Department of Earth Sciences, National Cheng Kung University
Contact: Prof Kenn-Ming Yang
Department of Earth Sciences
National Cheng Kung University
1 University Road
About Department of Earth Sciences, National Cheng Kung University
The Department of Earth Sciences at the National Cheng Kung University was first established in the year of 1968. The post-graduate program for M.S. degree was later added in the year of 1990. Then, six years after, in the year of 1996, the Ph.D. program was initiated. In 2003, a post-graduate vocational program at M.S. degree level was set up for those who are currently on-job in relative fields. In the recent ten years, the faculty number, student populations, research facilities and courses levels as well as the research achievements are all having tremendous progression; thus, nevertheless secures the national leadership position in the fields of applied earth sciences.
Currently, there are 18 full-time faculty members and 6 adjunctive faculty members in the department, and approximately 180 undergraduate students and 91 post-graduate students. About 53 of the graduate students are studying in the M.S. degree program and another 18 are working on the Ph.D. degree program. In addition, there are about another 20 on-the-job students are working on a M.S. degree level vocational program. Research fields are including hard-rock geochemistry, marine chemistry, isotope geochemistry, mineralogy, petrology, paleontology, oceanography, hydrogeology, marine physics, geophysics, geodesy, satellite image remote sensing, structural geology, applied mineral and material technologies, applied environmental and hydrological technologies, geo-hazards investigations and preventions, satellite image processing and geodesy technologies, geologic and geographic information system, and … etc.; all of the applying earth sciences related courses.
Recently, based on the specialties and expertise of the faculty as well as the need of the current society, the academic activities of the institute are integrated into three major aspects: the Mineral Technologies, the Natural Resources (Groundwater and Energy), and the Earth Environments (Geochemical and Geophysical). Students and faculty are interacting in a close and harmonic relationship. There are many students began to work in laboratories during their undergraduate years to gain experiences of laboratory experiments and research methodology. Teachings are not limited in the general areas of earth sciences, but including varieties of applications such as natural material technology, environmental and weather science, geological disaster investigation and prevention, satellite information and geodesy, geological and geographical information, and many other earth sciences related courses; with very strong emphasis on theories, laboratory and application combined training.
In addition to the fundamental scientific researches, collaborations with both of governmental agencies and private organizations are also portions of the departmental activities; namely, to work on the innovative technology developments, professional trainings, and designated investigations in areas such as natural disasters, catalysts, groundwater resources and quality, GPS measurements, satellite information applications, regional geology, resource geology, exploration of natural resources, fault activity tracing.
In the last few years, in order to administer projects issued by the Ministry of Education; thus, the Program for Promoting Academic Excellence of Universities and the Collaborative Projects for National Cheng Kung University and National Sun Yat-Sen University in Marine Environment and Engineering Research Center as well as projects sponsored by the National Science Council, a world-class isotope geochemistry laboratory, along with several other laboratories equipped with analog stable isotope spectrometry, gas chromatography mass spectrometry, transmission electron microscopy, α- and γ-ray spectroscopy, and inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry have been established.
With the great success in research fields of geochemistry and global environmental changes, the department is ranked as one of the most fully equipped institute in terms of faculty and facilities as well as a top research and teaching center for geochemistry of rocks and minerals. Nevertheless, since the year of 2006, the university has conducted a project funded by the Ministry of Education in Promoting Academic Excellence & Developing World Class Research Centers. The Earth Dynamic System Research Center, one of the 7 top research centers established and funded by the university was developed in the earth sciences department and consisted primarily with faculty and resources of the department.
In recent years, satellite information and its application have become another focal point of the department, especially for researches carried out in areas of crustal deformation and fault activities, as well as geological and environmental disasters and oceanic changes. Taking the great advantage of large-scale earth surface images and near real-time observations, satellite information and its application have been largely applied on the earth environment studies; which not only allow the related skills to develop the information into their largest potential, but also broaden the perspectives of earth science researches. In 2007, a M.S. level post graduate program was established under the framework of the Satellite Informatics and Earth Environment Laboratory.
With the advantages of innovative technologies, fully facilitated laboratories, abundant funding resources, and advanced research results, the department has superior achievements to other institutes nationwide in areas of mineral technology. Talented personnel for research and development in both of the academia and the industrials have so forth been greatly incubated. Namely, the Applied Mineral Technology Research Center will be established in recent years. It will be a unique research center among the nation. In the future, the collaborations with the material sciences department and resources engineering department of the university will be broadened and strengthened in the aspects of nano-mineral development and application technology. In addition to the continuous promotion for research and development in crystal cultivation and application, based on the existed research foundations, the collaboration with industries will also be enhanced. Meanwhile, researches for the high pressured mineral physics and chemistry will also be integrated into the establishment of the Applied Mineral Technology Research Laboratory.
Combining with petroleum geology, structural geology, geophysical exploration, satellite image information and other superior aspects such as large-scale observation and simulation technology, the department is having the unique opportunity to become the only institute obtaining the capability of natural resources investigation and exploration. Namely, the natural resources investigation, exploration and research will become essential areas for teaching and research. Latter, collaborations with the Exploration and Production Research Center and the Exploration and Production Business Division of Taiwan CPC will be closely established; particularly in the aspects of petroleum exploration lecturing. Besides, the bilateral collaborations with China University of Geosciences in Beijing will be promptly emphasized to understand the current research and development situations for metallic ore deposits.