News

Golden footprint - Earth sciences graduate student mapping ore deposits in real time

A Memorial graduate student is helping gold prospectors in Central Newfoundland zero in on new deposits — and fast.

Sam Ybarra, a master’s student in the Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science, who hails from Columbus, Mississippi, is using infrared spectroscopy to collect mineralogical and geochemical data in real time.

Working with his supervisor, Dr. Steve Piercey, Mr. Ybarra has been mapping fluid rock, ore-forming footprints in Baie Verte, N.L., in partnership with Anaconda Mining.

Orogenic gold is formed when rocks along faults in the earth’s crust fracture and release water. As the fluid escapes, it scavenges gold from the rocks it passes and, when a favourable location is found, the gold is deposited.

The fizzy, carbon dioxide- and gold-bearing hot water also reacts with the rocks themselves, forming new minerals — a process called hydrothermal alteration.

 

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Golden footprint - Earth sciences graduate student mapping ore deposits in real time

A Memorial graduate student is helping gold prospectors in Central Newfoundland zero in on new deposits — and fast.

Sam Ybarra, a master’s student in the Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science, who hails from Columbus, Mississippi, is using infrared spectroscopy to collect mineralogical and geochemical data in real time.

Working with his supervisor, Dr. Steve Piercey, Mr. Ybarra has been mapping fluid rock, ore-forming footprints in Baie Verte, N.L., in partnership with Anaconda Mining.

Orogenic gold is formed when rocks along faults in the earth’s crust fracture and release water. As the fluid escapes, it scavenges gold from the rocks it passes and, when a favourable location is found, the gold is deposited.

The fizzy, carbon dioxide- and gold-bearing hot water also reacts with the rocks themselves, forming new minerals — a process called hydrothermal alteration.

 

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Rare earth element research to aid in northern mining evaluation

Dr. Derek Wilton is collaborating with the Nunatsiavut Government on a project that has significant implications for resource evaluation in the Canadian Arctic and near Arctic.

The remote Strange Lake area in Northern Labrador contains a world-class rare earth element (REE) deposit. REEs are strategic minerals used in a variety of high-tech applications, ranging from computer and smartphone screens to super magnets.

“This deposit was discovered by the Iron Ore Company of Canada in the 1980s and it’s right on the border between Labrador and Quebec,” said Dr. Wilton, a professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science. “While they worked at it for a few years, they really couldn’t do anything with it because they didn’t know how to separate the elements from the minerals.”

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Students working onboard Ramform Tethys

Colin Taylor and Ben Coughlan, both of whom successfully completed their Bachelors in earth  science this year,  accepted a summer internship  position with the Petroleum Board of Canada. They joined the Ramform Tethys  in St. Johns in May 2017 for their first four-week rotation offshore.

The first trip was a general introduction  to the seismic  vessel, including deck operations and exposure to each seismic  department onboard. For the second four-week rotation the two interns spent most of their time in the Operations Geophysics department, learning  about Viper and SPArk, online/offline processing, project management and data  visualization.

Ulrike Ott, Personnel Manager of the Petroleum Board of Canada asked them what they thought of the program and their time offshore.

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Contact

Earth Sciences

230 Elizabeth Ave

St. John's, NL A1B 3X9 CANADA

Tel: (709) 864-2530

Fax: (709) 864-2552

becomestudent@mun.ca