Matthew Cracknell

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Matthew Cracknell

Matthew J Cracknell

Research Fellow in Earth Informatics, ARC TMVC Research Hub

Room 305, Physics Building, Sandy Bay Campus

+61 3 6226 2481 (phone)

+61 3 6226 2547 (fax)

Dr Matthew Cracknell is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Earth Informatics at the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Transforming the Mining Value Chain (TMVC). He also lectures 2nd and 3rd year geophysics students for the School of Physical Sciences (Earth Sciences) and conducts research at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Ore Deposits (CODES). His research focuses on the use of data mining and pattern recognition techniques for integrating and analysing geoscience data.

Career summary


DegreeThesis TitleUniversity CountryDate of Award
PhD Machine Learning for Geological Mapping: Algorithms and ApplicationsUniversity of TasmaniaAustraliaAugust 2014
BSc (1st Class Hons)Remote Sensing Geological Structures from High Resolution Digital Elevation Models

University of Tasmania

AustraliaDecember 2009


Matthew received a BSc (Hons) in geophysics from the University of Tasmania in 2009. He graduated from the University of Tasmania with a PhD in Computational Geophysics in 2014. Prior to his current position as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Matthew held numerous short-term research and teaching positions at the Centre of Excellence in Ore Deposits (CODES), Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC) and the School of Humanities University of Tasmania. Matthew has been employed as a consultant geoscientist and GIS analyst, completing projects for Forestry Tasmania, Mineral Resources Tasmania (MRT), Blue Wren Consulting and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oil spill response program via Ecomarine Consulting.

Research Themes

Matthew is a key member of the TMVC Research Hub and the Computational Geophysics and Earth Informatics group, led by Associate Professor Anya Reading, at The University of Tasmania. His research combines elements of both the Resources and Sustainability and Data, Knowledge and Decisions University research themes. Matthew's PhD thesis explored the use of data mining and machine learning techniques to identify and analyse patterns in high-dimensional geological, geophysical and geochemical data. Specific focus was placed on generating useful outputs such as robust measures of uncertainty and the development of methods for interpreting inferred relationships.

Currently, Matthew is researching novel approaches to adding value to digital scans of drillcore data, specifically related to the automated detection, extraction and classification of geological features. In addition, Matthew is applying the skills gained through his PhD to addressing the significant challenge of finding deeply buried ore deposits in the regolith dominated terrains of Australia. Matthew is also applying his unique skills to projects that aim to improve our understanding of large-scale tectonic architectures of the Australian and Antarctic continents.


Professional practice

  • International Association for Mathematical Geosciences
  • Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG)
  • Australian Regolith Geoscientists Association
  • Geological Society of Australia (GSA)


Applied Geophysics, Computational Geophysics, Environmental Geophysics, Geographic Information System (GIS), Spatial Data Analysis

Teaching expertise

Matthew has been teaching and inspiring geophysics students since 2009. He is currently a unit co-ordinator of second and third year applied and computational geophysics units.

Teaching responsibility

View more on Dr Matthew Cracknell in WARP


  • Geology, geochemistry and geophysics
  • Bedrock and regolith characterisation and mapping from remote sensing data
  • Geoscience data mining and pattern recognition
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and advanced spatial data analysis


  • S.W. Carey Prize for the best BSc Honours thesis in the geological sciences at the University of Tasmania (2009)
  • Best student presentation Third Australian Regolith Geoscientists Association (ARGA) Conference Perth-Bunbury 6-7th February 2014


Matthew is working closely with mining and resource partners through the TMVC Research Hub. He is also currently involved in collaborative research projects with the University of California, Riverside and the NASA Astrobiology Institute that aim to discriminate ore deposit styles and biological activity from pyrite trace element analyses. Matthew works closely with Geoscience Australia on a project that aims to identify subtle mineralisation signatures in continental-scale geochemical and geophysical data, and with the University of Canberra's Institute of Applied Ecology developing objective spatial data analysis methods for agricultural and soil conservation land management systems. He has completed research projects and still maintains close links with Mineral Resources Tasmania.

