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Past Talks

Tuesday, April 29, 2008____

GAC Cordilleran Section and UBC Robson Square are hosting FREE public presentation titled:

Earthquakes in Southwest British Columbia: Living on the Edge

Presented by: Dr. John Cassidy

Date: Thursday, May 8, 2008
Time: 4:00-5:00 PM
Place: Theatre Reception Foyer, UBC Robson Square, Downtown Vancouver

Coffee and tea provided, All are welcome

Abstract: Those of us in Southwest British Columbia are "living on the edge of the North American tectonic plate". Here, small earthquakes occur every day, damaging earthquakes occur decades apart, and some of the world's largest earthquakes occur centuries apart. In this presentation, the earthquake history, hazards, and the cutting-edge earthquake research being conducted in this region will be presented.

Dr. Cassidy is a world-renowned seismologist with the Geological Survey of Canada, who specializes in earthquake hazard studies, with a goal towards better assessing ground shaking during future earthquakes and incorporating this information into the National Building Code of Canada. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Victoria, and works closely with earthquake engineers and emergency response organizations. He has published more than 100 scientific and public interest articles, has given more than 700 media interviews, and 200 invited public presentations on earthquake hazards in Canada.

The GAC Cordilleran Section is hosting a Brown Bag lecture titled:
New geoscience data and targets for base metals in southern B.C.: an update on TGI-3 Cordilleran Project results

By Dr. Bob Anderson (GSC Vancouver)
Where: GSC boardroom, 8th floor, 625 Robson Street, Vancouver
When: Thursday , 12:00 noon, May 1
all and sundry are welcome

Monday, January 22, 2007____

2006 GAC Hutchison Medal Lecturer Jan 24th and 25th 2006

SFU Earth Science Seminar Series and the GAC Cordilleran Section are
jointly sponsoring the 2006 GAC Hutchison Medal Lecturer:

John Gosse
Canada Research Chair and Associate Professor
Dept. of Earth Sciences, Dalhousie University, Halifax Nova Scotia

Will present:

"Landscape evolution of a rift-flank uplift: Torngat mountains, eastern
Arctic Rim, Ungava Peninsula"

Time: 11:30 AM Wed, Jan. 24, 2007
Location: SSB 7172 SFU Earth Sciences, Burnaby Mountain

Dr. Gosse's Abstract:
How have highland surfaces associated with the eastern Arctic Rim
evolved? Building on fluvial and glacial geomorphology, shelf
sedimentology, and geophysical (ECSOOT) and paleomagnetic
interpretations, low temperature thermochronology and cosmogenic nuclide
geochronology are combined to constrain rates and timing of
post-Triassic uplift, denudation, and incision of the Torngat Mountains.
The (U-Th)/He was measured in apatite from 50 samples collected along
one vertical transect of 1500 m and three horizontal transects, two of
which parallel the Torngat Mountains (N-S) and a third extending
perpendicular to the range (W-E) from Ungava Bay to the Labrador Sea.
Thermal modeling of apatite (U-Th)/He data from the vertical transect
indicates rapid cooling and rift margin exhumation starting at 140 to
150 Ma. This is consistent with the extrusion of breakup basalts in the
Labrador Sea. The W-E transect reveals differential extensional and
erosional exhumation diminishing westward towards the interior of Ungava
Peninsula. Ages on the Labrador coast are as young as 78 Ma and support
the interpretation that significant post-rift erosion > 1 km occurred on
the rift-flank, whereas less but measurable exhumation occurred on the
western dip slope. A high amplitude sinusoidal distribution of apatite
(U-Th)/He ages were observed along both N-S transects. The larger
wavelength (31 km) in the cooling ages along the transects closely
matches a dominant wavelength in modern topography along the same
transect (33 km). This would suggest that isotherms in the upper 2 km
were deflected prior to uplift, and therefore that large fluvial
drainages existed prior to uplift. The geomorphic evidence of a
reversal of paleodrainage into Hudson Bay and Ungava Bay has been
distorted by late Cenozoic glacial erosion. Exposure dating of bedrock
and boulders throughout the Torngat Mountains reveal that despite being
glaciated as recently as 11,000 years ago, the sub-summit plateaus and
peaks have experienced minimum erosion in the Quaternary (in places less
than 1.5 m/Myr) but that the antecedent valleys have been deepened at
rates greater than 3 m per glaciation (about 50 m/Myr).

