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Pierre-Simon Ross

Volcanology & economic geology

Geochemistry, multi-parameter core logging









Research Interests


Dr Ross' research interests include mineral deposits associated with volcanic or magmatic activity such as volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits (Cu, Zn, Au, Ag), porphyry systems (Cu, Mo, W, Au), or kimberlites (diamonds), and their geological environment.

For VMS deposits, he employs volcanic reconstruction, chemo-stratigraphy, and studies of hydrothermal alteration through lithogeochemistry and infrared spectrometry.

In physical volcanology, Dr Ross specializes on mafic to ultramafic volcaniclastic rocks, mainly of the submarine or phreatomagmatic types, especially those from maar-diatreme volcanoes. Laboratory to large-scale experiments can help understand volcanic processes when field work is not sufficient.

Dr Ross has developed and is in charge of the Mobile laboratory for the physical, chemical and mineralogical characterization of rocks. This lab contains a multi-sensor core logger which can measure nearly simultaneously, at high spatial resolution, in a non-destructive manner, the density, magnetic susceptibility, geochemistry and mineralogy of exploration drill cores.



Le champ volcanique Hopi Buttes, Arizona, 2010

Eruption of Sakurajima Volcano, Japan                                          The Hopi Buttes volcanic field in Arizona.





Current research - a summary


Maar-diatreme volcanoes

Diatremes are volcanic pipes filled by volcaniclastic debris. Their surface expressions are called “maars”, which are volcanic craters excavated below the original ground surface. Many kimberlites are diatremes, and kimberlites can contain diamonds. Volcanic processes operating inside diatremes are not well known. Our research program combines field work on well exposed diatremes and experiments. Two PhD students are currently active:

- Pier Paolo Comida is conducting magma fragmentation experiments and studing juvenile pyroclasts

- Benjamin Latutrie is mapping two diatremes in the Hopi Buttes volcanic field of Arizona

The Parent Group in the Northern Domain of the Ungava Orogen

MSc student Mélanie Beaudette is documenting the volcanology, geochemistry, stratigraphy, and age of the Parent Group in the Paleoproterozoic Northern Domain of the Ungava Orogen, northern Quebec. SHe is also applying pXRF technology to regional geological mapping in volcanic rocks.


Controls on gold in the LZ5 zone, Doyon-Bousquet-LarRonde mining camp

MSc student Émile Boily-Auclair is examining the structural and lithological controls on gold emplacement in the LZ5 zone of the Doyon-Bousquet-LaRonde mining camp, Abitibi Subprovince, Quebec. The main supervisor is Patrick Mercier-Langevin (Geological Survey of Canada).


Geochemistry of the Abitibi Grenstone Belt and relations with VMS deposits

PhD student Octavio Vite-Sanchez is compiling the geochemistry of volcanic rocks for the whole Abitibi Subprovince. Volcanic assemblages hosting VMS deposits will be compared with VMS-depleted assemblages.





Volcanology of the Blake River Group, Abitibi Subprovince
This study focused on mafic volcaniclastic rocks in the Blake River Group: their physical volcanology, geochemistry, stratigraphic position, absolute age and origin.


Volcanology and metallogeny of the Hébécourt Formation and associated VMS mineralization, Blake River Group, Abitibi Subprovince
This MSc project employed physical volcanology, chemo-stratigraphy, and trace element analysis (LA-ICP-MS) in pyrites from sulfide-bearing stratified intervals to identify volcanic vents and hydrothermal vents ion the Hébécourt property of Cogitore Resources inc.

The porphyry-style Archean Mo-Cu system at Tilly, Baie-James, Quebec
This UQAM-led MSc project, supervised by Michel Jébrak, looked at Sirios Resources Inc.’s Tilly property, where several Mo-Cu ±Au showings occur in an Archean tonalite. Mineralization is found mostly in hydrothermal breccias and stockworks and seems locally associated with porphyritic intrusions.


Multi-sensor core logging in the Matagami mining camp
We used the Mobile laboratory for the physical, chemical and mineralogical characterization of rocks on drill cores from the Matagami mining camp. Highlights of the project are the ability to identify cryptic contacts using the multiparameter data, the ability to “see” dikes in intense alteration (chloritite) zones, and the ability to differentiate between visually similar less altered lithologies based on the portable XRF data.


Maars-diatreme volcanoes in Argentina and Montana

Quaternary basalitc maars and Tertiary ultramafic diatremes were studied in Argentina and Montana, respectively.


Volcanic architecture of the Matagami mining camp, Abitibi Subprovince, Quebec
The Matagami mining camp in the north-central portion of the Abitibi Greenstone Belt in Quebec contains numerous VMS deposits and has the potential for several more discoveries. Active exploration by the private sector is ongoing. A PhD project was aimed at reconstructing the volcanic architecture of the camp to help mineral exploration.


