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Brief History

 

The Department of Earth Science, founded as the Department of Geology in 1948, was among the first departments to move from old campus at Achimota to the current Legon main campus. It has since evolved with time in line with the current challenges dictated by global and national interests to a leading trainer of geoscientists in Ghana, West Africa, and beyond. The Department is the only academic establishment in Ghana currently offering courses leading to the award of degrees in Geology.

 

The Department of Earth Science has a rich tradition of leadership in the geosciences, preparing students for professional careers in the geosciences at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Its faculty and alumni are leaders in academia, public service and in industry worldwide.

 

Mission and Goals

The Department's mission is to provide academic leadership in the earth sciences; its goals are to:

  • Provide an effective undergraduate and graduate training programmes that prepare students for successful careers in science, education, technology and public service;
  • Deliver innovative, excellent instructions at the undergraduate and graduate levels;
  • Conduct high quality scientific research and effectively communicate results, through publication, to both academic and public audiences;
  • Extend technical assistance to state, public and private organizations.

 

The Department of Earth Science has programmes at the undergraduate and graduate levels in Geology, Geophysics, Hydrogeology, Engineering Geology, and Petroleum Geosciences. There are currently 383 students enrolled on various programmes in the department. This comprises 88 graduate students and 295 undergraduate students. The graduate students comprise 9 PhD students and 79 MSc/MPhil students. Four of the PhD students are supported on full scholarship by an active research project which is funded by the Danish International Development Agency, DANIDA.

The teaching faculty comprises a total of 21 full time staff comprising 2 Professors, 6 Associate Professors, 5 Senior Lecturers, 4 Lecturers, and 4 Assistant Lecturers.

Facilities and Equipment

Over the past 8 years, the department has benefitted from several Government of Ghana assistance. This has led to the expansion of the department’s infrastructure and has thus enhanced capacity for effective teaching and research. Through the joint support of the GETfund and Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the department is putting up a two storey extension comprising over 14 offices for lecturers, teaching laboratories, lecture theatres, and storage facilities. The department has also taken delivery of and ICP-MS and ancillary facilities, provided by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources of the Government of Ghana. The department has also taken delivery of several geophysical equipment and microscopes for research in the major specializations of the department. The department, with assistance from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, is currently procuring a modern Scanning Electron Microscope and its ancillary facilities for research and student training. With support from DANIDA, the department is taking delivery of a modern Liquid Water Isotope Analyzer. There is a well field donated by past students of the department, for training in hydrogeology at the graduate and undergraduate levels. This is in addition to two field stations in Anloga in the Volta Region and Nsawam in the Eastern Region where the department has hydrometric stations. The department is currently working towards establishing another hydrometric station in the north of Ghana.

There are several software such as the Groundwater Modelling System (GMS), ArcGIS, Surfer, SPSS, Petrel, Rockware, AQqa, AQUACHEM amongst others, to facilitate teaching and research in the department. These are installed in the department’s computer laboratory and are also available in the teaching computers used for classroom instruction. The department has well-functioning internet facilities through which students and the research faculty can access several journal articles and other research support literature. The University of Ghana has subscription to several journals available in sciencedirect.com and other scientific databases.

The department’s field activities are supported by a fleet of vehicles comprising a 60-seater bus, a 33 seater civilian bus, two land cruisers and a Nissan Patrol.

DEPARTMENTAL PROJECTS

There are active projects which create opportunities for practical training of students throughout the year in the department. The projects are as diverse as the diversities of the specializations of the faculty, and funded from local and international sources. There are five strong working/research groups in the department. Within each research group, the faculty have been engaged in various research activities throughout the year, with active involvement of students. The various research groups in the department are listed below.

 

  1. ECONOMIC GEOLOGY & MINERAL ECONOMICS

Faculty

1.      Prof. Thomas M. Akabzaa

2.      Prof. J. Manu

3.      Prof. P.M. Nude

4.      Prof. F.K. Nyame

5.      Dr. P.O. Amponsah

  1. PALEONTOLOGY & SEDIMENTOLOGY

               Faculty

1.      Prof. David Atta-Peters

2.      Prof. Daniel K. Asiedu

3.      Dr. Chris Anani

4.      Ms Jennifer Agbetsoamedo

 

  1. GEOCHEMISTRY & PETROLOGY

Faculty

1.      Prof. Daniel K. Asiedu

2.      Prof. Bruce Banoeng-Yakubo

3.      Prof. Prosper M. Nude

4.      Prof. Frank K. Nyame

5.      Dr. Patrick A. Sakyi

6.      Dr. Jacob Kutu

7.      Dr. Chris Anani

8.      Dr. Marian S. Sapah

9.      Dr. Ben Fiebor

10.  Mr. Daniel Kwayisi

11.  Mrs. Naa Afi Agra

  1. HYDROGEOLOGY & WATER RESOURCES

Faculty

1.      Prof. Bruce Banoeng-Yakubo

2.      Prof. Sandow M. Yidana

3.      Dr. Larry Pax Chegbeleh

4.      Dr (Mrs). Yvonne Loh

5.      Dr. Patrick A. Sakyi

  1. GEOPHYSICS & ENGINEERING GEOLOGY

Faculty

1.      Dr. Thomas Armah

2.      Dr. Francis Achampong

3.      Dr. Larry Pax Chegbeleh

4.      Dr. Isaac Oppong

5.      Dr. Paulina Amponsah

6.      Ms Abigail Ayikwei

MAJOR RESEARCH/TRAINING PROJECTS

White Volta Basin Groundwater Project (GhanAqua Project)