The Distinguished Lecturer, Dr. Gosse, will present a second talk in
Vancouver at UBC Earth and Ocean Sciences the following day on:

"Fingerprinting glacial erosion and till production for
drift-prospecting: combining cosmogenic nuclides and ice sheet modeling
in the central Arctic"

Time: Thursday Jan 25 12:30 pm
Where: EOS-Main 330A; University of British Columbia

Dr. Gosse's Abstract:
The basal thermal regime of ice caps and sheets control rates and styles
of glacial erosion and till production. In north-central Baffin Island
we classified regions of past cold-based (ice frozen to substrate) or
warm-based (sliding on and within bed) glacier cover on the basis of
sedimentology (clast angularity, matrix characteristics), clast
provenance (abundance of exotic lithologies), and geomorphology (e.g.
lateral meltwater channels). Tills from 19 sites were analysed for
cosmogenic 10Be and 26Al to test the hypothesis that areas of cold-based
(less erosive) ice should retain pre-glacial concentrations of the
terrestrial in situ cosmogenic nuclides (TCN). At all sites the TCN
concentrations reflected the degree of glacial erosion, with more than
two orders of magnitude difference in concentrations between the
end-member classes (normalized to sea level and adjusted for small
amounts of post-glacial TCN production). A clear relationship between
26Al/10Be and classified thermal regime support these findings by
showing that the cold-based regions experienced pre-glacial exposure
interrupted by a long period(s) of burial, presumably by ice, whereas
the warm-based zones had simple exposure histories with no evidence of
burial. Three sites had features of both cold-based and warm based
conditions, and the TCN concentrations and 26Al/10Be indicate an
intermediate history of exposure and shorter burial than pure cold-based
end member sites. In a separate experiment, samples 20 m apart within
and adjacent to a mapped ice stream deposit in central northern Baffin
had a similar TCN relationship that reflected greater erosion in the
high velocity zone. UMISM, a finite element thermomechanical ice sheet
model predicts the same basal conditions and is used in conjunction with
the TCN to help resolve paleo-glacier dynamics and till provenance. The
implication for drift prospecting is that TCNs can be used to examine
the spatial and temporal variation in glacial erosion and improve
exploration efficiency. The measurement of minimum ice burial durations
of ~3 Myr, suggesting that recently deglaciated surfaces near modern ice
caps may have been covered since the Pliocene, may be a remarkable
account of the impact of the current climate change on Baffin Island ice

Wednesday, November 29, 2006____

Association of Applied Geochemists - Distinguished Lecturer

Thursday, December 7, 2006

12:00 noon
GSC Boardroom, 8th Floor - 605 Robson Street, Vancouver

The Cordilleran Section - GAC is pleased to host:

Dr. Stewart M. Hamilton of the Ontario Geological Survey, 2006 AAG Distinguished Lecturer.

Deep penetrating geochemistry using selective leach methods over mineral deposits

"Reduced chimneys" have been postulated to occur over sulphide ore deposits and other reduced features for almost a decade. It was proposed that between the top of the reduced feature and the water table, a vertical electrochemical gradient exists; along which reduced and oxidized mobile species migrate toward each other. Redox reactions occur between the two and, because oxidants are limited in the phreatic zone, they are preferentially consumed causing reduced species, and thereby negative charge, to propagate outward and upward. This is interrupted at the water table, above which oxidants are abundant. A consequence of this process would be dissipation of negative charge away from the reduced feature, which would allow its continued oxidation. The net result would be an upward movement through overburden of reduced species, particularly metals such as Fe2+, and the development of a reduced "chimney" in groundwater saturated overburden between the reduced bedrock feature and the water table.

