The Earth and Environmental Science Department offers three programs leading to degrees in Environmental Science, Geology and Environmental Geoscience at the B.Sc. level, and Geology and Applied Geomatics at the M.Sc. level. We are strongly committed to field and laboratory studies and our classes and field schools take advantage of the stunning natural setting of Nova Scotia. Small personalized classes, engaged faculty, and world class research facilities are hallmarks of our programs. Our graduates are exceptionally well positioned to take advantage of the ever increasing demand for scientists trained in Earth and Environmental disciplines.
10-year Anniversary for Peir Pufahl
At a recent summer assembly of Acadia University, long-term employees in all areas were recognised. Included there was Dr. Peir Pufahl, who this year celebrates 10 years since his arrival at Acadia.
Peir is seen receiving the award of recognition from Acadia president Ray Ivany.
Photo by Ian Spooner
12 June 2015
Sandra Barr launches new book "Geology of Nova Scotia"
Authors Sandra Barr and Martha Hickman Hild were present to sign copies of their new book on Thursday, 28 May, in the Garden Room, KC Irving Environmental Science Centre. Here Martha is signing a copy for recent graduate Hannah Sinclair. Over 70 people joined in the celebration of this colourful, easy-to-use guide, which tells the story of Nova Scotia’s geological history through a series of visits to beautiful, fascinating destinations all across the province.
19 May 2015
34 Graduates in Earth and Environmental Science at May Graduation
As spring gradually unfolds, and the lawns turn green again, graduating students and proud family members were very much in evidence over the weekend. In all, 28 BSc degrees and 6 MSc degrees were recognised from Earth & Environmental Science at the May convocation at Acadia, comprising 3 MSc (Geology), 3 MSc (Applied Geomatics), 3 BSc Honours (Environmental Science), 1 BSc honours (Geology), 16 BSc (Geology), 1 BSc (Environmental Geoscience), and 7 BSc (Environmental Science). In addition, two BSc degrees from last year completed an honours conversion, one in Environmental Science and one in Geology.
Particular honour went to Amanda Loder, winner of the University Medal in Environmental Science, Lisa Mundry, winner of the University Medal in Geology, Thomas Bagley, recipient of the Mining Society of Nova Scotia Centennial Medal, and Jonathan Shute, winner of the University Medal in Environmental Geoscience.
12 May 2015
National Medal to Sandra Barr
Sandra Barr, Acadia University was named the 2015 winner of the J. Willis Ambrose Medal, which is awarded to an individual by the Geological Assocation of Canada for sustained dedicated service to the Canadian earth science community. The medal was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Association of Canada in Montreal on 4 May.
4 May 2015
Bermuda Field course April - May 2015
An international class of 10 students just returned from Acadia’s Bermuda Field Course taught by Dr. Peir K. Pufahl. Students from Canada, the United States, and Germany learned about the modern and Pleistocene carbonate sediment of Bermuda. A primary aim was to understand the sedimentology and diagenesis of limestone hydrocarbon reservoirs. Next year this course will be offered annually for credit. Alumni are welcome!
May 7, 2015
Geology Field School April - May 2015
A class of 26 students attended the 2015 Geology Field Methods course held at Acadia and at Camp Geddie, near Merigomish, Nova Scotia. In good spirit the whole class laboured on through deep snow, glorious sunsets, and late nights to accomplish all the exercises. At Arisaig the students managed to shed a few layers as they gathered for the traditional group photograph in spite of the surrounding ice flows in the Gulf.
Environmental Science Field School April - May 2015
Seventeen students completed the ENVS 2523 field course this spring, braving miserable weather to collect insects, sediment cores, tree samples, coastal invertebrates, and to hone their mapping skills. The sunshine did come through at the end of the week and it was much appreciated! Students had a great time despite the weather and practiced hand-on techniques in environmental science.
