The University of Western Australia

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Myra Keep

Professor Myra Keep

Earth Sciences, School of

Contact details
School of Earth Sciences
The University of Western Australia (M004)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 7198
+61 8 6488 1037
BSc Lond., MSc Br.Col., PhD S.Methodist
BSc University College London, 1987
MSc University of British Columbia, 1989
PhD SMU, Texas, 1994
Key research
I have always been interested in structural geology and tectonics, but have taken a circuitous path to my current research. Along the way I have studied rocks ranging in age from the Precambrian, through the Australian Gondwana Megasequence (East Timor) to the Neogene (North West Shelf), and the Plio-Pleistocene (East Timor). I've looked at structural geology and tectonics on Venus, run research projects on analogue modelling, and also dabbled in igneous petrology. My current research interests include Neogene and younger deformation in the offshore sequences of the North West Shelf of Australia, associated neotectonic and recent deformation in the continental interior of Western Australia (and its causes), and the geology of the collision front in East Timor, as well as understanding reactivation and inversion mechanisms through time.
see comprehensive list on ResearchGate
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
Structural Geology
Seismic interpretation
Structural and tectonic evolution of the North West Shelf of Australia
Analogue modelling of structural systems
Tectonic evolution of the northern Australian margin
Planetary geology
Future research
Seismo-tectonics of the northern Australian margin
Structural and tectonic evolution of East Timor
Neotectonics of northern WA
Structural inheritance on the NWS and its control on strain partitioning through time.
Funding received
Keep and Haig
The petroleum prospectivity of East Timor
Eni Australia Ltd
2005-2008: Australian Research Council Linkage Grant
Dr. Myra Keep, Prof. Brian Kennett, Dr. Phil Cummins
The neo-and seismo-tectonics of northwestern Australia
Sponsored by Woodside Energy

2002-2003:Australian Research Council Linkage grant
Dr.Keep, Prof. Richard Hillis
Integrating stress and strain data from the North West Shelf: implications for
hydrocarbon seal integrity
Sponsored by MERIWA (Woodside Energy, Santos and AGIP (now ENI))

2001-2004: Minerals and Energy Research Council of WA
Dr. Myra Keep
Cretaceous and Neogene reactivation and inversion history of the Northern
Carnarvon Basin and the role of basement highs in the distribution of Cretaceous and Neogene strain in the Carnarvon Basin and Browse Basin/Timor Sea
Sponsored by Woodside Energy, Santos and AGIP (now ENI)

1999-2000: Australian Research Council SPIRT grant
Dr. M. Keep, Dr. M., Fischer, M., Mr. I. Longley, I. and Dentith, M
Neogene deformation styles and reactivation histories of basins along the NWS of Australia
Sponsored by Woodside Energy and Shell

Minor Grants Awarded

Lots of much smaller grants of around $10,000 for various research projects from various sources.
Industrial relevance
All research is sponsored by the petroleum industry. Past and present sponsors include Woodside Energy, Santos, AGIP, Shell Development Australia, Landmark Graphics Corporation, Petrosys Corporation, Apache Energy, TGS Nopec, Empire Oil and Gas, Robertson Research and Chevron.
Fellow and Chartered Geologist, The Geological Society (London)
Member, Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia
Member, American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Member, Geological Society of Australia
Honours and awards
Western Australia Science Ambassador of the Year, 2013-4 (one of the Western Australia Premier's Science prizes)
Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Early Career Researcher Award, 2004
Earth Processes
Structural Geology and Tectonics
Petroleum Systems
Structural Applications for Petroleum Geoscience
Field structural geology

Current external positions
I've had a number of committee posts over the last 20 years, as well as being involved in education and outreach activities across a range of areas. Some highlights include education and outreach in East Timor, as well as assisting the State Emergency Management Committee in WA plan earthquake scenarios and evaluate seismic hazard risk.
Useful links
Additional information on ResearchGate and Linkedin.
Current projects
1. The geological and tectonic evolution of East Timor

We have been working in East Timor since 2003, looking closely at the structural relationships and re-mapping and re-dating the formations, with a view to constraining and formulating models for the tectonic evolution of this part of Timor Island. This work involves structural mapping, igneous petrology, stratigraphy, biostratigraphy, palaeontology and anything else we can think of! To date some of our exciting discoveries include that the type section of the Miocene is in fact largely Triassic to Jurassic, the type section of the Jurassic is Triassic, we've discovered a large section of ocean floor material, complete with MORBS and cumulates, the remnants of a collided oceanic plateau, complete with OIBs, preserved as thrust stacks along strike across the island, and we've also dated the timing of collision and uplift of the island. Phew! This work is being done in close collaboration with my colleague, Assoc. Prof. David Haig, and you should check out his web pages for more information. Copies of all of our new papers should be available somewhere on this page.

2. The neo- and seismo-tectonics of the northwestern Australia

Our extensive work on the Neogene deformation history of the North West Shelf of Australia led us to contemplate the onshore effects of the tectonism we were mapping offshore. Currently, in conjunction with the ANU, we have a network of 8 seismometers buried in various locations around northern WA, recording seismicity and micro-seismicity in the region. So far we've calculated a couple of dozen fault plane solutions from events we have recorded, and are in the process of correlating these with known faults to try and identify reactivation and recent deformation. We may also try some analogue models of potential reactivated faults.

3. The Neogene tectonic history of the North West Shelf of Australia

We've been doing this for most of the last 10 years, and the project has involved mainly seismic structural interpretation of offshore seismic data. We've interpreted an awful lot of regional 2D lines, and some 3D data sets along the way. In the end we've decided that there is very little strain across the margin, even during collision, and that the response of the Australian Plate in this area is largely elastic. Strain in the Carnarvon Basin is entirely different to that in the Timor Sea. You should be able to find pdfs of our papers somewhere on this page.

4. Analogue modelling

Over the years I've done quite a bit of modelling on lithospheric-scale processes of collision, using tanks of honey and layers of putty and sand. We're planning more models on the neotectonics stuff soon.
Research profile
Research profile and publications

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM