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Earth Explorer is an online source of news, expertise and applied knowledge for resource explorers and earth scientists. Sponsored by Geosoft.

News & Views

News Archive

December 7, 2016

Geosoft introduces IP and resistivity inversion in VOXI Earth Modelling

Geosoft has added induced polarization and resistivity data inversion to its VOXI Earth Modelling 3D inversion software service. Geoscientists are now able to create detailed 3D models of conductivity and chargeability from IP and resistivity survey data with VOXI. The resulting models can assist in interpreting and targeting regions for mineral and environmental applications...

December 5, 2016

Mexico's Deepwater Round Exceeds Expectations

Some of the world's biggest oil companies showed up Dec. 5 and agreed to invest on the Mexican side of the Gulf of Mexico, proving that deepwater exploration still has a pulse despite challenging market conditions...

November 30, 2016

Magnetic inversion results for Ngamiland available for download

A regional-scale geophysical inversion of magnetic field data in the Ngamiland region of northwestern Botswana is now available for download from the Botswana Geoscience Portal, a partnership initiative of the Botswana Geoscience Institute, industry sponsors and Geosoft...

November 30, 2016

LIGO Resumes Search for Gravitational Waves

After a series of upgrades, the twin detectors of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, have turned back on and resumed their search for ripples in the fabric of space and time known as gravitational waves. LIGO transitioned from their engineering test runs to full science observations at 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on November 30...

November 9, 2016

International Volcano Scientists Unite

For the first time, the United States will host the international Volcano Observatory Best Practices workshop, previously held only in Italy. The workshop will take place this month in Vancouver, Washington. It is designed specifically for volcano observatories around the world and their staff to exchange ideas and best practices with each other...

October 4, 2016

USGS Assesses Mineral Potential for Sagebrush Habitats in Six Western States

USGS has completed a comprehensive assessment and inventory of potential mineral resources covering approximately 10 million acres of Federal and adjacent lands in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming...

October 3, 2016

Uganda Targets Up to U.S.$100 Million for Mineral Exploration

Uganda is well endowed with mineral resources and, like many naturally-gifted African countries, is becoming keen on ensuring that these resources play a transformative role in its long-term structural transformation dream - the Vision 2040...

September 9, 2016

Small-Scale Fishers Get A Big Boost With First-Of-Its Kind Impact Investment Fund

Conservation organization Rare announces the Meloy Fund for Small-Scale Fisheries at Our Ocean Conference. The Global Environment Facility, one of the largest funders of conservation worldwide, will be investing $6 million into the fund...

September 1, 2016

Scientists take to the skies to track West African pollution

Scientists operating research aircraft over West Africa have detected organic materials in the atmosphere over a number of urban areas, contributing to concerns of the rise in pollution across the region...

August 17, 2016

New IGS Xplore prospectivity maps for Botswana

International Geoscience Services have released a series of base metal prospectivity maps for the Ngamiland District of northwestern Botswana using free geodata available on the recently-launched Botswana Geoscience Portal, hosted by Geosoft. The maps identify favorable areas for copper, zinc and lead mineralization using geological, geochemical and geophysical datasets downloaded directly from the portal.

August 11, 2016

NexGen Makes New High Grade Discovery

NexGen Energy reported the discovery of a new high grade zone of mineralization 4.7 km northeast of the Arrow Deposit as part of an on-going summer drilling program on its 100% owned, Rook I property, Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan...

August 10, 2016

Rampion UXO Disposal to Take Place This Week

E.ON has confirmed that the two unexploded devices, detected along the Rampion offshore cable route will be safely disposed this week following the consultation with the Marine Management Organisation...

August 9, 2016

Diamonds In The Rough: E&Ps Find New Reserves In Mature Basins

The oil industry’s history demonstrates clearly that new plays and prospects have long been found in mature basins that were thought to be well on the way to being squeezed dry. Through the acquisition of new data, developing new concepts and coming up with fresh interpretations, long-producing basins around the world from the North Sea to Malaysia have continued to reveal new riches...

