Message from the Head of Geology Department
Welcome to the Geology Department
Geology – the science of Earth – deals with every aspect of the earth, such as rocks, industrial and building materials, groundwater, petroleum and mineral resources, soils, evolution and development of life, and the overall history of the planet, including its environment. In this space age, the geological repertoire has expanded and extended to encompass outer space. This makes the geology profession to be not only a very exciting and satisfying profession, but also a highly challenging one.
Geology in part is an applied science and has a wide scope. Geology graduates have choice to work as researchers, to go to the mining industry and exploration companies, can work as water resource experts, engaged in engineering/construction companies, study, monitor, mitigate natural hazards, and even involve in space exploration. African students in particular, have great future in this profession as this continent is endowed with such a vast mineral resource potential that future of Africa is pinned in exploration and exploitation of the known and unknown reserves of these resources.
The Department of Geology – one of the three departments in the School of Mines – has been involved in teaching, pioneering research and public service in all the facets of earth science for well over forty (40) years.
With regard to teaching, the Department is responsible for training of students to attain their Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees in all the facets of earth sciences. Students for the Bachelor’ degree programme are admitted in the department in second year, after completing one year of A level studies in the School of Natural Sciences. In addition, students with A Levels or a diploma in relevant pre-requisite programmes from any recognised institution, are also admitted to the programme. During their four-years of study in the department, students are also required to undertake compulsory field training activities and attachments of nearly 14 weeks as partial fulfilment for the award of the Bachelor’s degree. The department also provides special and tailor-made training programmes in geosciences to meet demands of public sector organisations, communities, industry, civil society organisations and other private sector institutions.
Master’s and PhD programmes are mostly by research, but deserving special mention is the two-year taught Master’s degree programme in Hydrogeology, which has been introduced to cater for the increasing need to prudently manage the ‘invisible’ groundwater, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Through these programmes, the department has churned out a cadre of graduates that has eventually gone to take-up leadership roles in both academia and industry within Zambia and abroad.
In terms of research, the department has been involved in exploration for groundwater, petroleum and mineral resources. Research activities in the department have been enhanced and boosted by collaborations with the mining industry and universities within and outside the country.
So, although many of us might hardly realise that Geological sciences touch every aspect of man’s daily life, the foregoing shows how modern civilisation almost entirely hinges on the input from this science, and that without the resources geology delivers, society could easily be paralysed. For example, without fossil fuels – petroleum and coal – and nuclear fuels that run atomic reactors, most societal activities that run on fuel and electricity would grind to a halt. In addition, minerals like copper, aluminium, iron, and calcite (the raw material for cement), and many others, constitute the backbone of infrastructure in any country. The modern electronic industry that has become indispensable to man’s everyday life requires a host of specialized rare earth minerals and materials.
Further, exploration, exploitation and management of (ground)water resources for drinking and irrigation can hardly be imagined without the input of geological science. Specialised engineering geological input is also required in all facets of large-scale infrastructure development – such as dams, tunnels, highways, buildings, hydropower development etc. – in studies and mitigation of natural disasters – earthquakes, floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions etc. which kill annually thousands and affect millions of people around the globe.
Therefore, wherever possible, it is incumbent upon each one of us to support training of this important cadre of staff towards realisation of the country’s economic development and preservation of its citizenry’s life.
Prof. B. N. Upreti
Head of Department