Zhaoshan Chang was born and raised in flat farmland in the Northern China Plain but always wanted to be in the mountains. His university training began in 1988, when he was admitted to the Department of Geology at Peking University, China. With subsequent Ph.D. degrees from Peking University, China (1997), and Washington State University, USA (2003), Zhaoshan eventually worked his way to a current position as the Charles Fogarty Endowed Chair and Professor in Economic Geology at Colorado School of Mines (CSM). He previously taught and conducted research at Peking University, China (1997–2000); Washington State University, USA (2004); CODES, University of Tasmania, Australia (2004–2011), and the EGRU (Economic Geology Research Centre), James Cook University, Australia (2011–2018). He was the director of EGRU from 2012 to 2018 before joining CSM. Zhaoshan has studied a wide spectrum of deposit types in 18 countries on various continents, including skarn, porphyry, epithermal, W-Sn greisen/pegmatite, iron oxide copper-gold, and orogenic gold. He works closely with the mineral industry on exploration-oriented research projects, looking for far-field signals, discriminators, and zoning patterns in mineralogy, textures, spectral features, whole-rock and mineral geochemistry, and isotopic compositions that can be directly used in exploration. He also studies ore-forming processes and ore-controlling factors, magma fertility indicators, regional metallogenesis, and the application of laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) techniques in mineral exploration and geologic research (mineral trace element analysis and mapping, geochronology, isotope geochemistry). His research mainly involves field investigation and drill core logging, petrography, short-wave infrared spectral analysis, whole-rock and mineral chemistry, textural imaging using various techniques (LA-ICP-MS, PIXE, CL, BSE, microprobe), geochronology, fluid inclusion thermometry and compositional studies, and isotope geochemistry (O-H-S-C; Cu-Zn-Fe; Sr; Pb). He runs an LA-ICP-MS/MS lab and the Professional Master in Mineral Exploration Program at CSM. He has authored or coauthored ~100 publications, chaired/organized several international conferences, and delivered numerous presentations, including 60 invited and keynote presentations at conferences, institutions, and mine/exploration sites. He has taught 45 professional development short courses with ~3,500 participants and has led many field trips.
Zhaoshan has served for SEG, the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits, the International Association on the Genesis of Ore Deposits, the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, and other professional organizations. For SEG, he is currently an Associate Editor of Economic Geology and an SEG Mentor (2018-present). Previously, he was an SEG International Exchange Lecturer (2020); served on the Publications Board (2012–2018), Committee on Committees (2012), Nominating Committee (2013, 2019), International Exchange Lecturer Sub-Committee (2015–2017; Chair, 2017); and was on the organizing committees for the SEG 2015 and 2017 conferences. He was also a co-editor of SEG Special Publication 22 (2019) and a guest editor of a Special Issue of Economic Geology (2011).