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Lecturer in Structural Geology and Metamorphism, James Cook University

Dr Melanie Finch is a structural and metamorphic geologist at James Cook University, Australia. She completed her PhD at Monash University in 2016 on the tectono-metamorphic evolution of a hot back arc and its thick shear zones. She was then awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Tuebingen, Germany. She returned to Australia in 2018 in a teaching-research position at Monash University and then moved to JCU in 2022. Her research focus is on the links between deformation and metasomatism in shear zones, focussing on subduction channels as well as in the crust on shear zones related to critical mineral deposits. Melanie is a 2021-2022 ‘Superstar of STEM’ and the President of Women in Earth and Environmental Sciences Australasia (WOMEESA).


  • 2022–present
    Lecturer, James Cook University
  • 2021–2022
    Lecturer, Monash University
  • 2018–2020
    Assistant lecturer, Monash University
  • 2016–2018
    Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Tuebingen, Germany


  • 2016 
    Monash University, PhD


  • 2020
    The ephemeral development of C’ shear bands: a numerical modelling approach. , Journal of Structural Geology, 139, 104091.
  • 2020
    Strain localization and fluid-assisted deformation in apatite and its influence on trace elements and U–Pb systematics., Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 545, art. no. 116421
  • 2020
    A small S-MIF signal in Martian regolith pyrite: Implications for the atmosphere., Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 290, 59-75
  • 2020
    In Australasia, gender is still on the agenda in geosciences., Advances in Geoscience, 53, 205-226
  • 2020
    Long-lived active margin of the Rio Apa Terrane (Brazil): Paleoproterozoic evolution of the Amazonian Craton, Precambrian Research, 350, 105919.
  • 2020
    Using apatite to resolve the age and protoliths of mid-crustal shear zones: A case study from the Taxaquara Shear Zone, SE Brazil., Lithos, 378-379, 105817
  • 2019
    Time for anisotropy: The significance of mechanical anisotropy for the development of deformation structures, Journal of Structural Geology, 125, 41-47.
  • 2018
    High-strain deformation of conglomerates: numerical modelling, strain analysis, and an example from the Wutai Mountains, North China Craton., Journal of Structural Geology, 114, 222-234.
  • 2017
    Tectono-metamorphic evolution of a convergent back-arc: the Famatinian orogen, Sierra de Quilmes, Sierras Pampeanas, NW Argentina, Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 129 (11-12), p.1602-1621.
  • 2016
    Water loss and the origin of thick ultramylonites, Geology, v. 44, no. 8, p. 599-602
  • 2015
    One kilometre-thick ultramylonite, Sierra de Quilmes, Sierras Pampeanas, NW Argentina, Journal of Structural Geology, v. 72, p. 33-54.
  • 2014
    Switch from thrusting to normal shearing in the Zanskar Shear Zone, NW Himalaya, Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 126, no. 7-8, p. 892-924

Research Areas

  • Structural Geology (040312)
  • Geology (0403)
  • Igneous And Metamorphic Petrology (040304)


2021-2022 Superstar of STEM