Prof Birger RasmussenBSc(Hons), PhD (UWA)
Tel: +61 (0)8 9266 9254
Fax: +61 (0)8 9266 3153
Birger holds a PhD in sedimentary petrology, clastic diagenesis and petroleum geology. Following several years in the petroleum industry as a development geologist, Birger was awarded an Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Australian Research Council (ARC), based on the use of radioactive bitumen nodules and oil-bearing fluid inclusions to trace oil migration in ancient sedimentary basins. During a subsequent ARC QEII Fellowship, he studied the impact of diagenetic phosphates on marine phosphorus and rare-earth element cycles, and their potential for dating ancient biological and environmental events. In 2007, Birger joined Curtin University as a Research Professor.
Birger's research interests include the behaviour of U-bearing accessory minerals (e.g. monazite, xenotime, zircon, zirconolite, tranquillityite) and their application to dating geological processes such as diagenesis, metamorphism, deformation, magmatism and hydrothermal mineralisation (e.g. Au, Fe, U and Cu-Pb-Zn). The aim of this research is to trace the large-scale movement of heat and fluids through time and space, and ultimately, to help refine aspects of Earth's geological history. Birger also has an interest in the nature of Earth’s early biosphere and environment. Current research topics include:
- The formation and post-depositional alteration of banded iron formations (BIFs) and the insights they provide into ancient ocean and surface chemistry;
- The origin of Archaean (>2.5 billion years old) organic matter (e.g. kerogen, pyrobitumen and oil-bearing fluid inclusions) and the clues it provides about ancient biological processes and early life;
- The establishment of pre-Ediacaran “multicellular” life on Earth (e.g. Stirling Range Formation, Australia; Vindhyan Basin, India); and
- The nature and diversity of microbial life in Archaean rocks. This work entails detailed petrography and fine-scale chemical and isotopic analysis of putative microfossils, microbially-mediated structures and the by-products of biological activity using optical and scanning electron microscopes, EMPA, SIMS, NanoSIMS, GC-MS and LA-ICP-MS. The goal of this research is to improve our understanding of the evolution of early life and its co-evolving habitat.