Archive of news items - 2010

Ian Spooner interviewed about the Bloody Creek impact on CBC


For several years Ian Spooner has coordinated a team of researchers including most of the faculty in the Geology program at Acadia University investigating the Bloody Creek impact structure south of Bridgetown, NS. On 15 January, CBC News provincially and nationally broadcast a short clip about the site, the potential it has for explaining the extinction of Ice Age megafauna, clips from a fly-over above the crater site, and showing Ian at work in the field and in the lab. You can watch the clip here.

Sandra Barr explains the "Chinese ruins" on Kellys Mountain

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/barr-kellymtn.jpgOver a year ago, Dr. Sandra Barr participated in the filming of a documentary on the supposed Chinese ruins in Kellys Mountain in Cape Breton Island described by author Paul Chiasson in his book "The Island of Seven Cities".  The documentary entitled "Mysterious Ruins: Cape Breton", produced by Ellis Entertainment Corporation, aired for the first time on the History Channel on December 11th.  Dr. Barr and archaeologist Dr. Stephen Davis (Professor Emeritus, Saint Mary's University) were invited to participate to provide expert opinion on the evidence (or lack thereof) for the existence of the ruins, which Paul Chiasson claims were made by Chinese visitors prior to the arrival of Columbus in the Americas.  During the filming of the documentary it was apparent to both Dr. Barr and Dr. Davis that no evidence exists on Kellys Mountain for the supposed "ruins", and both said so in the documentary, but their explanations are mostly ignored in the film.  In particular, the rectangular supposed foundations for Chinese buildings are remnants of drilling platforms during exploration of the area in the late 1980s for possible development of a quarry on the mountain, and the supposed Chinese road was made by a bulldozer.  Such basic facts were not included in the documentary, showing once again that one should not necessary believe what one sees or hears in the media!
16 December 2010

Sara Akin to participate in ExxonMobil summer internship

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/Sara ExxonMobil.jpgCongratulations to Sara Akin, graduate student in Geology, for securing a coveted ExxonMobil summer internship! Sara is looking forward to spending time at work in St. John's, Newfoundland, where she will learn about the petroleum industry. Here she is shown working in the field on her M.Sc. thesis in Western Australia, which is supervised by Dr. Peir Pufahl.
25 November 2010

Environmental Science programs gain accredited status

Acadia University is pleased to report that its Environmental Science program is one of the first three such programs in Canada to receive formal accreditation. An accreditation team from the Canadian Environmental Accreditation Commission visited Acadia in September, and evaluated the program, facilities, expertise of professors, opinions of employers and career paths of graduates to ensure qualifications are being met, in the same way that other professional programs like engineering or chemistry are evaluated.

The accreditation process assesses the overall quality of the program, facilities and personnel at Acadia, to ensure that the education our students receive is relevant to the needs of industry, government and other partners and that they have all the skills needed to be successful environmental scientists.  It provides an independent confirmation that Acadia delivers a high quality environmental science program at both the major and honours level.

Acadia has offered an environmental science program since 1995, being the first university in the Maritime Provinces to do so, and has graduated over 160 students from its major and honours programs since then. See also the Acadia news release with further information.
25 November 2010

Macleans takes a field trip


In preparation for its annual review of universities, Macleans visited Acadia in October and did some photoshoots. Joining the second year Geomorphology class, they learned about some of the intricacies of beach and river processes. Here Dr. Spooner leads an intrepid group across the marsh, with rearguard action by Prof. C. Pufahl. Image published in Macleans, with caption, "Take a field trip: in general, students at small schools, like these at Acadia University, report higher levels of satisfaction than those in urban metropolises."
22 November 2010

AUGC 2010 - Acadia University

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/afiqahAUGC.jpgThe Fletcher Geology Club and Department of Earth and Environmental Science hosted the 60th Annual Atlantic Universities Geological Conference (AUGC) on Nov. 28-30th. The conference was attended by approximately 85 students from Acadia, Dalhousie, Memorial, Saint Mary's, Saint Francis Xavier, and UNB. In addition to social events, the conference included three different field trips led by Acadia professors on Friday and student presentations on Saturday, including 18 oral presentations - the most ever at an AUGC - and seven posters. At the closing banquet on Saturday evening, Acadia honours geology student Nor Afiqah Mohamad Radzi was awarded the Imperial Oil best poster prize for her poster on her honours thesis research entitled "Petrography of stratigraphic units in the subsurface in the Phetchabun Basin, Thailand", supervised by Dr. Sandra Barr. For a more complete report on the conference visit this page.

