Shaun Barker

UTAS Home Associate Professor Shaun Barker

Shaun Barker

Associate Professor in Economic Geology


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Research Themes

Increasing global population, industrialization and the transition to low-carbon energy sources is driving ever increasing demand for mineral resources, and is placing pressure on society to deliver resources in a sustainable fashion. The University of Tasmania addresses these issues through it’s research theme “Environment, Resources and Sustainability“. Shaun’s research addresses how resources form, how we can find these resources, and what impact extracting these resources will have.

Shaun is best known for his work on developing and applying novel geochemical techniques, particularly stable isotopes, to trace hydrothermal fluid flow within the Earth’s crust. Hydrothermal fluids are responsible for forming most of the world’s mineral resources that are currently mined, as well as giving us energy resources in active geothermal systems, which are major energy sources in many parts of the world.

Shaun specialises in understanding the origin, and exploration for Carlin-type gold deposits, as well as other low-temperature ore deposits. Since 2007 after completing his PhD at The Australian National University, Shaun has worked on mineral deposits in the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries.


Breaking down discipline boundaries is a key focus of Shaun’s research activities as reflected in his varied co-authorships. Shaun works with scientists in France, Canada, the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and other countries. Shaun has had projects working with scientists and engineers from a diverse range of topic areas, including machine learning, chemistry, biology, engineering, geology, physics and others. Building collaborative research projects with university academic, industry and government scientists is of key importance to address the challenges that society faces around resource supply and sustainability.

Current projects

* Mapping cryptic alteration in Carlin-type gold deposits through infrared spectroscopy and machine learning (with PhD student Rocky Barker)

* Developing stable isotope methods for mapping alteration in propylytically altered rocks (with PhD student John Mering)

* Mapping alteration in epithermal environments using mineralogy and lithogeochemistry (with PhD student Rosie Hughes)

* Tracing fluid flow in the Mount Isa copper deposits (with PhD student Ben Andrew)

View more on Dr Shaun Barker in WARP

Fields of Research

  • Exploration geochemistry (370301)
  • Inorganic geochemistry (370302)
  • Isotope geochemistry (370303)
  • Structural geology and tectonics (370511)
  • Resource geoscience (370508)
  • Carbon sequestration science (410101)
  • Geochronology (370502)
  • Geoinformatics (370499)
  • Analytical spectrometry (340101)
  • Atmospheric composition, chemistry and processes (370104)
  • Volcanology (370512)
  • Geology (370599)
  • Mineralogy and crystallography (370505)
  • Palaeoclimatology (370904)
  • Stratigraphy (incl. biostratigraphy, sequence stratigraphy and basin analysis) (370510)
  • Geomorphology and earth surface processes (370901)

Research Objectives

  • Copper ore exploration (250302)
  • Precious (noble) metal ore exploration (250305)
  • Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences (280107)
  • Mineral exploration (250399)
  • Mining and extraction of precious (noble) metal ores (250405)
  • Expanding knowledge in the chemical sciences (280105)
  • Geothermal exploration (170202)
  • Climate change mitigation strategies (190301)
  • Natural hazards (190499)
  • Evaluation, allocation, and impacts of land use (180603)
  • Management of greenhouse gas emissions from mineral resources activities (190309)
  • Zinc ore exploration (250308)
  • Climate variability (excl. social impacts) (190502)
  • Other mineral resources (excl. energy resources) (259999)
  • Oil and gas exploration (170203)
  • Environmentally sustainable mineral resource activities (250199)
  • Primary mining and extraction of minerals (250499)


Total publications


Journal Article

(34 outputs)
2020Barker RD, Barker SLL, Cracknell MJ, Stock ED, Holmes G, 'Quantitative mineral mapping of drill core surfaces II: long-wave infrared mineral characterization using μXRF and machine learning', Economic Geology and the Bulletin of the Society of Economic Geologists pp. 1-16. ISSN 0361-0128 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5382/econgeo.4804 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Cracknell MJ


2020Barker RD, Barker SLL, Wilson SA, Stock ED, 'Quantitative mineral mapping of drill core surfaces I: a method for uXRF mineral calculation and mapping of hydrothermally altered, fine-grained sedimentary rocks from a Carlin-type gold deposit', Economic Geology and the Bulletin of the Society of Economic Geologists pp. 1-18. ISSN 0361-0128 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5382/econgeo.4803 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 2


2019Barker SLL, Hood S, Hughes RM, Richards S, 'The lithogeochemical signatures of hydrothermal alteration in the Waihi epithermal district, New Zealand', New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 62, (4) pp. 513-530. ISSN 0028-8306 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/00288306.2019.1651345 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Hood S


