Dr David McKirdy
|Position||Visiting Research Fellow|
|Org Unit||Earth Sciences|
|Telephone||+61 8 8313 8146|
As an organic geochemist and, for a short time, as a coal geologist, David McKirdy has worked for federal and state government agencies and in the private sector, holding positions with the Bureau of Mineral Resources (1970–77), the South Australian Department of Mines and Energy (1977–81), Conoco (1981–82) and the Australian Mineral Development Laboratories (1982–87). Prior to joining Conoco’s exploration research division in Oklahoma, he was a visiting scientist at Bristol University, UK.
In 1987 he returned to the University of Adelaide where he established the Organic Geochemistry in Basin Analysis Group, rose to the position of Associate Professor, and served for three years as Deputy Head of the Department of Geology and Geophysics. He negotiated a five-year Collaborative Agreement between the University of Adelaide and the University of Cologne (1998–2003), which resulted in the exchange of staff and postgraduate students and a successful ARC Linkage Project on oil migration and reservoir filling in the Cooper/Eromanga Basin. As part of this agreement he taught for a semester as a Guest Professor in the Institute of Geology at Cologne University (1999). Between 1988 and 2010 he presented an annual short course Organic Geochemistry in Petroleum Exploration at the Australian School of Petroleum (formerly the National Centre for Petroleum Geology and Geophysics). To date he has supervised to completion 48 Honours and higher degree students (including two Tate Medallists and eleven PhDs).
He was the first organic geochemist to win an APEA Best Paper Award. In 1996 he was awarded the Australian Organic Geochemistry Medal for his internationally recognised contributions to Precambrian organic geochemistry, the source rock and petroleum geochemistry of Australia’s sedimentary basins, and studies of oil in the marine environment. He has served on many society and symposium committees. He was actively involved with the International Geological Correlation Program (IGCP) Project 157: Early Organic Evolution and Mineral and Energy Resources (co-convenor, 1977; sub-project leader, 1978–88; co-editor of proceedings volume, 1988–90). He has been a reviewer for the international periodicals Precambrian Research, Organic Geochemistry, Nature, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Chemical Geology, Journal of Petroleum Geology, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Marine and Petroleum Geology and Journal of Human Evolution; and for the APPEA Journal and Australian Journal of Earth Sciences.
He is the author or co-author of 126 papers, chapters, and articles for scientific journals, books, reports and special volumes; 120 published conference abstracts; and 177 technical and consultancy reports. He has also edited five conference proceedings volumes (one published as a book by Springer-Verlag) and three field excursion guides. A total of 431 works in the fields of organic geochemistry, petroleum and source rock geochemistry, basin analysis, Precambrian sedimentology and isotope chemostratigraphy, Holocene palaeolimnology, and the history of geological teaching and research at the University of Adelaide.
Since 2006 he has been a Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Earth Sciences where, as part of the Centre for Tectonics, Resources and Exploration, he continues to pursue his various research interests. He is also a consultant to government, industry and the university sector, trading as McKirdy Geoscience. He is a member of the SA Uniting Church's Environmental Action Group, and of the Progressive Christianity Network in South Australia.
