Research Fields and Applications

The research activities in the Department of Geology can be grouped into hard rock, soft rock, and geofluids in terms of research fields, and into mineral resources, hydrocarbon resources, and environmental geoscience according to the fields of application. 

Research Fields

Hard Rock

  • Igneous petrology, volcanology, and mineralogy (Coulson, Raharimahefa, Morelli)
  • Mineral deposit geology (Chi, Robbins, Normand, Morelli, Potter, Tschirhart, Binda)
  • Precambrian tectonic processes (Bethune, Raharimahefa, Ashton, Card, Morelli)
  • Structural geology and metamorphic petrology (Bethune, Raharimahefa, Ashton, Card) 

Soft Rock

  • Diagenesis and reservoir characterization (Qing, Salad-Hersi, Chi)
  • Geochemistry, geobiology, and geomicrobiology (McBeth, Robbins)
  • Paleontology (Velez, Dale, Tokaryk)
  • Quaternary and glacial geology (Velez, Dale)
  • Sedimentology, stratigraphy, and geochemistry (Qing, Salad Hersi, Velez, Kent)


  • Acid mine drainage and (bio)remediation (McBeth)
  • Hydrothermal mineralizing systems and fluid-rock interactions (Chi, Coulson, Normand)
  • Fluid inclusion studies (Chi, Qing, Normand)
  • Low temperature aqueous geochemistry and evolution of Earth's surface environments through time (Robbins)
  • Modeling of fluid flow, hydrocarbon generation and migration (Chi, Bend, Rostron, Vigrass)

Fields of Application

Mineral Resources

  • Geological mapping using GIS and remote sensing (Raharimahefa, Dale)
  • Magmatism-related mineralization (Chi, Coulson, Normand; Morelli)
  • Non-traditional, secondary sources for critical minerals (Robbins)
  • Orogeny-related gold mineralization, regional tectonic and metallogeny, structural control on mineralization (Bethune, Chi, Raharimahefa, Ashton)
  • Sedimentary basin-hosted base metals, uranium, and REE mineralization (Chi, Qing, Normand, Potter, Binda)

Hydrocarbon resources

  • Basin evolution and regional stratigraphy (Qing, Salad Hersi)
  • Characterization of petroleum reservoirs (Qing, Chi, Salad Hersi)
  • Hydrocarbon sources and paths and coal bed methane (Bend)
  • Sedimentary and stratigraphic control of petroleum reservoirs (Qing, Salad Hersi, Pedersen, Kent)

Environmental Geoscience

  • CO2 sequestration in geological formations (Qing, Bend)
  • Earth systems evolution (Robbins)
  • Light and non-traditional stable isotope records of ancient seawater and recent climate changes (Qing, Robbins)
  • Mine waste geochemistry (McBeth)
  • Quaternary and cold environments and modern geomorphic processes (Dale, Velez)
  • Quaternary environmental reconstructions from the tropics (Velez)