Professor Alan Collins

Professor Alan Collins
 Position Professor
 Org Unit Earth Sciences
 Telephone +61 8 8313 3174
 Location Floor/Room G ,  Mawson ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Professor Alan Collins is a tectonic geologist who is interested in how the deep earth evolution of the planet has controlled and governed earth surface systems (atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere). He has a BSc (Hons.) degree from the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, The University of London (1993), and PhD from The University of Edinburgh (1997), that examined the tectonics of SW Turkey. This work identified multiple stages of thrust-sheet movement, foreland basin formation and subsequent consumption in the ophiolite-bearing Lycian nappes along the Aegean and Mediterranean coast of Turkey. After completing this, Alan went down in the crust and back in time to work on the Ediacaran-Cambrian amalgamation of Gondwana, working initially in Madagascar, and later in East Africa, India, Western Australia and East Antarctica. Using tectono-stratigraphic techniques, he has helped unravel much of the East African Orogen to produce a model for the collision of Neoproterozoic India with the central Africa. This work began in Leicester University, UK, and continued in the Tectonics Special Research Centre in Curtin University and The University of Western Australia.

    Prof. Collins commenced at The University of Adelaide as a Senior Lecturer in 2005 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2009 and Professor in 2014. His on-going research directs various aspects of geoscience, including palaeomagnetism, structural geology, geochronology and sedimentology to answer geologically significant questions. He was awarded an Australian Research Council 'Future Fellowship' in 2012.

    Alan Collins leads the Tectonics and Earth Systems Group (TES) in Adelaide and is always interested in talking to potential students and post docs who share his vision of building a collaborative and supportive environment to learn about this wonderful planet of ours.

    To find out a bit of what I do, check out below....

    Here is a zoom-presentation I gave in May 2020

    A link to a podcast of my professorial inaugural lecture

    And an article I recently wrote for The Conversation


  • Qualifications

    PhD (Edinburgh)
    Thesis title "Tectonics Architecture of the Lycian Thrust Sheets, SW Turkey" Advisers: Alastair Robertson, John Dixon

    BSc (Hons) 1st class, Geology
    Royal School of Mines, Inperial College, University of London

    Associate of the Royal School of Mines (ARSM)

    2002 F.W. James Chair in Geology at the St Francis Xavier University, NS, Canada

    2007 Edward A. Flinn Award Winner - International Lithosphere Program

    2018 Research Leadership Award, Faculty of Sciences, University of Adelaide

    2020 Fellow of the Geological Society of Australia

    2021 S.W. Carey Medal, The Geological Society of Australia

  • Teaching Interests

    Alan is a member of the Department of Earth Sciences and teaches undergraduate and Honours level courses in the Geology major and BSc (Minerals Geoscience)

    To do these programs enroll in the flagship course in the Faculty of Science - the Bachelor of Science

  • Research Interests

    Specific ongoing research areas:

    Full plate-tectonic reconstruction of the last billion years

    Plate tectonic controls on topography/bathymetry in deep time and controls on evolving earth-surface systems (hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere)

    Basin analysis, past water chemistries, tectonic geography and resource endowmnet of the greater McArthur Basin of northern Australia

    The tectonics and palaeogeography of the Neoproterozoic world

    Reaction-cell laser ablation analysis - especially applied to isobaric geochronometers

    Basin analysis, tectonic geography and palaeoenvironmental determination of the Adelaide and Centralian Superbasins


    Alan has conducted research in Australia, Canada, India, Madagascar, Pakistan, Poland, Tanzania, Turkey and the UK. Current research projects are located in India, Australia, Tanzania and Antarctica. He welcomes enquiries from potential students and collaborators.

  • Publications

  • Professional Associations

    Member of the Geological Society of Australia

    Member of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia

    2020- Chairperson of the SA Division of the Geological Society of Australia

    2010-2011 President of the International Association for Gondwana Research.

    2005-2009 Secretary of the UNESCO International Geological Correlation Programme Project 509 (Palaeoproterozoic Supercontinents and Evolution).

    2005-2007 Chair of the Specialist Group in Tectonics and Structural Geology (SGTSG) of the Geological Society of Australia.

    Associate Editor of the Journal 'Gondwana Research'.

    Member of the Editorial Board of Precambrian Research.

    2005-2011 Subject Editor for the Journal of the Geological Society, London.




  • Files

  • Media Expertise

    CategoriesScience & Technology
    Expertisegeology; structural geology; earthquakes; tectonics; gondwana; snowball earth; neoproterozoic; rock deformation; formation of mountain ranges; plate tectonics; amalgamation of Australia; faults; folds; dating rocks; geochronology
    NotesDirector of the Centre for Tectonics, Resources and Exploration (TRaX)
    Associate Professor in Structural Geology at the University of Adelaide

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Entry last updated: Thursday, 12 Jan 2023

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