• Bachelor of Science (Geology & Organic Chemistry majors), University of Adelaide, 1966
• Diploma of Teaching (Secondary General), Adelaide Teachers College, 1966
• Bachelor of Science with Honours (Geology), University of Adelaide, 1967
• Master of Science (Geology), University of Adelaide, 1972
• Doctor of Philosophy (Geology), Australian National University, 1977
Awards & Achievements
1966 James Barrans Scholarship (for top Geology III student proceeding to Honours year)
1974 Commonwealth Public Service Postgraduate Scholarship
1976 Best Paper Award, Australian Petroleum Exploration Association Conference
1985 Australian Organic Geochemistry Conference (keynote speaker)
1988 Gordon Research Conference on Organic Geochemistry, Plymouth, NH, USA
1988 Ninth Alfred Wegener Conference, Maria Laach, Germany (keynote speaker)
1994 Dean's Certificate for Excellence in Teaching
1995 Honourable mention in best paper awards, Australian Petroleum Exploration Association Conference
1996 Australian Organic Geochemistry Medal
1999 Nomination for Supervisor of the Year, Adelaide University Postgraduate Students' Association
2001 Honourable mention in best paper awards, PESA Eastern Australasian Basins Symposium
2004 Certificate in Recognition & Appreciation of 30 Years Membership, Society of Sedimentary Geology (SEPM)
2010 Life Membership of Lincoln College, Adelaide
2012 Co-author of paper short-listed for the Stillwell Award, Geological Society of Australia
Petroleum systems of South Australia
Neoproterozoic and Cambrian chemostratigraphy
Holocene biogeochemistry of the Coorong and environs
Dr McKirdy’s recent publications are listed below:
McKirdy, D.M. & James, P.R., 2000. The Collegial Years. In: Records and Reminiscences. Geosciences at the University of Adelaide (compiler J. Cooper), Gillingham, Adelaide, pp. 157–165.
McKirdy, D.M., Burgess, J.M., Lemon, N.M., Yu, X., Cooper, A.M., Gostin, V.A., Jenkins, R.J.F. & Both, R.A., 2001. A chemostratigraphic overview of the late Cryogenian interglacial sequence in the Adelaide Fold-Thrust Belt, South Australia. Precambrian Research, 106: 149–186.
Othman, R., Arouri, K.R., Ward, C.R. & McKirdy, D.M., 2001. Oil generation by igneous intrusions in the northern Gunnedah Basin, Australia. Organic Geochemistry, 32: 1219–1232.
Kramer, L., Arouri, K.R. & McKirdy, D.M., 2001. Petroleum expulsion from Permian coal seams in the Patchawarra Formation, Cooper Basin, South Australia. In: Proceedings of the Eastern Australasian Basins Symposium, A Refocussed Energy Perspective for the Future (eds K.C. Hill & T. Bernecker), Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia, Special Publication, pp. 329–340.
Michaelsen, B.H. & McKirdy, D.M., 2001. Migration and mixing of oils in the Cooper and Eromanga Basins, central Australia. In: Proceedings of the Eastern Australasian Basins Symposium, A Refocussed Energy Perspective for the Future (eds K.C. Hill & T. Bernecker), Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia, Special Publication, pp. 289–300.
McKirdy, D.M., 2001. Of mentors, molecular fossilists and the meaning of academic life. Mawson Happenings 1999/2000, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Adelaide University, pp. 22–23.
Jenkins, R.J.F., McKirdy, D.M. & Gostin, V.A., 2003. Placement of the Terminal Protrozoic Period GSSP at the level of the Wearing Dolomite in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia. IUGS Subcommission on the Terminal Proterozoic System, 15th Circular, pp. 22–30.
Tingate, P.R. & McKirdy, D.M., 2003. Exploration opportunities in the Officer Basin. South Australia. Department of Primary Industries and Resources. Report Book 2003/1, 11 p.
Gorter, J.D., McKirdy, D.M., Jones, P. & Playford, G., 2004. Reappraisal of the Early Carboniferous Milligans Formation source rock system in the southern Bonaparte Basin, northwestern Australia. In: Timor Sea Petroleum Geoscience. Proceedings of Timor Sea Symposium (eds G.K. Ellis, P.W. Baillie & T.J. Munson), Northern Territory Geological Survey, Special Publication 1, pp. 231–255.
Kramer, L., McKirdy, D.M., Arouri, K.R., Schwark, L. & Leythaeuser, D., 2004. Constraints on the hydrocarbon charge history of sandstone reservoirs in the Strzelecki Field, Eromanga Basin, South Australia. In: Proceedings of the Eastern Australasian Basins Symposium II (eds P.J. Boult, D.R. Johns & S. Lang), Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia, Special Publication, pp. 589–602.