2019Barnes JD, Cullen J, Barker S, Agostini S, Penniston-Dorland S, et al., 'The role of the upper plate in controlling fluid-mobile element (Cl, Li, B) cycling through subduction zones: Hikurangi forearc, New Zealand', Geosphere, 15, (3) pp. 642-658. ISSN 1553-040X (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1130/GES02057.1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 2


2019Beinlich A, Barker SLL, Dipple GM, Hansen LD, Megaw PKM, 'Large-scale stable isotope alteration around the hydrothermal carbonate-replacement Cinco de Mayo Zn-Ag Deposit, Mexico', Economic Geology and The Bulletin of The Society of Economic Geologists, 114, (2) pp. 375-396. ISSN 0361-0128 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5382/econgeo.2019.4635 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 5


2019Dimabayao JJT, Rowe MC, Barker SL, 'Stable isotope systematics of fluids and epidote in the Bacon-Manito Geothermal Field, Philippines: Indicators of fluid origin and evolution', Geothermics, 80 pp. 31-43. ISSN 0375-6505 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.geothermics.2019.02.009 [eCite] [Details]


2019Hamilton AR, Campbell KA, Rowland JV, Barker S, Guido DM, 'Fossilised geothermal surface features of the Whitianga Volcanic Centre (Miocene), Coromandel Volcanic Zone, New Zealand: controls and characteristics', Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 381 pp. 209-226. ISSN 0377-0273 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2019.06.009 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3


2019Loame RC, Villamor P, Lowe D, Milicich SD, Pittari A, et al., 'Using paleoseismology and tephrochronology to reconstruct fault rupturing and hydrothermal activity since c. 40 ka in Taupo Rift, New Zealand', Quaternary International, 500 pp. 52-70. ISSN 1040-6182 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2019.02.031 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 5


2019Power IM, Harrison AL, Dipple GM, Wilson SA, Barker SLL, et al., 'Magnesite formation in playa environments near Atlin, British Columbia, Canada', Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 255 pp. 1-24. ISSN 0016-7037 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2019.04.008 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 8


2019Prentice ML, Pittari A, Barker SLL, Moon VG, 'Volcanogenic processes and petrogenesis of the early Pleistocene andesiticdacitic Maungatautari composite cone, Central Waikato, New Zealand', New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 6, (2) pp. 210-226. ISSN 0028-8306 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/00288306.2019.1656259 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2


2018Mering JA, Barker SLL, 'Precise measurement of the hydrogen isotope composition of phyllosilicates by continuous flow off-axis integrated cavity output spectroscopy', Analytical Chemistry, 90, (4) pp. 2852-2859. ISSN 0003-2700 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b04992 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4


2018Mering JA, Barker SLL, Huntington KW, Simmons S, Dipple G, et al., 'Taking the temperature of hydrothermal ore deposits using clumped isotope thermometry', Economic Geology, 113, (8) pp. 1671-1678. ISSN 0013-0109 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5382/econgeo.2018.4608 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 5


2017Andrew BS, Barker SLL, 'Determination of carbonate vein chemistry using portable X-ray fluorescence and its application to mineral exploration', Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis, 18 pp. 85-93. ISSN 1467-7873 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1144/geochem2016-011 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7Web of Science - 7


2017Beinlich A, Barker SLL, Dipple GM, Gupta M, Baer DS, 'Stable isotope (δ13C, δ18O) analysis of sulfide-bearing carbonate samples using laser absorption spectrometry', Economic Geology, 112, (3) pp. 693-700. ISSN 0361-0128 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.2113/econgeo.112.3.693 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 6


2017Hughes R, Barker SLL, 'Using portable XRF to infer adularia halos within the Waihi Au-Ag system, New Zealand', Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis, 18 pp. 97-108. ISSN 1467-7873 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1144/geochem2016-006 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 4


2016Bouzari F, Hart CJR, Bissig T, Barker S, 'Hydrothermal alteration revealed by apatite luminescence and chemistry: a potential indicator mineral for exploring covered porphyry copper deposits', Economic Geology, 111, (6) pp. 1397-1410. ISSN 0361-0128 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.2113/econgeo.111.6.1397 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 42Web of Science - 45


2016Mauriohooho K, Barker SLL, Rae A, 'Mapping lithology and hydrothermal alteration in geothermal systems using portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF): a case study from the Tauhara geothermal system, Taupo Volcanic Zone', Geothermics, 64 pp. 125-134. ISSN 0375-6505 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.geothermics.2016.03.005 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 11Web of Science - 12


2016Vaughan JR, Hickey KA, Barker SLL, 'Isotopic, chemical, and textural evidence for pervasive calcite dissolution and precipitation accompanying hydrothermal fluid flow in low-temperature, carbonate-hosted, gold systems', Economic Geology, 111, (5) pp. 1127-1157. ISSN 0361-0128 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.2113/econgeo.111.5.1127 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7Web of Science - 14


