Economic Geology; Geology 653 (open to undergrads and grads)

Dr. PA Candela

Spring Semester 2015

This course will cover the geology, as well as the economics, of selected mineral and energy resources. My course is designed to give students the necessary background for future work in the mining, oil and gas, and related industries. We will concentrate on the practical aspects of the subject, with some coverage of the fundamental science and theory underpinning the exploration for, and extraction of, these resources. In my view, Earth resource science is commonly misunderstood and has been poorly presented in K-16+ education. In this class, we will cover topics that I perceive as not well-covered in the modern Earth Science curricula, including ore geology, mining, oil and gas (conventional and unconventional) and the development of a related, market-driven economic paradigm.

Why is the study of Economic Geology important to society as a whole?  In my view, the alleviation of poverty and the general well-being of the people of the Earth rely upon the raw materials of economic growth that are provided by mining and agriculture. I place particular emphasis on entrepreneurship, because of its ability to better the lives of the Earth’s population. Tentative topics are listed below in approximate order of presentation; dates are also approximate – I do not teach to fit a calendar; I teach to maximize the probability that students learn.

Jan wk4, Feb wk1: Introduction to Economics, Economic Geology, Earth Resources, and the Periodic Table (4 classes)

Feb wk2,wk3: Ore Deposits I and readings (4 classes)

Feb wk4 – March wk2:  economics I (6 classes)

Mar wk3: Mineral Economics   (2 classes)

Spring Break

Mar wk4 Ores Laboratory (2 sessions)

Apr wk 1 Ore Deposits II and Mining (2 classes)

Apr wk2 Ore Deposits III and Exploration (2 classes)

Apr wk3 -May wk1 Oil, Gas, Shale et al. economics II (6 classes)

May wk2:  Wrap up, and Current Problems in Resources (2 classes)

Grades:  homework problem sets/readings, 1 lab report, 2 exams



The Book that launched Economic Geology: These are from (former President) Herbert and (First Lady) Lou Hoover’s translation, from the Latin, of De Re Metallica (“Regarding Metals”) by Georgius Agricola (Georg Bauer), published in 1556.

“...a miner must have the greatest skill in his work, that he may know first of all what mountain or hill, what valley or plain, can be prospected most profitably, or what he should leave alone; moreover, he must understand the veins, stringers and seams in the rocks. Then he must be thoroughly familiar with the many and varied species of earths, juices, gems, stones, marbles, rocks, metals, and compounds.”

 “There are many arts and sciences of which a miner should not be ignorant. First there is philosophy, that he may discern the origin, cause, and nature of subterranean things; for then he will be able to dig out the veins easily and advantageously, and to obtain more abundant results from his mining.”

“...there has always been the greatest disagreement amongst men concerning metals and mining, some praising, others utterly condemning them...”

“...neither hunger nor thirst is dispelled by minerals, nor are they useful in clothing the body, which is another argument by which these people strive to prove that metals should not be taken out. But man without metals cannot provide those things which he needs for food and clothing. For, though the produce of the land furnishes the greatest abundance of food for the nourishment of our bodies, no labor can be carried on and completed without tools. The ground itself is turned up with ploughshares and harrows …”