Boult, P.J., Lyon, P., Camac, B., Edwards, D. & McKirdy, D.M., 2004. Subsurface plumbing of the Crayfish Group in the Penola Trough: Otway Basin. In: Proceedings of the Eastern Australasian Basins Symposium II (eds P.J. Boult, D.R. Johns & S. Lang), Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia, Special Publication, pp. 483–498.
Mee, A.J., McKirdy, D.M., Krull, E.S. & Williams, M.A.J., 2004. Geochemical analysis of organic-rich lacustrine sediments as a tool for reconstructing Holocene environmental conditions along the Coorong coastal plain, southeastern Australia. In: Regolith 2004 (ed. I.C. Roach), CRC LEME, pp. 247–251.
Arouri, K.R., McKirdy, D.M., Schwark, L., Leythaeuser, D. & Boult, P.J., 2004. Accumulation and mixing of hydrocarbons in oil fields along the Murteree Ridge, Eromanga Basin, South Australia. Organic Geochemistry, 35: 1597–1618.
McKirdy, D.M., Arouri, K.R. & Kramer, L., 2005. Conditions and effects of hydrocarbon fluid flow in the subsurface of the Cooper/Eromanga Basin (ARC SPIRT PROJECT C39943025): summary of data and outcomes. South Australia. Department of Primary Industries and Resources. Report Book 2005/2, CD.
Arouri, K.R. & McKirdy, D.M., 2005. The behaviour of aromatic hydrocarbons in artificial mixtures of Permian and Jurassic end-member oils: Application to in-reservoir mixing in the Eromanga Basin, Australia. Organic Geochemistry, 36: 105–115.
Gammon, P.R., McKirdy, D.M. & Smith, H.D., 2005. The timing and environment of tepee formation in a Marinoan cap carbonate. Sedimentary Geology, 177: 195–208.
Boult, P., McKirdy, D., Blevin, J., Heggeland, R., Lang, S. & Vinall, D., 2005. The oil-prone Morum Sub-basin petroleum system, Otway Basin, South Australia. MESA Journal, 38: 28–33.
McKirdy, D.M., Webster, L.J., Arouri, K.R., Grey, K. & Gostin, V.A., 2006. Contrasting sterane signatures in Neoproterozoic marine sediments of Australia before and after the Acraman asteroid impact. Organic Geochemistry, 37: 189–207.
Hallmann, C.O.E., Arouri, K.A., McKirdy, D.M. & Schwark, L., 2006. A new perspective on exploring the Cooper/Eromanga petroleum province – evidence of oil charging from the Warburton Basin. APPEA Journal, 46(1): 261–282.
Edwards, S., McKirdy, D.M., Bone, Y., Gell, P.A. & Gostin, V.A., 2006. Diatoms and ostracods as mid-Holocene palaeoenvironmental indicators, North Stromatolite Lake, Coorong National Park, South Australia. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 53: 651–663.
Cotton, T.B. & McKirdy, D.M., 2006. Hydrocarbon generation and migration. In: The Petroleum Geology of South Australia, Vol. 2: Eromanga Basin, 2nd edition (eds T.B. Cotton, M.F. Scardigno & J.E. Hibburt), South Australia. Department of Primary Industries and Resources. Petroleum Geology of South Australia Series, Chapter 10.
Mee, A.C., McKirdy, D.M., Krull, E.S. & Williams, M.A.J., 2006. Holocene environmental change recorded in shallow lakes of the Coorong region, southeastern Australia. Australian Earth Sciences Convention Extended Abstracts. Online at www.earth2006.org.au
Mee, A.C., McKirdy, D.M., Williams, M.A.J. & Krull, E.S., 2007. New radiocarbon dates from sapropels in three Holocene lakes of the Coorong coastal plain, southeastern Australia. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 54: 825–835.
