SEG Distinguished Lecturer

The SEG Distinguished Lecturer is selected on the basis of preeminence in economic geology, either on some phase of scientific research or on the application of the science to minerals exploration and/or development. One or two lectures are presented at regularly scheduled SEG conferences. This lecturer may or may not be available to accept additional requests.

John ProffettJohn Proffett

(SEG 1976 SF)

  Talk Titles

  • Early Mineralization with High Copper Grades in Porphyry Copper Deposits: Its Characteristics and Its Genetic and Economic Significance.
  • Importance of Geological Mapping to Understanding Structure and Ore Genesis at the Greens Creek Massive Sulfide Silver-Gold-Zinc Mine, Alaska, and Some Applications to Exploration and Mining.
  • Timing of Sulfide Deposition in Porphyry Copper Deposits and Its Importance in Understanding Sulfide Zoning, with Applications for Exploration and for Genetic Studies.


John received a B.A. degree in geology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D., also from Berkeley, working on the Yerington porphyry copper district. He worked for the Anaconda Co. for 14 years, first in the Yerington district, then in the mines at Butte, Montana, followed by exploration in Alaska focusing on volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits. His work with Anaconda also included shorter assignments on various types of deposits in South America, Japan, Mexico, Africa, Canada, and the western United States. Since 1981, he has been a consulting geologist, based in Alaska, working on a variety of ore deposits and districts worldwide. This has included porphyry deposits in Chile, Peru, Argentina, Indonesia, Namibia, Alaska, and Canada, Mt. Isa-type deposits in Australia, and massive sulfide deposits in Alaska. His focus has been on longer-term projects involving geological mapping and structure in outcrop, mines, and drill core, and geological interpretation at scales ranging from details of orebodies to district and regional geology. The work has included exploration, evaluation, mine development, mining, geological staff training, and problems of ore genesis, and has resulted in numerous consulting reports and several published papers. In 2003, he received the SEG Silver Medal and the SEG Brian J. Skinner Award for a paper on the geology of the Bajo de la Alumbrera porphyry copper-gold deposit, Argentina. In 2015 he received the first Geological Mapping Award of the Geological Society of America.