Raphael is originally from Carinthia, Austria. He completed his Master’s degree in Economic Geology at the University of Leoben (Austria), and went on to complete his PhD at UWA (Perth). His PhD examined the potential of martian Large Igneous Provinces (LIP) to host sulphide endowments enriched in nickel and platinum-group elements. This innovative study integrated hyperspectral remote sensing data with gamma ray spectroscopy data, and involved the analysis of trace element sulphide and chromite mineralisation within martian meteorites (shergottites and chassingnites).
Following completion of his PhD, Raphael continued as a Research Associated at UWA prior to joining the UNSW in Sydney, where he investigated well preserved, strongly sulfidized microbial mat structures (stromatolites) in sedimentary and hydrothermal rocks of the c. 3.5 Ga Dresser Formation, East Pilbara Craton. This research, which involved the use of analytical techniques at high precision and resolution, has led to crucial new insights into hydrothermal activity and the nature of ancient life in the Dresser Formation.
Currently, Raphael is working for CSIRO Mineral Resources (Perth), focusing on ore genesis in Earth’s Red Sea and comparable environments elsewhere in the solar system, specifically Mars, providing insight into the role of organic matter in metal transport and accumulation, in particular Zn, Co, Cu and Mn, and allowing the development of novel mineral exploration models leading to more effective exploration.
My research spans a broad range of topics, focussing on the use of high-precision analytical techniques in the petrographical, mineralogical and chemical/isotopic characterization of recent sediments and ancient rocks on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system, especially Mars. A key point of my research is the study of microscopic traces of primordial life in Earth’s earliest rock record.
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