Changes at the helm
Effective 1 October, Rob Raeside will be moving to the Dean of Science office, as acting dean until next summer. Dr. Stanley will move into his office, and promises to keep everything on an even keel over the winter.
Through September the department has been involved in long-range planning exercises, out of which has arisen a plan to merge the Geology Department and the Environmental Science program. The merge will not be complete before July 2007, and should not affect any programs. It does provide an opportunity for closer cooperation between the two units.
22 September 2006
New projects in Nova
Scotia vineyards and groundwater.
Ian Spooner and Cliff Stanley have recently received funding for two new student research projects under way in the Geology Department. A contribution has been received from the Grape Growers Association of Nova Scotia (GGANS) to support the research of Rafael Cavalcanti de Albuquerque on the terroir of vineyards in southwestern Nova Scotia. Rafael, an honours student in Environmental Geoscience, is bringing a geological perspective to the study of the growing condition of grapes in the Annapolis Valley and South Shore, where he is investigating the relationship between the parent materials of the soil and the soil conditions, in particular its cation exchange capacity. In another study, funding has been received from Department of the Environment and Labour to support the study by Mary Samolczyk, an honours student in Environmental Science, into the distribution of uranium and arsenic in groundwaters in the Grand Pre region. Mary has also received grant funding jointly from ioGlobal and Acme Analytical Laboratories, offered to 'budding' students of applied geochemistry, in support of her honours thesis. Mary is being supervised by Ian Spooner, Cliff Stanley and Scott Lister, a graduate of the Acadia Environmental Science program, and now working at the Dept. of the Environment and Labour in Kentville as a hydrogeologist.
18 August 2006
You've heard of SIFT? Announcing SIMEW.
For 30 years, Acadia students have been attending SIFT (the Student-Industry Field Trip), where every year one student from the 3rd or 4th year class is provided with an expenses-paid two week trip to Calgary, to learn as much as possible about the energy industry and the geology of western Canada, courtesy of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists (CSPG). Participants always thrill to trip to the Drumheller Badlands, where dinosaur bones are seen right in the outcrop, or to the 4-day field trip through the Rockies and the subsequent fly-over to visualize the structures seen from the road. Add to that the Exploration Game and the visits to the head offices and labs of the oil and gas companies, and you have all the makings for an intense overview of a geologist's career.
In 2007, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) are launching SIMEW - the Student-Industry Mineral Exploration Workshop. This new and exciting initiative will be held in Sudbury in May 2007, and will provide participating students with an introduction to the mineral exploration industry. The workshop will introduce students to the mining cycle, involving lectures, presentations and practicum on mineral deposits, exploration techniques, geophysics, careers in geoscience, and legal, regulatory and environmental issues.
Stay in touch for more details on both SIFT and SIMEW in the upcoming year. In the meantime, check out the PDAC's web page compilation of all geoscience scholarships across Canada at www.pdac.ca (under section "Students").
18 July 2006
Appointments made for courses in 2006-07 academic
We are pleased to announce two appointments that have been made to teach courses in the upcoming year. Dr. David McMullin has been appointed to teach GEOL 3503 (Metamorphic Geology), parts of GEOL 1023 (Historical Geology), GEOL 1073 (Natural Disasters) and GEOL 2080 (Field Methods). While he has taught most of these courses in the past, the venture in metamorphic geology is new to him, and will allow him to teach in the area of his specialization. He has been preparing by working on a paper on the low grade metamorphism of the mafic rocks of southeastern Cape Breton Island - how may ways can you spell grotty and green?
Dr. Elisabeth Kosters has also been appointed to teach GEOL 2303 (Sedimentation and Stratigraphy) in the winter term. Dr. Kosters taught this course two years ago, and we look forward to having her return.
30 June 2006
Thesis Defence: Brent Lennox
On Tuesday, 20 June, Brent Lennox successfully defended his thesis on "Post-Glacial Climate Change and its Effect on the Thermal Structure and Habitat of a Shallow Dimictic Lage, Nova Scotia, Canada: A Chemographic and Lithostratigraphic Investigation". Brent collected mud cores from the bottom of Carcoran Lake, Lunenburg County, and measured the carbon and nitrogen isotopes, hydrogen index, and bulk density, and correlated these with the pollen preserved in the mud to determine the nature of climatic conditions since the last ice retreat. He discovered the expected warming trend of the Hypsithermal, interrupted by the cool events of the Younger Dryas and the freshwater outburst of 8200 years ago. Toward the top of the core he also was able to detect the climatic signal of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, although recent climate warming appears to be masked by the acidification of the lake. These factors are useful for the management of brook trout, which need cool, oxygenated waters in which to survive summer.
Brent is a graduate of the University of Toronto. He is completing his MSc degree under the supervision of Ian Spooner.
20 June 2006
Thesis Defence: Amanda
On Friday afternoon, 16 June, Amanda Blackmore successfully defended her thesis on "Groundwater Vulnerability to Potential Contamination in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia". In it she prepared a GIS-like model using DRASTIC, which incorporates Depth to water table, Recharge, Aquifer media, Soil media, Topography, Impact of the vadose zone, and hydraulic Conductivity to assess the vulnerability of an area should any contaminants be applied to it. Having separated the surficial units and aquifers from those associated with the bedrock, Amanda demonstrated that the valley floor is the most vulnerable area, in part because of its more permeable rocks and surficial deposits, and its lower topography.
Amanda is a graduate of the University of Guelph and the Centre of Geographic Sciences (CoGS) in Lawrencetown, NS. She is completing a joint MSc degree with CoGS and Acadia. Her thesis at Acadia was completed under the supervision of Ian Spooner (Acadia), Tim Webster (CoGS) and Christine Rivard (GSC-Quebec City).