Nor Afiqah Mohamad Radzi receiving the Imperial Oil poster award from Sarah Trend of Imperial Oil Resources, St. John's, NL.

3 November 2010

A visit to the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/recent/FortuneHeadBoundary.jpgSandra Barr recently had an opportunity to visit the internationally recognized "global stratotype" (type section) for the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary at Fortune Head, Newfoundland. In the photograph her left hand is on the boundary (age 542 million years). This site was selected because sediment deposition was continuous across the boundary at this location. Evidence of abundant life on the sea floor in the form of trace fossils begins about 2 metres (a few million years) above this boundary in the Early Cambrian. The field trip was organized by the Newfoundland Section of the Geological Association of Canada.
[Click on image for larger version.]
12 October 2010


2009 Grads at Work in Arizona


Stephanie Anderson and Kieran McDonald now live in Tucson, Arizona.  Stephanie is enjoying working in the copper mine, where she is employed with ASARCO.  She has also had a couple of other job offers, which she says is nice! Kieran has started a M.Sc. under the direction of Marc Brusseau at the University of Arizona. His project focuses on the hydrogeology/ environmental science on mining pollution on the aquifers under Tuscon.
30 September 2010

Geology field studies in Cape Breton Islandtl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/capesmoky.gif

Fifteen students accompanied Sandra Barr and Rob Raeside on a geological tour of Cape Breton Island on the second weekend of term. In spite of a drive through heavy rain to get there, they enjoyed perfect weather for the investigation of terrane relationships in the Appalachians, including a drive down a subduction zone as they climbed into the Highlands, a two-minute traverse of the Canadian Shield (Blair River Inlier), and spectacular columnar jointing in rhyolite, cross-bedding in sandstone, and waves at Louisbourg. They were joined by Mike Young (and Ginger) from Dalhousie, and all still seemed to be smiling (and learning!) even at stop 25!  Here five graduate students (Jean-Luc, Sara, Hilary, Robert and Ronald experiment with some cross-cutting relationships atop Cape Smoky (Cambrian granite).
Photos by Nor Afiqah Mohamad Radzi
23 September 2010

EnvSci major studying in New Zealand

Dewey Dunnington (on left, below) has opted to take his penultimate term at the University of Auckland. He writes:

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/dewey-nz.jpgGreetings from New Zealand! As a fourth year environmental science major at Acadia, I spent quite a bit of time looking at pictures of New Zealand in powerpoints, and decided to give the place a look over myself by spending a semester there during my fourth year. At the University of Auckland, I was not disappointed. So far classes have entailed a week-long field trip conducting a hydrological study, and day trips to a restored wetland and a restored island bird reserve, not to mention travels outside of class to the volcanoes near Lake Taupo and the volcanic terrain of the north island. The next round of adventures includes the mountains, glaciers and fjords of the south island, and even though it took me a trip halfway around the world to fully realize it, I'm glad I have three years of Acadia Environmental Science to draw from looking out onto the landscape. Kia Ora!
16 September 2010

E&ES majors star in Acadia's opening football game

As reported in The Chronicle Herald, Kyle Graves (Geology) threw two touch-down passes to Stu Clow (Environmental Science) for the only two majors in the game.


