Geological Science and Engineering

Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering
Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering


Serigne Dieng

Thesis Title:
Fluids Evolution and Structural Control on Uranium Deposits in Successor Basins in Northern Canada and Northern Australia.

Serigne Dieng completed his B.Sc. (honours) at the Earth Sciences Institute at Dakar University (Senegal-West Africa) in 1998 and his M.Sc. through the Minex program at Queens in 2006. Serigne has worked extensively in gold exploration in Senegal and Guinea (West Africa).

Serigne Dieng began his Ph.D. degree at Queen's University in July 2012 under the supervision of Kurt Kyser and Laurent Godin. His research is a collaborative project with Queen's University and Cameco Corporation. Serigne's Ph.D. research main objectives are (a) to re-evaluate the character and formation of uranium deposits in successor basins in Canada and Australia, (b) to compare them to those in the younger uranium-rich basins with which they are spatially associated, and (c) to identify key factors controlling uranium mineralization in successor basins. This research integrates aspects of structural geology and geochemistry to detail the structural and fluid evolution of uranium deposits in successor basins and how they are temporally and genetically related to unconformity-related uranium deposits in younger basins.

Serigne completed his Ph.D. in 2012.

Photo: Serigne going to Gunnar mine accessible only by boat (Beaverlodge 2009 field trip, Northern Saskatchwan).

Sarah Rice

Thesis Title:
Fluid history of the western Hornby Bay Basin, Nunavut, Canada.

Sarah graduated from Queen's University (B.Sc.H., 2007) in geological sciences. Her senior thesis investigated the geochemistry of the Karku unconformity-type uranium deposit in the Pasha-Ladoga Basin, Russia and compared it to the Athabasca and Kombolgie basins. Her current MSc research is focused on developing the paragenesis and fluid history of the Hornby Bay Basin in western Nunavut, and comparing it to the alteration and chemistry of the Mountain Lake uranium deposit in the central Hornby Bay.

Zenas Keizars

Zen Keizars completed his undergraduate degree at McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario). There he studied thermoluminescence emitted from silicates, and successfully adapted archaeological TL-dating techniques to the analysis of modern beach sand transport analysis. Luminescence studies brought Zen to the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario), where he developed a halo method for SedEx and VMS deposit exploration using physicochemically-derived variations in carbonates using cathodoluminescence spectroscopy.

Continued interest in carbonate chemistry has led Zen to Queen's University (Kingston, Ontario) and the supervision of Kurt Kyser and Noel James, where he is presently studying genetic ties of Mg and Ca isotopes in carbonates.

Greg Lester

Thesis Title:
Iron oxide ~ copper ~ gold deposits: field and experimental investigation of hydrothermal and magmatic reservoirs.

Gregory W. Lester, Ph.D. Candidate. Greg received his M.A. from the State University of New York, Binghamton, in 2002 and his M.Sc. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2004. His research interests include the geology of the Adirondack mountain region, geochemistry and experimental petrology. He is particularly interested in the evolution of magmas and fluids involved in ore genesis.

Gregory completed his Ph.D. in 2012.

Allan Montgomery

Thesis Title:
Regional controls on precious and base metal epithermal mineralization in the Alto Chicama district, north central Peru.

Allan completed his B.Sc. (honours) at UBC in 1986 and his M.Sc., through the Minex program, at Queens in 2003. Allan has worked extensively in mineral exploration, primarily in the North and South American Cordillera.

Allan's Ph.D. research evaluates district-scale controls on mineralization in the Alto Chicama district. Utilizing geological mapping, Ar/Ar geochronology, petrography, petrochemistry and stable isotope geochemistry, a district-wide image is being developed, documenting which geological processes happened during formation of the multiple epithermal centers known. Through this work, parameters useful in the search for other mineral resources may be recognized.

This project is being generously funded by Barrick Gold Corporation and its Peru subsidiary, Minera Barrick Misquichia.

Allan Montgomery completed his Ph.D. in 2012.

Ronald Ng

Gabriela Budulan

Thesis Title:
Indicator mineral signature of the Halfmile Lake Zn-Pb-Cu volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit, New Brunswick, Canada.

Gabriela Budulan received her B.Sc. Honours in Geology from the University of Ottawa in 2007. Her undergraduate thesis involved the characterization of bedrock and till at the Broken Hammer Cu-PGE deposit in Sudbury utilizing petrography, bedrock geochemistry, till geochemistry, pebble lithology and SEM analyses.

Gabriela's current M.Sc. research at Queen's University began in January 2008. Her research is a collaborative project with Queen's University, the Geological survey of Canada and the Department of Natural Resources in New Brunswick. Her research will document a suite of indicator minerals characteristic of the Halfmile Lake Zn-Pb-Cu VMS deposit. This research will involve bedrock and till geochemistry analysis, petrography, SEM mineral identification, and mineral chemistry by electron microprobe and laser ablation ICP-MS techniques.

Her research interest is centered on understanding various mineral deposits, their expression in surficial media and developing better methods for exploration.

Pim van Geffen

Thesis Title:
Source to Surface Geochemical Processes: Optimal Sampling Media and Analysis

Pim received his M.Sc. degree in Geochemistry at Utrecht University, The Netherlands, in 2005. His thesis involved research on the geochemistry of the Phoenix Ni-Cu-PGE deposit near Francistown, Botswana. After completion of his thesis, he worked for Anglo American Exploration (Canada) Ltd in Vancouver, until he came to Queen's in September 2006 to start his Ph.D. research. The main field area under investigation is the Talbot Lake VMS Cu-Zn deposit in Manitoba, Canada, covered by ~100 m Palaeozoic carbonates and Quaternary till. Results from field based studies are integrated with lab simulation of cover sequences to investigate transport mechanisms of metals and molecules through sediments.

Jonathan Cloutier

Thesis Title:
Geochemistry of the apparently non-mineralized Wheeler River and mineralized Millennium and Eagle Point alteration systems, east Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan: implications for uranium exploration.

Jonathan graduated with a B.Sc. (2002) and M.Sc. (2004) in geology from Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal.

His research is centered on the significant differences between barren alteration systems and both sandstone-hosted and basement-hosted uranium mineralized alteration systems in the Athabasca Basin. This will enable him to identify the key processes lacking in the barren systems that result in ore generation and the duration of events required to generate ores. Specifically, the project will include analytical procedures available at the Queens Facility of Isotope Research (QFIR) including: (i) characterization of various alteration zones, (ii) characterization of the fluids associated with different stages of alteration, (iii) absolute timing of alteration events and (iv) elemental compositions of whole-rock and isotopic compositions of fluid tracer elements such as Li, B, Nd, Sr and Pb.

Dr. Merline Djouka-Fonkwe

Merline Djouka-Fonkwe received her B.Sc., M.Sc., and First year doctorate (DEA) degrees at the University of Yaounde I, Cameroon. Her works contribute towards the study of the eruptive dynamisms along the Cameroon Volcanic Line. Merline obtained her Ph.D degree at the Institute of Mineralogy and Crystallography (University of Wurzburg, Germany; 2005), thanks to the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarship.

Currently, Merline is a postdoctoral fellow in the QFIR group. Half of her time is spent decrypting key parameters that have played a role in fixing uranium in various deposits and what has been mobilized from them into various aquifers as part of an extensive program in examining the critical steps associated with deposit formation and deposit preservation. The methods used are stable and radiogenic isotopes, trace elements, crystal chemistry and petrography. The other half of her time involves the comprehension of normal diagenetic processes of ores and gangue minerals that result in mobilization of components from mineral surfaces. The aim is to develop new analytical techniques that will identify concealed deposits.

Becky Rogala

Thesis Title:
Paleoceanography of the Lower Parmeener Supergroup, Tasmania, Australia: Implications for Permian global climate change.

Becky Rogala graduated with an HBSc (2001) and an MSc (2003) from Lakehead University. Her undergraduate and masters theses involved the investigation of the lithostratigraphy, chemostratigraphy, and magnetostratigraphy of the Mesoproterozoic Sibley Group near Nipigon, Ontario. This research was used to contribute to the Lake Nipigon Region Geoscience Initiative, which is operated by the Ontario Prospectors Association and Ontario Geological Survey and funded by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation.

