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Fields of Research

Earth and Planetary Systems

Our research focuses on understanding planetary surface and interior processes and their evolution through time, and astrobiology – the origin of life on Earth the search for life elsewhere.

We focus on synthesizing micro- to macro- investigations, on pure and applied topics, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary collaborations and international partnerships. Our researchers are active members of the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX) and the Canadian Lunar Research Network (CLRN), a national group partnered with NASA. We also partner with national and provincial geological survey research programs (e.g., Geological Survey of Canada) to better elucidate lithosphere evolution.

Our group of several faculty members focus on 3 major sub-themes – planetary surface processes, planetary interiors, and astrobiology – with cross cutting investigations utilizing planetary and terrestrial analogue (both natural and experimentally-generated) materials, fieldwork at analogue sites, and cutting-edge analytical and geochronological techniques.

To learn more about this field of research within the department, please visit Earth and Planetary Systems.


Resource Geoscience

The Resource Geoscience theme focuses on geological, geophysical and hydrogeological studies related to advancements in effective exploration and development of mineral, energy and water resources. Research conducted under this theme provides new models and insights, innovative applications and experimental techniques, and responsible practices for sustaining national and international economic prosperity. Researchers in this theme actively pursue collaborative partnerships with industry and government through field based research, data analysis, and resource characterization.

To learn more about this field of research within the department, please visit Resource Geoscience.


Tectonic Processes and Natural Hazards

Research in Tectonic Processes and Natural Hazards focuses on integrating field investigations, laboratory analysis, and computational modeling to tackle the problem of deformation and change in the continental lithosphere on time scales ranging from short-term earthquake events to long-term tectonic deformation processes, and for spatial scales ranging from microstructures, visible under electronic microscopes, to the tectonic, continental scales.

To learn more about this field of research within the department, please visit Tectonic Processes & Natural Hazards.

Earth Evolution: Surface Life and Climate

This broad field of research involves the investigation of sedimentological, paleobiological, and climatological processes over geologic time. These processes operate within the Earth's surface and near-surface realms. A variety of investigative techniques are employed, including field-based studies, stable isotope analysis, petrography, subsurface data analysis, major and trace element analysis, micro-imaging and numerical analysis.

These diverse techniques allow us to address a range of issues that include: sea-level change, biodiversity change, climate change, mass extinction, post-depositional processes, and lithosphere-atmosphere-biosphere interactions throughout Earth's evolution.

The range and scope of research projects within Earth Evolution is substantial, and there is major interaction and synergy with other research fields. However, Earth Evolution is distinguished by the fact that investigations inevitably involve the issue of change through time, whether over only a few hundred years to millions, or even billions of years.

To learn more about this field of research within the department, please visit Earth Evolution: Surface Life & Climate.

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