Photo Caption:Greg Daly, left, and Jeff Hecht of St. Mary’s tackle Acadia’s Stu Clow during AUS football action in Wolfville on Saturday. Clow scored two touchdowns in Acadia’s 17-7 win.
Stu Clow was subsequently declared "athlete of the week".
12 September 2010

Acadia professor participates in 40th "Eurogranite" event

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/granite-whitepoint.jpgSandra Barr led a group of about 20 geologists from 9 different countries on a 3-day geological tour of Cape Breton Island, Sept. 2-4.  It was the 40th anniversary of "Eurogranites", an annual get-together of international experts on the origin and evolution of granitic rocks, and the first time that the event had been held outside Europe. The participants were interested to see the varied (more than 60 bodies with different ages and/or chemical characteristics) granites exposed on the island.  Luckily the rain and wind associated with Hurricane Earl held off until the very last field stop, and provided a rather dramatic ending to the field trip.
6 September 2010

Acadia hosts project students from Cambridge

Over the summer the E&ES department was pleased to provide local support for five venturous summer students from Cambridge University in England. As part of their degree program, they are required to find somewhere in the world to map for 28 days, and this group of Christine, Ekbal, Charlie, Aaron and Becky chose the intriguing complexities of the White Rock-Lumsdens Dam area, where slates a-plenty are interbedded with quartzite marker horizons, folded into a plunging anticline, intruded and contact metamorphosed by the South Mountain Granite and overlain by the Triassic sandstones. In two groups, these students set out to conquer the wilderness (so many trees!), battle the aggressive wildlife (horseflies were their worst enemy) and intrigue the local population as they appeared out of ditches, looking for that one critical outcrop. We enjoyed having them around for the summer!
18 August 2010

Leah Chiste goes to Chile for samples


Geology honours candidate Leah Chiste and her supervisor, Cliff Stanley, travelled to Chile collect material for Leah's thesis project on the techniques of partial digestion in geochemical analysis.
     While in Chile, they sampled six different sites at the Toki Cluster of copper deposits near Calama, in the north of the country. They sampled every 10 cm down trenches about 2 m deep and got absolutely dust-coated in the windy Atacama Desert. Sponsored by CODELCO, they found the company welcoming and eager to help with the project. Leah writes, "It seemed like a wonderful place to work and I hope I get the opportunity to work with them again. I got to explore some of Santiago after the sampling was completed. Some of the things I saw in Santiago were the Concha y Toro Vineyard, the Los Dominicos Market and the Universidad de Chile. It was a beautiful city and I wish I could have had more time than just two days there."
     Here Leah is standing outside the Las Torres underground station, with a fantastic view of the snow covered Andes in the background.
5 August 2010

Acadia Professor carries the flag at Moncton IAAF Games

Professor Sandra Barr was honored to serve as one of six flag bearers for the Opening Ceremony of the IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick on July 19th.  The flag bearers were chosen for the lasting impression they have made in the world of sports in New Brunswick, Canada, and the world. They had the privilege of marching in the IAAF flag, following the parade of athletes, in front of a live audience of thousands of spectators and millions of television viewers around the world. 
More details on the Moncton 2010 website, including biographies of the flag bearers.
20 July 2010

Thesis Defence - David Swanton

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/people/Swanton_09.jpgDavid Swanton successfully defended his thesis on 16 July before examiners John Waldron, Chris White, Rob Raeside, and Sandra Barr. Entitled "Field relationships, petrology, tectonic setting and economic potential of metamorphic and igneous rocks in the Whycocomagh Mountain-Aberdeen Ridge area, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia", he used the results of his mapping to demonstrate that the entire area lies within the Bras d'Or terrane, that rocks previously mapped as gneiss are in fact Late Neoproterozoic contact metamorphic rocks, and that the quartzite on the Aberdeen ridge is extensively mylonitized - although not apparently as part of any terrane-bounding shear zone system.
   David is working this summer on the Yukon-Alaska border, and will return there after making any corrections to his thesis.
19 July 2010

Jennie Pick learns environmental stewardship on 4H exchange in England
Jennie was sponsored by the W. Garfield Weston Foundation as one of three Canadian delegates who spent a week in each of three different England counties. Living each week with a different host family involved in agriculture allowed her also to enjoy different cultural experiences across the country, but found all were very concerned with environmental stewardship. The exchange will benefit her honours thesis at Acadia where she will use the approaches in England as a model for incorporating ecosystem services into agricultural land management. She also looks forward to hosting a delegate from the United Kingdom in October and introducing her to Nova Scotia and Acadia University.