In the last 5 years the Ontario Geological Survey has been documenting the existence of reduced chimneys, as predicted, over deeply buried reduced geological features. In addition, a reassessment of published studies and anecdotal evidence suggests reduced chimneys exist worldwide and occur over many different types of oxidizable features such as oil and gas reservoirs, porphyry sulphide deposits and kimberlites. Although the predictions fit the observations very well, there have been many unexpected and startling outcomes of the work including temperature anomalies, massive energy release and mass transport, and bizarre "bulges" in the water table that occurs at the strong redox boundaries over all features investigated. These latter features may be a previously undocumented form of electro osmosis.

Notwithstanding the excellent correlation between theory and observations, the mechanism by which redox gradients induce mass transport was never fully explained by the model. A new theory, 'redox-induced spontaneous polarization', has been developed that resolves this issue and has unexpectedly resolved some of the apparent conflicts and mutual exclusivity of earlier models on the subject of electrochemical transport in the geological environment. It demonstrates a clear link between geochemical anomalies and spontaneous potentials (electrical anomalies) over ore deposits and also sheds light on how SPs form over ore deposits - a problem which has dogged geophysics for over 100 years.

Dr. Hamilton has a PhD in Aqueous Geochemistry from the University of Ottawa, a Master's degree in hydrogeology from Carleton University and a bachelor's in geology from Laurentian University. He has been working as an aqueous geochemist with the Ontario Geological Survey for the last 10 years. Prior to this, he worked in Ottawa for a Jacques Whitford Environment Limited as a hydrogeologist. His research at the OGS has focussed on redox and electrochemical processes in soils over mineral deposits and other features such as kimberlites. The purpose of the research is to identify new geochemical exploration techniques that can be used in Ontario's thick overburden areas. He is currently the Distinguished Lecturer for the Association of Applied Geochemists.

Thursday, November 16, 2006____


The Geology of Rocky Planets

Date: Wednesday evening, November 29, 2006
Time: 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Place: H.R. McMillan Space Centre
1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver, B.C.

Presented by Dr. Simon Hanmer

Mercury, Venus, Earth and its Moon, and Mars are collectively known as
the Rocky Planets. Except for our Moon, they all formed at the same time
and in the same way. However, their subsequent development was quite
different. Planetary geologists study the Rocky Planets in order to
understand their histories; what do they look for and how do they
interpret what they find? How typical is our Earth as a Rocky Planet?
This talk will take you on a visual geological fieldtrip from the Moon,
to the planets, via the Earth, explained in everyday language. A treat
for novices and scientists alike.

Dr Simon Hanmer is a senior research scientist at the Geological Survey
of Canada, part of Natural Resources Canada. He is a structural
geologist whose research has focused on the behavior of the deeper parts
of the Earth's crust, especially the way in which it deformed during
ancient mountain building episodes in early Earth history (3.6 to 1.0
billion years ago). His field work has taken him all over Canada from
southern Ontario, to Great Slave Lake (NWT), from northern Labrador to
central Nunavut, as well as to related rocks in Greenland. He is also a
keen amateur astronomer who makes regular presentations to the Royal
Astronomical Society of Canada on the subject of the geological
evolution of the rocky planets of our Solar System.

This is a free public presentation jointly sponsor by the Cordilleran
Section of the Geological Association of Canada and the H.R. McMillan
Space Centre.

All are Welcome!

Monday, May 01, 2006____

More GanFELD

Kaz and Steve have made their presentation available for download here

Also, for more information you can check out the GanFeld collaboration site

Of course, don't forget that we are working to continue this workshop / talk series, so post you questions / ideas to the GAC-CS-TECH discussion group

Friday, April 28, 2006____

GanFeld Workshop - Great Success!!

Steve and Kaz did a great job with the GanFeld workshop. Attendance was just over 40 people. I think everyone went away with new ideas and a good overview of the powerful data collection systems that can be built on ArcPAD.

Steve and Kaz have offered to share the power point slides from the presentation. Watch this space, as GAC-CS will make the file available for download soon.