This project is funded by the Danish International Development Agency, DANIDA, and is intended to lead to the development of groundwater resources in the basin for various uses. It involves the collation and processing of various kinds of airborne geophysical datasets that were procured as part of an earlier Mining Sector Support Programme, for the initial conceptualization of the lithostratigraphy. Combined with recent ground based data and data from borehole logs, this project will develop the hydrostratigraphy of the area. The project involves detailed ground based geophysical investigations and targeted drilling to access sufficient hydrogeological information that would facilitate the development of a conceptual hydrogeological model and a robust 3D numerical groundwater model for the area.

Four PhD students are involved in this project and are supported on full scholarships with monthly stipends. All four students will spend some time in Denmark on Experiential learning to gain vital laboratory skills for their various theses.

The Project is led by the Department of Earth Science, University of Ghana, and supported by six other partners. Professor Sandow Mark Yidana is the lead investigator and Coordinator of the project. The other partners include:

  • Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, GEUS, Denmark
  • University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Water Research Institute, Ghana
  • Hydronomics Limited, Ghana
  • Center for Savannah Ecosystem Research, Ghana

Capacity Building Project

The capacity building project in the department develops capacity in the core geology areas of the department. It was designed to help fill the gap in research and teaching capacity in the core geology disciplines. The project is sponsored by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources of the Government of Ghana. Under the project, students with immense potential are identified and sponsored to undertake high level graduate studies and research. So far, more than 20 students have benefitted from this project through various support systems. Four of the beneficiaries have now been recruited as Assistant Lecturers in the department.

 

 

 

The Nabogo Project

The department secured a grant from the University of Ghana Research Fund to undertake preliminary investigations on groundwater resources and the possible implications of climate change/variability on the resource. The project, under the leadership of Prof. Sandow Mark Yidana, supported two MPhil students who are currently on the DANIDA funded Project as PhD students. In this project, the investigators analyzed groundwater recharge processes using stable isotope data and other hydrochemical tracers. Progressive evolution of infiltrating rainwater through the thickness of the vadose zone was analyzed and evapotranspiration rates were estimated through the combined use of chloride and stable isotope tracers in porewater. For the first time in the area and much of the region, transpiration rates were estimated through the soil profile, and the implications of high temperatures as predicted by some climate models in the area were evaluated.

The researchers are implementing similar strategies in other parts of the White Volta Basin and the rest of Northern Ghana.

The Nasia Project

The Nasia project was conducted in collaboration with the Department of Earth and Environmental Studies of the Montclair State University in New Jersey, USA. Prof. S.M. Yidana was the lead investigator from the University of Ghana but the Principal Investigator was Prof. Clement A. Alo of Montclair State University. The project performed preliminary assessments of the impacts of climate change on surface and groundwater resources base of the basin. The project was funded by the PSEG Sustainability Institute of Montclair State University and resulted in two manuscripts and a Master of Science (thesis based) thesis. The preliminary data obtained from this project forms the basis of a bigger proposal for climate-proof water resources infrastructure in the basin.

Geochronological, Geochemical and Sr-Nd-Hf Isotopic Studies of the Bongo-type Granitoids in the Paleoproterozoic Bole–Nangodi Greenstone Belt of Ghana, West Africa

 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Patrick Asamoah Sakyi

 

The project involves the petrological, geochemical, geochronological and isotopic studies of the Bongo-type granitoids in the Paleoproterozoic (Birimian) Bole-Nangodi belt in northern Ghana. It is aimed at determining the petrogenesis of the granitoids and infer the tectonic setting in which the rocks were formed. It also seeks to test the hypothesis that the Bongo type granitoids represent late stage plutonism associated with subduction systems. This will enhance our understanding of the geodynamic evolution of Paleoproterozoic Birimian terrane of Ghana and the overall tectonic regime of the West African Craton.

 

The research implementation will follow an integrated approach of fieldwork, geochemical analyses and isotope-based dating techniques. Analyses to be conducted are whole-rock major and trace elements determination, mineral chemistry, Rb-Sr, Sm–Nd, Lu-Hf isotopic analyses, and zircon U-Pb dating of representative samples. The project also aims to train at least one (1) M.Phil student, whilst some undergraduate students will also benefit from it at various stages.

 

The research team is made up of geoscientists from the Department of Earth Science-University of Ghana, the Ghana Geological Survey Department, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, and the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).