1.85 billion years ago, a ten kilometre wide meteorite hit Sudbury creating unique geological environments including the world-renowned nickel, copper, and platinum deposits in the area. Being located in one of the world's largest, oldest, and best-preserved meteorite impact structures as well as being within close proximity to various geological environments on the Canadian Shield, students are provided with exceptional learning opportunities in their field studies.
Location is very important for studying natural sciences, and Laurentian University is in the most fortunate setting with its ubiquitous rock outcrops and one of the world's largest meteorite impact craters nearby. One would be hard-pressed to find a better location world-wide for students of Earth science and environmental geoscience. Great opportunities exist for environmental geoscience students specifically, as for more than a century of mining followed by re-greening practices allowed Sudbury to become a world-known success story in environmental remediation, a field that is still in full research vigour with new technologies such as biomining and bioremediation.
A Mining & Geology Super Cluster
All stages of the mining cycle take place in Sudbury’s mining and geology super cluster, which is a dynamic network of industry, government, educational and research organizations. The diversity of professions and the breadth of mining knowledge within this mining network is unique in the world. The major mining companies undertake every step, from exploration to environmental remediation, and are supplied by specialized mining expertise within city limits on countless aspects of their mining operations.
Easy access from Sudbury to a wide variety of geological environments in northern Ontario and northeastern Quebec includes the supergiant magmatic nickel-copper-platinum group element deposits in the Sudbury Basin, giant volcanic-associated massive copper-zinc-lead sulfide systems in the Timmins and Noranda areas, the world-class gold systems in the Timmins and Kirkland Lake areas, superbly-preserved Archean volcanic and sedimentary rocks in the Abitibi greenstone belt, the Grenville metamorphic terrain, and Lower to Middle Paleozoic marine sedimentary sequences on Manitoulin Island.
The Advantage of the North
The wide diversity of geological environments offers unparalleled opportunities for field-based instruction and research in economic geology, mineralogy, geochemistry, volcanology, igneous and metamorphic petrology, sedimentology, environmental remediation and biomining. In addition to these areas, HES and MERC researchers are also conducting field-based research in most Canadian provinces and territories, including the far north, and in many other areas around the globe. This work is supplemented by a wide range of experimental, laboratory, and theoretical studies with facilities housed within the Willet Green Miller Centre.
The Willet Green Miller Centre overlooks beautiful Ramsey Lake and the Laurentian Lake Conservation Area. At the end of a work day, one can leave the state-of-the-art geoscience research facilities that we have in the Willet Green Miller Centre, and access the outstanding recreational possibilities nearby, from relaxing by one of Sudbury's 300+ lakes to hitting the more than 1000 km of nature trails on feet, bikes or skis.
The Harquail School of Earth Sciences has twenty faculty who are specialists in their respective sub-disciplines and who have won numerous prestigious awards. Classes at the Harquail School of Earth Sciences are small enough that the professor knows the students’ names. To further complement our high-quality faculty roster, professional geoscientists working in the local mineral exploration industry or at the Ontario Geological Survey take part in Earth Sciences teaching in our lectures and short courses. They do so as adjunct faculty members. This fosters a strong link between faculty members and industry, which often translates to student employment.