Also, we hope that this event has been the start of a series of talks/workshops around geoscience and information technology. If you have an idea for something you'd like to see as the next topic or are interested in presenting a topic, send an email to our webmaster (link at bottom of the page) or add a comment to the discussion group:


Tuesday, March 28, 2006____

FREE workshop on digital data collection technology

Sponsored by the Cordilleran Section of the GAC, and SFU Earth Sciences

This workshop is the First in the Series known as:
Advances in Mapping Technologies

First Workshop title:

GanFeld: Digital Field Data Collection Tool for Geological Mapping

The Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) has a long tradition in field mapping and developing innovative tools to help geologists capture field data. GanFeld is one tool of many being used at the GSC to capture consistent and systematic data digitally and spatially. GanFeld is a custom application built on top of ESRI’s ArcPad mobile GIS solution. This workshop will provide an overview of the technology required, cover key issues of implementing GanFeld, and will end with a demonstration.

Facilitated by:

Kaz Shimamura and Stephen Williams (Geological Survey of Canada)

Workshop will consist of:
1) Overview of various digital data capture techniques and platforms, and evolution of applications, leading up to Pocket PC (30 mins)
2) Live demo of the GanFeld mapping tool (60 mins)
3) Testimonials by field users (20 mins)

When: Thursday, April 27, 2006, 2:45 - 4:45 PM

Where: SFU Harbour Centre, 515 W Hasting St
Rooms 1420 + 1430 (Joseph and Rosalie Segal Centre lecture rooms)

Space is limited, so please register early. Final registration deadline is April 20, 2006

To register, please email Dirk Tempelman-Kluit, and carbon copy Jim Ryan: and

Please include:
1) Name
2) Email address
3) Interested as a developer/programmer, user, or manager
4) Business name or affiliation (optional)

All correspondence will be made through email, and you should monitor the Cordilleran Section website ( ) for updates. An updated outline of the workshop will be emailed out shortly after April 20th.

Monday, March 13, 2006____

Public Presentation

The NEPTUNE Project: transforming our understanding of the deep ocean environment.

March 22, 2006, 7:30 pm, at the H.R. McMillan Space Centre Auditorium
1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver, B.C.

Guest lecturer: Dr Christopher Barnes, Project Director

The concept of NEPTUNE is to establish an innovative network of sub-sea observatories linked by powered, electro-optic cables covering the Juan de Fuca Plate (200,000 sq km), North-east Pacific, with shore stations at Port Alberni, BC and Nedonna Beach, OR (, Each observatory will host and power many scientific instruments on the surrounding seafloor, in boreholes in the seafloor, and buoyed through the water column. Remotely operated and autonomous vehicles will reside at depth, recharged at observatories and directed from distant labs. Continuous near-real-time multidisciplinary measurement series will extend over 25 years. Major research themes include: structure and seismic behavior of the ocean crust; dynamics of hot and cold fluids and gas hydrates in the upper ocean crust and overlying sediments; ocean/climate change and effects on ocean biota/fisheries at all depths; deep-sea sedimentation, ecosystem dynamics and biodiversity; and engineering and computational systems research. These involve interacting processes, long term changes, and chaotic, episodic events difficult to study and quantify by traditional means. VENUS, MARS, and NEPTUNE will use most of the same cable and engineering systems with the former two acting as shallow and deep-water test-beds, respectively, for the latter. NEPTUNE is an US/Canada (70/30) partnership with over $40M has already been funded for design, development and test beds. Major US funding for the Ocean Observatories initiative is still pending. Funding ($62.4M) for NEPTUNE Canada’s installation was announced in October 2003. In 2007-08, NEPTUNE Canada will install Stage 1 of the NEPTUNE regional cabled observatory (RCO) in the northeast Pacific Ocean. Stage 2 of the RCO is being developed by the US-based ORION Project Office, through the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatory Initiative (OOI). For RCO Stage 1, an 800km electro-optic cable will loop out from a shore station at Port Alberni, Vancouver Island to the Juan de Fuca volcanic spreading ridge. Two seafloor nodes and two branching units will be installed. A Wet Plant contract was issues to Alcatel in October 2005 ($39M). VENUS and Stage 1 of NEPTUNE will form a linked coastal/regional ocean observatory system, and be among the first of many such cabled ocean observatories. This application is part of a request for $20M to install Phase 2 of the NEPTUNE Canada Project involving tripling the number of nodes (2 to 6) and sensors (70 to over 200) on Stage 1, while incurring minimal extra costs by installing them at the same time as the cable installation. This would provide a 300% increase in the science return of the facility with only a 20% increase in the total facility cost. Socio-economic benefits to BC will be substantial, profound and wide-ranging (e.g. understanding earthquake and tsunami hazards, gas hydrate resources, marine environment and fisheries, changing ocean-climate state and its influence on fisheries, novel marine technologies, new data management technologies, ocean policy formulation).


