Economic Geology encompasses all areas in the geological sciences that pertain to the extraction or production of geologic materials for profit. Natural resource utilization throughout the world includes geologic materials such as metals, non-metals, fuels, and water. Here at IU we have faculty and research scientists who are involved in both field/analytical and experimental studies of all of these natural resources. We have an active group investigating the genesis of metallic ore deposits that occur in magmatic, hydrothermal, and sedimentary environments. Several faculty and research staff are also involved in studies that relate to the genesis and localization of petroleum, coal, and natural gas. Our mineralogy and petrology program involves the study of rocks from all terrestrial and some planetary environments. We have active projects in sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks funded by NSF and NASA and sited on all 7 continents and on Mars.
Sedimentary geology utilizes sedimentary rocks to investigate the processes that shaped the surface of the early Earth and understand the history of how those processes have interacted to control the Earth system. In addition to traditional techniques like facies analysis and provenance analysis, cutting-edge application of techniques ranging from stable isotope geochemistry to detrital zircon geochronology are leading rapid developments in what can be learned from the sedimentary record.