This field is especially strong in seismology at scales ranging from global to local, and in geochronology utilizing Ar/Ar dating. It contains individuals recognized internationally, not only for advancing theoretical understanding and practical methodologies within their specialties, but also for collaborative contributions stretching from gross regional structure of the Earth to the engineering- and economic-geology scales. Seismology graduate students work with data from either controlled sources or earthquakes, using leading-edge processing and inversion tools within projects focusing on the upper mantle, the deep crust, basin-scale reflection imaging, cross-borehole tomography, or very small-scale, shallow-depth, engineering-seismic surveys.
Through inter-institutional projects such as POLARIS and POLO, seismology students are exposed to other geophysical methods, such as gravity, electromagnetics, and geomechanics. Students in geochronology join a group that has been strong in the department for more than two decades; by its nature, the research in this area is well integrated with other departmental activities in structural geology, tectonics, sedimentology, geochemistry, and economic geology.
Using a state-of-the-art laser lab, the research of the geochronology group focuses on elucidating fundamental problems in the Earth Sciences, ranging from the timing of economic mineralization on a local scale, to the duration and evolution of crustal-scale tectonic processes.
In addition to supervising their own graduate students, core geochronology staff members are commonly involved in the joint supervision of graduate students based in Fields I, II, or III; their graduate courses are generally attended by students from a variety of different geological fields. The most recent Ph.D. graduate from the Geophysics program is now a Post-doctoral Fellow in a Himalayan seismology project based in the U.S., and the preceding two M.Sc. graduates have petroleum-industry jobs in Calgary and S. Africa. This typifies the ability of graduates from this program to pursue opportunities in either academe or industry; in both situations they have been very successful, reaching Full Professor and Senior Scientist ranks. Geochronology graduates follow similar career paths.