Rameses D'Souza, PhD student, University of Victoria


A road trip along the Columbia Icefields Parkway in 2005 sparked my interest in geology with the question: “What are these mountains and how did they get here?” This started my career in geology, which has involved a BSc, a short experience with industry, an MSc and an on-going PhD. Over the course of my experience, my original question has evolved into a much more general “What is the nature of the solid Earth and how has it come to be so?” After an MSc studying the source of Paleoproterozoic mafic dykes in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Saskatchewan, my current interest lies in understanding the growth of continents at active margins.

My preferred mode of answering these geological questions has been through the tools of geochemistry (elemental and isotopic; mineral and whole-rock) although I undertake (and greatly enjoy) occasional forays into the realms of structural geology, mapping and some statistical analyses. Over the course of my PhD I intend on adding experimental petrology to my geological toolbox. Aside from fulfilling my intellectual curiosities, my work in geology has complemented my other interests in hiking, photography, map making and singing ‘The Gambler’ in remote and beautiful places. As my career progresses I look forward to continuing to expand (and attempt to answer) my guiding question through research, teaching, public outreach and public education.

Project: Geochemical Characterization of the Jurassic Bonanza arc and Tertiary Intrusions on Vancouver Island

Despite their economic significance in hosting known porphyry Cu-(Mo-Au) deposits and former mines, the Jurassic and Paleogene aged intrusions on Vancouver Island have received scant detailed study regarding their origin and emplacement. I will carry out isotopic characterization (Pb, Sr, Nd, O, S) to identify the source of the magmas and their related endowments in Cu, Mo or Au. This will aid in distinguishing suites of plutons that are suitable targets for exploration, and also shed light on the construction and evolution of continental crust. The first part of this project involves isotopic mapping of the intrusions of the Jurassic Bonanza arc, which form the substrate into which later Paleogene intrusions are emplaced.