Geology graduate student Erin Summerlin recently attended the Society of Economic Geologists Foundation’s 11th Student Field Course titled, “Precious Metals Deposits of the Southwestern U.S.” Selection for the program is rigorous and 19 total participants were accepted from the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Bulgaria and Mongolia. The course involved a weeklong trip to Nevada, Arizona and California, visiting both open-pit and underground mines that produce precious ores, including gold, silver, copper and molybdenum. Participants learned key dynamics of both high- and low-epithermal sulfidation and porphyry systems. Students received the opportunity to view these systems in the field, seeing firsthand how to recognize and characterize the deposits from both academic and industry experts. Participants also toured active mines to view daily mining operations, including the entire milling-through-refining process. Participating in lectures and discussion with trip leaders and industry professionals was also part of the trip. Student trips funded by SEGF offer opportunities to further prepare for careers in economic geology and provide attendees with the chance to network with both professionals and future colleagues within the economic geology discipline.
Summerlin received three grants during the spring 2013 semester for her thesis titled, “Understanding PGE mineralization at the Allard Stock: Implications for the porphyry to epithermal transition, La Plata Mountains, Colorado.” She was awarded $2,500 from the Society of Economic Geologists from the Hugh McKinstry Fund, which supports study, research and teaching of the science of economic geology, or related projects with preference given to field and related laboratory research by graduate students. She received $1,000 from the Colorado Scientific Society’s Memorial Research Fund from the Edwin B. Eckel Memorial Fund. Eckel was a famous mining geologist who worked extensively in Colorado and particularly in Summerlin’s field area in the La Plata Mountains. Summerlin also received $1,000 from the Southeastern Section of the Geological Society of America.