Graduate research changes from mining to energy sources
Since the 1970’s an increasing number of economic geology theses and dissertations in the U.S. and Canada have focused on energy sources. Until the 1990’s, however, over half of all economic geology dissertations and just over half of all economic geology theses focused on ore deposits. In the 1990’s, 43% of all economic geology theses and 59% of all economic geology dissertations were focused on energy sources, and in the past decade those percentages have increased to 73% and 76% respectively.
Several factors may be contributing to this change in research focus, including the decline of mining and mineral-related university programs in the 1980s, the closure of the Bureau of Mines in the 1990’s, and the emergence of shale gas research in the 2000’s. Additional factors include the change in funding sources and research priorities, including a focus on medical geology-related topics relative to minerals and increased reliance on funding from the private sector and a wider array of federal agencies.