Department of Earth Sciences
The South African geological record is extraordinary and unique, providing a world-class natural laboratory for those interested in research in the earth sciences. New technologies and the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies have, in recent years, opened up a wide variety of opportunities for geologists in the exploration of 'green' metals, besides the more traditional mineral exploration.
Environmental issues related to human activities and the broad topic of climate change provide an important research focus for the field of environmental geochemistry: research in hydrogeology centres around the distribution, movement and properties of groundwater, an increasingly scarce and valuable commodity in sub-Saharan Africa and South Africa, in particular. These diverse fields are being taught and researched by staff and students in the department and offer a wide range of careers in South Africa and abroad.
The postgraduate population of the Department is cosmopolitan, and in recent years we have attracted students from Brazil, Canada, France, Gabon, Germany, Italy, Japan, Namibia, the UK, US, Netherlands and DRC, and Zimbabwe.
FIELDS OF RESEARCH
Tectonics and orogenic processes
Petrogenesis of granite rocks
Trace-element and isotope geochemistry
Shear-zone hosted gold deposits
Massive sulphide deposits
Heavy mineral placer deposits
Metallogenesis of mobile belts
Hydro-geochemistry and pollution