Hallmann, C.O.E., Arouri, K.A., McKirdy, D.M. & Schwark, L., 2007. Temporal resolution of an oil charging history – a case study of residual oil benzocarbazoles from the Gidgealpa Field. Organic Geochemistry, 38: 1516–1536.
Tingate, P.R., Green, P.F., Lemon, N.M. & McKirdy, D.M., 2007. Insights into the tectonic development and hydrocarbon potential of the Flinders Ranges, South Australia, based on AFTA and organic maturity data from the Blinman-2 borehole. In: Proceedings of the Central Australian Basins Symposium, Alice Springs, 16-18th August, 2005 (Editors T.J. Munson and G.J. Ambrose). Northern Territory Geological Survey, Special Publication 2 (preliminary edition). http://www.conference.minerals.nt.gov.au/cabsproceedings
Glasby, P., McKirdy, D.M., Williams, M.A.J., Symonds, R. & Chivas, A.R., 2007. Late Pleistocene environments in the Flinders Ranges, Australia: Preliminary evidence from microfossils and stable isotopes. Quaternary Australasia, 24(2): 19–28.
Williams, G.E., Gostin, V.A., McKirdy, D.M. & Preiss, W.V., 2008. The Elatina glaciation, late Cryogenian (Marinoan Epoch), South Australia: sedimentary facies and palaeoenvironments. Precambrian Research, 163: 307–331.
McKirdy, D.M. (ed.), 2008. Oil, Soil, Water and Wine. 15th Australian Organic Geochemistry Conference, Adelaide, Program and Abstracts, 157 p.
Krull, E., Lamontagne, S., Haynes, D., Boos, K., McKirdy, D., McGowan, J., Gell, P. & Wakelin, S., 2008. Changes in organic chemistry in the Coorong Lagoons over space and time. A pilot study. Water for a Healthy Country National Research Flagship, 34 p.
Krull, E., Haynes, D., Gell, P., McKirdy, D., Hancock, G., McGowan, J., Lamontagne, S. & Smernik, R., 2009. Changes in the chemistry of sedimentary organic matter within the Coorong over space and time. Biogeochemistry, 92: 9–25.
McKirdy, D.M., Hayball, A.J., Warren, J.K., Edwards, D. & von der Borch, C.C., 2010. Organic facies of Holocene carbonates in North Stromatolite Lake, Coorong region, South Australia. Cadernos Laboratorio Xeolóxico de Laxe, 35: 127-146.
McKirdy, D.M. & Krull, E.S. (guest eds), 2010. 2008 Australian Organic Geochemistry Conference: A national conference held in association with the International Humic Substances Society and the Natural Organic Matter Interest Group. Organic Geochemistry, 41: 71-134.
McKirdy, D.M., Thorpe, C.S., Haynes, D.E., Grice, K., Krull, E.S., Halverson, G.P. & Webster, L.J., 2010. The biogeochemical evolution of the Coorong during the mid- to late Holocene: An elemental, isotopic and biomarker perspective. Organic Geochemistry, 41: 96-110.
Hallmann, C., Grey, K., Webster, L., McKirdy, D. & Grice, K., 2010. Molecular signature of the Neoproterozoic Acraman impact event. Organic Geochemistry, 41: 111-115.
Gostin, V.A., McKirdy, D.M., Webster, L.J. & Williams, G.E., 2010. Mid-Ediacaran ice-rafting and coeval asteroid impact, South Australia: Insights into the terminal Proterozoic environment. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 57: 859-869.
McKirdy, D.M., Hall, P.A., Nedin, C., Halverson, G.P., Michaelsen, B.H., Jago, J.B., Gehling, J.G. & Jenkins, R.J.F., 2011. Palaeoredox status and thermal alteration of the lower Cambrian (Series 2) Emu Bay Shale Lagerstätte, South Australia. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 58: 259-272.
Gostin, V., McKirdy, D. & Williams G., 2011. Ice, an asteroid impact and the rise of complex life. Australasian Science, May, pp. 34-36.
