Why Join CREG?

Students | Companies, Organizations, Individuals

Why Students Should Join CREG

Bench mapping group

Learning the Anaconda method of mapping porphyry copper deposits in the MacArthur pit in the Yerington District, just over an hour from UNR.

The strengths of the CREG program and UNR are:

Nevada’s Geology

The combination of exposure, accessibility, variety, and complexity of Nevada’s geology is unparalleled in the world. More (+)

Nevada is in the heart of the Great Basin and Basin and Range Provinces and is considered by many to the type example of continental extensional tectonics in the world. The extension has exposed carbonate passive margin sequences, back-arc basins, several generations of contractional deformation, and plutonic complexes. In addition, Nevada is a large Tertiary volcanic province expressed by numerous silicic calderas, intermediate stratovolcanoes, and rift-related bimodal basalt-rhyolite volcanism. On top of that there are abundant active geothermal systems in Nevada that are in many ways analogs of hydrothermal ore deposits. World-class examples of all these features are within a half day’s drive of UNR, located on accessible public lands.

Nevada’s Mineral Deposits

The variety and exposure of hydrothermal ore deposits in Nevada are arguably unmatched in the world. More (+)

There are porphyry coppers and porphyry molybdenum deposits; intrusion-related gold deposits; copper, gold, and tungsten skarn deposits; polymetallic carbonate replacement deposits and veins; high- intermediate-, and low-sulfidation epithermal gold-silver deposits; and, of course, Carlin-type gold deposits. Again, textbook examples of all are within a half day’s drive of UNR. Not only are these examples exposed in outcrop, but, more importantly, they are well-exposed in three dimensions through mining and drilling. Mining companies are increasingly making their 3D data sets, which can include thousands of drill holes, available for research.

Nevada’s Mining Industry

Northern Nevada likely has the largest concentration of economic geologists on Earth. More (+)

Nearly a 1000 of them, stretched between Elko and Reno, live in Nevada. Most importantly, they will be very interested in your research! Almost all CREG students get summer jobs with companies that allow them to do their field work and learn practical skills in exploration and production that are not taught in the classroom. Such skills include handling drill projects, ore control, prospecting, and working with sophisticated GIS and 3D software packages. Increasingly we are providing students a head-start on their theses by securing them a summer job prior to starting at UNR in August. Once students graduate, their classwork, relevant research, job experience, and numerous contacts, put them in a better position than most other universities to get interesting jobs in mining and exploration. Graduates of the CREG program work for big and small companies, not only in Nevada, but in many places around the world.

UNR’s Faculty, Programs and Facilities

Only a few universities in the U.S. have more than one economic geologist on their faculty, and most universities have none. More (+)

UNR has 3 economic geologists, and several other faculty and geoscientists on campus who are actively researching ore deposits or whose research is directly applicable to mineral deposits. Besides traditional economic geology, strengths include geochemistry, structural geology, volcanology, geochronology, stable isotopes, paleontology, and remote sensing. In addition, the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, which is the state geological survey of Nevada, and the USGS do a significant amount of research and data compilation on Nevada’s mineral deposits. Joint projects with NBMG and the USGS are possible. Furthermore, UNR is one of the few universities that not only has an economic geology program, but also mining engineering and a geothermal energy programs.

Admittedly there are other universities with better laboratory facilities, but UNR has the facilities to fully document samples prior to applying more specialized techniques. Importantly, we are in the process of setting up a new SEM laboratory that will be up and running in early 2014. It will have 2 new SEMs, a high-end field emission SEM with nanometer-scale spatial resolution, as well as EDS, EBSD, and CL detectors, and a basic, easy to use, but still research-grade SEM with EDS.  In addition, we have several optical and binocular microscopes, a portable Niton XRF, a Terraspce ASD reflectance spectrometer, an XRD, a stable isotope laboratory to analyze O, H, and S isotopes, fluid inclusion heating-freezing stages. Once samples are characterized, UNR faculty has the connections at other labs for analyses that cannot be done at UNR, such as geochronology, electron microprobe analyses, and laser ablation ICPMS analyses.

