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Characterization of Ore Forming Systems from Geological Geochemical and Geophysical Studies

Gessner characterising oreThe discovery of economically viable mineral resources is increasingly rare, despite the increased expenditure associated with this activity due to exhaustion of easier-to-locate resources. Most ore deposits mined in the past or currently being extracted are at or near Earth's surface, and were often discovered serendipitously.  However, to meet future demand for mineral resources, exploration success will require a more rigorous approach. Exploration will need to be more accurate, based on informed models of Earth's crust that utilize all available geological, geochemical and geophysical information, and paired with an understanding of how ore-forming systems relate to Earth’s evolving structure.  Advances in the detection and interpretation techniques for geophysical and geochemical data will greatly help with the location of such deposits. However, the basis for successful exploration of mineral deposits will require a more fundamental understanding of the processes that form economic mineral deposits and the identification of where such processes could occur. As exploration moves into more remote, complex or deeper geological terrain such skills will become increasingly more important.

This volume, therefore, is timely and provides just such information. It brings together a series of papers with a very broad range of interests connected to the study of mineral deposits in Earth’s crust to develop a better understanding of the formation and location of such deposits, to aid ore-genesis studies and mineral exploration.  The papers are broadly split into five sections: (i) applying advanced microscale geochemical detection and characterization methods; (ii) introducing more rigorous 3D Earth models; (iii) exploring critical behaviour and coupled processes; (iv) evaluating the role of geodynamic and tectonic setting; and (v) applying 3D structural models to characterize specific ore-forming systems.

The papers are well written, provoking and informative. The volume, as expected from this well-established series, is extremely well edited and put together and, despite the number of papers and authors, is largely free of errors or typographic mistakes.  The introduction to the book is available as an open access paper and is worth reading as a standalone article or summary of the volume.  My only small dissatisfaction with the volume is the lack of examples illustrating where the ideas put forward in the volume have been applied. Hopefully the editors will correct this minor shortcoming with a follow up volume documenting real-world exploration studies. It is possible that those reading the volume will be able to contribute.

Reviewed by Robert Bowell

CHARACTERIZATION OF ORE FORMING SYSTEMS FROM GEOLOGICAL GEOCHEMICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL STUDIES by K. Gessner, T.G. Blenkinsop & P. Sorjonen-Ward (eds), 2018. Geological Society of London SP 453, 416 pp. ISBN: 9781786203137 (hbk.) List price: £ 120.00 Fellow's price: £ 60.00 W: