A university research project has made its way to Rainy River District, but it only will be passing through.
“Metal Earth,” a $104-million research project by Laurentian University in Sudbury, has been in the area this week performing its seismological study using some impressive equipment easily noticeable as it works along Highway 71.
The four large white trucks (known as vibroseis trucks) already have travelled through Quebec, as well as southern and northeastern Ontario, before coming to this area.
While the trucks are working, they stop every few metres, lower their vibration pads, and shake the earth beneath them.
The vibrations are picked up by geophones (receivers) placed 20-30 metres apart along the road and create a map of the geological features up to 40 km deep.
In an Aug. 17 post on the Metal Earth project's website, they predicted the crew of 44, working 24 hours a day, would complete roughly 1,000 km of data acquisition across the Southern Superior Province and Sudbury by the end of November before moving on to Northwestern Ontario.
The Metal Earth project is run by the Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC), which is the research arm of the Harquail School of Earth Sciences at Laurentian University.
The project will take seven years to complete the data acquisition and processing, but they predict it will have a huge benefit for Canadian mining.
“Metal Earth will transform our understanding of the genesis of base and precious metal deposits during Earth's evolution,” the project's website reads.
“Research is seeking to determine the geological, geochemical, and geophysical differences between metal endowed, less endowed, and the more common barren areas that appear geologically equivalent,” it explains.
This comprehensive research will help further understand the processes responsible for precious metals in the Earth.
The website notes they are focusing on the Precambrian era (4.6 billion-541 million years ago) and how metal processes from that time could differ from today's understanding, which focuses on modern geodynamic environments and processes.
If they did differ, the research could help recognize subtle differences in the mantle that would explain metal endowment localization and aid the assessment of Canada's resource potential and northern growth strategies.
“The new knowledge and technology generated by Metal Earth will become principal drivers to support Far North development, sustainability, and sovereignty, and will firmly place Canada as a global leader in mineral exploration research,” the project notes.
It also stresses the importance of the recognition of metal-endowed areas and claims that is “essential for the discovery of Canada's next generation of mines.”