IOCG systems in the Great Bear magmatic zone
The Geological Survey of Canada’s Great Bear/IOCG project focused on developing an exploration framework for polymetallic iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) deposits in the Great Bear magmatic zone, a north-trending 450 km-long, volcano-plutonic belt between Great Slave and Great Bear lakes in the Northwest Territories. Two graduate projects on the mineralogy and geochemistry of IOCG alteration were completed at INRS/GSC-Quebec.


Volcanic architecture of the Lemoine Member (Waconichi Formation), Chibougamau area, Abitibi Subprovince, Quebec

We studied the Waconichi Formation on the Lemoine property in the Chibougamau area. The goal of the MSc project was to better understand the volcanology, chemo-stratigraphy and hydrothermal alteration on the property to help target future VMS exploration and learn about submarine felsic volcanism in the Archean.


Multi-sensor core logging in the Chibougamau area

The Mobile laboratory for the physical, chemical and mineralogical characterization of rocks was employed in the Chibougamau area. We studied the Waconichi and other formations north and south of the Lac Dore Complex.


Geochemistry of volcanic rocks in the Blake River Group, Abitibi Subprovince, Quebec

The goal of this project was to use existing and new geochemistry to improve the stratigraphy of the Blake River Group at a regional scale.


Geology of the Lalor gold-rich VMS deposit, Snow Lake, Manitoba

The gold-rich Lalor VMS deposit is located in the Snow Lake camp. One PhD student and one MSc student have documented the geology, geochemistry, stratigraphy, structure, hydrothermal alteration and mineralization at Lalor.


Improving core logging with the INRS mobile laboratory

Exploration drilling is expensive, and the drill cores are under-utilized. The Mobile laboratory for the physical, chemical and mineralogical characterization of rocks was used in Matagami (VMS mining camp, Abitibi Greenstone Belt) for a two year multi-sensor core logging project, funded by FRQNT. We aimed to improve the laboratory and data interpretation methods. Specifically developed geochemical and mineralogical vectors towards ore, and apllied multi-variate statistical methods. One MSc student and one research professionals were involved.


Volcanology of the Cathedral Cliff diatreme, Navajo volcanic field, New Mexico

The Cathedral Cliff diatreme in the Navajo volcanic field, New Mexico, USA, was an excellent locality to examine the transition from upper diatreme to lower diatreme in detail, as part as an MSc project.


Geology of the Horne #5 VMS deposit

The Horne deposit is one of the largest gold-rich VMS deposits in the world. The mine was active from 1927 to 1976. Falco Resources is now exploring the adjacent Horne #5 deposit. The general objective of this project was to investigate the age, composition and style of the Zone 5 mineralized zones, and to establish the controls on gold distribution, contributing to a better understanding of the Horne deposit genesis. This was done by MSc student Alexandre Krushnisky, who was supervised by Patrick Mercier-Langevin (GSC) and myself.


The Colomb-Chaboullié greenstone belt, James Bay, Quebec

The Colomb-Chaboullié greenstone belt is situated in the contact region between the Opatica and Nemiscau Ssubprovinces of the Superior Province. The MSc project of Sarah Galloway aimed to improve our volcanological, stratigraphic and geochemical understanding of the greenstone belt.







Ph.D. Geology (Volcanology), University of Otago , New-Zeland
M.Sc. Earth Sciences (Economic geology), Université du Québec in Montréal
B.Eng. Geological Engineering, Université du Québec in Chicoutimi


2016, Queensland University of Technology (Australia), visiting scientist

2007-now, INRS-ETE, Research Professor
2006-2007, Geological Survey of Canada, Postdoctoral Researcher
2006, University of Ottawa, Lecturer
2005, University of Würzburg (Germany), Invited Researcher
2000, 2001, Molycorp Inc. (USA), Mining geologist
1998, 1999, UQAT (for Natural Resources Québec): geologist & assistant geologist





Volcanology and mineral exploration (GEO1301)

Description: Physical and chemical properties of magmas; lava flows and lava domes; explosive eruptions: processes and products; volcanic edifices; submarine and subglacial volcanism; hydrothermal activity; modification of volcanic rocks (diagenesis, metamorphism, hydrothermal alteration); applications of volcanology to mineral exploration: nickel sulfide deposits, volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits, kimberlites.

Prof. in charge: P-S Ross


Metallogeny (GLG64877)

Description: Metallogeny is the study of the genetic processes responsible for generation of mineral deposits. Types of deposits covered include Pb-Zn-Cu in sedimentary basins; magmatic Ni-Cu; IOCG; volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits; gold; porphyry deposits.
Prof. in charge: Dr Georges Beaudoin, Université Laval

Geological fieldtrip (GEO991)
Description: in fall 2019 I took students to the Abitibi Greenstone Belt to examine submarine volcanic rocks and VMS environments.

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Pierre-Simon Ross, les carottes de forage et la volcanologie québécoise ...