Reno is a great place to live

Reno is not too big, but not too small. UNR is just north of a rapidly improving downtown, which has plenty of festivals, restaurants, coffee houses, brewpubs and a great AAA minor league baseball park. More (+)

It’s sunny 80% of the year.  The temperature rarely  gets above 95°F in the summer and rarely below 20°F in the winter, with a difference of between 20-30°F between daytime and evening. Also, there is no humidity and no bugs. Truly comfortable living! Besides being less than half day’s drive from so much textbook geology and mineral deposits, it will only take you less than an hour from UNR to be backpacking, rock climbing, mountain biking, fly-fishing or skiing in the Sierras, or hanging on the beach or boating on Lake Tahoe. It you want to get further away, San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean are less than 4 hours away.

If you are interested in applying to the CREG program, contact John Muntean (CREG Director, munteanj@unr.edu), Julie Hill (CREG Administrative Assistant, juliehill@unr.edu), or any of participating faculty and geoscientists listed below. Application requirements and deadlines can be viewed at

3D Model

Example of 3D model of Carlin-type gold deposit, showing modeled fault surface and abundant surface and underground drill holes.

Why Companies, Organizations, Individuals Should Join CREG

Rock bolter

Rock bolter in underground mine on the Carlin Trend.

Gain access to expertise at UNR and be privy to the latest research on Nevada’s mineral deposits by leveraging your company’s research dollars More (+)

An objective of most companies is to maximize shareholder value by discovering ore deposits and mining them profitably. Companies generally do not have the resources to carry out research to help answer questions that bear on exploration success and efficient production in the long term. As a member of CREG your company will be the first to see cutting edge research on the processes that formed Nevada’s mineral deposits from microscopic to regional scales, on topics that relate to both exploration and production. In exploration, CREG research addresses the two main questions facing exploration: 1) Where to look?, and once you are in the right spot 2) How to vector into ore?  Regarding production, CREG research can bear on metallurgy, rock stability, and reclamation.

Importantly, your company will be able to leverage its research dollars. CREG typically funds 6-8 graduate students annually at a cost of about $200,000 to $250,000 per year, which includes tuition, a 10-month university stipend, analytical costs, and travel. Depending upon your company’s annual contribution, those research dollars can be leveraged 5 to 50-fold. Not only could research be done on your company’s properties, but you will learn about the research being done on the properties of other CREG member companies. This is can be important to junior exploration companies needing to learn about the details of deposits that they are trying to find.

Lastly, CREG is vehicle to bring geologists from different companies together with UNR-based geoscientists in an intimate setting to discuss the problems they face in exploration and production and work together to help move Nevada’s mining industry forward.  CREG not only exposes the companies to UNR faculty experienced in economic geology, but to other faculty and geoscientists with a wide breadth of relevant disciplines. CREG can take advantage of these multiple disciplines to tackle research themes that might cover several mineral deposits or regions rather than specific properties. Such themes could include geologic framework studies of under-explored areas, exploration under cover, etc.

Gain first hand access to potential employees that are highly trained More (+)

As a member of CREG your geologists will become familiar with the CREG graduate students. Not only do CREG students take courses that cover a variety of disciplines that bear on exploration and production, but in doing a Masters or PhD thesis in largely applied research, they will have gained experience in working, thinking, and solving problems independently. Such experience leads to better communication skills, be it writing reports or giving presentations. Most CREG thesis research involves significant field work and looking at rocks in the form of surface mapping (outcrop and interpretive mapping at scales of typically greater than 1:6000), detailed open pit or underground mapping, core logging and cross-section construction, and hand sample and thin section petrography (optical microscope and SEM). CREG members will have essentially the first shot on employing such students, whose training is only equaled by a handful of universities.

Be involved in future activities and services of CREG, such as short courses, field trips, and access to UNR analytical equipment More (+)

Though still in the planning stages, CREG is considering offering short courses, both classroom and field courses, that not only UNR students could attend and gain credit, but to which employees of CREG members can attend at reduced rates. At the very least, CREG is planning informal field trips centered on students’ thesis areas or areas that may develop into a research themes for future students. CREG is considering making available at reduced rates facilities at UNR, which should be of interest to CREG members, including the optical microscopes, ASD Terraspec, Niton portable XRF, and the new SEM laboratory.


If you are interested in joining CREG or have questions about CREG contact John Muntean (CREG Director, munteanj@unr.edu).

Shovel - Join CREG!

Be on the inside! Join CREG!