GEOL337-18S1 (C) Semester One 2018

Geothermal and Ore Exploration

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 February 2018
End Date: Sunday, 24 June 2018
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 2 March 2018
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 18 May 2018


Nature and origin of metallic ore deposits and how to find them, with emphasis on geophysical and geochemical exploration. Mining methods and mining geology.

Geothermal (or hydrothermal) processes are not only important in the extraction of heat as an energy resource, but they are responsible for the genesis and formation of an important class of economic ore bodies. Geothermal and Ore-forming systems require heat, fluids and permeability for the fluids to transport the heat and solutes (i.e. metals). Both Energy and Mineral Exploration encompasses many of those areas of geology within which many university graduates find employment, and specialist postgraduate courses are recommended for those wishing to pursue professional careers in these disciplines. Geochemical and geophysical exploration techniques are widely used in locating and characterising geothermal reservoirs and ore bodies by identifying chemical and/or physical anomalies that justify follow-up by drilling and other sampling or testing methods. Modern exploration is typically interdisciplinary (i.e. geology, geochemistry, geophysics), concept-oriented and model-driven, whether the buried resource is obvious from the surface geology or hidden. In addition, these conceptual models are paramount to the management (sustainable, economical, environmental) of the resources. In this course, you will learn about the geologic processes involved in forming geothermal and ore resources, as well as the techniques used to define, characterise and explore the resource.
In the first 8 weeks of the course, we discuss hydrothermal geology with links to geothermal systems and exploration, and the processes that lead to the genesis and formation of metallic ores. In the following six weeks, we focus on the formation of ore deposits and geochemical and geophysical exploration techniques including geostatistics used to define resources. Laboratory assignments will be assessed throughout the course and total 60% of the course grade.

Lectures: 2 lectures per week.
Laboratories: 1 x 2.5 hour lab per week.

Learning Outcomes

  • Prerequisites
    GEOL242 is a required pre-requisite, along with 15 points from GEOL243-245.

    Goal of the Course
    GEOL337 introduces students to the fundamentals of geothermal and ore-forming process and their exploration.

    Learning Outcomes
    Students successfully completing this course will be able to:
  • define and explain Geothermal Energy
  • explain the geologic controls of geothermal systems
  • explain permeability and its role in mass and heat transfer in the crust
  • draw geothermal conceptual models from well data and field observations
  • understand how geothermal energy is created
  • understand how hydrothermal processes are related to ore genesis
  • can identify and classify ore minerals and textures under the microscope and how they formed
  • describe selected ore deposit types in detail and their exploration requirements
  • choose between appropriate geochemical exploration methods and geochemical data presentation/analysis; geostatistics

    Summary of the Course Content
    The topics coved by this course are:
    Topic 1  -  Geothermal Systems (Darren Gravley and Jim Faulds, 16 lectures)
  • Geothermal energy
  • Geothermal systems: geologic context
  • Magmatic-hydrothermal processes
  • Permeability: scales and controls
  • Hydrothermal alteration
  • Geothermal system mass and heat transfer
  • Conceptual geothermal model
  • Geothermal production and utilization
  • Geothermal Exploration
  • Exploring for blind geothermal systems

    Topic 2  -  Ore-forming Processes and Exploration (David Bell, 8 lectures)
  • Type of Ore-forming environments
  • Nature and formation of metallic ore deposits
  • Ore (alteration) mineralogy
  • Geochemical and Geophysical exploration techniques
  • Geostatistics (data analysis and presentation)
  • Geologic model case studies
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


GEOL242 and 15 points from GEOL243-246.

Timetable Note

Week #  -  Week starting  -  Lectures  -  Lecturer  -  Labs

8  -  19th Feb  -  Geothermal Energy  -  DG  -  Geothermal recipe: water, heat, permeability
9  -  26th Feb  -  Magmatic-Hydrothermal Systems  -  DG  -  No Lab
10  -  5th March  -  Permeability    -  DG  -  Scales of Permeability
11  -  12th March  -  Hydrothermal Alteration & Permeability  -  DG  -  Geothermal Conceptual Model
12  -  19th March  -  Geothermal Exploration (techniques)  -  JF  -  TBA
13  -  26th March  -  Geothermal Exploration (geologic input)  -  JF  -  TBA

Semester Break

17  -  23rd April  -  Exploring for Blind Geothermal Systems  -  JF  -  TBA
18  -  30th April  -  Exploring for Blind Geothermal Systems  -  JF  -  TBA
19  -  7th May  -  Ore-forming processes  -  DHB  -  Ore petrography 1
20  -  14th May  -  Ore deposits and types  -  DHB  -  Ore petrography 2
21  -  21st May  -  Ore Exploration  -  DHB  -  Ore genesis and structure
22  -  28th May  -  Ore Exploration  -  DHB  -  Drill-core characterisation

Course Coordinator

Darren Gravley


David Bell


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Laboratory assessment - Geothermal 40% Laboratory assessment - Geothermal
Laboratory assessment - Ore 20% Laboratory assessment - Ore
Final examination 40% Final examination


Geothermal  -  40%
Ore  -  20%

Date TBA in mid-year exam period  -  40%

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Evans, Anthony M; Ore Geology and Industrial Minerals : An Introduction ; 3rd ed; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2009.