Becky began her PhD research in September 2003 under the direction of Dr. Noel James at Queen's University, studying Permian cold-water carbonates in Tasmania. Current research interests include the characterization of cold water carbonates and how they compare to cool-water carbonates, and Permian paleoceanography and deglaciation as demonstrated by the Lower Parmeener Supergroup, Tasmania.

Laura Richardson

Laura completed a B.Sc. in Environmental Science in 2004 at the Australian National University. Her honours thesis focused on the factors influencing the incorporation of Sr/Ca into a Porites coral from a submerged carbonate bank in the Timor Sea. She worked for a year at Geoscience Australia reviewing research on the Australian southern margin, where she discovered her interest in cool-water carbonates. She came to Queen's in January 2006 to do a M.Sc. with Noel James and Kurt Kyser. She worked on the geochemistry of modern brachiopods from the Australian southern margin, looking at the relationship between oceanography and trace element incorporation into brachiopods.


Huayong Chen

Huayong completed his B.Sc. (1998) in Geology and M.Sc. (2001) in Economic Geology at Peking University in China. He had undertaken orogenic gold deposits research in the Chinese Tien Shan region for 7 years (including his first 3 years at Queens) before he changed to the current Marcona-Mina Justa IOCG project in Peru in 2004. The new project involved the detailed paragenesis construction, comprehensive fluid inclusion and isotope studies to clarify the fluid evolution and ore-forming process of the gigantic Marcona (Fe) and Mina Justa (Cu-Ag) deposits, which could contribute to the not well-defined IOCG model.

Sarah Duguid

Sarah Duguid received her B.Sc.H. in Geology from Queen's University in 2006. Her honours thesis used oxygen and carbon isotopic values and trace element contents of azooxanthellate corals from the continental margin of Australia to indicate oceanographic conditions.

Sarah returned to Queen's for her M.Sc. in the fall of 2006 to continue research on the geochemistry of modern carbonate sediments under the supervision of Kurt Kyser and Noel James. Sarah analyzed modern ooids to investigate the linear relationship between oxygen and carbon isotopic values observed in modern carbonate material that is often attributed to kinetic and metabolic effects.



John Rivers

Thesis Title:
Early diagenesis of neritic non-tropical (cool-water) carbonates: the Great Australian Bight.

John Rivers graduated with a BS (1995) and MS (2002) in geology from Temple University, Philadelphia. His masters thesis entailed an investigation of naturally-occurring magnetic soils in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Tennessee. After completing his masters John accepted a position at Oak Ridge National Laboratories as a geophysicist in the Environmental Sciences division.

In September 2003, he enrolled at Queen's University to work with Noel James and Kurt Kyser on aspects of carbonate geochemistry. Current research interests include the role of iron in early carbonate diagenesis, synsedimentary cementation processes in cool-water carbonate environments, and geochemical links between the oceanographic characteristics of the Southern Ocean and the nature of shelf sediments on the southern Australian margin.

Matt Reudink

Matt Reudink received his B.S. in biology from Willamette University (Salem, Oregon) in 2001. He then attended Villanova University (Villanova, Pennsylvania) where he studied sexual selection in a hybrid zone between black-capped and Carolina chickadees and received his M.S. in biology in 2004. Matt began his Ph.D. at Queens in 2004 and used stable-carbon and stable-hydrogen isotopes to understand how the behaviour of a migratory songbird is influenced by seasonal events. Specifically, Matt investigated how the quality of a birds tropical winter habitat may influence mate choice during the breeding season. Also, Matt investigated how provisioning offspring late into the breeding season may influence a) moulting latitude, b) winter territory acquisition, and c) mate choice the following breeding season.

Steph Villeneuve

Stephanie Villeneuve received her B.Sc.H. in geology from Queens University in 2004. Her undergraduate thesis included the sedimentology, paleontology and U-Pb dating of the Neoproterozoic Drook Formation, Southeastern Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland. Stephanies M.Sc. work was concerned with determining emission rates and production pathways of methane and carbon dioxide emitted from an urban wetland as a result of water table fluctuations and temperature.





