Ph.D. Position in Exploration Geochemistry

Title : Organic geochemistry of soils over concealed mineralization:
Linking source to sink to strategy.

Description: Distinct hydrocarbon signatures are present above many metallic and nonmetallic mineral deposits buried, occasionally at great depth, beneath transported overburden. Although there has been a degree of commercial success in the development of techniques to identify and prioritize mineral exploration targets based on hydrocarbon analysis and statistical interpretation, the mechanisms of formation, migration, residency and dispersion are poorly understood. Identification of these factors and discrimination between mineralization-related signatures and signatures derived from environmental sources – for example, soil type, geomorphology, vegetation, microbiology – will lead to increased success in the application of surficial organic geochemistry for detecting buried mineral deposits. Using existing datasets, previously collected samples and new sample suites, the research project will identify and discriminate between the different hydrocarbon signatures and sources above a variety of mineralization styles (excluding petroleum and coal). The project goal is to construct a model for the generation, preservation and dispersion of organic signatures developed in response to buried mineralization and develop robust mineral exploration strategies using the organic geochemistry of surficial media.

Project Duration: 4 years starting in either September 2016 or January 2017.

Financing: NSERC and Industry – 4-year duration.

Research Leader: Dr. Peter Winterburn, NSERC/AcmeLabs/Bureau Veritas Industrial Research Chair in Exploration Geochemistry, MDRU, EOAS, The University of British Columbia.

Requirements: The incumbent must have successfully completed a M.Sc. in a relevant subject including: mineral exploration geochemistry, environmental geochemistry, soil sciences or organic geochemistry. A background of organic chemistry or organic geochemistry is essential. In addition, the student will be expected to fullfil the requirements of the Faculty of Graduate and Post Graduate Studies at The University of British Columbia.

Applications: Applications in the first instance should be submitted to Dr. Peter Winterburn by email to and should include CV, transcripts, references and a letter of motivation.

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