Cliff Stanley's group at the IAGS, Tucson, Arizona
Cliff Stanley, graduate student Steven Kramar, and honours student Tom Bagley attended the International Applied Geochemistry Symposium (IAGS), a conference with about 500 delegates in Tuscon, Arizona, in April. Steve gave an oral presentation "Rocks Under Hanson Lake: Building A Chemostratigraphic Model To Aid Base Metal Exploration", for which he won runner up for "best oral student presentation". Tom's poster also attracted a lot of positive comments and he had to present it during multiple poster sessions.
Steve receiving recognition for best runner-up.
Tom, rigorously defending and showcasing his work, "Determining the Heterogeneity of Reference Materials".
25 April 2015
South Shore Field Trip
On April 20-21, an enthusiastic group of Acadia students led by Sandra Barr made the annual pilgrimage to Nova Scotia's "south shore". In Monday's sunshine and relative warmth they enjoyed pinpointing the contact between the Halifax and underlying Goldenville groups, examining Bouma sequences, and the famous Shelburne dyke. They then "oohed and aahed" over migmatite, pegmatite, and staurolite, andalusite, and cordierite porphyroblasts. Sadly Day 2 was rainy and windy so the geological wonders of Cape Forchu, the Overton section, and Cape St. Mary's were viewed with much less enthusiasm, and the road cut at Bear River was a washout. However, thanks to numerous visits to Tim Horton's to warm up and dry off, we all survived.
Seen here in front of a bed of sandstone at Green Bay: Nicole Rudolph, Jon Shute, Taylor Chew, Roxanne LaCombe, Sandra Barr, Jesse Sherwin, Richard Creagan, Miguel Armand, David Maguire, Hannah Sinclair, Jess Turner.
23 April 2015
Landslide risks at Whistler, BC
photo: Braden Dupuis, Pique News Magazine
Ian Spooner recently visited Whistler to present the findings of Dewey Dunnington's thesis in a community forum in the community. The well-attended event provided him with the opportunity to reveal the history of landslides as recorded in the sediment in Alta Lake, which borders the town.
In an article in Pique News Magazine, Ian is recorded assuring residents that the landslide risk in Whistler itself is low, although the lake sediment has potential of revealing ancient landslides. The same cannot be said, however, for the Sea to Sky highway, which is considered a very high risk area.
17 April 2015
2015 Covenant of the Ring Ceremony
Fourteen soon-to-be-graduated Geology and Environmental Geoscience students attended the Covenant of the Ring ceremony in Halifax on April 9, 2015. The rings, which signify a geoscientists commitment to undertake their professional activities in an ethical and responsible manner, are worn on the pinkie finger of their working hand, and bear both crossed hammer and seismic trace symbols. This was the 15th Covenant of the Geoscience Ring ceremony held in Nova Scotia, and over 400 Nova Scotia geoscientists have now taken part in this ceremony.
[Click on image for larger photograph]
Taking part this year were: (back row) Ian Stewart, Richard Creagan, Jesse Sherwin, Steve Krbavcic, Jessica-Ann Turner, Thomas Bagley; (front row) Ryan Sabean, Roxanne LaCombe, Jon Edwards, Brett McCarthy, Heather Evans, Céline Porter.
13 April 2015
End of term celebrations in Earth and Environmental Science
The winter term nears its end, and students and faculty from Earth and Environmental Science once again enjoyed a delicious pot-luck dinner in the Curling Club on 27 March. Apart from the great food, highlights of the evening incluced reminiscences of the year by Dr. Spooner, the trivial game (won by the Rockateers, who achieved a perfect score!), and recognition of award winners through the year.
Emma Harris and Mikayla Dorey (co-winners of the Linda Lusby Award).
Rikki Simpson (winner of Harcourt Cameron Award)
31 March 2014
Jonathan Shute awarded the Logan Student Prize for 2015
The Geological Association of Canada (GAC) and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) have announced that Jonathan Shute has been awarded the Logan Student Prize for 2015. This annual prize is awarded jointly by GAC and PDAC to one undergraduate student at each Canadian Earth Science department. Students are selected for the prize based on demonstration of academic quality, leadership skills, and field school performance. Candidates for the prize were nominated by the Fletcher Geology Club with the final selection of the winner done by Faculty from among those nominated. The prize consists of a monetary award, one-year memberships in both GAC and PDAC, and a certificate of achievement. Jonathan will graduate in May with a BSc in Environmental Geoscience.
