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Earth Resources

Earth Resources

The Earth Resources research theme covers many different aspects of Earth science research in the UCD School of Earth Sciences. A secure, sustainable, and efficient supply of water, energy, and minerals is necessary for our society and for the continued development of both the Irish and European economies. A key overarching goal within this research theme is to better understand how these resources form, where they can be found, and in what way they can be safely and sustainably managed and extracted.

Mineral products are critical for the technologies that allow us to deal with environmental change, especially the critical minerals required for electric vehicles and renewable energy systems. Research in the school includes:

  • mineral exploration and mining of a number of deposit types, especially in sedimentary basins, and
  • research into societally critical metals that enable the energy transition, and
  • advancing decision-making processes, to ensure responsible environmental management decisions and responsible extraction and (re)use of Earth’s resources.

Understanding underground reservoirs is crucially important for finding and managing earth resources. Research in the school includes research into:

  • ore deposits in sedimentary basins,
  • aquifers for groundwater,
  • geothermal energy in deep and shallow reservoirs,
  • hydrocarbon reservoirs, and
  • depleted reservoirs which may be used as repositories for captured carbon dioxide and other calorific gases.

The Earth Resources research theme builds on significant infrastructure in the School, including the National Centre for Isotope Geochemistry (NCIG), and the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG). A range of approaches are used, and the school carries out research in methodological development of these techniques, with applications in earth resources. These include 3D geological and volumetric modelling, reservoir studies, structural and stratigraphic analysis, stable and radiogenic isotopes, petrographic, remote sensing and seismic stratigraphy, borehole and subsurface characterisation, core scanning, and social science methodologies, in collaboration with the School of Business.

Recent publications

Kaeter, D., Barros, R. and Menuge, J.F., 2021. Metasomatic-hydrothermal HFSE, tin and base metal enrichment processes in lithium pegmatites, SE Ireland, and their relationship to late-orogenic Li-Sn(-W) systems. Economic Geology, 116, 169-198.

Melo, A., Li, Y., 2021. Geology differentiation by applying unsupervised machine learning to multiple independent geophysical inversions. Geophysical Journal International227(3):2058-2078.

Fonte-Boa, T.M.R., Melo, A.T., and Novo, T.A., 2020. Interpolation artifacts as a result of spatial aliasing: A case study of the airborne magnetic data set of southeastern Minas Gerais, Brazil. Geophysics85(6):B193-B205.

Melo, A.T., Li, Y., and Hitzman, M, 2020. Is there hidden potential in Carajás? Insights through the geophysical signature of Cristalino deposit. Ore Geology Reviews 126, 103735.

Slezak, P., Spandler, C., Border, A., and Whittock, K., 2021, Geology and ore genesis of the carbonatite-associated Yangibana LREE district, Gascoyne Province, Western Australia. Mineralium Deposita, 56, 1007-1026.

Lowney, B., Lokmer, I., O'Brien, G.S., and Bean, C.J., 2021. Pre-migration diffraction separation using generative adversarial networks. Geophysical Prospecting69(5):949-967.

Islam M.S., Manzocchi T., Walsh, J.J., and Stern, D., 2021. A comparative study of geometrical upscaling methods for inclusion of fault zone structure into upscaled reservoir simulation models. Natural Resources Research, 30, 2561-2573.

Walsh D.A. and Manzocchi T., 2021. Connectivity in Pixel-Based Facies Models. Mathematical Geosciences 53, 415-435.

Walsh D.A. and Manzocchi T., 2021. A method for generating geomodels conditioned to well data with high net:gross ratios but low connectivity. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 2021

An, Y., Guo, J., Ye, Q., Childs, C., Walsh, J.J. and Dong, R., 2021. Deep convolutional neural network for automatic fault recognition from 3D seismic datasets. Computers & Geosciences, 153, 104776.

O'Sullivan, C., Childs, C., Saqab, M.M., Walsh, J.J. and Shannon, P., 2021. The influence of multiple salt layers on rift-basin development; The Slyne and Erris basins, offshore NW Ireland. Basin Research 33(3), 2018-2048.

An, Y., Guo, J., Ye, Q., Childs, C., Walsh, J.J. and Dong, R., 2021. A gigabyte interpreted seismic dataset for automatic fault recognition. Data in Brief, 37, 107219.

