Carleton University’s Richard Ernst has received $600,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) as part of the Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) grants for his research on huge volcanic events. This funding is in addition to the $300,000 Ernst has received from three sponsors, Anglo American/De Beers, First Quantum Minerals and Rio Tinto.
“Our international team is grateful for the support from industry and NSERC that allows us to continue our research program over the next four years,” said Ernst, scientist in residence in the Department of Earth Sciences. “This builds on our previous work and enables us to expand the knowledge base for Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs), and improve exploration targeting which benefits industry. The data we obtain also has scientific implications related to supercontinent evolution, climate change and mass extinctions.”
LIPs are huge volume, volcanic events of short duration that occur every 20 to 30 million years and rival plate tectonics in importance. LIPs are important as they help reveal the configuration of ancient supercontinents and contribute to dramatic climate change and mass extinctions through Earth history. They are also growing in importance as a tool for finding new ore and oil and gas deposits.
“The faculty at Carleton continue to produce leading research that directly benefits Canadians and Canadian industry,” said Rafik Goubran, vice-president (Research and International). “NSERC’s generous funding enables us to pursue this cutting-edge work.”
This research will benefit companies involved in resource exploration. In ancient supercontinents, the distribution of crustal regions was much different than at present. The ability to trace important ore deposits into other crustal blocks that were formerly adjacent is an important prospecting tool. Canada hosts many of the largest crustal blocks, and so many ore deposit-bearing belts can potentially be traced into Canada.
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