VIEW FROM ACADIA
There is no doubt that 1992 will go down in the annals of the Acadia Geology Department as one of the landmark years. The GAC-MAC (Geological Association of Canada-Mineralogical Association of Canada) meeting had a major effect on the whole town and university for three days in May, but a somewhat longer effect on most of the faculty in the department. Then five weeks later, both Dr. Reg Moore and Dr. George Stevens took early retirement, with consequent longer term major effects on the department. We were pleased also to welcome a new professor, Stewart Sweeney, who arrived in the summer.
The Geology program continues to enjoy modest enrolments. Introductory courses are once again burgeoning, with over 80 students in the basic first year course (Geology 1013 & 1023). Electives courses in Geology designed for Arts and Business students have maintained their enrolment of over 50 students, and the courses in Oceanography have over 200 students in them, from all across the University. One trend that is becoming apparent is the change in interest of many of the Geology students, away from the traditional areas of mineral deposits and petroleum geology to subjects like hydrogeology, geomorphology, surficial processes, and ecology (the latter offered through the Biology Department). Several students are working toward combined-major degrees in Geology and Biology.
Two reasons can be seen for this change - there are fewer employment possibilities in mineral exploration and petroleum geology, and there is an increasing awareness of environmental concerns. Geology is being promoted as a discipline which prepares students with an understanding of how the Earth functions, seen to be very relevant to environmental problems.
This year we have been pleased to have Michael Deal resident in the Department. He is a visiting professor of Archaeology from Memorial University. While here, he has been teaching a course in Archaeology, and working on the 18th century Castle Frederic site at Falmouth.
The usual round of activities complemented the major events of the year. In February, three vehicles filled with faculty and students headed off to the Atlantic Geoscience Society's annual meeting in Fredericton, only to be trapped there by the 240-cm snowfall in Moncton. Although some of us may not remember much of the conference, we all remember our journeys home. Some drove it anyway, and ended up enjoying further geological camaraderie in a motel in Moncton, some tried the Saint John ferry, which was delayed by winds, while others flew over it, only to have to hack 2 cm of glaze off their car at Halifax airport.
The senior field school again used the facilities of the Gaelic College at St. Anns, Cape Breton. Since we were last there, a new conference centre and dormitory has been constructed, allowing much more luxury than before (at many more dollars)! This year the field school was a combined effort with St. Francis Xavier University, with equal numbers of students from both universities. This arrangement worked very well - Acadia students were paired up with St. F.X. students in the mapping project, allowing cross-pollination of ideas - some good, some not!
Throughout the fall, several field trips were organized by the Fletcher Geology Club. They visited the Parrsboro area with Dr. Georgia Pe-Piper (St. Mary's U.), went hunting zeolites along the North Mountain with Don Osburn, and went gold- panning and lithograph-rubbing at the Ovens with Rob Raeside. The zeolite-hunting was in an effort to raise money for the Atlantic Universities Geology Conference (AUGC), the second major geological conference at Acadia this year.
The AUGC was held the first weekend of November. We managed to obtain the middle of three rainy weekends, but the rain held off on the field trips, and the weather was mild. Field trips were conducted to the North Mountain (by Jack Colwell and Don Osburn), Walton (by Alan Macdonald), fossiliferous limestones of the Windsor area (by Reg Moore) and the Fundy Gypsum quarry at Windsor (led by Matt Holleman, M.Sc. '76, and mine geologist). The conference was well attended - about 70 students took part from the seven universities across the Atlantic region. Congratulations go to Acadia student Jan MacDonald who brought back the Shea award of the Mining Society of Nova Scotia, which she won with her talk on the "Terrain Stability and Thermal Performance along the Norman Wells Pipeline". The talk arose out of two summers of employment as a geological assistant with the Terrain Sciences Division of the Geological Survey in Ottawa.
On a less positive note, we have nothing new to report to you regarding the possible rationalization of Geology departments in Nova Scotia. The Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents wrestled with the problem for over a year, and was unable to achieve progress. The job has now been turned over to Janet Halliwell, recently appointed chair of the Nova Scotia Council on Higher Education. On a recent visit to campus, Dr. Halliwell indicated she intends to take a broad view to rationalization, but as yet no details are known.
This year saw the departure of Martin Doyon, a post-doctoral student from Quebec, who spent the past year working in Nancy Van Wagoner's volcanology lab. Martin has moved to Ste-Anne-des-Monts in Gasp‚, to take up a position as regional geologist for the Quebec Dept. of Natural Resources. We will miss his contribution to the department, but will continue to keep in touch with him as he translates for the journal, Atlantic Geology, which is produced from Acadia. Hopefully we will be able to call upon him to host a Gaspe‚ field trip in the near future. David McMullin continues to work in post-doctoral studies on rocks from Cape Breton Island with Sandra Barr and Rob Raeside.