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Dr. Lawrence Cathles
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University (USA)
After completing doctoral research on the viscosity of the earth's mantle at Princeton, Cathles spent seven years at Kennecott Copper Corporation’s Ledgemont Laboratory investigating the genesis of porphyry copper deposits and industrial leaching processes. In 1978 he joined the faculty of The Pennsylvania State University to research the formation of massive sulfide deposits at mid-ocean ridges and in failed rifts in Japan. Joining the Chevron Oil Field Research Laboratory in 1982 he developed genetic and exploration models for gold and sulfide deposits and investigated the CO2 generation that often attends steam injection for enhanced oil recovery. Since 1987 he has been at Cornell University investigating oil and gas generation and migration in the Gulf of Mexico Basin, co-directing an industrial associates program, and developing models that simulate the chemical alteration caused by the movements of water in the subsurface. He was the 24th Hugh Exton McKinstry Memorial Lecturer (1989) at Harvard, the 2008 Adrian Smith Lecturer at the University of Waterloo, The Distinguished Lecturer for the Society of Economic Geologists in 2011, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has published over 110 peer-reviewed publications and a book: “The Viscosity of the Earth’s Mantle”. Presently he is a co-leader of the oil and gas thrust of the Cornell KAUST program and Director of the Cornell Institute for the Study of the Continents.
Between now and 2100 the world’s population will grow from 7 to 10.5 billion and then hold steady or decline. Does the earth have the energy and mineral resources needed to maintain 10.5 bn at a European standard for a protracted period of time (30 centuries) or will we need to fight over ever diminishing supplies? Considering the oceans (with a huge volume of dissolved minerals and an almost completely unexplored area equal to that to 2 moons and 2 Mars) it is fairly easy to show that the answer to this question is yes. I will describe one path forward to illustrate that humanity has a future after all.