Jennie atop Warwick Castle with the cathedral in the background.

14 July 2010

What attracts applicants to university Environmental Science programs?

See Academica Group's UCAS White Paper, "Attracting Students to Environmental Science," a survey of 150,000 Canadian students applying to University this year. "EnviroSci applicants are pragmatic careerists, attracted by co-op and undergraduate research opportunities, as well as ease of admission. But they also appreciate their own environment – campus food services, residences, and off-campus urban life."
     The same study also shows that applicants to Science programs in general are attracted by high-profile research and the opportunity to participate in research, the latest technology, and merit-based scholarships. See White Paper 5 for more details.
8, 13 July 2010

Peir Pufahl publishes in Geology on Precambrian oceanography
Dr. Peir Pufahl and collaborators from the University of Wisconsin and Queen's published in the latest issue of Geology (vol. 38, pages 659-662) on the Paleoproterozoic sulfidic ocean transition. This oceanographic event occurred ~1.8 billion years ago and is likely responsible for nearly a one billion year hiatus in the evolution of eukaryotes. The Animikie Basin of the Lake Superior region (see map) in North America has become the benchmark for understanding this transition.  Pufahl and colleagues show that the Animikie Basin does not contain an accurate record of this oceanographic change, calling into question the timing of this important event in early Earth history.
25 June 2010

Gulf oil leak clean-up involves Acadia ENVS grads
tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/c-mcintyre.jpgAcadia Environmental Science graduates Scott Ryan ('05, '08) and Claire McIntyre ('09) have been working on the response effort for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Claire and Scott are representing the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and are providing assistance to British Petroleum in the relief effort. Their work includes providing small particle analysis and fluorescence analysis data that are critical in determining the effectiveness of the use of chemical dispersants in oil spills. The research is conducted aboard the research vessel RV Brooks McCall. The data collected by the science team is utilized by the U.S. EPA and BP and is accessible to the public via the web.
22 June 2010

Goldschmidt Conference, Knoxville, Tennessee
Cliff Stanley attended the Goldschmidt 2010 conference, named after the 'father of geochemistry' Victor Goldschmidt, in Knoxville, Tennessee in June. There, he presented a lecture entitled "Documenting the Physicochemical and Thermodynamic Changes Associated with all Possible Geochemical Reactions in Rocks Using Gale Vector Space" in a session entitled "Simulation of Metamorphic Processes - Theory, Experiments, and Numerical Models". In July, Cliff will be heading to Chile with honours student Leah Chiste to collect samples for her honours thesis in the Toki porphyry copper district outside Calama, Chile. This project is supported by a number of sources, including CODELCO, Chile's national copper mining company.
21 June 2010

CUESN meetings in Toronto
The Canadian Universities Environmental Science Network met at George Brown College in Toronto in early June. Linda Lusby was chair of CUESN until December, and Rob Raeside attended on behalf of the department. A major item of discussion was in impending accreditation of programs (Acadia hopes to participate this fall). While there, Rob enjoyed presentations by several environmental practitioners, and was especially impressed by the work and talk by David Miller, Mayor of Toronto, who has spearheaded major new practices in the city (green roofs, cladding on high rises, expanded subway, Lake Ontario deep water cooling, new streetcars, etc.) See Living Green in Toronto.
15 June 2010

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/news/ouropreto.jpg Peir Pufahl presents in Brazil
Dr. Peir Pufahl recently travelled to Ouro Preto Brazil to attend Simexmin 2010, Brazil's national conference on mining and mineral exploration. Dr. Pufahl is a leading chemical sedimentologist and was invited by the Society of Economic Geologists to present a talk and short-course on phosphorite exploration. Phosphorite is the primary source of phosphorus for fertilizer manufacture. The discovery of new phosphate deposits is critical since current reserves are projected to last only another 30 to 40 years.
7 June 2010

