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Modular Course Curriculum

The Harquail School of Earth Sciences at Laurentian University offers some of the most comprehensive field- and laboratory-based Earth Science graduate research and education courses in the world. 

The modular courses are designed for geoscientists employed full-time in the mineral exploration industry, industry professionals needing professional development and accreditation, and graduate students (HES students enrolled in 1-year and 2-year coursework-based Applied MSc programs and thesis-based MSc and PhD programs, as well students from other universities.

Curriculum & Enrollment Information.

Logistics: Registration, Travel, Accommodations, Venues, etc.


Live Webcast Option

Several of the modules are available to industry professionals/non-students via live webcast from our state-of-the-art Executive Learning Centre, which provides an immersive experience if remote participants have high-speed fibre connections and use high-quality headsets. Students enrolling for credit must enrol in the on-campus course so that they can complete the laboratory exercises, but the remote option may be preferable for non-students. Contact the course coordinator if you are interested in this option.

NOTE: During the COVID crisis some of the courses that are normally taught on campus or in mixed mode (on campus and live webcast) will be taught only via live webcast.


Courses Offered

*Find course details, registration and contact information under course details below. You can also download our Modular Courses brochure (pdf).  


GEOL 5806 - Exploration Geochemistry
December 8 - 18, 2020
Remote Only (during COVID) - 3 credits (taught in December in even-numbered years) 

GEOL 5607 - Exploration for Hydrothermal Ore Deposits: Genesis & Exploration
April 6 - 13, 2021
Live webcast via Zoom - 3 credits (taught in April in odd-numbered years)

GEOL 5307 - Structure, Tectonics and Mineral Exploration
September 8 - 19, 2021
Field-based - 3 credits (taught in Aug-Sept in odd-numbered years)

GEO 5306 - Topics in Hydrothermal Ore Deposits
October 2021
U Ottawa - 3 credits (taught in October in odd-numbered years)

GEOL 5956 - Exploration Geophysics
December 2021
Classroom - 3 credits (taught in December in odd-numbered years)

GEOL 5606 Exploration for Magmatic Ore Deposits
April 2022
Classroom and Remote - 3 credits (taught in April in even-numbered years)

GEOL 5326 Mineral Exploration in Volcanic Terrains
August 2022
Field-based - 3 credits (taught in Aug-Sept in even-numbered years)

GEOL 5055 - Applied Research Project
6 credits (taught annually)

Course Details

All course participants (LU students, other students, and industry/government participants) must register with hes@laurentian.ca so that we can send you information about the course and provide you with access to the course website, which you must be able to do before you arrive.

Exploration Geochemistry

GEOL 5806

08 December 2020  ioGAS Tutorial (optional)   live via Zoom
09-18 December 2020  Course   live via Zoom

This 10-day course addresses the principles and methods of lithogeochemical and surficial geochemical exploration, including planning, sampling, analysis, QAQC, data handling, plotting (using ioGAS), data analysis (including machine learning), and interpretation. It includes case histories, applications to magmatic Cr and Ni-Cu-(PGE) sulfide deposits, porphyry Cu deposits, volcanic-associated Cu-Zn-(Pb) deposits, Archean lode gold deposits, unconformity U deposits, and diamond deposits, and a variety of exploration-relevant laboratory exercises.

Confirmed Speakers: Dr Steve Beyer (Queen's), Dr Marcus Burnham (OGS), David Crabtree (OGS), Dr Jennifer Hargreaves (OGS), Dr James Kidder (Queens's), Dr Robert Lee (MDRU/UBC), Prof Michael Lesher (MERC/HES), Dr John McGaughey (Mira Geoscience), Dr Tom Morris (Northern Superior), Dr Beth McClegnahan (GSC), Dr Stéphane Perrouty (MERC/HES), Prof Stephen Piercey (Memorial), Prof Ross Sherlock (MERC/HES), Prof Cliff Stanley (Acadia)

Students: See instructions in Flyer/Syllabus for registration information, depending on whether you are registered at LU, another university in Ontario, or elsewhere.

Non-Students: Full Course: CDN $1200 + 13% HST. Individual Days: CDN $120 + 13% HST. Discounts for MERC members. Contact us for information on sharing options for multiple participants in the same company.

DOWNLOADS:      Flyer/Syllabus     Current Schedule

Contact Ms Roxane Mehes rmehes@laurentian.ca to register.  Contact Prof Michael Lesher mlesher@laurentian.ca for additional information.


Exploration for Hydrothermal Ore Deposits: Genesis & Exploration

GEOL 5607

April 6 - 13, 2021

View Course Booklet

Webcast delivery via Zoom (3 credits). This 8-day course focuses on the geology, alteration, and origin of hydrothermal ore deposits. Deposit types include epithermal and mesothermal precious metal, porphyry Cu-Mo-Au, IOCG, sediment- and volcanic-hosted base-metal deposits, and U and REE deposits. Emphasis is placed on the processes responsible for their formation, the recognition of alteration halos, and features pertinent to exploration.

Non-student cost: $1200 +13% HST for the full course, $150 + 13% HST per day. Discounts for MERC members. Contact us for information on sharing options for multiple participants in the same company.

Contact Ms Roxane Mehes rmehes@laurentian.ca to register. Contact Dr. Harold Gibson hgibson@laurentian.ca for course information.

