Profile Image

Dr Alistair Hack

Lecturer

School of Environmental and Life Sciences

Career Summary

Biography

The history of the Earth and mineral wealth is archived in the continental crust.

My research focuses on improving our understanding of natural multi-scale processes associated with continental growth and evolution. A key driver behind this multi-disciplinary interest is that the vast majority of natural resources are found with the continental crust and the origin and processes by which they formed are best understood in the context of lithospheric structure and continental evolution.

Mineral resources and exploration geoscience

Demand for mineral resources is rapidly increasing as the world seeks to transition from a fossil fuel-based to a sustainable, but mineral-intensive, economy. However, there is a declining rate of ore deposit discovery, the vast majority of Australia's ore deposits have been found at or near surface (<100 m). My research applies to improving exploration success in Australia and enabling effective future exploration beneath the >70% of prospective continental basement that is buried under sedimentary rocks or deep regolith by helping to resolve the evolution of lithospheric structure and the geodynamic drivers.

Collaboration

As the Leader of MinEx CRC at UON, my research tackles big problems of national significance and accordingly requires strong effective collaboration with industry, government and universities across Australia.

https://minexcrc.com.au/

MinEx CRC is the world's largest mineral exploration collaboration bringing together Industry, Government and Research Organisations, backed by:

$50M cash from the CRC Programme
$41M cash from geological surveys and from industry
$49M non-staff in-kind
$78M or 311FTE staff in-kind
TOTAL $218M

Industry Participants:

  • Anglo American
  • Barrick
  • BHP
  • Epiroc
  • Geological Survey of Western Australia
  • Geoscience Australia
  • Geotec Boyles
  • HiSeis
  • IMDEX
  • LKAB Wassara
  • Micromine
  • Minerals Research Institute of WA (MRIWA)
  • McKay Drilling
  • Geological Survey of New South Wales
  • Olympus
  • Sandvik
  • South 32
  • Geological Survey of South Australia

Research Participants:

  • Australian National University
  • CSIRO
  • Curtin University
  • University of Adelaide
  • University of Newcastle
  • University of South Australia
  • University of Western Australia

Affiliates:

  • AuScope
  • Datacode
  • Geological Survey of Queensland
  • Geological Survey of Victoria
  • Minalyze
  • Mineral Resources Tasmania
  • Minotaur Exploration
  • Northern Territory Geological Survey
  • Snowden
  • Strategic Energy Resources
  • Southern Geoscience Consultants
  • University of New South Wales

Research areas

  • Exploration geoscience
  • Quantifying structural & geochemical processes related to the formation of metalliferous ore deposits
  • Rates and timing of ore formation in natural systems
  • Exploration undercover
  • Structural Geology
  • Geochronology+Isotope Geochemistry
  • Hydrogeochemistry+Geobiochemistry of groundwater
  • Geodynamics of the Tasmanides: Deformation-Heat-Fluids-Metals in the crust-mantle system
  • Experimental investigations of ore mineral solubility, oxidation and coordination state of dissolved metals in hydrothermal brines from shallow to upper mantle pressures
  • Synchrotron X-ray spectroscopy techniques applied to high-pressure, high-temperature fluids (transport properties and chemical phenomena)
  • Experimental determination of activity-composition models ore- and non-ore minerals and applications constraining the physical and chemical conditions of natural ore-forming processes
  • Thermodynamic models for hydrous magmas and concentrated fluids at high pressure
  • Coupling between mineral reaction-induced strain, mineral textures and fluid migration
  • Development and application of fluid and melt transport models relevant to mass transport rates at subduction zones, in mantle and lower crustal processes.

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION

  • Member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (MAusIMM) since 1996.
  • Australasian Universities Geoscience Educators Network (AUGEN).

VOLUNTRY ASSOCIATION

  • Australian Surf Life Saving (Cooks Hill Surf Club, volunteer membership, Nippers Age Manager) since 2017.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Australian National University
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), Australian National University

Keywords

  • Economic Geology
  • Experimental Petrology
  • Geochemistry
  • Geochronology
  • Geology

Languages

  • English (Mother)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
040303 Geochronology 30
040299 Geochemistry not elsewhere classified 30
040399 Geology not elsewhere classified 40

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Australia

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/6/2003 - 1/6/2005 ARC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Australian National University
Australia
1/6/2005 - 1/9/2010 SNF Post-Doctoral Research Fellow ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich)
Switzerland

Teaching

Code Course Role Duration
GEOS3170 Resource and Exploration Geology
School of Environmental and Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, The university of Newcastle, Australia
Metallic resources underpin modern society. Australia is endowed with world-class resources of many essential commodities, including diamonds, gold, iron ore, manganese, lithium, copper, lead, zinc, tin and silver. Using many local examples, this course introduces students to the fundamental characteristics of metallic ore deposits. Emphasis is placed on understanding ore-forming processes in magmatic, hydrothermal and metamorphic environments and developing quantitative models that can used as tools for explaining observed ore deposit characteristics and as predictive guides to mineral exploration. The course contains lecture, laboratory and field components.

