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New Grant Extends Opportunities
for UW-Eau Claire Geology Students

RELEASED: Dec. 6, 2006

Kate McLaurin in the field in British Columbia
Kate MacLaurin, a former student of UW-Eau Claire geology professor J. Brian Mahoney and now a graduate student at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, will be among the researchers participating with Mahoney and current UW-Eau Claire students in a study of hydrocarbon potential in British Columbia's Chilcotin Ranges. The project will be funded by a $221,000 grant from the British Columbian government.

EAU CLAIRE — A $221,000 grant from the government of British Columbia will allow Dr. J. Brian Mahoney of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to continue to offer undergraduate geology students exciting research opportunities both in the field and the laboratory.

For the past two years, undergraduate geology students at UW-Eau Claire have been working with Mahoney and fellow faculty members Dr. Robert Hooper and Lori Snyder, conducting bedrock mapping and associated geologic studies in mountainous areas of western British Columbia under a grant received from the government of British Columbia. Mahoney, who did his doctoral work at the University of British Columbia, has been performing field research in that province for more than 16 years.

In the summer of 2007, several students will once again work with Mahoney in British Columbia, thanks to a new three-year grant, but this time they will move to the southeast into the Chilcotin Ranges to explore a different environment. Over the past two years they were investigating the potential for significant gold, silver, platinum, zinc and copper mineralization in the Coast Mountains. This time they will focus on basin analysis with an eye toward hydrocarbon potential. The new grant is for $250,000 Canadian, or about $221,000 in U.S. dollars.

Mahoney said both grants are driven by the Canadian government's drive to revitalize the economy in central Canada.

"The southern Nechako basin is covered by a thick blanket of very young basaltic lava flows, which cover underlying sedimentary deposits that may hold significant potential for hydrocarbons. We will be conducting detailed stratigraphic analysis of the sedimentary rocks in the mountains surrounding the Nechako plateau, in order to understand the depositional patterns and geologic history of the basin," said Mahoney. "We also will be performing sedimentologic studies integrated with detailed bedrock mapping, in order to understand the geology of the area in three dimensions and assess the potential for hydrocarbons and petroleum reserves."

Mahoney is particularly pleased about the fact that one of the UW-Eau Claire undergraduates who worked with him on the earlier grant, Kate MacLaurin, will be working on the new grant as well, but this time as a master's-level student at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Her previous experience will allow her to function as a role model and leader for the less experienced student researchers.

Mahoney expects to involve three undergraduates in this newest grant-funded research, including at least one student who has never before had a field experience. The researchers will once again have to travel to their work sites via helicopter, where they will be dropped and left for several days at a time. They will bring back samples of the sedimentary rock and perform detailed analysis once they are back in the laboratory, delving into such issues as how the various layers were deposited, their composition, geochemistry and provenance.

Dr. Peter Mustard of Simon Fraser University will be the principal investigator for the project, with Mahoney serving as the co-principal investigator. Collaborative researchers from the University of British Columbia and the Geological Survey of Canada will also be involved.

For more information, contact Mahoney at 715-836-4952 or mahonej@uwec.edu.

-30-

NW

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