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Dr Heather Sheldon

Pronouns: she,her,hers

Senior Research Scientist


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Dr Sheldon uses computer simulations of geological processes to investigate the formation of mineral deposits, and the behaviour of geothermal and groundwater systems. Following completion of her PhD at the University of Liverpool (UK) in 2003, Dr Sheldon joined CSIRO Mineral Resources to work in the Predictive Mineral Discovery CRC. Since then she has applied her modelling skills in a range of research areas, including mineral exploration, geothermal energy, aquifer thermal energy storage, and safe waste disposal.

  • 2016 - present: CSIRO, Canberra, Australia
  • 2003 - 2016: CSIRO, Perth, Australia
  • 1999 - 2003: PhD "Numerical modelling of reactive fluid flow and deformation in geological systems". University of Liverpool, UK

Current activities:

  • Exploration Toolkit (XT) project: XT is a suite of digital tools and data products developed to facilitate various tasks in mineral exploration. The XT team works with CSIRO researchers to develop research ideas into digital products.
  • Numerical modelling of fluid flow in sedimentary basins: Developing and applying new tools to assist with predicting fluid flow pathways through faults and sediments, with the aim of understanding where and why mineralisation occurs. Case study: Glyde sub-basin, McArthur Basin, Northern Territory.
  • Safe Waste Disposal: Numerical modelling of fluid flow and radionuclide transport around potential nuclear waste disposal sites; Development of a petrographic properties database to assist with such modelling.

Past research activities:

  • Collaborative project with the Northern Territory Geological Survey investigating controls on the McArthur River Zn-Pb mineral system
  • Development of PorousFlow module for MOOSE (Multiphysics Object Oriented Simulation Environment), enabling simulation of coupled deformation, fluid flow, heat and solute transport. MOOSE is an open source, parallel finite element framework that has been designed to solve coupled partial differential equations simultaneously, such as those that govern geological processes.
  • CSIRO Groundwater Cooling project (using groundwater to cool the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre)
  • Western Australian Geothermal Centre of Excellence (exploring options for low-temperature geothermal energy in Western Australia)
  • Predictive Mineral Discovery Cooperative Research Centre

Other Interests

  • Groundwater
  • CO2 sequestration
  • Reactive transport modelling

Current Roles

  • Science leader, Exploration Toolkit (XT) project
    Guiding the scientific direction of the XT project

Academic Qualifications

  • 2003

    University of Liverpool

Achievements and Awards

  • 2020-2021

    CSIRO Mineral Resources Best Paper Award for Spinks et al. (2021), Carbonate Replacement as the Principal Ore Formation Process in the Proterozoic McArthur River (HYC) Sediment-Hosted Zn-Pb Deposit, Australia. Economic Geology.

  • 2015-2015

    Editor's Choice Award for paper on groundwater cooling of the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre (
    Hydrogeology Journal

  • 2011-2012

    Payne Scott Award


  • 2015-2020

    Pawsey Supercomputing Centre Energy and Resources Scheme - allocation of compute time

We have publications by Dr Heather Sheldon

    Published data & software

    We have published items by Dr Heather Sheldon