Course coordinator 21/2/2011 - 30/11/2019
Edit

Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (14 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Venkataramani D, Musgrave RJ, Boutelier DA, Hack AC, Collins WJ, 'Revised potential field model of the Gilmore Fault Zone', EXPLORATION GEOPHYSICS, 49 572-583 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.1071/EG16148
Citations Scopus - 1
Co-authors Bill Collins, David Boutelier
2018 Dwyer RC, Collins WJ, Hack AC, Hegarty R, Huang H-Q, 'Age and tectonic significance of the Louth Volcanics: implications for the evolution of the Tasmanides of eastern Australia', AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF EARTH SCIENCES, 65 1049-1069 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/08120099.2018.1469392
Citations Scopus - 5Web of Science - 5
Co-authors Bill Collins
2018 Hack AC, Dwyer RC, Phillips G, Whalan S, Huang H-Q, 'The age and tectonic significance of the Warraweena Volcanics and related rocks, southern Thomson Orogen', AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF EARTH SCIENCES, 65 1071-1096 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/08120099.2018.1520147
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
2018 Wong SCT, Collins WJ, Hack AC, Huang H, 'Provenance and structure of the Yancannia Formation, southern Thomson Orogen: implications for the tectono-stratigraphic evolution of the Cambro-Ordovician western Tasmanides', Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 65 1097-1121 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/08120099.2018.1464062
Citations Scopus - 5Web of Science - 5
Co-authors Bill Collins
2011 Hack AC, Thompson AB, 'Density and viscosity of hydrous magmas and related fluids and their role in subduction zone processes', Journal of Petrology, 52 1333-1362 (2011) [C1]
DOI 10.1093/petrology/egq048
Citations Scopus - 40Web of Science - 37
2010 Aerts M, Hack AC, Reusser E, Ulmer P, 'Assessment of the diamond-trap method for studying high-pressure fluids and melts and an improved freezing stage design for laser ablation ICP-MS analysis', American Mineralogist: an international journal of earth and planetary materials, 95 1523-1526 (2010) [C1]
DOI 10.2138/am.2010.3356
Citations Scopus - 11Web of Science - 10
2009 Liu X, Zhang LF, Hack CA, Zheng HF, Hu XM, Chang LL, He Q, 'Effect of water on the partial melting process of some silicate systems: Important implication of the second critical endpoint', Acta Petrologica Sinica, 25 3407-3421 (2009)

Water has substantial effects on many chemical-physical behaviors of the silicate systems. Specifically to the partial melting process, water can significantly depress the solidi,... [more]

Water has substantial effects on many chemical-physical behaviors of the silicate systems. Specifically to the partial melting process, water can significantly depress the solidi, modify the melt properties, and change the partitioning patterns of trace elements between the melt and the solid phases. In recent years a large number of experimental studies at high pressures have been carried out to investigate the influence of large amounts of water on the partial melting process of the silicate systems, and special attention has been paid to the significance of the second critical endpoint which enormously changes the fundamental phase relationships of this process. Here we review these experimental studies in some wet silicate systems such as SiO2 + H2O, NaAlSi3O8 +H2O, granite + H2O, basalt + H2O and peridotite + H2O, and tentatively outline the future directions.

Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
2007 Hack AC, Hermann J, Mavrogenes JA, 'Mineral solubility and hydrous melting relations in the deep earth: Analysis of some binary A-H2O system pressure-temperature-composition topologies', AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SCIENCE, 307 833-855 (2007) [C1]
DOI 10.2475/05.2007.03
Citations Scopus - 23Web of Science - 22
2007 Thompson AB, Aerts M, Hack AC, 'Liquid immiscibility in silicate melts and related systems', FLUID-FLUID INTERACTIONS, 65 99-127 (2007)
DOI 10.2138/rmg.2007.65.4
Citations Scopus - 43Web of Science - 41
2007 Hack AC, Thompson AB, Aerts M, 'Phase relations involving hydrous silicate melts, aqueous fluids, and minerals', FLUID-FLUID INTERACTIONS, 65 129-185 (2007)
DOI 10.2138/rmg.2007.65.5
Citations Scopus - 67Web of Science - 57
2006 Hack AC, Mavrogenes JA, 'A cold-sealing capsule design for synthesis of fluid inclusions and other hydrothermal experiments in a piston-cylinder apparatus', AMERICAN MINERALOGIST, 91 203-210 (2006) [C1]
DOI 10.2138/am.2006.1898
Citations Scopus - 12Web of Science - 12
2006 Berry AJ, Hack AC, Mavrogenes JA, Newville M, Sutton SR, 'A XANES study of Cu speciation in high-temperature brines using synthetic fluid inclusions', AMERICAN MINERALOGIST, 91 1773-1782 (2006) [C1]
DOI 10.2138/am.2006.1940
Citations Scopus - 43Web of Science - 47
2006 Hack AC, Mavrogenes JA, 'A synthetic fluid inclusion study of copper solubility in hydrothermal brines from 525 to 725 degrees C and 0.3 to 1.7 GPa', GEOCHIMICA ET COSMOCHIMICA ACTA, 70 3970-3985 (2006) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.gca.2006.04.035
Citations Scopus - 34Web of Science - 35
2006 Hermann J, Spandler C, Hack A, Korsakov AV, 'Aqueous fluids and hydrous melts in high-pressure and ultra-high pressure rocks: Implications for element transfer in subduction zones', Lithos, 92 399-417 (2006) [C1]

High-pressure (HP) and ultra-high pressure (UHP) terranes are excellent natural laboratories to study subduction-zone processes. In this paper we give a brief theoretical backgrou... [more]

High-pressure (HP) and ultra-high pressure (UHP) terranes are excellent natural laboratories to study subduction-zone processes. In this paper we give a brief theoretical background and we review experimental data and observations in natural rocks that constrain the nature and composition of the fluid phase present in HP and UHP rocks. We argue that a fluid buffered by a solid residue is compositionally well defined and is either an aqueous fluid (total amount of dissolved solids < 30¿wt.%) or a hydrous melt (H2O < 35¿wt.%). There is only a small temperature range of approximately 50-100¿°C, where transitional solute-rich fluids exist. A review of available experimental data suggest that in felsic rocks the second critical endpoint is situated at 25-35¿kbar and ~ 700¿°C and hence must be considered in the study of UHP rocks. Despite this, the nature of the fluid phase can be constrained by relating the peak metamorphic conditions of rocks to the position of the wet solidus even if the peak pressure exceeds the pressure where the wet solidus terminates at the second critical endpoint. Transitional solute-rich fluids are expected in UHP terrains (P > 30¿kbar) with peak temperatures of about 700 ± 50¿°C. At higher temperatures, hydrous granitic melts occur whereas at lower temperatures aqueous fluids coexists with eclogite-facies minerals. This argument is complemented by evidence on the nature of the fluid phase from high-pressure terrains. We show that in the diamond-bearing, high-temperature UHP rocks from the Kokchetav Massif there are not only hydrous felsic melts, but probably also carbonate and sulfide melts present. Hydrous quartzo-feldspathic melts are mainly produced in high temperature UHP rocks and their composition is relatively well constrained from experiments and natural rocks. In contrast, constraining the composition of aqueous fluids is more problematic. The combined evidence from experiments and natural rocks indicates that aqueous fluids liberated at the blueschist to eclogite facies transition are dilute. They contain only moderate amounts of LILE, Sr and Pb and do not transport significant amounts of key trace elements such as LREE, U and Th. This indicates that there is a decoupling of water and trace element release in subducted oceanic crust and that aqueous fluids are unable to enrich the mantle wedge significantly. Instead we propose that fluid-present melting in the sediments on top of the slab is required to transfer significant amounts of trace elements from the slab to the mantle wedge. For such a process to be efficient, top slab temperature must be at least 700-750¿°C at sub-arc depth. Slab melting is likely to be triggered by fluids that derive from dehydration of mafic and ultramafic rocks in colder (deeper) portions of the slab. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

DOI 10.1016/j.lithos.2006.03.055
Citations Scopus - 386Web of Science - 383
Show 11 more journal articles