2014Hickey KA, Ahmed AD, Barker SLL, Leonardson R, 'Fault-controlled lateral fluid flow underneath and into a Carlin-type gold deposit: isotopic and geochemical footprints', Economic Geology, 109, (5) pp. 1431-1460. ISSN 0013-0109 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.2113/econgeo.109.5.1431 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 12Web of Science - 15

Co-authors: Ahmed AD


2014Hickey KA, Barker SLL, Dipple GM, Arehart GB, Donelick RA, 'The brevity of hydrothermal fluid flow revealed by thermal halos around giant gold deposits: implications for Carlin-type gold systems', Economic Geology, 109, (5) pp. 1461-1487. ISSN 0361-0128 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.2113/econgeo.109.5.1461 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 25Web of Science - 29


2013Barker SLL, Dipple GM, Hickey KA, Lepore WA, Vaughan JR, 'Applying stable isotopes to mineral exploration: Teaching an old dog new tricks', Economic Geology, 108, (1) pp. 1-9. ISSN 0013-0109 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.2113/econgeo.108.1.1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 19


2012Lubben JD, Cline JS, Barker SLL, 'Ore Fluid properties and sources from quartz-associated gold at the Betze-Post Carlin-type gold deposit, Nevada, United States', Economic Geology, 107, (7) pp. 1351-1385. ISSN 0013-0109 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.2113/econgeo.107.7.1351 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 31Web of Science - 29


2011Barker SLL, Dipple GM, Dong F, Baer DS, 'Use of laser spectroscopy to measure the 13C/12C and 18O/16O compositions of carbonate minerals', Analytical Chemistry, 83, (6) pp. 2220-2226. ISSN 0974-7419 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/ac103111y [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 32Web of Science - 35


2011Wilson SA, Dipple GM, Power IM, Barker SLL, Fallon SJ, et al., 'Subarctic weathering of mineral wastes provides a sink for atmospheric CO2', Environmental Science and Technology, 45, (18) pp. 7727-7736. ISSN 0013-936X (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/es202112y [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 47Web of Science - 46


2010Barker SLL, Cox SF, 'Oscillatory zoning and trace element incorporation in hydrothermal minerals: insights from calcite growth experiments', Geofluids, 11, (1) pp. 48-56. ISSN 1468-8115 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-8123.2010.00305.x [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 36Web of Science - 37


2010Barker SLL, Palin M, Sibson RH, FitzGerald JD, Reddy S, et al., 'Cretaceous age, composition, and microstructure of pseudotachylyte in the Otago Schist, New Zealand', New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 53, (1) pp. 15-29. ISSN 0028-8306 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/00288301003631764 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 6


2010Escalante A, Dipple GM, Barker SLL, Tosdal R, 'Defining trace-element alteration halos to skarn deposits hosted in heterogeneous carbonate rocks: Case study from the Cu-Zn Antamina skarn deposit, Peru', Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 105 pp. 117-136. ISSN 0375-6742 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.gexplo.2010.04.011 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 9Web of Science - 9


2010Wilson SA, Barker SLL, Dipple GM, Atudorei V, 'Isotopic disequilibrium during uptake of atmospheric CO2 into mine process waters: implications for CO2 sequestration', Environmental Science and Technology, 44, (24) pp. 9522-9529. ISSN 0013-936X (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/es1021125 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 66Web of Science - 64


2009Barker SL, Bennett VC, Cox SF, Norman MD, Gagan MK, 'Sm-Nd, Sr, C and O isotope systematics in hydrothermal calcite-fluorite veins: Implications for fluid-rock reaction and geochronology', Chemical Geology, 268, (1-2) pp. 58-66. ISSN 0009-2541 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2009.07.009 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 43Web of Science - 35


2009Barker SLL, Hickey KA, Cline JS, Dipple GM, Kilburn MR, et al., 'Uncloaking invisible gold: use of nanosims to evaluate gold, trace elements, and sulfur isotopes in pyrite from Carlin-type gold deposits', Economic Geology, 104, (7) pp. 897-904. ISSN 0361-0128 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.2113/econgeo.104.7.897 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 114


2006Barker SLL, Cox SF, Eggins SM, Gagan MK, 'Microchemical evidence for episodic growth of antitaxial veins during fracture-controlled fluid flow', Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 250, (1-2) pp. 331-344. ISSN 0012-821X (2006) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2006.07.051 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 56Web of Science - 53


2005Barker SLL, 'Pseudotachylyte-generating faults in Central Otago, New Zealand', Tectonophysics, 397, (3-4) pp. 211-223. ISSN 0040-1951 (2005) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.tecto.2004.12.005 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 24Web of Science - 20


