EOSC 331 · Introduction to Mineral Deposits

Introduction to economic geology and models related to mineral exploration. Study includes typical deposit types and their plate tectonic setting. [2-3-0] Prerequisite: EOSC 221.

Course Availability & Schedule

Course Syllabus

Course Webpage

Learning goals: 

Sustaining human society is a complex interdisciplinary challenge. New sources of metals are required to meet society’s current and future needs and yet exploration for new mineral resources is increasingly difficult as fewer and fewer mineral deposits remain to be found exposed at the Earth's surface. Future mineral exploration will require a greater scientific understanding of the spatio-temporal distribution of mineral deposits and how they may best be found at depth in the subsurface.

The overall goal of the course is to provide students with a basic scientific framework for understanding the origin and distribution of mineral deposits on planet Earth.

By the end of the course students should be able to:

  1. Use basic hand-specimen description of rocks to identify the mineralogical, chemical, structural and paragenetic character of mineral deposits and their associated host rocks.
  2. Describe the essential geological setting (mineralogical, geochemical, structural, tectonic, temporal) of the main mineral deposits types that provide the majority of the metals required by human society (e.g., Ti, V, Cr, Ni, PGE, Cu, Mo, Au, Ag, Pb, Zn, U, Fe).
  3. Discuss the key geological processes responsible for mineral deposit genesis.
  4. Describe how these deposits are distributed throughout geologic time (Archean to Cenozoic) and in space (e.g., mid-ocean ridge, continental arc, back-arc basin).
  5. Develop a conceptual Source-Transport-Trap (STT) model for understanding the genesis of mineral deposits on Earth and their relationship to plate tectonics in time and space.

Note that this course will not cover industrial minerals (gravel, sand, potash, etc.) or any fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, oil).


Ken Hickey & James Scoates (Sept-Dec 2023)

Course Content

See Course Webpage on UBC Canvas to access lecture slides, project information, and lab pre-reads.  An updated syllabus for the Sept-Dec 2023 term will be available later in August.


All lectures in Sept-Dec 2023 term is regularly scheduled time each Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00-10:50 am.  Labs begin in Week 2  – the labs are 3 hours and will involve group exercises overseen by our superb TAs.