Dr Melanie Finch is a structural and metamorphic geologist at James Cook University, Australia. She completed her PhD at Monash University in 2016 on the tectono-metamorphic evolution of a hot back arc and its thick shear zones. She was then awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Tuebingen, Germany. Melanie returned to Australia in 2018 in a teaching-research position at Monash University and then moved to JCU in 2022. 

Melanie's research focuses on understanding how viscous shear zones accommodate strain and fluid flow. She works on fluid transport from subduction slabs, into the subduction channel shear zone and through the mantle wedge. She is also interested in the role of shear zones in forming critical mineral ore deposits.

Melanie is a 2021-2022 STA ‘Superstar of STEM’ and the President of Women in Earth and Environmental Sciences Australasia (WOMEESA).

  • CS3002: Soil Mechanics and Geology (Level 3; TSV)
  • EA1110: Evolution of the Earth (Level 1; TSV)
  • EA2010: Introductory Geology (Level 2; TSV)
  • EA3210: Structural Geology and Tectonics (Level 3; TSV)
  • EA5211: Structural Geology and Tectonics (Level 5; TSV)
  • I am interested in understanding how ductile shear zones accommodate strain and transport fluids in a variety of settings. I would like to determine the role of ductile shear zones in the formation of hydrothermal ore deposits, particularly in skarn deposits. I am also interested in understanding the fluid flux from the subducting slab, into the subduction channel shear zone, and through the mantle.
  • 2019 to 2021 - Lecturer, Monash University
  • 2016 to 2018 - Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow, The University of Tuebingen (Germany)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2021 to 2022 - STA Superstar of STEM
  • 2021 - President of Women in Earth and Environmental Science Australasia (WOMEESA)

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

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 19+ research outputs authored by Dr Melanie Finch from 2014 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Queensland Department of Resources - Contract Research

Assessing the footprint, fingerprint, and vectoring potential towards Cu mineralization of trace elements in chalcopyrite and co-existing pyrite, and albite.

Indicative Funding
$180,000 over 3 years, in partnership with Anglo American Exploration (Australia) Pty Ltd ($180,000); Mount Isa Mines ($180,000) and South32 ($180,000)
This project aims to assess the footprint, fingerprint, and vectoring potential towards Cu mineralization by using trace element analyses of chalcopyrite, pyrite, and albite from Cu deposits in Mt Isa region. As part of this project co-existing chalcopyrite, pyrite and albite will be analysed from a suite of well characterised samples comprising a variety of mineral deposits from Mt Isa region. The role of host rock and deformation on mineral trace element geochemistry will be investigated in order to assess their influence on the vectoring potential.
Ioan Sanislav and Melanie Finch (College of Science & Engineering)
copper; Mineral Chemistry; mineralization; Exploration; Trace Element Geochemistry; Ore vectoring

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Add mountains and shake: fault and earthquake pattern controls in active plate boundaries.

Indicative Funding
$17,500 over 3 years (administered by Monash University)
Transpressional mountain building occurs when tectonic plate boundaries undergo shortening and shearing parallel and perpendicular to the plate boundary. Such regions are characterised by mountains, interacting fault networks, earthquakes, volcanoes and ore deposits. We aim to determine the fundamental physical processes that link topography, seismicity, volcanism and the evolution of fault networks in these mountain belts. This work will: determine fault patterns, seismic and volcanic hazards in transpressional mountain belts, determine how seismicity modulates fault pathways, determine how high topography affects fault networks, seismic and volcanic unrest, and provide a new framework for mineral exploration at these plate boundaries.
Alexander Cruden, Mark Quigley and Melanie Finch (Monash University, University of Melbourne and College of Science & Engineering)

Department of the Environment and Energy - Contract Research

Seismic Interpretation of NE QLD

Indicative Funding
$50,000 over 1 year
This project will update the interpretation of deep seismic lines across NE QLD, from Georgetown to Thomson and Hodkinson provinces. Work carried out at JCU with regard to tectonic models of the development of the eastern margin of the north Australian craton and new processing techniques should allow a better understanding of the fundamental geological and tectonic structure of NE Queensland. Understanding of the large scale distribution of geological provinces in 3 dimensions will underpin other works in the region such as geological mapping and lead to better understanding of mineral systems which include significant potential for critical minerals.
Ioan Sanislav, Lauren Waszek and Melanie Finch (College of Science & Engineering)
Deep seismic lines; North Australian craton; Seismic interpretation; Geological provinces; Tectonic provinces; Georgetown inlier

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.

  • Provenance, Sedimentology and Geomorphology of Coastal Dune Fields in Queensland (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The structural, stratigraphic, and tectonic setting of the southern part of the Western Succession, Mt Isa inlier with implication for sediment-hosted Zn-Pb-Ag?Cu deposits. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Petrogenesis of the Croydon gold field and adjacent gold deposits, North West Queensland, Australia. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Role of Ductile Shear Zones in the Formation of Critical Mineral Deposits (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • The Structural and Geological setting of the Capricorn Cu deposits, Western Succession, Mt Isa Inlier (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The role of structurally-controlled saline fluid flow in the formation of Australia?s Rare Earth Element deposits (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Deep Seismic Lines in North Queensland: Revealing the Geological and Tectonic structure for a better understanding of Mineral Systems and Critical Mineral Potential (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

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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