Current projects

TMVC Research Hub

T2a Corescan data feature extraction and classification for mineralogical and textural information analysis

T2c Integrating chemical and mineralogical data layers for element deportment

T2d Geological feature discovery from quantitative data integration (algorithm development)

Research Fields

  • Geophysics (040499)
  • Exploration Geochemistry (040201)
  • Tectonics (040313)
  • Geology (040399)
  • Environmental Management (050205)
  • Pattern Recognition and Data Mining (080109)
  • Mineralogy and Crystallography (040306)
  • Ore Deposit Petrology (040307)
  • Structural Geology (040312)
  • Geomorphology and Regolith and Landscape Evolution (040601)
  • Geodynamics (040402)

Research Impact

  • Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences (970104)
  • Mineral Exploration (840199)
  • Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales (960501)
  • Copper Ore Exploration (840102)
  • Precious (Noble) Metal Ore Exploration (840105)
  • Uranium Exploration (850105)
  • Primary Mining and Extraction of Mineral Resources (840299)
  • Mineral Resources (excl. Energy Resources) (849999)


Matthew has been the primary author of several peer-reviewed journal articles. These publications document the novel application of supervised and unsupervised learning algorithms to a diverse range of geoscience problems. He has also contributed to a number of conference abstracts presented at national and international geophysics conferences. Matthew regularly reviews journal articles for Computers & Geosciences and IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing (JSTARS).

Total publications


Journal Article

(9 outputs)
2016Cracknell MJ, Cowood AL, 'Construction and analysis of Hydrogeological Landscape units using Self-Organising Maps', Soil Research, 54, (3) pp. 328-345. ISSN 1838-675X (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1071/SR15016 [eCite] [Details]


2016Cracknell MJ, Jansen NH, 'National Virtual Core Library HyLogging data and Ni-Co laterites: a mineralogical model for resource exploration, extraction and remediation', Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 63, (8) pp. 1053-1067. ISSN 0812-0099 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/08120099.2016.1246476 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Jansen NH


2015Cracknell MJ, Reading AM, 'Spatial-contextual supervised classifiers explored: a challenging example of lithostratigraphy classification', IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, 8, (3) pp. 1371-1384. ISSN 1939-1404 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1109/JSTARS.2014.2382760 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Reading AM


2015Cracknell MJ, Reading AM, de Caritat P, 'Multiple influences on regolith characteristics from continental-scale geophysical and mineralogical remote sensing data using Self-Organizing Maps', Remote Sensing of Environment, 165 pp. 86-99. ISSN 0034-4257 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2015.04.029 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Reading AM


2014Cracknell MJ, Reading AM, 'Geological mapping using remote sensing data: a comparison of five machine learning algorithms, their response to variations in the spatial distribution of training data and the use of explicit spatial information', Computers and Geosciences, 63 pp. 22-33. ISSN 0098-3004 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.cageo.2013.10.008 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 45

Co-authors: Reading AM


2014Cracknell MJ, Reading AM, McNeill AW, 'Mapping geology and volcanic-hosted massive sulfide alteration in the Hellyer-Mt Charter region, Tasmania, using Random ForestsTM and Self-Organising Maps', Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 61, (2) pp. 287-304. ISSN 0812-0099 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/08120099.2014.858081 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 9Web of Science - 6

Co-authors: Reading AM


2013Cracknell MJ, Reading AM, 'The upside of uncertainty: Identification of lithology contact zones from airborne geophysics and satellite data using random forests and support vector machines', Geophysics, 78, (3) pp. WB113-WB126. ISSN 0016-8033 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1190/GEO2012-0411.1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 12Web of Science - 11

Co-authors: Reading AM


2013Cracknell MJ, Roach M, Green D, Lucieer A, 'Estimating bedding orientation from high-resolution digital elevation models', IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 51, (5) pp. 2949-2959. ISSN 0196-2892 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1109/TGRS.2012.2217502 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 7

Co-authors: Roach M; Lucieer A


2012Bar-Ness Y, McQuillan PB, Whitman M, Junker RR, Cracknell M, et al., 'Sampling forest canopy arthropod biodiversity with three novel minimal-cost trap designs', Australian Journal of Entomology, 51, (1) pp. 12-21. ISSN 1440-6055 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-6055.2011.00836.x [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Bar-Ness Y; McQuillan PB


Conference Publication

(17 outputs)
2016Cowood AL, Cracknell MJ, Moore L, 'An objective and repeatable method for the construction of Hydrogeological Landscape Units', Proceedings of Fourth Australian Regolith Geoscientists Association Conference, 7-11 February 2016, Thredbo, NSW, pp. 17-20. ISBN 9781925297034 (2016) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

