PhD program in Earth Sciences

Centre Eau, Terre et Environnement (ETE)
Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) Québec (Canada)

Geochemical evolution of the Abitibi Greenstone Belt and
relationship with VMS deposits

The PhD project being offered at INRS is part of Metal Earth's Thematic VMS project. Metal Earth, a $104M research project, is a strategic consortium of outstanding Canadian researchers from academia and allied Canadian and international research centres, government, and industry led by the Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC) at Laurentian University.

Overview of the Metal Earth VMS thematic project

The current genetic model for volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposits provides explanations for district scale features and controls on ore location. However, we do not know why seemingly geologically similar volcanic centres, assemblages within greenstone belts, or greenstone belts themselves have such variable VMS (and metal) endowment. The Metal VMS thematic project will address differential endowment at the assemblage to greenstone belt scales through three integrated and complementary projects that will provide a quantitative comparison, using defined geological attributes, of volcanic assemblages in the well, but variably VMS endowed Abitibi Greenstone Belt (AGB). This will involve 7 researchers, 4 PhD students and 2 postdocs distributed at Laurentian University, the University of Ottawa, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Colorado School of Mines, Saint Mary's University, the Geological Survey of Canada, and INRS.

The PhD subproject at INRS

In project 1, which will involve a postdoc and two PhD students, assemblage-scale attributes, including volumes of volcanic products, area-age relationships, and compositions, as well as reconstructions will be studied to isolate the differences between richly-endowed and poorly-endowed assemblages in the AGB.

For subproject 1b, to be carried out at INRS, the PhD student will examine variations in magmatic affinity, composition and petrogenetic evolution of assemblages within the AGB relative to VMS endowment. Focussing on immobile elements (those that are not influenced by hydrothermal alteration), we will use existing and new geochemical diagrams, multivariate statistical analyses, and if needed, machine learning techniques, to classify the rocks into geochemical groups (e.g., different types of basalts) and document which of these geochemical groups are most closely linked with VMS deposits.

Given the vast amount of existing geochemical data for the AGB, the challenge will be to select and compile robust data of the quality needed and that are relevant, and representative of magmatic variations within and between assemblages. This data will be supplemented by targeted sampling and analyses where needed to fill knowledge gaps. VMS endowed volcanic assemblages will be compared to those with less or no endowment.

Supervision and funding

The PhD project at INRS will be supervised by Pierre-Simon Ross and co-supervised by Patrick Mercier-Langevin (Geological Survey of Canada). A scholarship will be offered to the chosen candidate. This covers the cost of living in downtown Quebec City and tuition fees. All other project costs (field, analytical, conferences), etc. will be paid by the project.

Profile of the candidate and how to apply

The ideal candidate will have a research-focussed MSc degree in earth science or geology; experience with the processing of geochemical data; strong writing skills preferably demonstrated by a publication in an international journal; and a passion for science and discovery. Motivated students should immediately submit their resume, a cover letter, and the names and complete coordinates of three referees to Pierre-Simon Ross at

INRS is an equal opportunity employer and is strongly committed to employment equity and diversity within its community. INRS welcomes and encourages applications from members of visible minorities, women, Aboriginal persons, members of sexual minorities and persons with disabilities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.

Further information

INRS is dedicated to scientific research, graduate studies and training tomorrow's researchers. The Eau, Terre et Environnement (ETE) research centre, located in downtown Quebec City, studies natural resources in a perspective of sustainable development (

The PhD program in earth science at INRS is focussed on research and allows an advanced specialization in various geological fields. The program contains 90 credits including 81 for the thesis and 9 credits of courses.

posted: 11 June 2019     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.