Michael Anenburg

Me, enjoying the wind in my hair on a boat around Fiji


PhD candidate at the Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University

Area of study:

Experimental petrology, economic geology


Experimental hints for the formation of all kinds of ore deposits, mostly REE (rare earth elements) and PGE (platinum group elements)

What does that mean?

Ore deposits are what drives the modern economy. Metals used in just about every product have to be mined somewhere. In order to know where to look for new deposits, we need to know how they form. This is what I do – I try to recreate key properties of natural ore deposits in an experiment. Sometimes it’s relevant for a specific ore deposit (such as the Nolans Bore REE-Th-P deposit) or just general (such as the PGE).

This basically means creating a synthetic rock powder and then abusing it using machines that make funny noises and go to really high pressures and temperatures. Some people say I put some random stuff in a capsule and see what happens. I tend to agree (sometimes).

How did I get here?

After finishing my B.Sc. and M.Sc. in geology back in my home country of Israel, I decided to get some international experience. Australia seemed like a good place, because everyone loves kangaroos and koalas! I asked around in the faculty and everyone seemed to agree that ANU is the place to be. I applied and for some reason someone thought it’s a good idea to pay me to get here. So I did.