Deep-sea study of the Earth’s crust receives $1.65 million NSERC-CREATE grant

Posted on Thursday, June 4, 2020

Professor Mark Hannington maps the site of an active volcano in the Atlantic Ocean from a submarine

Professor Mark Hannington maps the site of an active volcano in the Atlantic Ocean from a submarine belonging to GEOMAR, a marine research institute based in Germany. Photo credit : GEOMAR

To address the challenges of a dwindling global supply of energy and mineral resources, Professor Mark Hannington of the University of Ottawa’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences has set his sights on the bottom of the ocean.

Hannington and his team have just received a $1.65-million Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to train dozens of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from Canada and Germany over the next six years. The students will take part in expeditions at sea and on land around the world and benefit from the expertise of leading researchers in geodynamics and georesources, while receiving hands-on training in the application of marine technology.

Along with an international team of land-based geologists and marine scientists, Hannington is looking for clues about the origins of the Earth’s crust and the resources it contains by probing plate tectonics in the deep-sea environment. A better understanding of the Earth’s crust as it currently forms in the oceans may lead to the discovery of resources on land.

“The University of Ottawa applauds Professor Hannington’s leadership in coordinating an international research and training collaboration of such magnitude,” said Sylvain Charbonneau, vice-president, research. “Thanks to the CREATE program, this exceptional immersive training initiative will help develop the highly skilled geoscientists of tomorrow, who will be vital to maintaining Canada’s prominence in the natural resources sector.”

Learn more about the NSERC CREATE program.

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