Industry-Rice Earth Science Symposia


A reliable and sustainable supply of natural resources, from hydrocarbons to the mineral resources needed to support alternative energies, is critical for sustaining a prosperous and peaceful future of the 7 billion people on our planet. While our needs for natural resources grow, we must also be responsible stewards of our environment, from our backyards to the scale of our planet. The purpose of this symposium is to break down the barriers between scientists, policy makers, industry leaders and business entrepreneurs to collectively generate a deeper understanding of our planet’s natural resources.


Day 1.
  • Policy and economics of natural resources
  • Geology of strategic minerals
  • Energy storage
Day 2.
  • Metal transport – volcanism and beyond
  • Metal transport – life and the oceans
Preliminary speaker list
  • Sibani Lisa Biswal (Rice – Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering/Materials Science and Nano-engineering) – Advances in Lithium-Ion Batteries: Planning for the Next Generation of Energy Storage
  • Jason Czapla (Controlled Thermal Resources) – Lithium extraction from Salton Sea Brines
  • Rajdeep Dasgupta (Rice U) – Metals during planetary differentiation
  • Robert Hazen (Carnegie Institution of Washington) – The evolution of minerals through Earth’s history
  • Richard Herrington (The Natural History Museum, London) – Cobalt ores
  • Cin-Ty Lee and Kevin Biddle (Rice U, Dept. Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences) – The origin and economics of Lithium ores
  • Pilar Lecumberri-Sanchez (U Alberta) – hydrocarbon transport of rare earth elements and other metals
  • Kenneth Medlock (Rice U, Baker Institute Center for Energy Studies) – Geopolitics and economics of strategic mineral resources
  • Shaunna Morrison (Carnegie Institution of Washington) – Data science in mineral exploration
  • James Reilly (USGS director) – strategic minerals
  • Simone Runyon (U Wyoming) – Hydrothermal type ore deposits: a review
  • Dirk Smit (VP Research Strategy, Shell Global Solutions) – Opportunities for Earth Sciences  and Technology  in the Energy Transition
  • Matthew Steele-MacInnes (U Alberta) – ore forming fluids
  • Shandell Szabo (VP Anadarko) – Augmented Intelligence
  • Joshua West (U Southern California) – Metal cycling in the surface environment
  • A. E. Williams-Jones (McGill University) – The nature and origin of rare earth element deposits, a tale of magmas and fluids.
Possible field trip (Mar 23-25, 2019)

We will visit organic-rich source rocks of the Cretaceous Eagle Ford formation (a major unconventional hydrocarbon play) and the Terlingua area mercury mines, formed when Tertiary magmas intersected these Cretaceous organic-rich source rocks.  We will investigate the connection between source rocks, volcanic ash, and metal enrichment.  We will also be able to see how structure, magmatism, hydrothermalism and wallrock composition conspire to make an ore deposit. Led by Daniel Minisini (Shell) and Cin-Ty Lee (Rice)