Jonathan in the field, Windsor, NS
30 March 2015
Science Atlantic Environment Conference
The conference was well attended (63 attendees) at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, 13-14 March this year. Dr. O’Driscoll attended with 9 students from Acadia (7 undergraduates and 2 graduates). Jillian Bennett and Michael Brophy presented their honours research in oral presentations. In addition Erin Mann and Sara Klapstein presented their PhD research. The opening speaker was Aboriginal Elder Albert Marshall who spoke about the need for merging traditional knowledge with science. The invited speaker was Marty Janowitz, the vice president of sustainable development at Stantec Consulting, who spoke about the need for increased collaboration, empathy, and global awareness.
Top Left to right: Dr. O’Driscoll, Adriana Pontalti
Bottom Left to right: Erin McKee, Rachel Clarke, Erin Mann, Sara Klapstein, Amanda Loder, Jillian Bennett, Micheal Brophy
(missing from picture Thora Christensen, Bailey Holmes)
19 March 2015
OERA funds Acadia students’ field trip travel
The Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA) announced that the OERA Student Research Travel Program has provided two Acadia students with funding to support their graduate studies in Geology. Laura MacNeil and Krista Kroeninger will be taking Peir Pufahl's course at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences focusing on sedimentology, oceanography and diagenesis of carbonate sediments and rocks in Bermuda.
"The OERA Student Research Travel Program is a valuable asset that can offer students who are interested in building their international networks to conduct new and exciting research, or attend advanced field schools which has the potential to contribute to Nova Scotia’s offshore petroleum and emerging marine renewable energy sectors," commented OERA Executive Director Stephen Dempsey.
11 March 2015
AGS Colloquium - Sackville, NB
On the snowy weekend of 30-31 January approximately 12 students and all the professors of Geology attended the Atlantic Geoscience Society colloquium at Mt. Allison University. Some of the highlights of the weekend included:
- papers by graduate student Laura MacNeil and undergraduate student Regan Maloney
- posters by undergraduate students Thomas Bagley, Erin McKee, Céline Porter, and graduate students Dewey Dunnington and Lisa Slaman
- a new map of Cape Breton Island by Sandra Barr, Chris White and others
- Cliff Stanley completed his term as president of the AGS
- heavy snow prevented the banquet speaker from arriving, but we were treated to an exposé on the Alex Colville mural by Mt. A. Dean of Science, Jeff Ollerhead, with several linkages to Acadia and Wolfville mentioned
- Dewey Dunnington won the Graham Williams award for the best graduate student poster
Dewey Dunnington receiving the Graham Williams Award from incoming AGS president John Calder.
9 February 2015
GIS Short Course
On Jan 4, 5 the Department of Earth and Environmental Science hosted a GIS Short Course that was attended by 33 students and faculty. The course was presented by Dewey Dunnington, a M.Sc. student in Geology, assisted by Karissa Reischke, a M.Sc. Applied Geomatics Student. This course was taught using QGIS, an open source GIS program and those taking the course learned how to create maps, manage geographical data, and perform data analysis. We hope to offer this course again in fall 2015.
6 January 2015
17 July 2015
Thesis Defence: Lisa Slaman, Candidate for the Master of Science (Geology)
Title: Petrology and Tectonic Setting of Plutonic Rocks in the Cheticamp Area, Western Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada
Location: Huggins Science Hall, Room 336, 2:00 p.m.
23 August - 1 Sept. 2015
GEOL 4083 Senior Field School
22-24 October 2015
AUGC, St. Mary's University
1 October 2015
Visiting Speaker: Dr. Jerome De Graff, US Forest Service (Retired); 2016 Jahns Distinguished Lecturer sponsored by the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists and the GSA Engineering Geology Division.
Title: Fire, earth & rain: emergency response for wildfire-induced landslide hazards
Location: Huggins Science Hall, Room 336, 4:00 p.m.
5-6 February 2016
AGS Colloquium, Holiday Inn, Truro