UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND, JOHANNESBURG

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY


Alayman, S.

Taxonomic revision of the tapinocephalid dinocephalian subfamilies Moschopinae, Tapinocephalinae and Riebeeckosaurinae – The key to understanding Middle Permian tetrapod biodiversity.

 The project started in 2008, supervised by Prof. Rubidge and Dr. Abdala.

Nicoletti, N.

Gondwanan correlations of Upper Karoo vertebrate biozones using palynology

 The project started in 2010 and is supervised by Prof. Bamford and Prof. Rubidge.

This inter-disciplinary PhD project is recording the pollen and spore taxa of the Karoo in order to set up a palynostratigraphic scheme from the Carboniferous to the Jurassic of South Africa. The rocks of the Karoo contain a rich fossil pollen record which can be utilised to understand changes in floral biodiversity, determine the effects of the Permo-Triassic and Triassic-Jurassic extinction events on plant communities, and enhance geological Karoo basin development models.

 

Chikumbirike, J.

Archaeological and palaeoecological implications of charcoal assemblages from the Holocene from Great Zimbabwe and the immediate environment.

The project started in 2010, and is supervised by Dr. Bamford and Dr. Esterhuysen.

  Deseta, N.

Constraints for the formation of pseudotachylytes from the Alpine Subduction Complex, Corsica

Supervised by Prof. Ashwal and Prof. Andersen.

The project involves a multidisciplinray approach in evaluating the mechanism of formation of blueschist facies pseudotahylytes from Cima di Gratera, Corsica. Previous work has shown these pseudotachylytes (hosted by peridotite and metagabbro) to have formed at pressures of 1.8 - 2.6 GPa and at temperatures of 1400 - 1700 °C and to be associated with seismic failure. By doing a detailed geochemical and microstructural study of these pseudotachylytes we aim to determine the mechanism by which intermediate-depth earthquakes nucleate and initiate as well as the influence that water may have on these processes. 

 

Glynn, S.

Geochronology and Evolution of the Magondi Belt, Zimbabwe.

The project started in 2011 and is supervised by Dr. Master.

The project aim is to produce high quality, contemporary U-Pb geochronology to constrain the deposition of the host sediments of the Magondi Supergroup in Zimbabwe. Whereas a second component is to determine the timing of events such as mineralisation and metamorphism within the belt associated with the Magondi orogeny by making use of Ar-Ar geochronology.
Keeling, R.

Fossilised dermal tissue associated with Australopithecus sediba

Project supervised by Prof. Berger.

The multi-disciplinary project will analyse material associated with the near complete Plio-Pleistocene aged Australopithecus sediba hominin specimens from the Malapa site to determine whether soft tissue in the form of fossilised skin may have been preserved. The taphonomic condition of the fossils suggests rapid burial, lack of predation, but some insect damage, making the preservation environment at Malapa exceptional. Any soft tissue found with the hominins, represented by MH1 (Malapa Hominid 1) and MH2 (Malapa Hominid 2) would be of some considerable value, as such preservation is presently unrecognized in the early hominin record.


 

Scheiber-Enslin, S.

3D Geophysical Modelling of the Karoo Basin.

The project started in 2011, supervised by Dr. Webb, Dr. Eberle, and Dr. Ebbing (Norwegian Geological Survey).

No clear tectonic model exists for the Karoo sedimentary basin in South Africa, which is a possible host for Permian shale gas. The main aim of this proposed project is to create a 3D geological model of the Karoo Basin using geological information, magnetic and gravity data, and supplementary borehole and seismic data. This model will be used to investigate the tectonic environment of the Karoo, and the dynamic formation of the basin in terms of the flexural response on and off craton, and the possible formation of natural gas deposits.

EVANS, M.

Depositional history of alluvial fan deposits in the foothills of the Drakensberg in the eastern Free State and their palaeoclimatological significance, South Africa.

The project is supervised by Prof. McCarthy (part-time).

  Malephane, H.

The earthquake seismology of the NW Cape.  

The project started in 2010 and is supervised by Prof. Durrheim and Prof. Andreoli.

 

Olayiwola, M.

Palynological investigation of three Eocene borehole cores in the Niger Delta, Nigeria.

The project started in 2011 and is supervised by Prof. Bamford.

The Niger Delta Basin is worldwide known to be the most productive and economic sedimentary Basin in Nigeria. This research project was developed as a result of awareness that as petroleum exploration and production activities progress from onshore towards deep offshore depo-belts in the Niger Delta region, the biostratigraphy becomes more complex and open to questions. This is due to the poor preservation of calcareous skeleton which usually associated with deeper water offshore depositional environments. In contrast palynomorphs, (organic-walled micro-fossils) which are less affected by deeper water offshore depositional environments, are becoming more useful as a biostratigraphic tool in deep offshore strata.  

This project involves analyzing ditch-cutting samples for their palynomorph contents to create a palynomorph biostratigraphical framework to complement the existing microfossil and nannofossil biostratigraphy in the Niger Delta. The development of spore/pollen biostratigraphic schemes will be an important contribution to the deep offshore strata in which other taxa often make little or no significant impact. 


Penn-Clarke, C.

Facies Analysis, Palaeo-environmental Successions and Sequence Stratigraphy of the Early to Middle Devonian Bokkeveld Group (Cape Supergroup), Western Cape Province, South Africa.

The project is supervised by Prof. Rubidge, Dr. Jinnah, and Dr. Almond.


Pereira, L.

Phytolith Analysis of the FwJj14 Site Complex, Lake Turkana Basin, Northern Kenya.

The (part-time) project started in 2008 and is supervised by Prof. Bamford.

Tawane, M.

Dental size and frequency of pathologies in the teeth of a small-bodied population of Mid-Late Holocene Micronesians, Palau Micronesia.

The project started in 2007 and is supervised by Prof. Berger and Dr. Backwell.

TSHIBUBUDZE, A.

The geology, structure and metallogenesis of the Oudalan-Gorouol Greenstone Belt, Burkina Faso and Niger, West Africa.

The project started in 2008 and is supervised by Prof. Ncube-Hein.

This research is focused on establishing the temporal and spatial relationship of regional scale first-order crustal scale structures and mineralization in the Oudalan-Gorouol Greenstone Belt (OGGB). The OGGB forms part of the Palaeoproterozoic domain of the West African Craton in NE Burkina Faso and Niger. The Oudalan-Gorouol Greenstone Belt hosts several gold deposits and deposit styles in NW-trending folds including gold mineralization at Essakane, Falagountou, Tin Zubratan and Kossa and NE-trending shear zones.

The OGGB provides an excellent natural laboratory to test existing models for gold ore genesis within the West African craton and to establish the temporal and spatial relationships between structure and metamorphism, plutonism, and gold occurrences. This research also focuses on the geochemical and geochronological studies of key rock units to constrain relative chronologies to absolute time.


VILAKAZI, N.

The taxonomy of, and variability in fossil herpetological remains from selected Plio-Pleistocene aged fossil bearing sites in South Africa.

The project started in 2008 and is supervised by Dr. Backwell and Prof. Berger.