Dr. John Jamieson
Canada Research Chair in Marine Geology
Research involves: Studying the formation of hydrothermal sulfide deposits on the seafloor.
Research relevance: This research will increase our understanding of geological processes in the deep ocean and the potential and risks associated with marine mineral exploration and exploitation.
In the footsteps of Jules Verne: Investigating the mineral potential of the deep oceans
“in the depths of the ocean, there are mines of zinc, iron, silver and gold that would be quite easy to exploit” – Captain Nemo (Jules Verne – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; 1870).
After almost 150 years, Jules Verne’s prophetic statement may soon become a reality. Seafloor massive sulfide deposits, rich in gold, silver, copper, zinc and lead, and first discovered in the late 1970s, may soon be mined from depths of over 1,500 m.
The ocean floor, however, remains largely unexplored and there are still many discoveries to be made. Through the use of deep-diving vehicles launched from research vessels, Dr. John Jamieson and his research group will map the seafloor and collect rock samples for further analysis back in the laboratory, with the aim to unlock many of the mysteries surrounding the formation of these mineral-rich deposits, such as where they occur, how quickly they form and what controls their composition. This research, carried out in all of the major oceans, will be critical for evaluating the economic potential and environmental consequences associated with mining seafloor massive sulfide deposits.
Dr. Jamieson’s research will also focus on the development of deep marine exploration techniques such as the use of remotely-operated and autonomous underwater vehicles.
By exploring the depths of our oceans, Dr. Jamieson’s research will lead to a better understanding of some of the most fascinating geological processes on the planet and provide the framework for the sustainable use of the resources they contain.