Dr. Peir K Pufahl

Professor of Sedimentary Geology

Adjunct Professor: Queen’s University

Editor-in-Chief: Sedimentology

Associate Editor: Geology

Scientific Advisor: Geological Survey of Brazil’s (CPRM) Project Phosphate

Office Location: HSH 333

Phone: (902) 585-1858

Email: peir.pufahl@acadiau.ca


Peir Pufahl (Ph.D) leads an international, multidisciplinary research program focused on the sedimentology and economic geology of bioelemental sediments. Bioelemental sediments include phosphorite, iron formation, and chert, which are precipitates of the nutrient elements P, Fe, and Si. These rocks are economically important because they are used in the manufacture of fertilizer and steel, and are important hydrocarbon reservoirs. Since bioelemental sediments actively participate in Earth system evolution they record the interplay between climate, meteorology, and ocean circulation on nutrient cycling and environmental change.

My students use a process oriented, interdisciplinary approach to solve sedimentologic problems that result in manuscripts published in high-quality peer-reviewed journals. International and Canadian-based thesis research interprets the sedimentology, stratigraphy, and geochemistry of bioelemental sediments to understand Earth history and create state-of-the-art exploration models for industry.

It is an exciting time for my research group with the construction of our new CFI-funded lab, which focuses on the petrogenesis of sedimentary ore deposits.  Working closely with Acadia’s Office of Advancement and industry to establish a NSERC Senior Industrial Research Chair will help Canada become a global leader in fertilizer research.



NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow Queen’s University 2005. Pliocene cool-water carbonates in South Australia.

Ph.D. University of British Columbia 2002. Cretaceous phosphorites in Jordan.

M.Sc. Lakehead University 1996. Paleoproterozoic iron formation in the Lake Superior region.

B.Sc. (Honours) Lakehead University 1994.


Awards and Honours

Discovery Award Professional of Distinction Finalist

Fellow Society of Economic Geologists

Atlantic Geoscience Society Distinguished Lecturer

PetroCanada Young Innovator Award

Acadia Student Union Teaching Award


Industry Courses

Economic significance and petrogenesis of phosphorite.

Iron ore genesis, exploration, and production.


Undergraduate Teaching

GEOL 1033 General Oceanography

GEOL 2213 History of Life

GEOL 3323 Carbonate Sedimentology and Reservoir Development

GEOL 4303 Field School: Pleistocene and Modern Carbonates of Bermuda


Graduate Seminars

GEOL 5303 Carbonate Diagenesis

GEOL 5913 Advanced Sequence Stratigraphy

GEOL 5923 Precambrian Oceanography



2016 CFI-NSRIT John R. Evans Leaders Fund.  Petrogenesis Laboratory for Sedimentary Ore Deposits.

2015 ELAP Grant for Graduate Studies Support. Characterization of phosphatic ores, central Brazil.

2015-2018 NERC Standard Grant. Feast or famine? Bioinorganic chemistry and nutrient crises in Precambrian basins. Collaborator with PI Nicholas Tosca, The University of Oxford.

2014 Vetria Inc. Depositional controls on Neoproterozoic iron formation in western Brazil.

2014 Nova Scotia Museum Grant for Graduate Studies Support. Paleoecology of the Carboniferous Windsor Group, Nova Scotia.

2012 MbAC Corp. Sedimentology of economic phosphorite, central Brazil.

2012-2017 NSERC Discovery Grant. Sedimentary phosphorite, fertilizer ore, and the evolving P cycle.

2011-2013 Harrison McCain. Evolution of phosphogenic systems through Earth history.

2012 Geological Survey of Western Australia. Sedimentology of Paleoproterozoic iron formation, central Western Australia.

2010-2018 Geological Survey of Brazil. Exploration and production of phosphatic ores in Brazil.

2009 LabMag Inc. Sedimentology and paleoceanography of Paleoproterozoic iron formation, Labrador and Quebec.

2008 ArcherCathro Inc. Petrogenesis of the NiMo deposit, Yukon.

2007 NSERC Research tools and Instruments.  Cathodoluminescence system and spectrometer.

2007-2012 NSERC Discovery Grant. Chemical sedimentology of Paleoproterozoic phosphorite and iron formation.

