Economic Geology

Many earth materials are excavated for economic or industrial purposes. For instance, many precious gems and metals (like diamonds and copper) are mined to create jewellery or parts of electronics. The study of such materials is known as economic geology.

On this page, you will find information about economic geology, the work UAlberta scientists are doing in this area, and the effect their work has.

What Is Economic Geology?

Economic geology is a discipline of science that focuses on earth materials that can be used for economic or industrial development purposes. Often, much of the purpose of study is to identify new ore deposits for excavation as well as understanding how ore deposits are generated and localized within Earth’s crust.

a tunnel inside a coal mine with tracks and machines, with light in the distance

The materials researchers are most involved with include:

  • coal,
  • construction-grade stone,
  • nonmetallic minerals,
  • petroleum minerals,
  • precious and base metals,
  • and water.

As many of these resources are non-renewable, scientists in this discipline use innovative methods to find new deposits and other valuable materials to counteract scarcity.

Research in the realm of economic geology often encompasses other disciplines such as coal and petroleum geology (sedimentology), ore geology and genesis, mineralogy, structural geology, geochemistry, and geophysics.

Professor Profile

Economic geologist Pilar Lecumberri-Sanchez, Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Assistant Professor Pilar Lecumberri-Sanchez

Read about Pilar Lecumberri-Sanchez, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Science who is bringing fresh expertise in economic geology to the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.


Who Is Working in Economic Geology?

The Faculty of Science is training the next generation of scientists in the latest advances in economic geology and other disciplines of earth sciences.

Learn more about the faculty overseeing the latest economic geology projects and their research interests below.

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Unearth Your Potential

Get started in economic geology by exploring the undergraduate studies program in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS).

We also offer various masters and PhD programs for students who wish to pursue graduate studies in economic geology at the highest academic levels.

Learn More About EAS Undergraduate Programs
Explore EAS Graduate Programs