August 8, 2016

Northern Shield Identifies High Quality VTEM Targets at Séquoi

Northern Shield Resources announced the results of the interpretation and modelling of the VTEM survey from the Séquoi Property in the Labrador Trough of Quebec . Séquoi is owned 100% by Northern Shield and is being explored for Noril'sk style Ni-Cu-PGE massive sulphides. After geophysical modelling and interpretation of the VTEM data from Séquoi, six VTEM anomalies of significant interest have been identified...

August 3, 2016

Rio Tinto tailors big data drive to copper

Rio Tinto will put the weight of an exploration big data push and its newly-formed Growth and Innovation group behind its desire to identify a "tier 1" copper asset. Speaking at the annual Diggers & Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, Growth and Innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh said Australia was "overdue for a tier 1" mineral discovery of any type...

August 1, 2016

Tetra Tech Awarded $200 Million Navy CLEAN Contract

Tetra Tech announced that it has been awarded a $200 million, single-award contract by Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic. Through the Comprehensive Long-term Environmental Action Navy (CLEAN) contract, Tetra Tech will provide environmental engineering support services to installations within the NAVFAC Atlantic Area of Responsibility...

May 3, 2016

NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS), MODUM Partners announce "Young Scientist Summer School on Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons"

This international project cooperates closely with CHEMSEA (Search and Assessment of Chemical Weapons) Project for and sharing and knowledge transfer...

April 12, 2016

Monday mad rush for gold stocks

Renewed optimism about the outlook for gold saw investors pile back into gold stocks, pushing many stock to 52-week highs in heavy volumes...

April 11, 2016

Medgold Resources: Continues to Expand the Boticas Gold Project, Portugal; Proposes $200,000 Private Placement

Medgold Resources is pleased to announce new assay results from contiguous rock-chip sampling from the Limarinho South zone at its Boticas gold project in Portugal, which include a highlight of 6.0m @ 5.7 g/t Au...

April 8, 2016

De-carbonizing our energy sector

Nuclear energy currently provides around 11 percent of the world's electricity. China, the European Union, the United States, India, Russia, South Korea, and other nations’ have major existing fleets...

April 1, 2016

Follow-Up Drilling Results Indicate Wide Gold Zones at Hendricks Gold Discovery

Gascoyne Resources Limited announced that it has received the final assay results from the 10,000 metre aircore exploration drilling programme...

March 26, 2016

The Oil Market Is Finally Hitting Its Breaking Point

After a significant reduction in investments over the past two years, oil companies can no longer overcome the production declines from legacy wells...

March 15, 2016

N-Sea Expands into the French Offshore Wind Industry

Subsea IMR provider, N-Sea, has signed a letter of intent with CERES Recherches & Expertise Sous-Marine and TechSub Industrie Environement, to provide subsea survey, installation and remediation services to the French offshore wind industry...

March 9, 2016

PDAC 2016 Convention Exceeds 22,000 Attendees

Optimism and opportunity abounded at the PDAC 2016 Convention of The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada in spite of recent industry challenges...

March 3, 2016

6 Alpha Launches EOD Contracting Division

6 Alpha Associates, a specialist risk consultancy practice, with expertise in the assessment and management of unexploded ordnance, has launched a dedicated explosive ordnance disposal division...

Dr. Catherine Aimone-Martin
Blasting her way to the top

by Graham Chandler on March 8, 2012 profiles

When you’re in Arizona blasting a new quarry beside America’s largest nuclear power plant or Hawaii blasting trenches near critical undersea fiber optic tsunami warning cables, it’s imperative you know what you’re doing.  

Dr.Catherine Aimone-Martin does — close-in blasting is just one of her specialties. Since 1971 she has been studying, lecturing, writing, consulting, blasting, teaching, analyzing her way through a career spanning from iron mine geological engineer to Emeritus Professor of Mineral Engineering at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and running her own blasting and vibration specialty firm.

