Dept of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Centre for Environmental and Information Technology (EIT)
200 University Ave. W
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567
MSc student Robert Janzen was honoured this month as the first recipient of the Finnigan Northern Award for student research in the Northwest Territories for his work on improving prospecting methods for diamond deposits.
“Canada has become the third largest producer of diamonds in the world and its main diamond district is located in the Northwest Territories,” says Martin Ross, professor in Earth and Environmental Sciences and Janzen’s supervisor.
Janzen’s research focuses on improving the sensitivity and accuracy of drift prospecting, a common technique used to find the most likely location of diamond deposits by mapping indicator minerals typically associated to diamond deposits within glacial sediments. While drift prospecting works well for mapping glacial dispersal patterns at the surface, it is more challenging to map their full three dimensional extent through thicker sediments, especially if they were formed by multiple ice flow phases over time.
By combining field observations with legacy data, GIS spacial analysis and 3D visualization, Janzen wants to show how ice flow history can be used to map these complex 3D dispersal patterns. Preliminary results so far show ice flow shifted direction through time and the 3D dispersion of the indicator minerals appear to match the ice flow history.
"Bob’s research will lead to new fundamental knowledge about the past glacial history of northwestern Canada and, hopefully, also contribute to new diamond discoveries,” says Ross.
The award, sponsored by Education Foundation of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists, covers Janzen's expenses to travel to Yellowknife, where he is currently presenting his research at the Geoscience Forum.