Mining the Deep Seafloor? A Marine Geoscientist’s perspective
- Date: Tuesday 12 November 2019, 17:00 – 18:00
- Location: Roger Stevens LT 23 (8.23)
- Type: Seminars, Earth and Environment, Institute of Applied Geoscience
- Cost: 0.00
Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) Seminar - Dr Hannah Grant, BGS, will give a seminar on "Mining the Deep Seafloor? A Marine Geoscientist’s perspective"
The Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) Seminar - Dr Hannah Grant, BGS, will give a seminar on "Mining the Deep Seafloor? A Marine Geoscientist’s perspective"
The SEG Student Chapter are pleased to make this seminar available to a wider audience.
Abstract: Less than 10% of the deep seafloor has been mapped using high-resolution modern methods, and there are more detailed geological maps of the Moon, Venus, and Mars than of our deep oceans. Interest in the deep oceans has intensified in recent years due to a number of driving forces, including commercial, governmental and scientific interests, plus societal and environmental concerns.
This talk will describe important roles that the field of marine geoscience has in the increasingly detailed study of our oceans, in particular for deep-sea mineral resource characterisation. Three main types of modern, actively-forming mineral deposits are found in the deep-sea (>500 m water depths). Seafloor massive sulphide deposits form on or below the seabed at mid-ocean ridges, in back-arcs, and along submarine volcanic arcs. These are typically characterised by hydrothermal black smoker chimneys with localised high concentrations of copper, lead, zinc, gold and silver. Manganese nodules are found on the deep, flat, global abyssal plains, and cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts are located on sediment-free seamounts throughout the oceans. Both nodules and crusts contain notable concentrations of nickel, copper, and cobalt, plus significant abundances of rare-earth and other elements considered as critical to society.
All of these deposits are being widely considered as possible sources for future metal resource exploitation, and this interest is reflected by increasing levels of exploration activity in both national and international waters. The current status of deep-sea mineral resource exploration will be outlined, with potential advantages, disadvantages, and the many challenges of both deep-sea exploration and potential future mining also discussed.
Dr Hannah Grant is a Marine Geoscientist at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh and specialises in deep-sea mineral resources. Her background is in characterising marine mineral resources, geochemistry, mineralogy, and economic geology. Since graduating from Leeds in 2006, she has worked around the world for the gold exploration industry and explored for ancient deep-sea massive sulphide deposits in South Africa and the Canadian Arctic.