Adrienne Hanly

Thesis Title:
The uranium mineralization potential and diagenetic fluid histories of the Proterozoic Yeneena, Sibley and Sioux Basins

Adrienne Hanly graduated with a BSc. 4year specialist degree with a Geology major and Chemistry minor from Brandon University. Her BSc. thesis focused on petrographic studies of quartz feldspar porphyry near Bryan Lake, Manitoba. Prior to attending graduate school she worked in the mining industry for a few years, first at a Gold mine in northern Manitoba and subsequently at the world class Pb-Zn Sullivan Mine in Kimberley, B.C. In 2001 Adrienne completed her MSc. thesis at the University of Missouri-Rolla under the direction of Dr. Richard Hagni, one of a few recognized experts in the world on ore microscopy. It was in Missouri that Adrienne began studies on uranium and rare earth elements which ultimately led her to pursue additional study with Dr. Kurt Kyser who is renowned for his multidisciplinary approach to basin and ore deposit studies as well as innovative research in the geosciences in general.

Adrienne began her Ph.D. at Queen’s in 2001 utilizing a “holistic” basin analysis approach that included integrating sedimentological field studies with petrographic and geochemical studies. Laboratory studies included multi-element geochemistry, H, O, C, and S isotopic studies, fluid inclusion studies, SEM and electron microprobe analysis and dating utilizing U-Pb and Ar-Ar isotope systematics. The research spanned three Proterozoic basins in diverse geographic locales-Canada, the U.S. and Australia. The main objective of this research was to understand the fluid history of these basins, particularly in terms of diagenesis and ore forming processes in order to evaluate their prospectivity for uranium mineralization. Adrienne’s Ph.D. thesis, completed in 2005 is available through the National Library of Canada. She has presented at national and international conferences and has published or has in review major papers related to her research, many of which can be found in the list of publications associated with QFIR.

Alex Fitzpatrick

Thesis Title:
Selenium Cycling in the Environment

Alex completed a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geology at Queens University following which he spent two years working, including exploration work in Labrador, drill logging at the Cargill Phosphate Project of Agrium and data compilation projects. Alex received a M.Sc. in 1999 at McGill University completing a thesis on the sorption of arsenic and phosphate to gibbsite in seawater. Research Interests include trace elements in the environment, mineral surface interactions, and the low temperature geochemistry of ore deposits.



Amelia Rainbow

Thesis Title:
Genesis of the Pierina high-sulfidation Au-Ag deposit, Ancash, Peru.

Amelia Rainbow attended Queens University where she received her B.Sc. in geography in 1995 and her B.Sc. H. in geology in 1996. She returned to Queen's in 1997 to pursue graduate work in economic geology, and is currently a Ph.D. student studying the geology and geochemistry of the Pierina high-sulfidation Au-Ag deposit in Ancash Department, Peru. Current research on Pierina includes a comprehensive study of alunite mineralogy and geochemistry, temporal and spatial investigation of Au and Ag mineralization using laser-ablation ICP-MS, and a stable isotope and fluid inclusion-based study on the interaction of meteoric water with magmatic fluids during alteration and mineralization.



Esteban Urqueta

Thesis Title:
Rosario and District Mineralisation, Alteration and Geochemistry: Vectors to Ore

Since the completion of his B.Sc. degree at Universidad de Chile in 1996, Esteban has focused his work on mineral exploration along the Andean Range. Before coming to Queen's in 2002 he was in charge of the exploration geochemistry for Anglo American PLC in Chile, Peru and Argentina. He has worked on the design and assess of geochemical surveys on both regional and district scales in order to vector towards ore mineralisation. He is currently an M.Sc student studying the geology and geochemistry of the Rosario porphyry copper deposit in the Collahuasi District in Northern Chile.





Dr. Catherine Reid

Catherine Reid received her PhD from the University of Tasmania in 2001, with research focused on Permian bryozoan taxonomy, biostratigraphy and ecology.