Conference (7 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Venkataramani D, Musgrave R, Boutelier DP, Collins W, Hack A, 'Understanding the 3D structure of the Gilmore Fault Zone through geophysical modelling: implications for Lachlan tectonic reconstructions', Adelaide (2016)
Co-authors Bill Collins, David Boutelier
2016 Bell M, Hack A, Boutelier DP, Collins W, Phillips G, 'The geodynamic significance of the Gilmore fault zone, Lachlan orogen: structural characteristics, kinematic history and timing', Adelaide (2016)
Co-authors Bill Collins, David Boutelier
2009 Aerts M, Hack AC, Ulmer P, Thompson AB, 'Low-temperature melt-fluid miscibility: Experimental evidence for enhanced mass transport in the upper crust by cooling fluids', GEOCHIMICA ET COSMOCHIMICA ACTA, Davos, SWITZERLAND (2009)
Citations Web of Science - 1
2009 Miller DP, Caddick MJ, Hack AC, Thompson AB, 'Calculated hydrous granite solidi beyond the albite-jadeite transition', GEOCHIMICA ET COSMOCHIMICA ACTA, Davos, SWITZERLAND (2009)
2009 Thompson AB, Hack AC, 'Physical properties of hydrous magmas and related fluids and their role in mantle processes', GEOCHIMICA ET COSMOCHIMICA ACTA, Davos, SWITZERLAND (2009)
2008 Aerts M, Hack AC, Thompson AB, Ulmer P, 'Solubility of K-feldspar, muscovite and quartz at 0.5-2.5 GPa, 600-700 degrees C with implications for mass transport in the crust', GEOCHIMICA ET COSMOCHIMICA ACTA, Vancouver, CANADA (2008)
2008 Hack AC, Thompson AB, 'Quantification of dehydration and mass fluxes from subducting slabs', GEOCHIMICA ET COSMOCHIMICA ACTA, Vancouver, CANADA (2008)
Show 4 more conferences
Edit

Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 9
Total funding $798,890

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20201 grants / $60,000

Integrating AEM and hydrogeochemistry: implications for water resources$60,000

Funding body: MINEX CRC LTD

Funding body MINEX CRC LTD
Project Team Doctor Alistair Hack, Doctor David Boutelier, Ms Millicent Crowe, Dr Andrew King, Dr Robert Musgrave, Dr Ian Roach
Scheme Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2020
Funding Finish 2022
GNo G2000509
Type Of Funding CRC - Cooperative Research Centre
Category 4CRC
UON Y

20161 grants / $26,400

East Riverina Project$26,400

Funding body: NSW Department of Primary Industries

Funding body NSW Department of Primary Industries
Project Team Doctor Alistair Hack, Doctor David Boutelier
Scheme Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2017
GNo G1600784
Type Of Funding C2220 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Other
Category 2220
UON Y

20151 grants / $90,000

The Missing link in the Tasmanides: evaluating tectonic evolution and resource exploration potential of the southern Thomson Fold belt$90,000

Funding body: Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines

Funding body Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines
Project Team Doctor Alistair Hack, Associate Professor Gideon Rosenbaum, Dr Charles Verdel, Associate Professor Scott Bryan, Ms Rosemary Hegarty, Mr David Purdy, Professor Bill Collins, Bryan, Scott, Hegarty, Rosemary, Purdy, David, Rosenbaum, Gideon, Verdel, Charles
Scheme Linkage Projects Partner Funding
Role Lead
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2017
GNo G1301278
Type Of Funding C2220 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Other
Category 2220
UON Y

20144 grants / $611,475

The Missing link in the Tasmanides: evaluating tectonic evolution and resource exploration potential of the southern Thomson Fold belt$486,475

Funding body: ARC (Australian Research Council)

Funding body ARC (Australian Research Council)
Project Team Doctor Alistair Hack, Associate Professor Gideon Rosenbaum, Dr Charles Verdel, Professor Bill Collins, Bryan, Scott, Hegarty, Rosemary, Purdy, David
Scheme Linkage Projects
Role Lead
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2017
GNo G1301235
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON Y

The Missing link in the Tasmanides: evaluating tectonic evolution and resource exploration potential of the southern Thomson Fold belt$90,000

Funding body: NSW Trade & Investment

Funding body NSW Trade & Investment
Project Team Doctor Alistair Hack, Associate Professor Gideon Rosenbaum, Dr Charles Verdel, Associate Professor Scott Bryan, Ms Rosemary Hegarty, Mr David Purdy, Professor Bill Collins, Bryan, Scott, Bryan, Scott, Hegarty, Rosemary, Purdy, David, Rosenbaum, Gideon, Verdel, Charles, Verdel, Charles
Scheme Linkage Projects Partner Funding
Role Lead
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1301277
Type Of Funding C2220 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Other
Category 2220
UON Y

