This week we bring you the Highly Commended images from our inaugural Photography Competition. Well the first three images are, and the last image is an ‘authors pick’! Enjoy.


What We Study

Chert – Jeremy Mole (Undergrad Earth and Marine Science Student)


I took this photo at an outcrop on Melville Point, NSW during the EMSC1008 south coast field trip run by Dr. Andrew Berry in September 2016. It is a picture of a series of cherts, which are fine grained organic sedimentary rocks formed by a process called diagenesis, where siliceous skeletons of marine plankton are dissolved, and the silica re-precipitated from the resulting solution. The chert can be of many colours such as brown, grey, yellow, red and white as seen in the photo. Also featuring in the photo are some well-defined fold structures.

Although it was a cloudy, rainy, wet day, the colours were still so vibrant that I took a couple of photos. Nothing fancy, just low aperture

Who We Are

Another Hard Day At Warramunga (Warramunga, NT)  – Associate Professor Hrvoje Tkalčić  (Seismology and Mathematical Geophysics)


This photo was taken about 50 km SE from Tennant Creek NT at Warramunga, a seismic and infrasound array run by Seismology and Mathematical Geophysics group at RSES on behalf of the United Nations for the purpose of monitoring nuclear explosions. Seismology can distinguish between nuclear explosions and earthquakes, and Warramunga provides a perfect location to do that due to its remoteness, i.e. distance from anthropogenic activity. I am an academic manager at Warramunga and regularly go there to visit. The photo was taken several years ago during a visit in the monsoon season when the team from the UN (based in Vienna) was also on the site to perform some retrofit of the array elements. We were driving along the blue arm (that runs north-south) when the vehicle got bogged. The heavy rains at Warramunga usually cause floods!


Where We Go

Diving on Christmas Island – Associate Professor Nerilie Abram (ARC Future Fellow – Past Climates & Environmental Impacts)

Abram_christmas island reef surveys.jpg

This photo was taken on a field trip in November 2016. The research trip was led by Dr. Jennie Mallela and involved carrying out reef surveys that have been monitoring the health of the coral reefs around the island. The research has been looking at how resilient the reefs are to variations in ocean temperature and to Phosphorous from the island’s mining industry. In coming years we will also be returning to Christmas Island to collected cores from some of the large corals. These will be used to study how the climate here has changed during the last few centuries.


Where We Go

Londa Burial Cave – Jessica Lowczak (PhD Student in Geochemistry)

Jess LOWCZAK - Sulawesi.jpg

This photo was taken back in 2014 while I was undertaking field work in Toraja, south Sulawesi, Indonesia, helping Dr. Marnie Forster collect eclogites and blueschists from the Bantimala Complex.

These scenic mountains of south Sulawesi are also home to a small indigenous group called the Toraja People. Despite the strong Christian influence, following the arrival of Dutch missionaries in 1605, the Toraja People still practice traditional customs in accordance with Aluk Todolo (“Way of the ancestors”). When a Torajan dies their body is embalmed, cared for and farewelled through a series of funerary ceremonies called Rambu Soloq. Some of these ceremonies include symbolically feeding and taking out the deceased and carrying out animal sacrifices. The deceased is finally laid to rest on the eleventh day in a cave atop a cliff. The conclusion of the ceremony is believed to release the soul from the deceased where it then travels the “land of souls”.


Next Up: More amazing photos!