Chris Barnes is Project Director for NEPTUNE Canada (2001-), part of the large US/Canada NEPTUNE megaproject that will revolutionize the ocean sciences. For the previous decade, he has served as Director of both the Centre for Earth and Ocean Research and the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Geology degrees (Birmingham, Ottawa) and a PDF (Wales) were followed by an academic appointment at the University of Waterloo in 1965, including Chair of Earth Sciences (1975-81). In a similar position at Memorial University (1981-87) he established the Centre of Earth Resources Research. From 1987-89 he was the Director General of the Sedimentary and Marine Branch of the Geological Survey of Canada.

Chris has served on many boards and councils, including as President of the Geological Association of Canada, the Canadian Geoscience Council, and the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada; also as Group Chair of both Earth Sciences and Interdisciplinary for NSERC; and as a member of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the International Ocean Drilling Program, the Canada Prize Awards Foundation, and the International Commission on Stratigraphy. His own research involves geology, micropaleontology, paleoceanography and paleoclimatology. He has been an Associate of the Earth System Evolution Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. He has authored or co-authored over 150 publications and 200 conference abstracts.

Chris received the J. Willis Ambrose, the Elkannah Billings and the Past Presidents medals of the Geological Association of Canada, the Bancroft Award of the Royal Society of Canada, and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal. Fellowship has been awarded in the Royal Society of Canada, Geological Society of America, and Distinguished Fellowship in the Geological Association of Canada. In 1996, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.

Monday, May 09, 2005____


Remembering Mt. St. Helens: Twenty-five Years of Discovery

Presented by: Dr. Catherine Hickson (Natural Resources Canada, Geological Survey) and
Dr. Mindy Brugman (Environment Canada)

Date: May 18, 2005
Time: 7:00 to 8:00 pm
Place: Alice MacKay Room, Library Square Conference Centre
Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

The eruption of Mt. St. Helens shook the Pacific Northwest, sending shock waves of sound throughout southern British Columbia and spreading gritty grey ash to the Atlantic Ocean. The eruption killed 57 people and caused 10s of millions of dollars of damage. But out of the ashes new understanding of how volcanoes erupt has helped tens of thousands of people around the world who live in the shadow of active volcanoes. Dr.
Catherine Hickson, volcanologist (Natural Resources Canada) and author of the newly released book "Mt. St. Helens: Surviving the Stone Wind" together with glaciologist Dr. Mindy Brugman (Environment Canada) will take you back to that morning 25 years ago and explain the events as no one but first hand observers and survivors can do. Share with them the terror of that day and learn the secrets of the largest eruption in
North America since 1912. Hear what Mt. St. Helens has in store for us in the coming decades. For both, the events of that day changed their lives, and they have been avid observers and researchers ever since. Brugman completed her Ph.D. on Mt. St. Helens and Hickson became one of Canada's leading volcanologists, now responsible for Canada's response and preparedness for possible volcanic eruptions both at home and nearby, including Mt. Baker and Mt. St. Helens.

Sponsored by the Cordilleran Section of the Geological Association of Canada

Geological Association of Canada - Cordilleran Section
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