2006 Kennecott Inc. Paleoenvironmental significance of Precambrian phosphorite, Michigan.


Refereed Book Chapters

Hiatt, E.E. and Pufahl, P.K., 2014. Chapter 5: Cathodoluminescence petrography of carbonate rocks: a review of applications for understanding diagenesis, reservoir quality, and pore system evolution, In Coulsen, I.M. (ed.), Cathodoluminescence and its Application to Geoscience, Mineralogical Association of Canada, 75-96. Invited

Pufahl, P.K., 2010.  Bioelemental Sediments, In James, N.P. and Dalrymple, R.W. (eds.), Facies Models, 4th Edition, Geological Association of Canada, 477-504.  Invited

James, N.P., Kendall, A.C, and Pufahl, P.K., 2010.  Introduction to Bioelemental Sediments. In James, N.P. and Dalrymple, R.W. (eds.), Facies Models, 4th Edition, Geological Association of Canada, 323-340.


Selected Refereed Journal Papers

Caird, R.A., Pufahl, P.K., Hiatt, E.E., Abram, M.B., Dourado, A.R., Kyser, T.K., 2017. Ediacaran stromatolites and intertidal phosphorite of the Salitre Formation, Brazil: phosphogenesis and the Neoproterozoic Oxygenation Event.  Sedimentary Geology, 350, 55-71.

Pufahl, P.K. and Hiatt, E.E., 2017.  Sedimentary and igneous phosphorite deposits: formation and exploration.  Economic Geology, 112, 1-34.  Invited

Ó Gogáin, A., Falcon-Lang, H.J., Carpenter, D.K., Miller, R., Benton, M.J., Pufahl, P.K., Ruta, M., Davies, T., Hinds, S.J., Stimson, M., 2016. Fish and tetrapod communities across a marine to brackish salinity gradient in the Pennsylvanian (early Moscovian) Minto Formation of New Brunswick, Canada, and their palaeoecological and paleogeographic implications.  Palaeontology, 59, 689-724. 

Tosca, N.J., Guggenheim, S., Pufahl, P.K., 2016.  An authigenic origin for Precambrian greenalite: implications for iron formation and the chemistry of ancient seawater.  GSA Bulletin, 128, 511-530.

Drummond, J.B.R., Pufahl, P.K., Porto, C.G., and Carvalho, M., 2015.  Neoproterozoic peritidal phosphorite from the Sete Lagoas Formation (Brazil) and the Precambrian phosphorus cycle.  Sedimentology, 62, 1978-2008.

Falcon-Lang, H., Pufahl, P.K., Bashforth, A., Gibling, M., Miller, R. and Minter, N. 2015.  A marine incursion in the Lower Pennsylvanian Tynemouth Creek Foration, Canada: implications for paleogeography, stratigraphy and paleoecology.  Palaios, 30, 779-791.

Raye, U., Pufahl, P.K., Kyser, T.K., Ricard, E., and Hiatt, E.E., 2015.  The role of sedimentology, oceanography, and alteration on the d56Fe value of the Sokoman Iron Formation, Labrador Trough, Canada.  Geochimica et Cosomochimica Acta, 164, 205-220.

Hiatt, E.E., Pufahl, P.K., and Edwards, C.T., 2015.  Sedimentary phosphate and associated fossil bacteria in a Paleoproterozoic tidal flat in the 1.85 Ga Michigamme Formation, Michigan, USA.  Sedimentary Geology, 319, 24-39.

Spooner, I., Pufahl, P.K., Brisco, T., Morrow, J., Nalepa, M., Williams, P., and Stevens, G., 2015.  The North structure: evidence for a possible second impact near the Bloody Creek site, Nova Scotia, Canada.  Atlantic Geology, 51, 44-50.

Pufahl, P.K., Anderson, S.L., and Hiatt, E.E., 2014.  Dynamic sedimentation of Paleoproterozoic continental margin iron formation, Labrador Trough, Canada: paleoenvironments and sequence stratigraphy.  Sedimentary Geology, 309, 48-65.

Pufahl, P.K., Pirajno, F., and Hiatt, E.E., 2013.  Riverine mixing and fluvial iron formation: a new type of Precambrian biochemical sediment. Geology, 41, 1235-1238.

Akin, S.J., Pufahl, P.K., Hiatt, E.E., and Pirajno, F., 2013.  Oxygenation of shallow marine environments and chemical sedimentation in Paleoproterozoic peritidal settings: Frere Formation, Western Australia.  Sedimentology, 60, 1559-1799.