Catherine is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Queen's University working with the QFIR on geochemical aspects of Carboniferous and Permian warm to cold-water carbonates in the Sverdrup Basin, Arctic Canada. In particular, research involves stable isotope and trace element analysis of fossil brachiopod material as potential indicators of changing oceanography, productivity and chemistry. The late Carboniferous and Permian was a time of warming in the southern hemisphere and cooling in the northern. This project aims to assist in the understanding of this climatic change.



Jorge Benavides

Thesis Title:
Development of geochemical exploration strategies or techniques to both vector and remotely detect Iron Oxides Copper Gold deposits.

I completed my B.Sc. in Geology at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (National University of Colombia), in Santafe de Bogota, then I worked for some years in no-metallic Colombian mining companies (aggregates and cement) as a exploration geologist. The by 1998 I moved to Chile in order to carry our a M.Sc. at the Universidad de Chile, my research project was focused in K/Ar geochronologic and fluid inclusions studies of Mesozoic vein deposits located west of Copiapo, Coastal Cordillera, northern Chile, this project was aimed in order to define the possible linkage between Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous calco alkaline magmatism and metallogenic episodes.

Dr. Paul Polito

Dr Paul Polito received his Ph.D. at the University of Adelaide in 1999. His research focused on the fluids and gases found in the alteration systems of late-orogenic gold deposits and their potential as an exploration vector. Currently Paul is a pdf working with the isotope geochemistry group at Queens University where he divides his time between investigating the regional-scale fluid histories of the Proterozoic Mt. Isa and McArthur Basins in Queensland and Northern Territory, Australia and conducting a detailed reassessment of the Nabarlek, Jabiluka, El Sherana, Palette and Adelaide River uranium deposits to determine their relationship, if any, with Proterozoic fluid flow in the Kombolgie Sub-basin and Coronation Sandstone.

Ultimately, the objective is to understand the relationship between the paleofluid histories of the basins and the formation of world-class sediment hosted / unconformity-related Zn-Pb, Cu and U deposits. With the bulk of these projects nearing completion, Paul has begun work developing a viable exploration tool for exotic-type Cu deposits in Chile and massive sulfide base metal deposits in Canada using soil-gas geochemistry.

Shannon Johns

Thesis Title:
Chemical and fluid evolution of a submarine metavolcanic sequence, Bravo Lake Formation, Baffin Island, Nunavut

Shannon M. Johns received her B.Sc. Hons. in geology at the University of Saskatchewan in 2002. Her undergraduate research utilized neodymium and samarium isotopes to constrain the provenance and tectonic evolution of the Piling Group.

In September 2003, he enrolled at Queen's University to work with Noel James and Kurt Kyser on aspects of carbonate geochemistry. Current research interests include the role of iron in early carbonate diagenesis, synsedimentary cementation processes in cool-water carbonate environments, and geochemical links between the oceanographic characteristics of the Southern Ocean and the nature of shelf sediments on the southern Australian margin.

Mark Nelson

Thesis Title:
Using carbon isotopes as an exploration tool for buried ore deposits

Mark Nelson received his B.Sc. in Geology from McGill University in 2000.

Mark is investigating stable isotopes of light hydrocarbons in soil gases. The aim of the project is to determine the feasibility of this method as a mineral exploration tool.




Katie Langin

Thesis Title:
Timing of migration in long-distance migratory songbirds: geographical and ecological correlates.

Katie's primary research interests are in avian ecology and conservation. She received her BSc(H) in Biology in 2004 from Queens. For her honours thesis, she analyzed d13C and d15N in yolk to determine whether a migratory songbird, the American redstart, uses body stores acquired on tropical wintering areas or local dietary sources to form eggs. Katie is now pursuing her MSc ~ once again in Queen’s Biology department ~ and is using dD in feathers to infer the geographic origin of songbirds migrating through Gulf Coast stopover sites.




Kevin Fraser

Thesis Title:
Contemporary and historical migratory connectivity in the Golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) using stable isotope analysis of claw and feather material.

We are building a picture of the degree to which various North American breeding and Neotropical wintering populations of this rapidly declining migrant connect from samples collected across their range and from the museum archive.