Graduate Award Winner
Robin Westland, graduate from the BSc (Geology)program this spring, has received the Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship award of $17,500 to pursue graduate studies. She will be starting at Queen's University in the fall, studying mineralogy with Dr. Ron Peterson. Congratulations, Robin!
28 May 2010

Gabe Nelson's thesis published in Sedimentary Geology
Former graduate student of Peir Pufahl, Gabe Nelson, had the results of his MSc research at Acadia published in Sedimentary Geology. The work provides new information on the biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus in the early Earth. Gabe is currently employed as a research scientist with Geoscience Australia. The full citation for his paper is: Nelson, G.J., Pufahl, P.K., and Hiatt, E.E., 2010. Paleoceanographic constraints on Precambrian phosphorite accumulation, Baraga Group, USA. Sedimentary Geology, v. 226, p. 9-21.
20 May 2010

CARE lab receives funding
Nelson O'Driscoll's CARE (Centre for Analytical Research on the Environment) lab received 2009-2010 funding from the Acadia Ducks Unlimited Canada Partnership grant, and Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada as part of the CARA mercury science program. The $57,000 award will be used to investigate the paths by which mercury is taken up in marshes and wildlife. Nelson also received NSERC CREATE funding in collaboration with researchers at St. FX and Memorial universities to engage graduate students entering the workforce to meet the challenges imposed by a changing climate.
20 May 2010

Bloody Creek meteor impact crater, near Bridgetown, NS
Ian Spooner, Trevor Brisco (Acadia Honours B.Sc.) and co-supervisors Peir Pufahl (Acadia) and Jared Morrow (University of California, Santa Barbara) established that a multiple meteor impact event occurred in Southwest Nova Scotia. The Bloody Creek impact crater near Bridgetown Nova Scotia was the subject of a recent publication in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Sciences and is confirmed as one of only three low angle impact structures on Earth.
20 May 2010

Acadia at GeoCanada 2010
Several members of the E&ES department attended the GeoCanada 2010 conference in Calgary in May. Sandra Barr presented a paper on acritarchs in Cape Breton Island, Cole Edwards presented findings from his MSc thesis on the fossil microbial communities in the Labrador Trough, and Trevor Brisco discussed the Bloody Creek impact structure.
18 May 2010

CSEG Challenge Bowl - Leah and Alex runners up!
Leah Chiste and Alex Kaul participated in the 2010 CSEG Challenge Bowl at GeoCanada 2010, succeeding right to the final where they took the second place, losing out to a team composed of a PhD student in Geophysics and an MSc student in Sedimentology from the University of Western Ontario. Well done - especially since only one of you has actually taken a Geophysics course!
18 May 2010

2010 Graduates celebrate
A total of 27 graduates who have graced the halls of Huggins this past few (or several) years were eligible to cross the stage of Convocation Hall in May:
MSc (Geology): Cole Edwards, Edwin Escarraga and Tamara Moss
MSc (Applied Geomatics): Kathryn Leblanc
BSc (Honours, Environmental Science): Jillian Hanmore, Emma Hebb, Kelly Moores and Miranda Saroli
BSc (Honours Geology): Annas Abdul Aziz, Trevor Brisco, Vince Doucette, Alex Kaul, Harun Alrashid, Chris Stevens
BSc (Environmental Science): Scott Cassidy, Jeff Sutherland, Ben Sweet
BSc (Geology): Kate Albright, Chancy Cheng, Mark Dufault, Cassie Gaudet, Jeremy Kozlowski, Dan Lake, Kyle Pedersen, Joalan Pinto, Ned Welty, Robin Westland.
Congratulations to all, and especially to Jillian Hanmore and Trevor Brisco, the recipients of the University Medals in Environmental Science and Geology, respectively.
17 May 2010

