Queen's University has been regarded as a national leader in mineralogy, petrology (especially metamorphic and experimental igneous petrology), and structural geology and tectonics (principally of the Canadian Shield and the Cordillera) since the early part of the 20th century. These four subdisciplines that comprise Petrology & Structural Geology are highly integrated, and Petrology & Structural Geology in turn is closely linked with and critical to Fields I (Economic Geology & Mineral Exploration) and IV (Geophysics & Geochronology) in our department. The integration of field-, lab-, and model-based studies is a hallmark of graduate teaching and research in Petrology & Structural Geology at Queen's University. In structural geology/tectonics, graduate fieldwork in the Cordillera, Canadian Shield, and now the Himalayas, coupled with modeling in the Experimental Tectonics Laboratory, provides a nearly ideal opportunity to investigate the processes that produce crustal-scale features. This integration is also well illustrated by the mixture of experimental and field-based mineralogy and petrology.
Projects cover a wide range of scales, from microstructural features developed at the mineral scale (the new microstructural laboratory permits the observation and quantification of strain in minerals) to major fault systems at the continental scale (based on field & modeling investigations). Projects span the entire geological time scale, from Archean structure and tectonics, through work on the Cordillera and Himalaya, to present-day neotectonics of the Great Lakes. Crustal-dynamics problems are investigated with the integration of: modeling, structural geology, geochronology and tectonics; mineralogy, petrology, structural geology, and economic geology; and geophysics, crustal dynamics, and neotectonics. The dynamic analysis of crustal evolution requires control on timing and deep-seated geometry, which involves the use of integrated geochronological and geophysical studies (see Field IV below), respectively.