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Steve Denyszyn

Assistant Professor
Centre for Exploration Targeting (CET)

Contact details

Geology and Geography Building, Rm G11
School of Earth and Environment
The University of Western Australia (M004)
35 Stirling Highway

+618 6488 7329


Research Output / Publications
UWA Research Repository

After receiving his PhD from the University of Toronto, Steven Denyszyn moved on to a research position at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Berkeley Geochronology Center before arriving in Western Australia in late 2011.
Steve has applied high-precision U-Pb geochronology and paleomagnetism to the study of rocks from such diverse locations as South Africa, the High Arctic, southwest China, British Columbia, Sri Lanka, California, and across Australia, and time periods from the Archean to the Cretaceous, after which nothing interesting has happened anyway.
Steve has developed the capability for high-precision U-Pb geochronology using thermal-ionisation mass spectrometry (TIMS) at the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Western Australia. This technique typically allows precision on the order of 0.1%, and often superior accuracy to standard-based microbeam methods.
Key Research
Primary research interests involve the U-Pb geochronology of Earth materials, mainly zircon and baddeleyite, and its application to the rate and timing of magmatic events. Current interests include;

1)   Large Igneous Provinces - The ages and rates of magmatism of Large Igneous Provinces are interesting for a number of reasons, such as: the use of mafic volcanic rocks and associated dyke and sill complexes to constrain the past position of continents, with implications for exploration targeting of now-distant fragments of metallogenic belts; establishing the rates of emplacement of large mafic igneous bodies may be an important discriminating tool for determining which are most likely to host significant mineralization; connecting the ages of large volcanic events with biotic events such as mass extinctions, and determining the timing of volcanism to establish the input of, e.g., carbon into the ocean and atmosphere and its impact on the biosphere, with implications for extinction and subsequent recovery. The use of baddeleyite (only acceptable pronunciation: BAD-dlyite) as a geochronometer is especially useful.

2)   Geochronological frameworks of sedimentary sequences – Sedimentary units can be useful repositories of fossil records, paleomagnetic information, and economic mineralisation/coal/etc. However, they are difficult to date, as detrital minerals only provide maximum ages and biostratigraphy is dependent upon stage boundaries which may not be applicable to all units. Identification of interlayered ash beds, extraction of zircon, and use of the John de Laeter Centre’s SHRIMP in situ method to screen out inherited grains leads to the ability to produce precise and accurate single-crystal ages in order to create a robust geochronological timescale with resolution high enough to distinguish closely-spaced beds. These timescales can then be used to determine rates of sedimentation, mineral emplacement, evolution and extinction.

Ideas for future collaboration are always welcome. The methods of research described above lend themselves particularly well to interdisciplinary studies that combine disparate interests and techniques. I’m sure you can think of some right now! Do feel free to get in touch.