iMAGE-CREATE student Caroline Gini (MUN) reports from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge “Arc en Sub” was co-led by Muriel Andreani (Université de Lyon) and Javier Escartin (Ecole Normale Superiéure). The cruise aimed…
“Going Deep …
iMAGE-CREATE is a new NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience project in Marine Geodynamics and Georesources (iMAGE). It is a platform for training in the field of solid earth geosciences that brings together land-based geologists and marine scientists working on the structure of the Deep Earth and its contained resources – knowledge that is urgently needed to access tomorrow’s energy and raw materials.
New knowledge about the dynamic evolution of the Earth is rapidly emerging from the study of large-scale tectonic processes on land and in the oceans. These processes are directly linked to the capacity of the Earth’s crust to supply raw materials and energy for the future. Students in iMAGE-CREATE are exploring this relationship under three broad themes: i) The Birth of Continents, ii) The Restless Earth, and iii) Resources for the Future.
Birth of Continents:
The continents as we know them originated from early differentiation, accretion and amalgamation of tectonic plates and from crustal thickening due to magmatism and sedimentation. The story of their growth lies in the distant geological past and especially in ancient oceans. Episodes of crustal growth were strongly correlated with peaks in mineral deposit formation and therefore provide important clues to our resource future.
The formation and preservation of the Earth’s crust and its mineral and energy resources are directly linked to plate tectonics. Seismicity is the best means for monitoring plate interactions, as well as the structure and composition of the crust and upper mantle that directly influence resource formation. The major pieces of the puzzle can be imaged today, including in real time, through the record of crustal deformation on the continents and in the oceans.
Resources for the Future:
The secure, sustainable, and safe supply of energy and mineral resources is a major challenge for the future. Deeper geological resources are needed to replace exhausted near-surface supply, and raw materials and energy will have to be sourced from underground in order to reduce the environmental impacts of exploitation. Locating those resources requires new quantitative models of the structure and composition of the Earth’s crust at depth.
Students in iMAGE-CREATE are conducting a wide range of experiments to explore the structure and evolution of the continental and oceanic lithosphere as it relates to the formation of mineral and energy resources. In particular, new opportunities for training are being developed in “universities at sea”, including participation in large-scale crustal imaging experiments, sampling of the deep ocean crust, and the use of large-scale research infrastructure to monitor plate interactions. iMAGE-CREATE is providing access to uniquely integrated training in these fields that is not part of existing graduate programs.