2016Eshaghi E, Reading A, Roach M, Duffett M, Bombardieri D, et al., 'Investigating the Moho beneath onshore and offshore Tasmania using the complete Bouguer anomaly', Proceedings of Australian Earth Sciences Convention, 26-30 June 2016, Adelaide, Australia, pp. 126. ISSN 0729-011X (2016) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Eshaghi E; Reading A; Roach M; Bombardieri D

2016Eshaghi E, Reading AM, Roach M, Cracknell MJ, Duffett M, et al., '3D modelling of granite intrusions in northwest Tasmania using petrophysical and residual gravity data', SEG Technical Program Expanded Abstracts 2016, 16-21 October 2016, Dallas, TX USA, pp. 1637-1642. ISSN 1949-4645 (2016) [Conference Extract]

DOI: 10.1190/segam2016-13780273.1 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Eshaghi E; Reading AM; Roach M


2016Kuhn S, Cracknell MJ, Reading AM, 'Lithological mapping via Random Forests: Information Entropy as a proxy for inaccuracy', ASEG Extended Abstracts, 21-24 August 2016, Adelaide, Australia, pp. 904-907. (2016) [Refereed Conference Paper]

DOI: 10.1071/ASEG2016ab196 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Kuhn S; Reading AM


2016Reading A, Cracknell M, Kuhn S, Hardy S, 'Data Driven Knowledge Discovery for Earth Sciences: Aims and Actions', Proceedings of Australian Earth Sciences Convention, 26-30 June 2016, Adelaide, Australia, pp. 372. ISSN 0729-011X (2016) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Reading A; Kuhn S

2016Reading A, Halpin J, Whittaker J, Cracknell M, Gal M, et al., 'An interdisciplinary approach to constructing models of the lithosphere across the Australia-Antarctica conjugate margin', Abstracts from the Australian Earth Sciences Convention (AESC 2016), 26-30 June 2016, Adelaide, South Australia, pp. 371. (2016) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Reading A; Halpin J; Whittaker J; Gal M; Morse P

2016Reading AM, Cracknell MJ, Kuhn S, 'Big Data Techniques for Applied Geoscience: Compute and Communicate', ASEG Extended Abstracts, 21-24 August 2016, Adelaide, Australia, pp. 1-5. (2016) [Refereed Conference Paper]

DOI: 10.1071/ASEG2016ab181 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Reading AM; Kuhn S


2016Cracknell MJ, de Caritat P, 'Catchment-scale gold prospectivity analysis from the National Geochemical Survey of Australia', Proceedings of Goldschmidt 2016, 26 June-1 July 2016, Yokohama, Japan, pp. 553. (2016) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

2015Cracknell MJ, Reading AM, de Caritat P, 'Geological knowledge discovery and minerals targeting from regolith using a machine learning approach', ASEG-PESA 2015, 15-18 February 2015, Perth, Australia, pp. 1-4. (2015) [Refereed Conference Paper]

DOI: 10.1071/ASEG2015ab283 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Reading AM


2015Cracknell MJ, Reading AM, de Caritat P, 'Uranium prospectivity mapping across the Australian continent via unsupervised cluster analysis of integrated remote sensing data', SEG 2015 Conference, 27-30 September 2015, Hobart, Australia (2015) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Reading AM

2015Eshaghi E, Reading AM, Roach M, Cracknell MJ, Bombardieri D, et al., 'Insights into the continental structure of southeast Australia and Tasmania from passive seismic and magnetic datasets', ASEG-PESA 2015, 15-18 February 2015, Perth, Australia, pp. 1-4. (2015) [Refereed Conference Paper]

DOI: 10.1071/ASEG2015ab203 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Eshaghi E; Reading AM; Roach M


2015Green D, Cracknell M, Cumming G, 'Structural interpretation of high resolution Digital Elevation Models derived from LiDAR remote sensing', Riding The Wave: Specialist Group in Tectonics and Structural Geology, 22-27 November 2015, Caloundra, Queensland (2015) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

2015Kuhn S, Cracknell MJ, Reading AM, Roach M, 'Towards user friendly data-driven minerals exploration: lithological mapping in an orogenic gold setting', SEG 2015 Conference, 27-30 September 2015, Hobart, Australia (2015) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Kuhn S; Reading AM; Roach M

