The people, science and technology behind discovery

Subscribe to the Magazine

Get new articles sent directly to
your mailbox.


Join the network

Twitter Updates Group Forum

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...

Carolyn Relf
Mentoring and motivating young geologists

Thirty years after finding inspiration at a suburban Toronto high school, Carolyn Relf is paying it forward.

The 46-year-old director of the Yukon Geological Survey is turning on the next generation of geoscientists to the thrill of field work and, in the process, making them more marketable to the mineral sector.

"She is a huge motivator of young geologists," says Pamela Strand, President and CEO of diamond explorer Shear Minerals Ltd.

Students lacking in field skills
Relf's interest in hands on training was sparked at a meeting of industry, government and university geoscientists a few years ago, when she was chief geologist for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) for the Northwest Territories (NWT).

During the meeting, industry representatives were lamenting the fact that most geology graduates couldn't map a rock formation if their lives depended on it, while the academics countered that universities could no longer shoulder the cost and liability associated with running field schools that teach this essential skill.

Relf's desire to fill to the yawning gap led her to the the Innovation and Knowledge Fund, a program offered by INAC that provides grants to projects that spur economic development in the north.
 
UofA field school initiative
She approached the University of Alberta to set up a field school using the INAC funding to kick-start the first year of the program.The school provides the opportunity for six undergraduates – the most a Twin Otter can accommodate along with instructors and equipment - to acquire valuable field mapping experience.

Unlike traditional field schools that send undergraduates back to the same mapping location year after year, the students are deployed to different areas of the Northwest Territories each year to fill gaps in existing maps or complete more detailed study to resolve specific problems. Participants can then use the data and samples they collect as the basis for their fourth year undergraduate thesis.
 
The students have the satisfaction of contributing to the geological knowledge of Canada, while the NWT Geoscience Office benefits by updating maps and recruiting candidates for further academic training.

"We were always on the hunt for potential grad students and after a few days at the field school, you could spot who would have good potential to go on to do graduate work" says Relf.

High school teacher the catalyst
Although she developed a love of the outdoors while hiking and camping with her family as a child, it wasn't until Relf's final years at Glenforest Secondary school in Mississauga, Ontario that she discovered a passion for geology. She credits John Reid, a geography teacher trained as a geologist, with the inspiration. She liked the sound of the 3-day field trip he took to Bancroft with his Grade 12 students and signed up for the course so that she could participate.

"He was one of those teachers who inspired people and had lots of neat collections and stories about the bush and mapping rocks," says Relf. "That inspired me to take a first year geology class and I just went from there."

Relf completed her undergraduate training at Queen's University in Kingston, On and went on to acquire an M.Sc. from Memorial University in St. John's, Nfld. She later returned to Queen's to complete a PhD and has spent 20 summers mapping in the field. She joined the Yukon Geological Survey in January 2008.

Encouraging geoscientists
Ever since her daughter was born eight years ago, Relf has been spending less time in the field and more time ensuring that the northern geological surveys maintain a national profile. She encourages her geoscientists to attend conferences and publish papers as much as possible. And she continues to support up and coming geologists.

"There is going to be a shortage of geoscientists, so we also put a lot of effort into coming up with thesis projects for students and helping them to find funding," she says.

Looking to the future, she worries that geoscience is becoming too specialized and encourages students to "cross-pollinate" among the sub-disciplines including environmental geology and economic geology.

"Earth systems, the atmosphere and the hydrosphere are all linked," she says. "The bedrock geology controls the surficial geology and the surficial geology dictates the flora that grows and so on. People tend to forget the links between them if they are just looking at one aspect of geoscience."

Relf spends her spare time exploring the multitude of hiking and biking trails around Whitehorse and has recently joined a women's ice hockey league to make the long Yukon winter more bearable.