Dr. Sarah Palmer

Thesis Title:
Geochemistry and fluid evolution of Thelon Basin, Keewatin District, Nunavut

Sarah Palmer earned her MSc at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia for research that recognized the presence of thick-skinned tectonic processes in the evolution of the Humber zone foreland fold and thrust belt in the western Newfoundland segment of the Canadian Appalachians. She more recently completed a NATMAP project that involved structural mapping and stratigraphic interpretation of a complex Cambro-Ordovician melange sequence underling the Bay of Islands ophiolite in western Newfoundland. Her current interests include the study of the Proterozoic Thelon Basin in the Canadian Shield of western Nunavut, in which she is examining the effect of multiple fluid events on basin sequences and the possibility of using geochemical data to assess the economic potential of this and similar unconformity-type uranium deposit environments.

Melithza Silva

Thesis Title:
Microwave assisted continuous leach ICP-MS

Milithza Silva graduated in 1997 obtaining a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Panama. She then collaborated as a Research Assistant in the project ~ Photochemical Paint Stripping ~ in the University of Texas at Arlington during 1998. Currently a M. Sc. Candidate at Queen’s under the supervision of Dr. Beauchemin and Dr. Kyser working to speed up the continuous leach analysis of soils by using microwave assisted heating and exploring other heating alternatives such as ultrasound and hot baths.

Rui Zhang

Thesis Title:
Early diagenesis of neritic non-tropical (cool-water) carbonates: the Great Australian Bight.

Rui Zhang received his B.Sc. in Geology in 2002 from Peking University in China. He came to Queens University to pursue his M.Sc. degree in Sept. 2002. His B.Sc. thesis is about the metamorphic process of ecologite in Tianshan moutain, NW Chian. Now he is working on econimic geology and applied geochemistry in economic geology.



Andrew Bukata

Thesis Title:
Reconstructing Environmental Change Using Stable Isotopes (d15N and d13C) and Metal Contents of Tree-Rings (Ph.D. 2007)

Andrew completed a B.Sc. in Chemistry at The University of Western Ontario and then worked for Atmospheric Environment Services before returning to complete a M.Sc. in Environmental Geochemistry at Trent University/Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. His Ph.D. thesis focused on the application of stable isotope (15N and 13C), ring-width and elemental concentration variations in tree-rings as recorders of changes in biogeochemical cycling.

Examining nitrogen cycle perturbation following tree-clearing and land-use change, Andrew established that tree-ring d15N values faithfully recorded the timing of the event (Bukata and Kyser, 2005). This suggested that trees could serve as long-term monitors of the nitrogen cycle. The paper was featured on the cover of Environmental Science and Technology and was the subject of an online news story (

Subsequent work demonstrated that tree-ring d13C values and d15N values record the effect of urban pollution and provide both a chronology of 20th century anthropogenic pollution in southern Ontario as well as indicating the spatial extent of the impact (Bukata and Kyser, 2007).

Fire is a natural occurrence that can alter biogeochemical cycles in the soil. In collaboration with Tom Al at the University of New Brunswick ( we showed that tree-ring d15N values record a shift coincident with the fire-event. Laser ablation microsampling in a fire-scarred tree showed high radial variability in elemental concentration consistent with the tree recording localized fire-induced alterations to the geochemical cycling of elements in the soil. This study demonstrated that tree-ring elemental variations have the potential to record the timing and extent of past forest fires (Bukata, Kyser and Al, in review).

Combining carbon isotope analyses and elemental concentration measurements on annual growth rings, Andrew showed that while oak are passive monitors of changes in non-nutrient elemental availability, nutrient concentrations when the tree is stressed are not necessarily related to environmental bioavailability (Bukata and Kyser, in review).

Mike Cooley

Thesis Title:
Structural Geology and Fluid History of the Livingstone Range Anticlinorium, Southern Alberta Foothills.

Mike's research combines detailed structural analysis of a major hangingwall ramp anticline and its associated thrust faults, fault-propagation folds and cross faults, with the isotope geochemistry and fluid inclusion analyses of veins associated with specific fault zones. Geochemical data from the fault-related veins should reveal the types of fluids that were flowing through the structure during its development, and provide information on the mechanics and timing of fluid migration and the entrapment of hydrocarbons.