2004Barker SLL, Kim JP, Craw D, Frew RD, Hunter KA, 'Processes affecting the chemical composition of Blue Lake, an alluvial gold-mine pit lake in New Zealand', Marine and Freshwater Research, 55 pp. 1-11. ISSN 1323-1650 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1071/MF03174 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 12Web of Science - 12


2004Nutman AP, Friend CRL, Barker SLL, McGregor VR, 'Inventory and assessment of Palaeoarchaean gneiss terrains and detrital zircons in southern West Greenland', Precambrian Research, 135 pp. 281-314. ISSN 0301-9268 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.precamres.2004.09.002 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 112Web of Science - 108


Chapter in Book

(2 outputs)
2019Barker SLL, Dipple GM, 'Exploring for carbonate-hosted ore deposits using carbon and oxygen isotopes', Ore Deposits: Origin, Exploration, and Exploitation, American Geophysical Union, S Decree & L Robb (ed), United States, pp. 185-207. ISBN 9781119290537 (2019) [Research Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.1002/9781119290544.ch8 [eCite] [Details]


2011Barker SLL, Cox SF, 'Evolution of fluid chemistry and fluid-flow pathways during folding and faulting: an example from Taemas, NSW, Australia', Geology of the Earthquake Source: A Volume in Honour of Rick Sibson, The Geological Society, A Fagereng, VG Toy, JV Rowland (ed), United Kingdom ISBN 9781862396074 (2011) [Research Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.1144/SP359.12 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6


Conference Publication

(1 outputs)
2019Hood SB, Gazley MF, Cracknell MJ, Barker S, Reading AM, 'A speedy update on machine learning applied to bedrock mapping using geochemistry or geophysics: examples from the Pacific Rim (and nearby)', Proceedings of the 2019 Mineral Systems of the Pacific Rim Congress (PACRIM 2019), 3-5 April 2019, Auckland, New Zealand, pp. 58-61. (2019) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Hood SB; Cracknell MJ; Reading AM


Other Public Output

(1 outputs)
2018Garay A, Belousov I, Cracknell M, Baker M, Barker S, et al., 'Potential for exploration vectoring and fertility assessments using epidote and stable isotopes at Las Bambas', AMIRA International, Australia (2018) [Report of Restricted Access]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Belousov I; Cracknell M; Baker M; Meffre S; Thompson J; Cannell J; Cooke DR

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Identifying unique Resistate Indicator Mineral (RIM) chemistry as a guide in prospectivity for sediment-hosted copper mineralisation (2020 - 2021)$319,800
This project will collect new geochemical data from the Central African copper belt In order to test whether tltanite, apatite and tourmaline can be used as paleohydrothermal fluid proxies that can aid mineral exploration. This work has never been systematically tested before, and the outcomes and potential exploration utility are highly uncertain hence this one year pllot study. We will collect a systematic set of samples within, proximal and distal to mineralization to assess whether resfstate minerals record signatures of copper mineralization. The results could be tested by others using equivalent samples and techniques.
AMIRA International Ltd ($319,800)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Barker SL; Danyushevsky LV; Cracknell M; Hitzman M; Johnson S
2020 - 2021
Investigating Mineralisation in the Tarraji-Yampi (West Kimberley) and Illaara (Yilgarn) project areas. (2020 - 2021)$100,000
This project will evaluate lithogeochemical and mineral chemistry data in order to test the validity of these emerging tools to guide mineral exploration activity in the Yilgarn and West Kimberley areas of western Australia.
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science ($50,000); Dreadnought Resources ($50,000)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Barker SL
2020 - 2021
Mineral Geochemistry Vectoring uncovering North West Queensland's hidden potential (2018 - 2020)$1,168,600
The Paleo- to Mesoproterozoic Mount Isa district, Northwest Queensland, anchors the Northwest Queensland Mineral Province, one of the preeminent mining districts of the world. Many of the mines of the Mount Isa district are approaching end-of-life scenarios, which could have a significant negative socio-economic impact on the region. Finding new resources and re-vitalizing the Northwest Queensland Mineral Province is therefore of paramount importance.
Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines ($1,168,600)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Barker SL; Steadman JA; Cooke DR; Cloutier J
2018 - 2020

Research Supervision




PhDGold Mineralisation at Kansanshi Copper Mine, Zambia. Formation, Association, and implications for Ore Zone Delineation2018
PhDUnderstanding and predicting hypogene and supergene footprints of Carlin-type gold deposits using a hydrochemical modelling approach2018
PhDMagmatic Mineral Chemistry as a Tool for Detecting Fertile Intrusive Complexes Associated with Porphyry Copper Deposits2018
PhDLithogeochemical and Mineral Analysis of Global Magmatic-hydrothermal Deposits: Case studies from the Mt Read Volcanics, western Tasmania, west Kimberly and Yilgarn cratons2019
PhDDefining the Mineral Chemistry Footprints of IOCG Deposits in Northwest Queensland2019