16 June 2006
Webster appointed as new adjunct faculty member at Acadia
Tim Webster, a research scientist with the Applied Geomatics Research Group, Middleton campus of CoGS (Centre of Geographic Sciences), was appointed as our newest adjunct professor. Tim is a graduate of Acadia where he did his MSc degree on "Remote sensing and geographic information system analysis of the St. Marys Basin and surrounding areas, central Nova Scotia" in 1996. Subsequently he completed a PhD degree at Dalhousie University, while maintaining his position at CoGS. He is responsible for implementing applied geomatics research, specifically related to an infrastructure grant awarded to the Nova Scotia Community College by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, involving the design of the data collection process, negotiating contracts with data providers, writing the data specifications, and overseeing a field crew of eight people to collect ground reference data during the acquisition of airborne LIDAR and CASI imagery. The data processing includes LIDAR cleaning and building Digital Elevation Models in a GIS environment as well as applications such as flood and erosion modelling, CASI image validation and processing for chlorophyll-a mapping as well as applications in precision agriculture and forestry.
Tim has assisted in the supervision of theses at Acadia in the past, including that of Amanda Blackmore, who will defend on 16 June. We welcome him formally, although he has been part of Acadia informally for quite a while.
2 June 2006
Spooner part of
team on National Science Foundation Grant
Ian Spooner (Geology, Acadia University) is a co-applicant on a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant led by Ben Edwards (Dickinson College, PA) and Ian Skilling (University of Pittsburg, PA) that received $155,745 for a collaborative proposal to conduct volcanology/ paleoclimatology research in Canada.
Spooner, along with Edwards, Skilling and other researchers will travel to the Dease Lake area of northwestern British Columbia to examine deposits of volcanic rocks and sedimentary rocks that may have been formed more than 1 million years ago. Spooner has been conducting research in the area since 1990 and his work will focus on better constraining the timing of ancient glaciations, data required to better understand past climate dynamics. The research team plans to spend six weeks per summer for the next two summers conducting research.
1 June 2006
Department hosts visiting
scientists from UK and Ireland
For the past 6 years, visiting scientists from Britain and Ireland under the supervision of Brian Williams (University of Aberdeen) have been investigating the geology of the Triassic rocks of the Fundy Group. This summer post-doc Sophie Leleu (University of Aberdeen) and a team of four others from Manchester and University College Dublin are examining the Wolfville Formation with a view to understanding reservoir characterisation, correlations to Morocco and Ireland, and using Pb isotopes to trace the source of the sandstone.
31 May 2006
Heather Wolczanski wins Jérôme Remick
The Jérôme Remick Award is given for the three best posters at the GAC-MAC meeting each year. This year Heather Wolczanski (BSc Hons, 2006) won the third place award ($800) for her poster on 'Petrology and regional tectonic implications of The Wolves Islands, offshore southwestern New Brunswick', the subject of her honours thesis research. Heather was supervised by Sandra Barr, and this is the second year running one of her students won a Jerome Remick Award - Cameron Bartsch also won it in 2005 in Halifax.
21 May 2006
Geology alumni event in Calgary
Twenty graduates turned out to the first Geology alumni event in Calgary, held during the CSPG convention on 16 May. Capably organized by Gwen Nowosad, Acadia's woman in Calgary, a most enjoyable evening was held where alumni could renew their connections with Acadia and with each other. Rob Raeside, Peir Pufahl and Dean of Science, George Iwama, ventured west into the fray and gave a short presentation on Acadia today - lots of reminiscences about student days, field trips and field schools, and details of how the program is changing to reflect current needs in industry and skills of faculty. Peir showed us his plans for a Bermuda field course, to which industry delegates could be admitted.
In preparing for the trip, we discovered that 12% of our graduates since 1970 now reside in Alberta:
Thanks to all those who showed up - we hope to be back in the future!
17 May 2006
Fourteen students graduate at Spring
Acadia sent 14 graduates out into the world at the spring convocation on 15 May. Recipient of a M.Sc. degree was Lori Cook, while BSc (Honours) graduates were Ryan Toole and Heather Wolczanski. David Lowe, who graduated with a B.Sc. degree last year converted his degree to Honours. B.Sc. graduates were Tim Crowell, Adrian Davis, Janice DeMont, Jennifer Gignac, Josh Goss, Robert MacLean, Rory MacLean, Lauren MacLeod, Jill Payton, Rosalie Schop, and Ben Stormont.
15 May 2006
students receive awards for
research work and conference travel
Three Geology students were recipients of awards for thesis work and conference travel. Aaron Satkoski and Gabe Nelson, both MSc students, were awarded prestigious research grants valued at $2,000 (US) from the Geological Society of America to support their research projects. Aaron's thesis project, supervised by Dr. Sandra Barr, is an investigation of the chemical and samarium and neodymium isotopic compositions of Precambrian and Cambrian sedimentary rocks in the Caledonia Highlands of southern New Brunswick. The reviewers of his grant application judged his project to be "novel and innovative" and concluded that the research to be conducted is "convincingly significant". Gabe's thesis project, supervised by Dr. Peir Pufahl, is a study of the environmental constraints on the deposition of phosphorite rocks in the Precambrian of northern Michigan. The primary role of the GSA research grants program is to provide partial support of master's and doctoral thesis research in the geological sciences for graduate students at universities in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America. In 2005, 45% of the applicants received funding with the average award being $1533.
Heather Wolczanski, honours graduate in Geology this year, also received an award from the Mineralogical Association of Canada to assist her to travel to Montreal where she will present the findings of her thesis on "The Wolves - a missing link in New Brunswick Geology" at the annual meeting of the Geological and Mineralogical Associations. This award is made to only 6 students attending the national conference.
11 May 2006