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Stephanie Sykora

Geologist and PhD student
Centre for Excellence in Ore Deposits
University of Tasmania

The earth is beautiful and fascinating. From the rocks below to the mountains above, there is so much to learn and understand about the natural world around us. To be able to study this, and then use your knowledge to explore, is something special, and something I have always been keen on doing since I was a kid.

I grew up on the west coast of Canada, in the shadows of glacier-capped mountains. I studied a Bachelor of Science (BSc) from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Right after university I got a job as an exploration geologist with Teck Resources, a major mining and mineral exploration company based out of Vancouver, Canada. Over the next two years I to worked as a geologist looking for gold and copper in remote locations in British Columbia, as well as working at a giant copper mine. Now I find myself living in Tasmania, where I am doing a PhD project on a gold deposit in Papua New Guinea, one of the largest gold deposits in the world!

My research is on geology, specifically on economic geology and mineral deposits. Gold, copper and other metals are found in the earth, and how they form is both unique and complex. For my research, I get to travel to the gold deposit in Papua New Guinea and study and sample rocks in order to understand the system that formed it (i.e., how gold got there and where to find more). Building upon my field work, back at the University of Tasmania, I compile and interpret my data using a series of analytical techniques such as 3-D modelling and zapping rocks with lasers to find out about their chemistry.

I also love to travel and explore the earth. I write an online blog about the natural/earth science behind places that I visit ( I love to reveal the not-so-commonly publicized background science about these places. This includes explaining how the land and rocks formed, how to hunt for sapphires and minerals, etc. My blog articles are largely based in Tasmania, but also around the world when I’m travelling.

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