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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 6 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 6 weeks, we focus on the formation of ore deposits, geochemical and geophysical exploration techniques, and conclude with a brief review of coal macerals and their identification. Laboratory assignments will be assessed throughout the course and total 60% of the course grade.
Goal of the CourseGEOL337 introduces students to the fundamentals of geothermal and ore-forming process and their exploration.Learning OutcomesStudents successfully completing this course will be able to:define and explain Geothermal Energyexplain the geologic controls of geothermal systemsexplain permeability and its role in mass and heat transfer in the crustdraw geothermal conceptual models from well data and field observationsunderstand how geothermal energy is createdunderstand how hydrothermal processes are related to ore genesiscan identify and classify ore minerals and textures under the microscope and how they formeddescribe selected ore deposit types in detail and their exploration requirementsselection of geochemical exploration and geochemical data presentation/analysis methodsSummary of the Course ContentThe topics coved by this course are:Topic 1 Geothermal Systems (Darren Gravley, 12 lectures)Geothermal energyGeothermal systems: geologic contextMagmatic-hydrothermal processesPermeability: scales and controlsHydrothermal alterationGeothermal system mass and heat transferConceptual geothermal modelGeothermal production and utilizationGeothermal ExplorationExploring for blind geothermal systemsAmagmatic geothermal systemsEnhanced geothermal systems (EGS) Topic 2 Ore-forming Processes and Exploration (David Bell, 12 lectures)Introduction to ore geology and depositsOre fluid sources and hydrothermal depositsOre fluid migration and depositionPorphyry copper deposits and examplesEpithermal gold-silver systems and examplesMetamorphic hydrothermal systems and depositsWeathering and supergene enrichment of oresGeochemical and geophysical exploration techniquesGeochemical data analysis and presentationCoal & oil shale deposits and rank changes/uses Coal macerals and coal petrographyCurrent and future energy resources
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.
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 any 15 points at 200 level from GEOL
Lectures: 2 lectures per week. Laboratories: 1 x 2.5 hour lab per week (unless ‘no lab’ is indicated), 1 half day field tripWeek # Week starting Lectures Lecturer Labs8 17th Feb Geothermal Energy DG No lab9 24th Feb Geothermal Systems and Settings DG No lab; Half day Field Trip (Saturday, 29th of February)10 2nd March Hydrothermal processes & Permeability DG Permeability 111 9th March Hydrothermal Alteration & Permeability DG Permeability 212 16th March Geothermal Exploration DG Geothermal Conceptual Model 13 23rd March Geothermal Production and MGMT DG Geothermal Exploration14 30th March Ore-forming processes/deposits DHB Ore petrography 1 Semester Break 18 27th April Ore-forming processes/deposits DHB Ore petrography 219 4th May Ore-forming processes /deposits DHB Ore petrography 320 11th May Weathering of ores/exploration DHB Tui mine ore genesis 121 18th May Ore exploration/coal deposits DHB Tui mine ore genesis 222 25th May Coal macerals/future energy sources DHB Coal petrography
LaboratoryGeothermal - 30%Ore - 30%Examination Date TBA in mid-year exam period - 40%
Boden, David R;
Geologic fundamentals of geothermal energy
CRC Press, 2017.
Evans, Anthony M;
Ore Geology and Industrial Minerals : An Introduction
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
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.
PrerequisitesGEOL242 is a required pre-requisite, along with 15 points from GEOL243-245.
Domestic fee $900.00
International fee $4,250.00
* 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