Kurt Friehauf - Research

We are all partners in a quest.
The essential questions have no answers.
Questions unite people.
Answers divide them.

- Elie Wiesel

Research projects

Namibia project
Namibia research -
Proterozoic porphyry Cu-Au - 2011

Alaska project
Alaska research -
Porphyry exploration - 2011
Dr. Kurt Friehauf with his dear friend Dr. Stacie
                  Gibbins and Dr. Spence Titley in a rocky, plantless
                  open mine pit. The Grasberg mine is located high in
                  the mountains of West Papua, Indonesia.
Ertsberg research
(Indonesia)
Four students standing in front of the entrance
                  tunnel of a Chinese molybdenite mine in Henan
                  Province. The students have red miner's hard hats on
                  their heads and big flashlights to see in the dark.
                  Signs posted on the sides of the tunnel entrance are
                  written in red Chinese characters.
China research -
Henan Molybdenum - 2008
Dr.
                    Kurt Friehauf with three Kutztown University
                    students sitting high on the Great Wall of China.
                    The wall continues into the distance, snaking along
                    the ridges of rugged green mountains.
China research -
Inner Mongolia REE - 2004
Dr. Kurt Friehauf with a student examining
                  moss-covered iron ores of the Mid-Atlantic iron belt.
                  Dr. Friehuaf has a belt armed with a large geologic
                  hammer and a geologic compass. The photo caught him in
                  mid-sentence, so his mouth is open, making him look a
                  little dorky.
Iron oxide ore research


Two students working on the hydrogeology research
                  project kneel down beside a short pipe that sticks
                  about knee-high out of the ground. The pipe is the top
                  of a groundwater well and the students are lowering an
                  instrument into the well to determine the depth to the
                  water table and aquifer.
Hydrogeology research

photo of a tombstone symbolizing what happens to
                  professors who do not publish their work
Publications (see below for most recent)


short
        aboriginal man wearing only a koteka and a vest holding a
        sharpened metal pipe as a threatening spear. These guys were
        little, but extremely tough!My research integrates extensive field mapping data and petrographic work with thermodynamic modeling to evaluate metasomatic chemical reaction paths. My current research projects focus on:
  1. origins of one of the oldest, best-preserved porphyry copper-molybdenum deposits in the world (Karas region, Namibia)
  2. origins of the giant rare earth element deposit at Bayan Obo (Inner Mongolia, China),
  3. gold distribution in the Grasberg porphyry Cu-Au deposit (West Papua, Indonesia),
Other recent research projects with undergraduate students include:
  1. potential porphyry/epithermal mineralization on Mount Fairplay (Interior Alaska)
  2. origins of the molybdenite deposits in the Qinling Mountains (Henan province, China)
  3. evolution of the Ertsberg diorite-hosted porphyry mineralization (West Papua, Indonesia),
  4. geological factors affecting groundwater flow and cave formation near a local limestone quarry, and
  5. origins of the belt of magnetite deposits in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.



Namibia projectOne Kutztown undergraduate student accompanied me to the southern Namibian desert to study a 1.8 billion year old copper deposit.  This deposit is extraordinary in that the deposit is unusually old and beautifully preserved!  We spent three weeks at the field site, plus several days in Windhoek where I gave a presentation to the University of Namibia geology program. The Teck geologists on the project were very smart and energized people. 

Petrographic and geochemical/isotope work on this project is ongoing in the Kutztown University economic geology / petrology lab with two students presenting their work at the international Geological Society of America meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia in October 2014.




Alaska projectOn the Alaska project, three KU undergraduate students worked with me in the Yukon-Tanana uplands in the Alaskan interior doing geologic mapping with follow-up microscope work on an ancient volcanic/geothermal site that, sadly, failed to deposit much gold.  The site is therefore an opportunity to see why some gold-forming systems fail to form ore bodies.  The project is a collaboration with a private company called Full Metal Minerals, Inc. 

We also developed a quantitative method for analyzing drill core to determine if the “well” was drilled in a direction such that it approached zinc mineralization.  Microscopic study of samples taken is ongoing in the  Kutztown University economic geology / petrology lab.

We will try to present the results of this project at the Mineral Exploration “Roundup” meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) in January 2012.



Four students standing in front of the entrance tunnel of
          a Chinese molybdenite mine in Henan Province. The students
          have red miner's hard hats on their heads and big flashlights
          to see in the dark. Signs posted on the sides of the tunnel
          entrance are written in red Chinese characters.In the Qinling Mountains of Henan province, we are studying the origins of a belt of magmatic-hydrothermal molybdenum deposits.  This work is in collaboration with the China University of Geosciences in Beijing.  I brought two Kutztown University undergraduate students to Henan province in China with me in the summer of 2008 to aid in this work.  The trip was a cornucopia of fascinating lessons in Chinese culture and frustrating lessons in... well... other aspects of Chinese culture! 