Timing and Source of Mineralization at the Ranger Uranium Deposit, Northern Territory, Australia$25,000

Funding body: Energy Resources of Australia Ltd

Funding body Energy Resources of Australia Ltd
Project Team Doctor Alistair Hack
Scheme Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2014
GNo G1400843
Type Of Funding C3111 - Aust For profit
Category 3111
UON Y

Wagga Metamorphic Project 1$10,000

Funding body: NSW Trade & Investment

Funding body NSW Trade & Investment
Project Team Doctor Alistair Hack, Doctor Glen Phillips
Scheme Research Project
Role Lead
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1400968
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - State
Category 2OPS
UON Y

20131 grants / $6,015

Faculty Visiting Fellowship 2013$6,015

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Science & IT

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Science & IT
Project Team Doctor Alistair Hack
Scheme Visiting Fellowship
Role Lead
Funding Start 2013
Funding Finish 2013
GNo G1401140
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20111 grants / $5,000

Predicting the mineralization potential of natural magmas and their related hydrothermal systems$5,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Alistair Hack
Scheme New Staff Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2011
Funding Finish 2011
GNo G1101042
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y
Edit

Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed1
Current2

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2020 PhD Integrating AEM and Hydrogeochemistry: Implications for Water Resources PhD (Earth Sciences), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
2015 Masters The Geodynamic Significance of the Gilmore Fault Zone, Lachlan Orogen: Structural Characteristics, Kinematic History and Timing M Philosophy (Geology), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor

Past Supervision

Year Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2017 Masters Subsurface Modelling of the Gilmore Fault Zone: Implications for Lachlan Tectonic Reconstructions M Philosophy (Geology), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
Edit

Research Projects

MinEx Cooperative Research Centre 2019 - 2029

minex-stacked-logo

MinEx CRC is the world's largest mineral exploration collaboration bringing together Industry, Government and Research Organisations, backed by:

$50M cash from the CRC Programme
$41M cash from geological surveys and from industry
$49M non-staff in-kind
$78M or 311FTE staff in-kind
TOTAL $218M

Mineral and energy resources contributed ~50% of Australia’s exports and ~7% of GDP in 2017-2018. The future of this contribution is at risk due to the trend of declining discovery of major, new mineral deposits. The challenge to Australian mining has been captured by the Council of Australian Governments: “new greenfield discoveries are urgently required to ensure that an ongoing pipeline of mineral resource projects are available to meet future demands. Australia’s attractiveness as an exploration destination has been diminished by a range of factors including;

  • perceptions of Australia as a mature exploration destination where there are fewer opportunities for new discoveries;
  • challenges in exploring for deposits buried under the overlying sand, soil and sediment that covers much of Australia.”

 

There are few, if any, remaining major, new mineral deposits that are exposed at the Earth’s surface remaining to be found in Australia. The technical challenge of cost-effectively finding major, new mineral deposits hidden beneath barren cover rocks has not yet been met. Consequently, mineral exploration is moving from Australia to less well-explored countries with Australia’s share of global mineral exploration reducing from ~1/4 in the 1990s to ~1/8th currently.

 

In order to reverse this trend, we require a new set of exploration tools and new ways to deploy those tools which recognise the fundamental importance of collecting quantity and quality data from the subsurface. Collecting these data requires drilling.

 

MinEx CRC’s research includes:

  • Developing more productive, safer and environmentally-friendly drilling methods to discover and drill-out deposits, including coiled tubing drilling technology.
  • Developing new technologies for collecting data while drilling, bringing forward mine production.
  • Implementation of a National Drilling Initiative (NDI) - a world-first collaboration of Geological Surveys, researchers and industry that will undertake drilling in under-explored areas of potential mineral wealth in Australia.

Grants

Project 9: Targeting Mineral Systems in Covered Terranes

Funding body: MINEX CRC LTD

Funding body MINEX CRC LTD
Project Team Doctor Alistair Hack, Doctor David Boutelier
Scheme Research Grant

Project 8 - Geological Architecture and Evolution

Funding body: MINEX CRC LTD

Funding body MINEX CRC LTD
Project Team Doctor David Boutelier, Professor Richard Bush, Doctor Alistair Hack
Scheme Research Grant

Edit

Dr Alistair Hack

Position

Lecturer
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science

Contact Details

Email alistair.hack@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 5410

Office

Room G103
Building Geology Building.
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
Edit