Evans, Anthony M. , Barrett, William L; Introduction to mineral exploration ; Blackwell Science, 1995.

Moon, Charles. et al; Introduction to mineral exploration ; 2nd ed; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2009.

Robb, L. J; Introduction to ore-forming processes ; Blackwell Pub, 2005.

Rowland, J.V. and Simmons, S.F; Hydrolic, magmatic and tectonic controls on hydrothermal flow, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand ; Economic Geology, 2012.

Course links

Library portal

Additional Course Outline Information

Academic integrity


Marks and Grades
The Department of Geological Sciences uses the following scale to convert marks into grades:
100 – 90 A+ 75 – 79 B+ 60 – 64 C+
89 – 85 A 70 – 74 B 55 – 59 C
84 – 80 A- 65 – 69 B- 50 – 54 C-
Below 50 D/E

The Department of Geological Sciences reserves the right to adjust this mark/grade conversion, when deemed necessary.

Late Work
It is the policy for this course that late work is not accepted. Or, late work should be accompanied with a detailed explanation of why the work is late.  The work will be marked and marks will be subtracted for each day the work is late.  Days late include week-end and holidays.  

Academic Liaison
Alex Nichols (room 321,, phone (03) 364 2987 ext 94410) is in charge of liaison with students in geology courses.  Each year level will appoint a student representative(s) to the liaison committee at the start of the semester.  Please feel free to talk to the Academic Liaison or the student rep about any problems or concerns that you might have.

Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities should speak with someone at Disability Resource Service. Their office is on Level 2 of the Puaka-James Hight Building (Central Library). Phone: +64 3 369 3334 or ext 93334, email:

Policy on Dishonest Practice
Plagiarism, collusion, copying and ghost writing are unacceptable and dishonest practices.
• Plagiarism is the presentation of any material (text, data, figures or drawings, on any medium including computer files) from any other source without clear and adequate acknowledgement of the source.
• Collusion is the presentation of work performed in conjunction with another person or persons, but submitted as if it has been completed only by the names author(s).  
• Copying is the use of material (in any medium, including computer files) produced by another person(s) with or without their knowledge and approval.
• Ghost writing is the use of another person(s) (with or without payment) to prepare all or part of an item submitted for assessment.  

In cases where dishonest practice is involved in tests or other work submitted for credit, the student will be referred to the University Proctor.  The instructor may choose to not mark the work.  

Reconsideration of Grades
Students should, in the first instance, speak to the course co-ordinator about their marks.  If they cannot reach an agreeable solution, students should then speak to the Head of the Geological Sciences Department. Students can appeal any decision made on their final grade.  You can apply at the Registry to appeal the final grade within 4 weeks of the end of the semester.  Be aware that there are time limits for each step of the appeals process.  

Special Considerations Applications
If you feel that illness, injury, bereavement or other critical circumstances has prevented you from completing an item of assessment or affected your performance, you should complete a Special Considerations application form, available from the Registry or the Student Health and Counselling Service.  This should be within five days of the due date for the required work or the date of the examination.  In the case of illness or injury, medical consultation should normally have taken place shortly before or within 24 hours after the due date for the required work, or the date of the test or examination.  For further details on Special Consideration applications, please refer to the Enrolment Handbook or visit  You have the right to appeal any decision made, including Special Considerations decisions.  

Missing of Tests
In rare cases a student will not be able to sit a test.  In such cases, the student should consult with the course co-ordinator to the Head of the Department of Geological Sciences to arrange alternative procedures.   This must be done well in advance of the set date for the test.


Week # Week starting Lectures Lecturer Labs
8 19th Feb Geothermal Energy DG Geothermal recipe: water, heat, permeability
9 26th Feb Magmatic-Hydrothermal Systems DG No Lab
10 5th March Permeability   DG Scales of Permeability
11 12th March Hydrothermal Alteration & Permeability DG Geothermal Conceptual Model
12 19th March Geothermal Exploration (techniques) JF TBA
13 26th March Geothermal Exploration (geologic input) JF TBA
Semester Break
17 23rd April Exploring for Blind Geothermal Systems JF TBA
18 30th April Exploring for Blind Geothermal Systems JF TBA
19 7th May Ore-forming processes DHB Ore petrography 1
20 14th May Ore deposits and types DHB Ore petrography 2
21 21st May Ore Exploration DHB Ore genesis and structure
22 28th May Ore Exploration DHB Drill-core characterisation

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $865.00

International fee $3,788.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment .

All GEOL337 Occurrences

  • GEOL337-18S1 (C) Semester One 2018