Toronto Geological Discussion Group
Roger C. Paulen - Research Scientist, Geological Survey of Canada
Glacial erosion, transport, and deposition has formed trains or fans of metal-rich debris down-ice from mineral deposits that are much larger exploration targets than their bedrock sources. Dispersal patterns may be the result of one or more phases of ice flow and vary in length from a few tens of meters to >100 km. Recognizing the complexity of continental ice sheets and ice-sheet dynamics is essential to understand the variation in glacial dispersal patterns and successfully searching for mineralized sources. Boulder tracing and till geochemistry have been widely used as exploration tools in glaciated terrain for more than 60 years. In the past 25 years, indicator mineral methods applied to till have become complementary key exploration tools. Geochemical and isotopic studies of recovered heavy minerals can then be used to provide information on sources of the grains, deposit types and potentially a vector towards mineralization. Indicator mineral chemistry has evolved considerably since the garnet classifications for diamondiferous kimberlite exploration and is now applied to a variety of mineral deposit types.
Roger has conducted surficial mapping and drift prospecting research in the Canadian Shield (Arctic and Boreal environments), Canadian Cordillera and Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. He has published papers with expertise in surficial mapping, drift prospecting and process glacial sedimentology. Current research is using isotopes and trace-element geochemistry on base metal indicator minerals for provenance and mineral-type tracing in glaciated terrain. Also, he is researching the long-distance glacial transport of indicator minerals by fast flowing ice (ice streams) and the application of micro-morphology for till-forming processes.
Roger is the lead editor and contributing author of a GAC publication on Drift Exploration in Western Canada, a recent contributor of a drift prospecting chapter for a new textbook: Past Glacial Environments (Menzies and Van der Meer) and invited contributor for the Drift Prospecting chapter for the upcoming revision of Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science.
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