Gostin, V. A., McKirdy, D. M., Webster, L.J. & Williams, G. E., 2011. Mid-Ediacaran ice-rafting in the Adelaide Geosyncline and Officer Basin, South Australia. In: The Geologic Record of Neoproterozoic Glaciations (eds E. Arnaud, G.P. Halverson & G.A. Shields), Geological Society, London, Memoir 36, pp. 673-676.
Preiss, W. V., Gostin, V. A., McKirdy, D. M., Ashley, P. M., Williams, G. E. & Schmidt, P. W., 2011. The glacial succession of Sturtian age in South Australia: the Yudnamutana Subgroup. In: The Geologic Record of Neoproterozoic Glaciations (eds E. Arnaud, G.P. Halverson & G.A. Shields), Geological Society, London, Memoir 36, pp. 701-712.
Williams, G.E., Gostin, V.A., McKirdy, D.M., Preiss, W.V. & Schmidt, P.W., 2011. The Elatina glaciation (late Cryogenian), South Australia. In: The Geologic Record of Neoproterozoic Glaciations (eds E. Arnaud, G.P. Halverson & G.A. Shields), Geological Society, London, Memoir 36, pp. 713-721.
Hall, P.A., McKirdy, D.M., Halverson, G.P., Jago, J.B. & Gehling, J.G., 2011. Biomarker and isotopic signatures of an early Cambrian Lagerstätte in the Stansbury Basin, South Australia. Organic Geochemistry, 42: 1324-1330.
Gammon, P.R., McKirdy, D.M. & Smith, H.D., 2012. The paragenetic history of a Marinoan cap carbonate. Sedimentary Geology, 243-244: 1-16.
Garciano, L.O., Tran, N.H., Kannangara, G.S.K., Milev, A.S., Wilson, M.A., McKirdy, D.M. & Hall, P.A., 2012. Pyrolysis of a naturally dried Botryococcus braunii residue. Energy and Fuels, 26: 3874-3881.
Hall, P.A., McKirdy, D.M., Grice, K. & Edwards, D., 2012. Australasian asphaltite strandings revisited: their origin and the effects of weathering and biodegradation on their biomarker and isotopic profiles. In: Proceedings of the Eastern Australasian Basins Symposium IV (Editor T. Mares), Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia, Special Publication, CD-ROM. Extended abstract, 7 p.
McKirdy, D.M., Spiro, B., Kim, A.W., Brenchley, A.J., Hepplewhite, C.J. & Mazzoleni, A.G., 2013. Environmental significance of mid- to late Holocene sapropels in Old Man Lake, Coorong coastal plain, South Australia: an isotopic, biomarker and palaeoecological perspective. Organic Geochemistry, 58: 13-26.
Gorter, J.D. & McKirdy, D.M., 2013. Early Carboniferous source rocks of the southeastern Bonaparte Basin, Australia. In: The Sedimentary Basins of Western Australia 2013 (eds M. Keep & S.J. Moss). Proceedings of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia Symposium, Perth, WA, 17 p.
Hall, P.A., McKirdy, D.M., Grice, K. & Edwards, D.S., 2014. Australasian asphaltite strandings: Their origin reviewed in light of the effects of weathering and biodegradation on their biomarker and isotopic profiles. Marine and Petroleum Geology 57: 572-593.
McKirdy, D.M. & Löhr, S. (eds), 2014. Life, Environments and Resources. 18th Australian Organic Geochemistry Conference, Adelaide, Program and Abstracts, 143 p.
Edwards, D.S., Vinall, D.R., Corrick, A.J. & McKirdy, D.M., 2016. Natural bitumen stranding on the ocean beaches of Southern Australia: a historical and geospatial review. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 140(2): 152-185.
Michaelsen, B.H., Fabris, A.J., Keeling, J.L., McKirdy, D.M., Katona, L.F. & Tucker, L.R., 2016. Organic facies of the Frome Embayment and Callabonna Sub-basin: what and where are the uranium reductants? MESA Journal 81: 35-65.
