuing supplies of rare earth elements. Nevertheless, we know little about how these elements concentrate to form economically viable ore bodies, and there remain fundamental holes in our knowledge of how these elements interact with fluids in the Earth's crust. This project combines experiments and novel geochemical studies of natural ores to address these knowledge deficiencies. The results will aid exploration for new rare earth element resources and will contribute to an improved understanding of how continents grow and evolve through time.
Carl Spandler (College of Science & Engineering)
Rare Earth Elements; mineral solubility; Ore Deposit

Australia-New Zealand International Ocean Discovery Program Consortium - Research Grant

Combined U-Pb zircon geochronology & Lu-Hf analysis of Jurassic-Cretaceous volcanics and sandstones from the Lord Howe Rise and Queensland Plateau, Australia

Indicative Funding
We prosed to combine zircon geochronology on putative Cretaceous volcanics reported in the DSDP Leg 21-207 and combine this with more ambitious dual Lu-Hf isotope and U-Pb isotope analysis on detrital zircons collected from a suite of Cretaceous and Paleogene sedimentary rock samples in cores from DSDP Leg 21-206, 207, 208 and 209. This approach is designed to identify the distribution of ages and geochemical signatures associated with earlies Cretaceous-Jurassic age detrital zircons (and volcanics) in order to better understand the timing of Cretaceous-Jurassic volcanism, the possible provenance of Cretaceous-Jurassic volcanic sources and to glean a better understanding of the nature of the magmatism during the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous along eastern Australia.
Eric Roberts, Carl Spandler and Robert Holm (College of Science & Engineering)
IODP; geochemistry; Detrital Zircon; Sedimentology

Office for Learning and Teaching - Extension Grants

Exploring field spaces as learning places: Optimising the impact of field-based learning on the student experience

Indicative Funding
$30,000 over 2 years
The project aim is to improve the field-based learning experience for students. The team includes staff from multiple disciplines in the new CMES and CTSE Colleges. The range of field-based learning activities undertaken in the two colleges will be identified and mapped to the curriculum in nominated courses. Focus groups will be held with academics and students to gather data. Findings will be shared with the broader university community through a collaborative symposium. Strategies for effective practice in field-based learning and teaching will be applied to nominated courses and the impact on student learning evaluated. The project deliverables will include a university-wide symposium, website and online guide to field-based learning.
Phil Turner, Janet Buchan, Paul Nelson, Lin Schwarzkopf, Janine Sheaves, Orpha Bellwood, Carl Spandler, Michelle Lasen and Tanya Doyle (College of Science & Engineering, College of Arts and Society & Education)
Learning and teaching; Learning spaces; Field based learning; Science Education

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Establishing a Tectonic Framework for the Cretaceous break-up of Eastern Gondwana: Insights from Papua New Guinea and Offshore Geology of the Coral and Tasman Seas. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Understanding the hydrothermal mobility of rare earth elements in the continental crust (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Base Metal Genesis, Stratigraphy and Structural Evolution of the Central Tommy Creek Domain, Mt Isa Inlier (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Geochemistry of Titanite Hosted Melt Inclusions from within Oligocene Aged Tuffs in the Rukwa Rift Basin, Southwestern Tanzania (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • The Origin and Evolution of Heavy Rare Earth Element Mineralisation in the Browns Range Area, Northern Australia (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Magma Fertility Related to Au-Cu Mineralization in North Queensland, Australia - Evaluating the Potential for Linked Porphyry Cu±Au (±Mo) Deposits at Depths. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Stratigraphy and Sedimentary Basin Analysis of Queensland's Jurassic to Cretaceous Basins, and the application of U-Pb Detrital Zircon Geochronology to Reconstruct Tectonic History and Palaeodrainage Evolution. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Fluids in the lower crust: storage and mobilization (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Bentonite Tephrostratigraphy and High-Precision Geochronology of Richly Fossiliferous Upper Cretaceous Continental Strata in the Western Interior Basin, North America (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Uplift History, Intrusive Sequence, and Skarn Mineralisation at the Giant Antamina Deposit, Peru (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Mesozoic Detrital Zircon Provenance of Central Africa: Implications for Jurassic-Cretaceous Tectonics, Paleogeography and Landscape Evolution. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Zonation, paragenesis and fluid evolution from the root to top of the Far Southeast Lepanto porphyry epithermal system, Mankayan district, Philippines (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Magma-related hydrothermal gold and base metal deposits in the Chillagoe district, NE Queensland, Australia: Relationships, transitions, and controls (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Geochronology and Genesis of the Wolfram Camp W-Mo deposit, Queensland, Australia (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Timing of hydrothermal activity and mineralization in the Mt Isa inlier using U-Pb dating of titanite (PhD , Primary Advisor)

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit the JCU Research Data Catalogue.


The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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  • 34.145, Earth & Environmental Sciences (Townsville campus)
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