2015Reading A, Halpin J, Cracknell M, 'An interdisciplinary approach to constructing models of the lithosphere and asthenosphere of Antarctica', Geophysical Research Abstracts, 12-17 April, Vienna, Austria, pp. EGU2015-4226. (2015) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Reading A; Halpin J

2015Reading AM, Cracknell MJ, Bombardieri DJ, Chalke T, 'Combining machine learning and geophysical inversion for applied geophysics', ASEG-PESA 2015, 15-18 February 2015, Perth, Australia, pp. 1-4. (2015) [Refereed Conference Paper]

DOI: 10.1071/ASEG2015ab070 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Reading AM


2014Cracknell MJ, Reading AM, 'Unsupervised clustering of continental-scale geophysical and geochemical data using Self-Organising Maps', Proceedings of the 3rd Australian Regolith Geoscientists Association Conference, 6-7 February 2014, Bunbury, Australia, pp. 20-24. (2014) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Reading AM

2013Cracknell MJ, Reading AM, McNeill AW, 'Supervised and unsupervised classification of near-mine soil Geochemistry and Geophysics data', Proceedings of the 23rd International Geophysical Conference and Exhibition, 11-14 August 2013, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-4. (2013) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Reading AM

Contract Report, Consultant's Report

(2 outputs)
2015Gregory D, Large R, Cracknell M, Kuhn S, 'Phase 1 report of trace elements in titanite, hematitic sediments, magnetite and chlorite vectoring study', Sandfire Resources, Hobart, Australia (2015) [Consultants Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Gregory D; Large R; Kuhn S

2015Gregory D, Meffre S, Large R, Cracknell M, Kuhn S, 'Annual report: South Australian pyrite, hematite and magnetite fingerprint database', Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy, Hobart, Australia (2015) [Consultants Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Gregory D; Meffre S; Large R; Kuhn S

Other Public Output

(1 outputs)
2017Steadman JA, Large RR, Gregory DD, Meffre S, Cracknell M, et al., 'Summary report on South Australia pyrite and magnetite geochemistry studies (including Mineral Systems Drilling Program pyrite project)', Geological Survey of South Australia (Department of State Development), 22 March (2017) [Government or Industry Research]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Steadman JA; Large RR; Gregory DD; Meffre S; Kuhn SD

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Ore deposits and tectonic evolution of the Lachlan Orogen, SE Australia (2016 - 2019)$793,000
South-east Australia has a complex and fragmented geological history. Over the past 550 million years platetectonic processes have resulted in the formation of metal-rich mineral deposits. This project aims to develop andtest models for evaluating past tectonic processes and configurations, using both new and existing geological,geophysical and isotopic data. The information gained will be used to identify areas of high potential foreconomically valuable ore deposits, thereby enabling more efficient prioritisation of mineral exploration efforts.This will increase the probability of significant ore deposit discoveries leading to national economic benefit.
Australian Research Council ($418,000)
Alkane Exploration NL ($30,000); AngloGold Ashanti Australia Limited ($30,000); CMOC Mining Services Pty Ltd T/A Northparkes Mines ($30,000); Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources ($15,000); Department of State Growth (Tas) ($15,000); Emmerson Resources Limited ($30,000); Evolution Mining ($45,000); Geological Survey of New South Wales - Department of Industry ($30,000); Geoscience Australia ($30,000); Heron Resources Limited ($30,000); New South Resources Limited ($30,000); Rio Tinto Limited ($30,000); Sandfire Resoures NL ($30,000)
Grant-Linkage Projects
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Meffre SJM; Whittaker J; Norman M; Cracknell M; Belousova E; Collins W; Arundell M; Cooke DR; Maas R
2016 - 2019
Grant Reference

Research Supervision

Matthew provides support to several Higher Degree Research students – 'The Geofizz Nerds'. Matthew is looking to supervise Honours and PhD students in the fields of computational geophysics and geoinformatics.




PhDMulti-Scale Geoelectric, and Combined Geophysical, Investigations of Tasmania and Southeast Australia2015
PhDInterpreting Structural and Geochemical Patterns at Various Scales Using Machine Learning2016
PhDMulti-layer analysis of geoscience and remote-sensing data for geological discovery and minerals targeting2016
PhDThe Application of Geometallurgy for Predictive Recovery Analysis Using Advanced Geological, Geochemical and Alteration Modeling2016
PhDA Model-based Approach to the Interpretation of Seismicity Associated with Mass Mining2017