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Personal profile


A/Prof Craig O'Neill is a rock doctor and planetary scientist at Macquarie University, Sydney, and Director of the Macquarie Planetary Research Centre.

He has a background in geodynamics, computational geoscience, and satellite datasets. He has worked on projects in geophysics, geology, computational fluid dynamics, data science, satellite data, geotechnical engineering and hydrogeology.

He is known for simulating the geodynamics of the early Earth, and planetary interiors. He is also passionate about renewable energy resources, and has supervised projects on geothermal energy, hydroelectricity and groundwater, and carbon geosequestration, and is always keen to find students with similar interests.


Research interests

Craig's group currently has a number of currently funded projects, and student opportunities. See below for possibilities.


Photogrammetry and slope stability in the Snowy Mountains: Ongoing climate change has an enhanced effect on Australia's high country, and this can lead to instability of steep terrain, with risks to personal safety, infrastructure, and ecology. In this project we will combine drone mapping of slopes with photogrammetry software to construct 3D models of terranes, and combine this data with slope stability modelling software to assess risk in these regions.

Searching for deep groundwater: Increasing aridification of inland Australia has put growing demands on groundwater aquifers, and the failure of domestic water supplies to some regions in 2018-2020 has led to exploration of deep aquifer systems for water resilience.  However, techniques for the characterisation of these deep systems (>200m down, often in fractured rock) are lacking. This project will combine new electrical survey methods, and borehole monitoring, to image these deep groundwater resources, and create groundwater models for local communities. This work is in collaboration with industry partner SMEC.



We have 2 funded domestic PhD scholarships associated with our 2021 Discovery Project "The link between cratonic roots, redox state, and mantle geodynamics." This project is in collaboration with industry partner Minerals Targeting International.

1) Recent work has shown a strong association between seismic velocities and redox state of the mantle . This has implications for seismic tomography models of the lithosphere, mineral deposit formation, and volcanic gas composition, and hence atmospheric evolution. In this project we will combine xenolith information with seismic models to map redox variations in the lithosphere, and combine this information with geodynamic simulations to understand the long-term geological effects of redox changes.

We have opportunities within this project for students with backgrounds in i) geophysics, numerical geoscience, or physics to develop the inversion and simulation aspects of the project, and ii) geochemistry/geology to develop the geochemical analysis program component.


Education/Academic qualification

Geodynamics, PhD, University of Sydney

Award Date: 13 Apr 2004

Geophysics, BSc (Adv, Hons I, Univ. Medal), University of Sydney

Award Date: 1 Jan 2001


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