Growing up in the small town of Chelsea just west of Ann Arbor, Michigan, geology and the outdoors were her fun. “We were constantly camping, biking, making tree forts, always on the go,” she recalls. She remembers learning to fly fish from her father and winning prizes for watercolor paintings in school, but rocks were her main love. “I was always interested in working with earth materials, first with rocks then with soils. I wanted to study their formation, uses, and economic value.”

That curiosity took her to Michigan Technological University where she graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science in Geological and Mining Engineering. She landed her first job as a geological engineer doing short-term exploration, geophysics, and ore reserve modeling at Steep Rock Iron Mines in northern Ontario.

Which further piqued her curious side. “The design of constructing in rock was intriguing,” she says. “Working in the mining industry provided design challenges in rock excavations and construction tempered by the economical value of the extracted mineral.” Striking this balance during the depressed metals markets of the early 1970s she found an exciting challenge.

Working in other mines through the decade, market-driven forces continued to shape her interests. “I was intrigued with energy resources development just as the second oil crisis began in 1979,” she says. “US leaders were calling for eastern power generating plants to convert from oil to coal. It was an exciting time.” Coal production increased rapidly and big changes in explosives technology were happening, along with new federal regulations limiting off-site blasting effects.

“The combination of these factors contributed to my research interests in coal mine blasting,” she says. And so began a new career direction: graduate school.By decade’s end, Aimone-Martin was a PhD candidate at Northwestern University. “Research funding opportunities from the US Bureau of Mines allowed me to work with blasters in Appalachia and the expanding mines of the west to apply new explosive products for better control and lowered impacts on adjacent communities.” Once she experienced the successes of her first few test blasts she was hooked.

The research was hectic. “During the first year of funding, I must have visited over 85 mine sites in ten states,” she recalls. Of these, she focused on five siteswhere the new regulatory constraints were most challenging, to conduct intensive field studies — in the steep mountain slopes of Appalachia. “We concentrated on blasting productivity, vibration control, and new product applications to achieve overall lower drilling and blasting costs.” Along with the fieldwork, development of a three-dimensional algorithm to compute blast-induced strains in rock was her academic challenge. “In the end, the model demonstrated a good correlation between the predicted rock response failure strain using innovative blast designs and fragmentation measurements in the field,” she says. Her fragmentations wowed the blasters and mine managers she worked with; they saved hours of ‘digging out’ the waste rock.

With a freshly minted doctorate in hand in 1981 came another career turn. Aimone-Martin says she has always been inspired by people she meets. “My inspirations come from their dreams and ultimate successes,” she says. “I think that is why I became a university professor.”For the next 25 years she inspired undergraduates and graduates as Professor of Mineral Engineering and Civil Engineering at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, New Mexico, where she’s now Emeritus Professor of Mineral Engineering.

Retirement wasn’t in the cards however. There were yet new career directions. “When I retired from teaching at New Mexico Tech, my consulting practice emphasis changed from mining and quarrying to the construction blasting industry,” she says. It provided new thrills. “Construction projects are very fast paced, operate with extremely tight budgets, and are close-in to inhabited or critical structures. Every rock excavation site presents new challenges.” She says safety and the community are paramount. “We can achieve effective and controlled blasts without damaging adjacent structures, and minimizing disturbance to neighbors.” One of her recent projects was blasting for the new Greenwich Street Corridor at New York City’s World Trade Center project site.

Has she had scary moments? “Believe it or not, the scariest time of my life was knowing I had to support two children alone while working in what was at that time (1977) a man’s world,” she says. “Otherwise, I am not easily scared knowing that our first priority every day in the field is safety.”

It’s hard to believe, but along the way she managed to contribute to the 1992 SME Mining Engineering Handbook and give five dozen or so short courses and training seminars ranging from blast damage litigation to regression analysis for blast vibrations. Topping that off are 60-odd academic presentations and publications.

But still no retirement intentions. She plans to continue her close-in blasting work and blaster training.“When I can no longer climb ladders and haul equipment, I will reminisce on how good life was to me with my fly rod and watercolors,” she muses.