Moore, J.P., and Walsh, J.J., 2021. Quantitative analysis of Cenozoic faults and fractures and their impact on groundwater flow in the bedrock aquifers of Ireland. Hydrogeology Journal 29, 2613-2632.

Blake, S., Henry, T., Moore, J.P., Murray, J., Campanya, J., Muller, M. R., Jones, A.G., Rath, V. and Walsh, J., 2021. Characterising thermal water circulation in fractured bedrock using a multidisciplinary approach: a case study of St. Gorman’s Well, Ireland. Hydrogeology Journal 29, 2595-2611.

Baudouy, L, Haughton, P.D.W. and Walsh, J.J., 2021. Development and evolution of a fault-controlled, deep-water sub-basin, Tabernas, SE Spain. Frontiers in Earth Science 9, 767286. 

Spandler, C., Slezak, P., and Nazari-Dehkordi, T., 2020, Tectonic significance of Australian rare earth element deposits. Earth Science Reviews, 207: 16.

Hepworth, L.N., Daly, J.S., Gertisser, R., Johnson, C.G., Emeleus, C.H. and O’Driscoll, B., 2020. Rapid crystallisation of precious metal-mineralised layers in mafic magmatic systems. Nature Geoscience, 13, 375-381.

Hnatyshin, D., Creaser, R. A., Meffre, S., Stern, R. A., Wilkinson, J. J., and Turner, E. C., 2020. Understanding the microscale spatial distribution and mineralogical residency of Re in pyrite: Examples from carbonate-hosted Zn-Pb ores and implications for pyrite Re-Os geochronology. Chemical Geology, v. 533, 119427.

Paradis, S., Hnatyshin, D., Simandl, G. J. and Creaser, R. A., 2020. Re-Os pyrite geochronology of the Yellowhead-type mineralization, Pend Oreille mine, Kootenay arc, Metaline District, Washington. Economic Geology 115(7), 1373-1384.

Soni, K., Manzocchi, T., Haughton, P.W.D., and Carneiro, M., 2020. Hierarchical Characterization and Modelling of Deep-Water Slope Channel Reservoirs. SPE Norway Subsurface Conference, SPE-200763-MS.

Saqab, M.M., Childs, C., Walsh, J.J. and Delogkos, E., 2020. Multiphase deformation history of the Porcupine Basin, offshore west Ireland. Basin Research.

Manzocchi, T., Zhang L., Haughton, P.W.D., and Pontén A., 2020. Hierarchical parameterization and compression-based object modelling of high net:gross but poorly amalgamated deep-water lobe deposits. Petroleum Geoscience, 26, 545-567.

Kyne, R., Torremans, K., Güven, J., Doyle, R. and Walsh, J., 2019. 3-D modeling of the lisheen and silvermines deposits, County Tipperary, Ireland: insights into structural controls on the formation of Irish Zn-Pb deposits. Economic Geology, 114(1), pp.93-116.

Yesares, L., Drummond, D., Hollis, S.P., Doran, A.L., Menuge, J.F., Boyce, A.J., Blakeman, R. and Ashton, J., 2019. Coupling mineralogy, textures, stable and radiogenic isotopes in identifying ore-forming processes in Irish-type carbonate hosted Zn-Pb deposits. Minerals, 9, 335.

Walsh, J.J., Torremans K., Güven, J., Kyne R., Conneally, J. and Bonson, C., 2018. Fault-controlled fluid flow within extensional basins and its implications for sedimentary rock-Hosted mineral deposits. Society of Economic Geologists Special Publications, 21, 237–269.

Torremans K., Kyne R., Doyle, R., Güven, J. and Walsh, J.J., 2018. Controls on metal distributions at the Lisheen and Silvermines deposits: Insights into fluid flow pathways in Irish-Type Zn-Pb Deposits. Economic Geology, 113, 1455-1477.

Hall, W.S., Hitzman, M.W., Kuiper, Y.D., Kylander-Clark, A.R.C., Holm-Denoma, C.S., Moscati, R.J., Plink-Bjorklund, P., and Enders, M.S., 2018. Igneous and detrital zircon U-Pb and Lu-Hf geochronology of the late Meso- to Neoproterozoic northwest Botswana rift: maximum depositional age and provenance of the Ghanzi Group, Kalahari Copperbelt, Botswana and Namibia. Precambrian Research, v. 118, p.133-155.