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Curtin University
Staff Profile

Professor Zheng-Xiang Li

Professor Zheng-Xiang Li Professor Zheng-Xiang Li

BSc(Peking), PhD(Macq)

Position John Curtin Distinguished Professor, Australian Laureate Fellow
Faculty Faculty of Science and Engineering
School Western Australian School of Mines
Department Department of Applied Geology
Campus Bentley Campus
Location 312.316
Phone 08 9266 2453
Fax 08 9266 3153
Google Scholar

Brief Summary

Professor Li’s research interests are mainly in regional to global tectonics and paleogeography, paleomagnetism, and geodynamics. He is also interested in the relationships between major tectonic events, large mineralisation systems and major environmental/climate changes.

Professor Li received his Bachelor of Science in seismological geology from Peking University in 1982, and a PhD on palaeomagnetism and tectonics from Macquarie University in 1989. After joining The University of Western Australia (UWA) in 1990, he established the UWA Palaeomagnetism Laboratory (now the WA Palaeomagnetic and Rock-magnetic Facility), laying the foundation for the later establishment of the Tectonics Special Research Centre (TSRC, 1997–2006) where he served as a Deputy Director.

Li joined Curtin University in 2007. He was a Co-Leader of the successful IGCP project No. 440: Rodinia Assembly and Break-up, and is currently a Co-Leader of IGCP project No. 648: Supercontinent Cycles and Global Geodynamics ( He is also a Co-Director of the Australia-China Joint Research Centre for Tectonics and Earth Resources (ACTER;, and a key member of The Institute for Geoscience Research (TIGeR;; YouTube and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems (CCFS;

Memberships, Awards and Training


Editorial Board Member for:

Adjunct Professorships at The University of Western Australia (2007 – present), Zhejiang University (2007 – present), Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry (2007 – 2011), and China University of Geosciences (1995 – 1997).

Project Co-leader of IGCP 440: Rodinia Assembly and Breakup (2002 – 2004) and Project Secretary (1999-2002);

Project Co-leader of IGCP581: Evolution of Asian River Systems Linking to Cenozoic Tectonics, Climate and Global Geochemical Cycles (2009-2013).

Project Co-leader of IGCP648: Sypercontinent Cycles and Global Geodynamics (2015-2020).

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Employment History

2007 – present, Curtin University: Professor (John Curtin Distinguished Professor since 2015); Australian Laureate Fellow (2015 – 2020)

1990 – 2006, The University of Western Australia: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Senior Research Fellow, ARC QEII Fellow, Principal Research Fellow, Deputy Director the Tectonics Special Research Centre, Senior Prinicipal Research Fellpw/Professor

1989 – 1990, Manquarie University: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

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Research Interests

Li's research is directed at understanding global to regional-scale palaeogeography and tectonic histories, and geodynamic processes in general. His most significant work has been in the evolution of supercontinents Rodinia and Gondwanaland, supercontinent-superplume cycles and their possible coupling mechanism, and the tectonic history of East Asia and Australia. Li is also interested in the relationships between major tectonic events, large mineralisation systems, and major environmental/climatic changes. His research, often involves multidisciplinary collaborations, utilises methodologies such as global to regional tectonostratigraphic analysis, orogenic/basin analysis, palaeomagnetisma/rock-magnetism, geochronology/thermochronology, geochemistry, and geodynamic modeling.

For some recent highlights of Li's research, see his Thomson Scientific ScienceWatch interviews on the Rodinia Superplume ( and on the Rodinia Supercontinent Configuration (, his paper with Prof. David Evansof Yale University on a Neoproterozoic 40 degrees intraplate rotation between northern and southern Australia (Geology 39, no. 1, 39–42, 2011. doi: 10.1130/G31461.1.), paper with Professor Shijie Zhong of Colorado University on global geodynamic cycles (Physics of Earth and Planetary Interiors 176, 143-156, 2009. doi:10.1016/j.pepi.2009.05.004.), and paper with Professor Xianhua Li of the Chinese Academy of Sciences on flat-slab subduction and foundering along Mesozoic NW Pacific margin (Geology 35(2), 179-182, 2007. doi: 10.1130/G23193A.1.). 

Online links to publications

Google Scholar

Li's ISI ResearcherID

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Journal Articles (Research)

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PhD scholarships available

PhD Scholarships Down-under*

Enjoy beaches, sun and working on a vast southern continent? The recently funded ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship to ZX Li (2015–2020), and Curtin University co-funding for both the Laureate Fellowship grant and the ARC Center of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems (CCFS, 2011–2017), provide six new PhD scholarships for up to four years each to work in the following fields. The students will join a team of over 15 researchers and PhD students in a vibrant research environment at Curtin University's The Institute for Geoscience Research (TIGeR:, the Department of Applied Geology (, and will become members of IGCP 648: Supercontinent Cycles and Global Geodynamics ( Current core research staff in the team include Professor Zheng-Xiang Li, and Drs Grant Cox, Uwe Kirscher, Ross Mitchell, Sergei Pisarevsky, Amaury Pourteau, Weihua Yao, and Nan Zhang.

1. Palaeomagnetism and supercontinent reconstruction, with emphasis on Precambrian supercontinents. Field regions could be in Australia or overseas. (1–2 PhD positions)

2. Palaeointensity study in relation to supercontinent cycles, focusing on Precambrian mafic igneous rocks in Australia and elsewhere. (1 PhD position)

3. Comparative studies of the Proterozoic NE Australia and NW Laurentia (with emphasis on the former) to test the evolution history of the supercontinent Nuna. There could be a few interlinked student projects, with methods involved (but not limited to) including: field mapping, structural analysis, geochemistry, igneous and metamorphic petrology, geochronology, and basin analysis. (1–2 PhD positions open right now, but more available through open competition)

4. A study of oceanic Large Igneous Province (LIP) records in Australia and globally, involving case studies of accreted oceanic LIPs in pre-Cretaceous orogens in locations around the world. (1 PhD position)

5. 4D global to plate-scale geodynamic modeling using supercomputers. (1 PhD position)

6. Gravity modeling of mantle structures using satellite gravity observations and seismic tomographic data. (1 PhD position)

Interested candidates are invited to contact Dr Josh Beardmore at; Ph +61-8-9266 4163.

*Want to know more about Perth? See

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