Eriksson, P.G., Banerjee, S., Catuneanu, O., Corcoran, P.L., Eriksson K.A., Hiatt, E.E., Laflamme, M., Lenhardt, N., Long, D.G.F., Miall, A.D., Mints, M.V., Pufahl, P.K., Sarkar, S., Simpson, E.L., Williams, G.E., 2013. Secular changes in sedimentation systems and sequence stratigraphy. Gondwana Research, 24, 468-489. Invited

Grey, M., Finkel, Z.V., Pufahl, P.K., and Reid, L.M., 2012. Evolutionary mode of the ostracod, Velatomorpha altilis, at Joggins Fossil Cliffs UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lethaia, 45, 615-623.

Edwards, C.T., Pufahl, P.K., and Hiatt, E.E., 2012.  Paleoenvironmental and taphonomic controls on the occurrence of Paleoproterozoic microbial communities in the 1.88 Ga Ferriman Group, Labrador Trough, Canada.  Precambrian Research, 212-213, 91-106.

Pufahl, P.K. and Hiatt, E.E., 2012.  Oxygenation of the Earth’s atmosphere-ocean system: physical and chemical sedimentologic responses.  Marine and Petroleum Geology, 32, 1-20. Invited

Zentmyer, R.A., Pufahl, P.K., James, N.P., and Hiatt, E.E., 2011.  Dolomitization on an evaporitic Paleoproterozoic ramp: widespread synsedimentary dolomite in the Denault Formation, Labrador Trough, Canada. Submitted to Sedimentary Geology, 238, 16-131.

Grey, M. and Pufahl, P.K., and Aziz, A., 2011.  Using multiple environmental proxies to determine degree of marine influence and paleogeographical position of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs UNESCO World Heritage Site. Palaios, 26, 256-263.

Pufahl, P.K., Hiatt, E.E., and Kyser, T.K., 2011. Does the Paleoproterozoic Animikie Basin record the sulfidic ocean transition? REPLY. Geology Forum, e242-e243.

Pufahl, P.K., Hiatt, E.E., and Kyser, T.K., 2010. Does the Paleoproterozoic Animikie Basin record the sulfidic ocean transition? Geology, 38, 659-662.

Nelson, G.J. and Pufahl, P.K., and Hiatt, E.E. 2010. Paleooceanographic constraints on Precambrian phosphorite accumulation, Baraga Group, Michigan, USA. Sedimentary Geology, 226, 9-21.

Spooner, I.S., Stevens, G., Morrow, J.R., Pufahl, P.K., Grieve, R., Raeside, R.P., Pilon, J., Stanley, C.R. Barr, S.M., and McMullin, D., 2009.  Identification of the Bloody Creek structure, possible bolide impact crater in south-western Nova Scotia, Canada. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 44, 1193-1202.

Pufahl, P.K., Hiatt, E.E., Stanley, C.R., Morrow, J.R., Nelson, G.J., and Edwards, C.T., 2007. Physical and chemical evidence of the 1850 Ma Sudbury impact event in the Baraga Group, Michigan. Geology, 35, 827-830.

Sadaqah, R.M., Abed, A.M., Grimm, K.A., and Pufahl, P.K., 2007.  Oxygen and carbon isotopes in Jordanian phosphorites and associated fossils.  Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 29, 803-812.

Pufahl, P.K., James, N.P., Kyser, T.K., Lukasik, J.J., and Bone, Y., 2006.  Brachiopods in epeiric seas as monitors of secular changes in ocean chemistry: a Miocene example from the Murray Basin, South Australia. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 76, 926-941.

Pufahl, P.K. and James, N.P., 2006. Monospecific Plicoene oyster buildups, Murray Basin, South Australia: brackish water end member of the reef spectrum. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeocology, 233, 11-33.

Fralick, P.W. and Pufahl, P.K., 2006.  Shallow water iron formation-deltaic sequences: microbially mediated deposition of TST’s in the Neoarchean of Superior Province, Canada. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 76, 1057-1066.

Pufahl, P.K., James, N.P., Bone, Y., and Lukasik, J.J., 2004. Pliocene sedimentation in a shallow, cool-water, estuarine gulf, Murray Basin, South Australia. Sedimentology, 51, 997-1027.

Pufahl, P.K. and Fralick, P.W., 2004, Depositional controls on Paleoproterozoic iron formation accumulation, Gogebic Range, Lake Superior Region, USA. Sedimentology, 51, 791-808.

Pufahl, P.K. and Grimm, K.A., 2003. Coated phosphate grains: Proxy for physical, chemical and ecological changes in sea water. Geology, 31, 801-804.

Pufahl, P.K., Grimm, K.A., Abed, A.M., and Sadaqah, R.M.Y., 2003. Upper Cretaceous phosphorites in Jordan: implications for the formation of a south Tethyan phosphorite giant. Sedimentary Geology, 161, 175-205.