Geologist awarded society's geological medal

QUEENSLAND’S Department of Natural Resources and Mines Dr Cec Murray has been awarded the Dorothy Hill Medal for Queensland Geology, presented by the Queensland Division of the Geological Society of Australia.

Staff Reporter
Geologist awarded society's geological medal

Chief Government Geologist and Leader of the Geological Mapping Group within the department's Geological Survey of Queensland, Cec Murray was one of the pioneers in Queensland in the 1970s to use plate-tectonic theory to understand the geology and the formation of ore deposits.

Dave Mason, Director of the Geological Survey of Queensland (GSQ), said that by using his extensive knowledge of plate tectonics Dr Murray has greatly increased the understanding of the geology of eastern Australia, particularly the New England Orogen.

Dr Murray said that the New England Orogen is a well defined tectonic unit that comprises the eastern most part of Australia, stretching from Bowen in Queensland south to Newcastle and east of the Bowen to Sydney Basins.

"My interpretation of the New England Orogen as a convergent plate margin (two tectonic plates coming together, with one being pushed beneath the other) including possible exotic terranes (transported from elsewhere), presented a better interpretation of the geology of the area than that offered by classical geosynclinal theory. This latter theory was not able to explain the juxtaposition of belts of rock of the same age but with very different structural histories.

"By knowing more about the tectonics of an area, geologists are able to relate known mineral deposits to volcanic, intrusive and structural events, and better understand what has occurred. They can predict the occurrence of new styles of mineralisation," Dr Murray said.

Mr Mason said that Dr Murray has continued to publish on the New England Orogen and has added the Bowen Basin to his repertoire. He also compiled the Queensland portion of the Tectonic Map of the Tasman Orogenic Zone, and participated in the Eromanga-Brisbane Global Geoscience Transect.

He was invited to present a paper outlining the current status of the earth sciences in Queensland and their application to mineral and energy exploration at a seminar organised by the Royal Society of Queensland in 1994, and has been chair of the Australian UNESCO Committee for the International Geological Correlation Program since 1997.

After becoming manager of GSQ's Regional Mapping Section in 1979, Cec Murray initiated the Regional Geological Mapping Program, which together with its successor, the GEOMAP 2005 program, has greatly increased the knowledge of the geology of mineralised areas in Queensland.

With his personal experience and knowledge of the geology in Queensland, Cec Murray made a major contribution to the companion volume to the 1:2 500 000 Geological Map of Queensland published in 1975. He has published about 70 papers on a wide range of geological topics, mainly as sole author. Most have dealt with aspects of the geology and mineral resources of Queensland.

Mason said Dr Murray's major contributions to the Australian geological sciences through publications of original research earned him the Geological Society of Australia's W.R. Browne medal in 1998.

The Dorothy Hill Medal for Queensland Geology honours Professor Dorothy Hill, a former professor of geology at the University of Queensland and the only female president of the Australian Academy of Science.


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