Structure, Tectonics, and Mineral Exploration 

GEOL 5307 (field-based)

September 8-19, 2021

Course Description: This 14-day field-based course addresses the tectonic and structural controls on gold mineralization at Hemlo, the Beardmore-Geraldton Belt, and Kirkland Lake in the Superior Province, northern Ontario.  Kinematic indicators in shear zones will be examined, and fundamentals of structural field analysis will be taught in the field. Mapping exercises will be done to determine the geometry and dynamic significance of quartz vein systems in shear-hosted gold deposits. Classic examples of orogenic and iron formation-hosted epigenetic gold mineralization will be examined and discussed.  By the end of the course, participants will have learned: (1) to determine the sense of movement in shear zones, (2) to do a geometrical structural analysis of a multiply deformed area, and (3) to recognize local and regional structural controls on gold mineralization.

Instructors: Bruno Lafrance 

Course Costs for Professional participants: CDN$3910 (CDN) + HST.  Includes accommodations and transportation during the course but excludes meals. 

Students: See enrollment page for further information. 

Contact Ms Roxane Mehes rmehes@laurentian.ca AND Prof Bruno Lafrance blafrance@laurentian.ca to register.


Topics in Hydrothermal Ore Deposits 

GEO 5306 (taught at U Ottawa)

October 2021

This 8-day course focuses on different themes related to the geochemistry of hydrothermal ore deposits at a range of crustal levels – from deep orogenic systems to the surficial environment. Leading experts introduce the basic principles of the evolution of ore-forming fluids, the importance of different ore-fluid reservoirs, the interaction of hydrothermal fluids with different rock types, and the causes of mineral precipitation. Case studies are presented for some of the world's most important ore deposit types in both continental and submarine settings, with an emphasis on where ore fluids originate, how and where they derive their metals, and where they end up.

Visit https://science.uottawa.ca/earth/short_course to register or to request more information.


Exploration Geophysics 

GEOL 5956

December 2021

2019 Syllabus, Schedule and Logistical Information2019 Registration Form

This 10-day course includes an introduction to the physical properties of rocks and how these can be inferred from geophysical data. The role that geophysics plays in mineral exploration programs will also be discussed. Methods covered gravity, magnetics, electrical and induced polarization, electromagnetics, gamma-ray spectrometry, reflection seismology, borehole, and airborne methods.  There are daily exercises, many involving computer applications, and the final day will include a regional interpretation of public domain geophysical data.

Non-student cost: $2750 plus HST for the full course, $300 + HST per day. Group rates are also available.

Contact Ms Roxane Mehes rmehes@laurentian.ca to register. Contact Prof Richard Smith rssmith@laurentian.ca for additional information.


Exploration for Magmatic Ore Deposits 

GEOL 5606

April 2022

Registration Form; 2020 Syllabus & Logistical Info (information only - check back closer to the dates) 

On site (3 cr.) and webcasting delivery (non-credit). 10-day intensive course in magmatic Ni-Cu-(PGE), PGE, Cr, and Ti-V deposits including 3 days of theoretical material, 8 days of exploration applications and case studies, and (weather permitting) a 1/2 to 3/4- day field trip in the Sudbury Igneous Complex. Topics include: S and Cr solubility and metal partitioning in maficultramafic magmas; generation of fertile magmas; applications of stable and radiogenic isotopes (including mass-independent S isotopes) in identifying S and metal sources; sulfide transport and localization mechanisms; textures and deformation of Fe-Ni-Cu sulfide ores, sulfide recalculation and plotting methods; geology/genesis of and exploration for Ni-Cu-(PGE) deposits in mafic-ultramafic lava channels, feeder sills/dikes, and magma conduits; geology/genesis of and exploration for PGE deposits in mafic-ultramafic layered intrusions; geology/genesis of and exploration for stratiform and podiform Cr deposits and Ti-V deposits in anorthosites and mafic-ultramafic intrusions (including those in the “Ring of Fire” district of northern Ontario). Case studies and laboratory practicals will include: Alexo (Ontario), Duke Island (Alaska), Duluth (Minnesota), Kambalda (Western Australia), Noril’sk-Talnakh and Pechenga (Russia), Jinchuan and other deposits in China, Thompson (Manitoba), Raglan (Nunavik), Voisey’s Bay (Labrador), and Sudbury Ni-Cu-PGE; and Bushveld (South Africa) and Stillwater (Montana) PGE and Cr; and ‘Ring of Fire” Cr.

Non-student cost: Full Course: CDN $3304 + 13% HST. Individual Days: CDN $339 + 13% HST.

Mix and match group rates are also available. Videoconference participation is available only for non-students.

Contact Ms Roxane Mehes rmehes@laurentian.ca to register. Contact Prof Michael Lesher mlesher@laurentian.ca for additional information.


Mineral Exploration in Volcanic Terrains

GEOL 5326 (field-based)

August 20 - 29, 2020

This 10- day course focuses on recognizing, describing, and mapping volcanic lithofacies, alteration types, mineralization, and deformation in a well-exposed Precambrian volcanic succession hosting base and precious metal deposits. The course is delivered as a mapping project with evening lectures and discussion following a one-day introductory field trip. An introduction to graphic core logging is provided. Mapping is conducted in teams, and grades are based on the map, structural cross-sections, and a final report, which includes a description and interpretation of the geology and structure and an assessment of exploration potential with recommendations. All field costs are borne by the student.

Non-student cost: $2500 plus HST (includes field transport, but does not include accommodation/meals).

Contact Prof Harold Gibson hgibson@laurentian.ca to reserve a space and for additional information. Contact Ms Roxane Mehes rmehes@laurentian.ca to register.

Applied Research Project 

GEOL 5055*

This course is required for and limited to students enrolled in the coursework-based Applied MSc in Mineral Exploration program. A research topic relevant to mineral exploration is selected in consultation with a faculty advisor and students submit, in writing, the results of their research at the end of the program. *Students register for this course only in the term they plan to submit their research project paper.

Contact Prof Daniel Kontak dkontak@laurentian.ca for additional information

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