Congratulations to Jennie Pick, recipient of the Beveridge Scholarship
Jennie is the recipient of the Beveridge scholarship for the year 2010-11 academic year. This prestigious award is made to one student entering the senior year of his/her program in the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science and intending to proceed to graduate studies.
14 May 2010

Jean-Luc Pilote wins research grant from the Geol. Soc. America
MSc candidate in Geology Jean-Luc Pilote has been awarded a prestigious grant from the Geological Society of America in support of his MSc thesis project.
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. Jean-Luc's successful application to GSA is entitled "Petrology, petrogenesis, tectonic implications and economic potential of the Landry Brook and Dickie Brook plutons, northern New Brunswick, Canada". His work is supervised by Professor Sandra Barr of the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Acadia University.
15 April 2010

Year-end banquet
On Saturday, 27 March, students from the Fletcher Club and the ESSO gathered in the Clark Commons to celebrate the end of the year.  Following a delicious turkey dinner, we were treated to a retrospect review of the year with scores of pictures of budding environmental scientists and geologists in actions, in all sorts of ways. The year-before-our-eyes review was accompanied by live music from Leah, Alex, Chancy and Janine.



Students recognised as winners of awards and scholarships included (left to right) Matt Pitts, Harun Alrashid, Chancy Cheng, Nor Afiqah Mohamad Radzi, Robin Westland, Annas Abdul Aziz, Jennie Pick.
     The FGC presented the department with a beautiful sample of azurite and chrysocola, engraved with the class year - you can see it on display in the cabinet outside the main classroom in Huggins third floor.
31 March 2010

APICS, St. John's NL
Environmental Science Honours students Jillian Hanmore, Emma Hebb, Kelly Moores and Miranda Saroli attended the APICS conference March 5-6 in St. John's, accompanied by Dr. Nelson O'Driscoll.
All four students were in the running for the oral presentation award. Good work!!
16 March 2010

Luke Marshall attends the Petroleum Geoscience Field Methods courses in Trinidad


Luke depth-sounding the channel morphology in the Caroni Delta waters

The Petroleum Geoscience Field Methods course led by Dr. Grant Wach of Dalhousie University embarked on an annual field trip to Trinidad during Study Break 2010 to study the petroleum systems of the Trinidad basins fed by the Caroni Delta. The trip was mainly sponsored by Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Shell, with supporting funding from Petrotrin, BP T&T, Imperial Oil, Ten Degrees North, and comprised ten students from Dalhousie University, and one student from each of Acadia, St. Mary’s, and St. Francis Xavier Universities. Trinidad has been active in oil and gas exploration and production for nearly a century. Areas of study included: oil seeps, exposed oil reservoirs, the Pitch Lake, mud volcanoes, offshore drill cores, and deltaic depositional outcrops containing linked delta top, delta front and prodelta facies successions. These outcrops are analogous to the basins offshore Nova Scotia and provide an invaluable resource for students to conduct basin/reservoir research.  See more details and photos on this page.
9 March 2010


Atlantic Geoscience Society Colloquium, Wolfville
About 16 Geology, Applied Geomatics, Environmental Science and Biology students and 5 Geology faculty participated in this conference (many of them were involved in running it!) Nearly 200 delegates attended from all across the Atlantic provinces, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Colorado, Wales and China. Winners of the Graham Williams award for best poster were: Harun Alrashid (first place), Chancy Chang and Alexander Kaul (honourable mentions) - all Acadia students. Rob Raeside was also awarded the Distinguished Service Award of the Society.
8 February 2010


Some of the Acadia participants at the Colloquium (left to right Chancy Cheng, honorable mention poster; Biniam Tesfay; Kara-Lynn Scallion, grad of 2008; Dr. Cliff Stanley; Leah Chiste; Harun Alrashid, winner poster award).


Rob Raeside receiving the Laing Ferguson Distinguished Service Award from Mike Parsons.

SETAC Conference, New Orleans
Congratulations to Sam Edmonds (MSc BIOL) and Jillian Hanmore (BScH ENVS) who both won student presentation awards from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) North America conference this past November in New Orleans.
January 2010

For previously listed events go to the in 2009 archive.