Dr. Kurt Friehauf with three Kutztown University students
          sitting high on the Great Wall of China. The wall continues
          into the distance, snaking along the ridges of rugged green
          mountains.At Bayan Obo, we are looking at chemical variations in the limestone rocks that host the ore bodies to see if there is evidence for influence by carbonatite magmas (either as orthomagmatic lava flows and intrusions, or due to hydrothermal activity related to carbonatite intrusions at depth).  This work is in collaboration with the China University of Geosciences in Beijing.  I brought three Kutztown University undergraduate students to Inner Mongolia, China with me in the summer of 2004 to aid in this work.



Dr. Kurt Friehauf with his dear friend Dr.
          Stacie Gibbins and Dr. Spence Titley in a rocky, plantless
          open mine pit. The Grasberg mine is located high in the
          mountains of West Papua, Indonesia.At Ertsberg in West Papua, Indonesia, my field mapping (1999-2002) revealed the system to be hosted by several igneous phases that alternate in time with multiple structural and hydrothermal events.  I am currently refining that work through petrographic studies aimed at constraining the fluid chemistry, temperature, and pressure.  In collaboration with Dr. Spencer Titley and Stacie Gibbins (University of Arizona), I am also studying the origins of the giant Grasberg porphyry copper deposit in the same district.  Although the Grasberg and Ertsberg porphyry deposits occur within 2 km of one another and apparently formed within 100,000 years of one another in relation to similar igneous rocks, metasomatism around the Grasberg center is much more intense and widespread.  The ultimate goal of this project is to draw a comparison of physiochemical conditions between these two contrasting systems to identify some of the factors that affect how porphyry hydrothermal systems evolve.

Two students working on the hydrogeology research
            project kneel down beside a short pipe that sticks about
            knee-high out of the ground. The pipe is the top of a
            groundwater well and the students are lowering an instrument
            into the well to determine the depth to the water table and
            aquifer.I am also investigating, in collaboration with the Berks Products Corporation and Dr. Sarah Tindall along with a crew of Kutztown University undergraduate student researchers, the geological controls on groundwater flow and cave formation in eastern Pennsylvania.  We are comparing hydrologic data such as changes in groundwater table  and groundwater chemistry (temperature, pH, etc.) in a field of monitoring wells with rock types and fracture patterns mapped in the adjacent quarry.  Our goal is to determine the relative importance of different types of fractures, the abundance of fractures, and the chemistry of the limestone rocks in affecting cave formation and groundwater flow in the area.

The focus of the magnetite (iron) deposits of the eastern U.S. research is toDr. Kurt Friehauf with a student examining
            moss-covered iron ores of the Mid-Atlantic iron belt. Dr.
            Friehuaf has a belt armed with a large geologic hammer and a
            geologic compass. The photo caught him in mid-sentence, so
            his mouth is open, making him look a little dorky. determine if the  Proterozoic magnetite deposits scattered throughout eastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, and southern New York are related to one another and, if they are, learn what causes the subtle variations in their geology.   These old magnetite deposits may be similar in origin to the much younger iron deposits that occur in contact aureoles of plutons intruding the Triassic/Jurassic rift basins nearby, which Rose et al. (1985) proposed to be the result of  hydrothermal activity related to regional fluid flow of non-magmatic (basinal? evaporative?) brines.  The widespread scale of the many small magnetite Proterozoic deposits, their relationship to hydrothermally altered wall rocks, and the spatially systematic variation in this alteration and the host rock types suggests the Proterozoic deposits are related to the same general geologic event and that different deposits formed at different depths.  This work is in collaboration with Dr. Robert C. Smith II (Pennsylvania Geological Survey) and Richard Volkert (New Jersey Geological Survey).

Photo of three guys in mining clothes standing in
          the hot Arizona sun. They are wearing hard hats with lamps and
          have heavy mining gear belts on. They have just returned from
          to the surface after working underground all day. They are
          comopletely covered with dark blasted rock dust. Their names
          are Marco Einaudi, Guillermo Pareja, and Kurt Friehauf.My Ph.D. research combined field mapping with detailed petrographic studies, investigations of the carbon-oxygen isotope systematics in carbonate rocks, and irreversible thermodynamic reaction path modeling to document metasomatic reactions in carbonate rocks by fluids given off during the late stages of the crystallization of felsic magmas (i.e. porphyry copper deposits). These aqueous solutions are analogous to those recorded in active geothermal systems in volcanic arcs of the circumpacific (e.g. Pinatubo Philippines and White Island New Zealand).  The exposures in the mine at Superior Arizona provided remarkable access to the hydrothermal system there, allowing detailed study of 1) the geology of carbonate-hosted massive sulfide replacement ores, 2) factors affecting the relative sulfur, metal, and chlorine budgets metalliferous solutions upon reaction with wall rocks, and 3) the evaluation of stable isotopic tracers in determining fluid flow paths in carbonate rocks.

Most recent publications  (names in italics indicate student co-authors)

Papers

Abstracts


Kutztown University logo that links to the geology
          program website
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