Hoshino, H., Poshibaeva, A., Meredith, W., Snape, C., Poshibaev, V., Versteegh, G.J.M., Kuznetsov, N., Leider, A., van Maldegem, L., Neumann, M., Naeher, S., Moczydłowska, M., Brocks, J.J., Jarrett, A.J.M., Tang, Q., Xiao, S., McKirdy, D., Das, S.K., Alvaro, J.J., Sansjofre, P. & Hallmann, C., 2017. Cryogenian evolution of stigmasteroid biosynthesis. Science Advances 3: e1700887, 7 p.
Ross, A., Corrick, A., Trefry, C., Gong, S., McKirdy, D., Hall, T., Dyt, C., Angelini, Z., Kempton, R., Pickard, A., White, C., Maslin, S., Griffin, D., Middleton, J., Luick, J., Armand, S., Vergara, T. & Schinteie, R., 2017. Asphaltite and tarball surveys. Final Report GABRP Project 5.2. Great Australian Bight Research Report Series Number 25a, 321 p.
McKirdy, D., Ross, A. & Talukder, A., 2018. Oil Seeps and Coastal Bitumen. In: Encyclopedia of Geochemistry (ed. W.M. White). Springer International Publishing AG,3 p. https:// doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-39193-9_180-1
Edwards, D.S., McKirdy, D.M., Rowland, S.J., Heath, D.J. & Gray, P.S., 2018. Waxy bitumen stranding in southern Australia: a geochemical study of multiple oil families and their likely origins. Organic Geochemistry 118, 132-151.
Corrick, A.J., Selby, D., McKirdy, D.M., Hall, P.A., Gong, S., Trefry, C. & Ross, A.S., 2019. Remotely constraining the temporal evolution of offshore oil systems. Scientific Reports 9:1327.
McKirdy, D.M., Gong S., Corrick, A.J., Hall, P.A., Trefry, C. & Ross, A.S., 2019. Are the n-alkane carbon isotopic profiles of South Australian coast s indicative of their extent of weathering? Organic Geochemistry 136, 103893.
Corrick, A.J., Hall, P.A., Gong, S., McKirdy, D.M., Selby, D., Trefry, C. & Ross, A.S., 2020. A second type of highly asphaltic crude oil seepage stranded on the South Australian coastline. Marine and Petroleum Geology 112, 104062.
European Association of Organic Geochemists
Geological Society of Australia
• Member, S.A. Division Committee, 1989
• Chair of Geochemistry Symposium at ASEG-GSA Joint Conference, Sydney, 1991
• Program Secretary, S.A. Division Committee, 1996–97
• Member, Organising Committee, Sprigg Symposium, 1998
• Treasurer & chair of opening session, Sprigg Symposium, 2000
• Co-convenor, Sprigg Symposium, Australian Earth Sciences Convention, Adelaide, 2002
Australian Organic Geochemistry Conference
• Session chair & plenary lecturer, Sydney, 1985
• Chair, Organising Committee, Adelaide, 1995 & 2008; member, Adelaide, 2014
• Session chair, Melbourne, 1991; Fremantle, 1996; Canberra, 1998, 2008; Sydney, 2012; Adelaide, 2014
Society of Sedimentary Geology (SEPM)
Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia
• Session whip, APEA Conference, Hobart, 1989
• Technical Papers Committee member & session chair, APEA Conference, Adelaide, 1995
• Session chair, Eastern Australasian Basins Symposium, Melbourne, 2004
• Session chair, Central Australian Basins Symposium, Alice Springs, 2005
• Co-convenor & chair of two sessions, AAPG International Conference, Perth, 2006
Royal Society of South Australia
Afro-Asian Association of Petroleum Geochemists
• Member of Executive Committee, 1989-2006
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Entry last updated: Friday, 22 Jan 2021
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