Geologic investigation of porphyry-related molybdenum deposits, Hénán 河南, China – Integrating undergraduate student overseas cultural experiences with scientific research

Kurt Friehauf - 2008

Henan location mapOverview

Two Kutztown University undergraduate students - Lauren Storm and Anthony Moorehead - went with me to Bĕijīng (北京 - big red star on map) and to Hénán Province (河南) to study porphyry-related molybdenum deposits (smaller red star) in the summer 2008.  The trip was a wonderful cultural experience and a very clear education in the difficulties of studying mineral deposit geology in China.
In addition to the political/bureaucratic issues that sometimes impeded progress, cultural differences in our approaches to scientific research of geological problems added to the complexity of the expedition, making the trip a learning experience in many ways.

The Qinling Mountains (秦岭 - smaller red star on map) region of Hénán Province hosts the largest concentrations of molybdenum resources in all of Asia.  The deposits are scattered over a broad area roughly 300 km in diameter.  The goal of this study is to figure out how the molybdenum deposits in the Qinling Mountains formed.  We hope to do this by a combination of geologic mapping in the field and chemical analysis in the lab.  Understanding the factors that led to the formation of the molybdenum ores will allow for a comparison with the geological characteristics and help us assess the potential for the discovery of more resources in the region and elsewhere in the world. 
Click here for a basic description of the geology of porphyry molybdenum deposits. 

China University of Geosciences - Bĕijīng (CUG-B)

Teaching in BeijingThe first three weeks of our trip were spent in Bĕijīng where I teach a short course about mineral deposits for graduate students at the China University of Geosciences - Bĕijīng (a very highly respected university for geological studies).  There are many excellent students - most of whom study geology, but some of whom study other subjects.   Click here to see photos of the campus and life at the China University of Geosciences - Bĕijīng (CUGB).

Tourism in/around Bĕijīng

Teaching in BeijingWhile in Bĕijīng, we naturally took time off from work to tour the key sites in the area.  Click here to see photos of some of our tourist excursions in/around Bĕijīng.  We visited the classic Bĕijīng sites, including the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Summer Palace, as well as less commonly visited places like the Paleontology Museum.

Lingshui Cun Historic Village

Friehauf - China 2008 photosProfessor Huang Wen Hui - an excellent carbonate sedimentary geochemist - took us on a trip to visit Lingshui Cun historic village in Méntóugōu District (门头沟区) (map), roughly 45 miles (75 km) from Bĕijīng.  This was a beautiful little village in the mountainous countryside.

Hénán Province tourism

Teaching in BeijingThen we traveled by train to the Zhèngzhōu (郑州) in Hénán Province (map), where we picked up two jeeps with drivers and headed westward into the Qinling Mountains.  In addition to looking at molybdenum deposits, we experienced Hénán culture and visited tourist excursions in the area.  Click here for photos of cultural and tourist experiences in Hénán.

Geologic fieldwork in Hénán Province

Teaching in BeijingDoing the actual scientific fieldwork in Hénán was very frustrating.  There are some very formidable obstacles to doing research in ore deposits in China.  None the less, we were able to get some things done.
Click here for photos of our geological fieldwork in Hénán.

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