Overview of the Department of Geology, Northwest University

The history of Department of Geology, Northwest University can be traced back to 1939, and it is one of the oldest Science geological departments in a comprehensive university in China. At the early stage of its establishment, through thick and thin, a group of celebrated geologists, including Wang Gongmu, Zhan Yada, Yin Baixi, Yu Shiyuan, Li Shantang, Zhang Bosheng, Cai Chengyun, Zeng Fan, Bai Chaoran, Huo Shicheng,and Zhang Huiyuan ect. swarmed to the Northwest United University(the later National Northwest University) which had been moved to the mountainous Chenggu, Shaanxi Province due to the national calamity, and established the Geological Department. In 1948, the well-known geologist and paleontologist Prof. Yang Zhongjian took the post of principal of the national Northwest University, and contributed a great deal to the expanding and development of this department. Thereafter, renowned scholars, such as Xie Jiarong, Wang Hensheng, Zhang Geng, Yang Jie, Wang Yongyan and Yuan Yaoting ect. came to this university to give lectures or take courses, greatly expedited its development and grown-up. Rapid progresses had been made since the Chinese liberation. Following a nationwide campaign of reorganizing schools and departments between universities in 1952, it is the only two geological departments reserved in comprehensive university. To meet the dire need of economy construction of new China, two pioneer specialties, namely the Petroleum Geology and Ore geology, were inaugurated leading to the cultivating of large quantities of geological talents. Since the start of China’s opening and reform in 1978, our department had barged up against new opportunities and challenges. It is blessed with truly gifted members who have a history of long service to the University, to this community and to the country, and who can hold together and strive for each tasks and grasp every opportunities. Its award winning faculty, modern facilities, demanding curriculum and integrated scientific systems, place it among the most prominent geological departments with distinctive characteristics in China and allows it to offer challenges to students at all levels.

Department of Geology, Northwest University now has four Bachelor’s specialties, including Geology, Geochemistry, Resources reconnaissance engineering, and Technical reconnaissance and engineering, owns two first-class disciplines with Doctoral Degree, namely Geology (including 5 secondary class disciplines, i.e. Structural Geology, Palaentology and Stratigraphy, Geochemistry, Quaternary Geology, and Mineralogy, Petrology and Ore deposit studies) and geological resources and engineering (consists of three secondary-class disciplines, i.e. General Survey and Exploration of Ore Deposits, Geological Exploration and Information Technology and Geological Engineering), covering 8 secondary-class disciplines with Doctoral Degree and 8 Master Degree. It has one post-doctoral mobile station and 4 specially engaged Professor posts of Chueng Kong Scholars Programme in the field of Structural Geology, Paleontology and Stratigrapgy, General Survey and Exploration of Ore Deposits, and Mineralogy, Petrology and Ore deposit studies( Of which, Drs. Gaoshan and Shu Degan have taken their posts in Structural Geology and Paleontology and Stratigraphy respectively).

The department also set up a national base for basic researches and teaching personnel training in the fields of Geology, which integrally ranked first in the geological aspect bases under the evaluation of the Committee of the Chinese Natural Sciences Foundation in 1998, and also successfully passing the strict mid-term assessment and examination of the Ministry of Education, and came out top in the 45 of the secondary and third batch bases in 1999, and twice honored as ¡°excellent base¡±. ¡°Dynamic of the mountains and basins in Midwest China and its impact on Resources and environments¡±is the key discipline authorized by the state in the ¡°Project 211¡±. It boasts of 2 national key disciplines (Structural Geology and Paleontology and Stratigraphy), and 6 provincial key disciplines. Besides, Open Laboratory of continental Dynamics became the provincial key lab in 1995, and approved to be one of the key research labs of the Ministry of Education in 2000.

Presently, research and teaching is carried out by approximately 68 faculty and staff in the department, including 30 full professors, 28 associate professors, among them 31 own doctoral degree. The faculty is distinguished by 1 academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2 Chueng Kong Scholars, 22 doctorate supervisors. Beside there are 3 duplex-engaged professors (academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences). 25 professors enjoy a special subsidy from the State Council, 8 have been awarded the title of Middle-aged and Young Experts Who Have Made Outstanding Contributions to the State and the Province.2 have won the Outstanding Youth Natural Science Fund, 1 have granted National Model Work, 2 have selected to be ¡°three-five¡± Personnel Project in Shaanxi province, and 11 Key teacher¡¯s project of Ministry of Education, and one ¡°New Star¡± of Science and Technology in Shaanxi Province respectively.

The department now registers 531 students at all levels, including 33 PhD programs, 71 Masters, and 427 certificate and diploma courses to Bachelors Degrees. During the ¡°9th Five-Year Plan¡± Period, it has kept contracting for about 201scientific projects of vary levels with a total investment about 28.09 million Yuan, including 56 national research projects of key importance, such as Project 863, Project 973, Scaling Project, Important and pivot Projects of the Natural Sciences Foundation, and Scientific and technological key projects of ¡°Ninth Five-year plan¡±. A total of 805 scientific articles and 23 monographs, and 16 teaching material have been published. 24 scientific achievements were awarded the national and provincial or ministerial prizes in natural science, and in scientific and technological development, comprising 1 first prize and 2 second prizes in Special National Award for Excellent Teaching Result, 1 second prize in National Natural scientific Research. 2 dissertations for Ph.D have won the national ¡°100 superexcellent Doctoral Thesis¡± in 1999 and 2000 relatively.

Located in the Northwest China, abutting southward to the Qinling Orogenic Belt, and facing northward to the Loess Plateau, it have advantaged regional preponderance, and is a scarce natural laboratory. After 60 years laborious trek, our department has gain superior and distinctive characteristic in various aspects, including Structural Geology, Precambrian Geology, Orogenic Belts and Basins, Cenozoic Geology and Environments, Paleobiogeography of flora, Early life evolution, Oil-bearing Basin Geology, Reservoir Physics and Reservoir Geology and Loess Study ect.

The Department of Geology, Northwest university has fostered more than 6000 bachelors, 200 master and doctoral students, and have made great contribution to the geological industry of China, especially to the petroleum exploration and development. The first group of petroleum specialists in fresh China was from Department of Geology, Northwest University. Statistically, of the 14 big oil fields in China, 13 director generals or general geologic masters were come from this department. As pointed out by the Daily of the oversea Chinese of America, ¡° Northwest University has fostered large quantity of Scientific and technical Professional Talents, and have made remarkable contributions to the Chinese resource industry¡±. As a result, Department of Geology, Northwest University is also honored as “A Cradle of outstanding Petroleum Scientific and Technological Personnel”.

At the beginning of the new century, Department of Geology, Northwest University have made the most of the favorable situation brought about by the ¡°Project 211¡±, relying on the personnel training base and the Open laboratory of Ministry of Education, as well as on the long evolved distinguished features of its own style, preponderance, rich human and material resources, carrying forward its good style of study and spirit of solidarity and enterprising, it has ambition to make greater contribution to turn China from geological big country to stronger ones, and to satisfied the vital demand of the large-scale development in the west of China and national construction such as energy, resources, environmental amelioration, hazard prevention and alleviation in the new century.

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