The Economic Geology program at the University of Alaska consists of Rainer Newberry and faculty members broadly interested in economic geology-related problems. Depending on the student, Geology faculty members Mary Keskinen (petrology and petrography), Ken Severin (Instrumentation and Analysis), Elisabeth Nadin (Structural Geology), Wes Wallace (Structural Geology), and (or) Paul Layer (geochronology) might be involved.
Rainer is interested in the genesis and characterization of all ore deposit types, but he is especially involved in work with intrusion-hosted, skarn, VMS, PGE, greisen, and "metamorphic" vein deposits. He is also interested in placer deposits, especially the characterization of the contained gold. For the last two decades he has worked with the Alaska Geological Survey creating 1:63,360 geologic maps in Interior Alaska based on intensive field work and airborne geophysical surveys. He is a senior author for 17 1:63,360 maps covering 7 different 1:250,000 quadrangles of Interior Alaska and the Seward Peninsula.
A wide range of student investigations in economic geology have been undertaken at UAF, representing a considerable spectrum of ore deposit types, including massive sulfide, greisen, vein, skarn, porphyry, PGE, placer, and epithermal prospects. These studies are generally oriented around basic field mapping and petrography as tools for deciphering mineral occurrences. These studies are augmented by XRD, XRF, SEM, fluid inclusion, and microprobe studies and (or) 40Ar/39Ar dating. Some of Rainer's students have instead pursued geologic mapping (1:25,000) projects with a structural and petrologic focus. One student studied the geochemistry of surface waters draining an abandoned mine.
Most students working with Rainer are supported by mining/exploration companies, which provide thesis-oriented summer employment and follow-up analytical support. Thesis projects are arranged during a student's first year based on the student's interests and industry needs. Mapping-oriented theses are supported by a joint program through the Alaska Geological Survey and the USGS ("EDMAP"). Geochemical studies are supported by the BLM and USGS.