Articles tagged with: Earth Sciences

  • John Menzies’ book about glacial past sheds light on the planet’s future

    Past glacial environments and the critical insight they provide into the planet’s future are at the centre of John Menzies’ latest book.

    The professor of Earth Sciences and Geography has completely revamped Past Glacial Environments, a book he initially released in 1996. While it shares the same name as the original edition, the latest publication has undergone a complete rewrite and has been updated to include a large collection of colourful photographs, diagrams and tables.

    Among its 858 pages are chapters on dating methods, paleosols, ice models, GIS imagery, stratigraphy, marine sediments and more. It includes contributions from geological experts from around the world, including Canada, the Netherlands, Iceland, France, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, the U.K, the U.S., Germany and Norway.

    The book aims to “to cover the most relevant glacial sedimentary environments and techniques to provide the current generation of geoscience, sedimentology, environmental science, glaciology and ice modelling students with an up-to-date overview and prepare them in the best possible way for the study of past glacial environments.”

    Menzies hopes the book “highlights the fundamental issue pertaining to glacial environments and how they reflect climate change and global warming.”

    “One of the first indicators of global warming is sea level rise and glacier and ice sheet melting,” he says. “A huge symptom of climate change is fluctuating glacial conditions, as evidenced by Antarctic ice shelves breaking up and valley glaciers in the Rockies retreating. What happens underneath the ice is very relevant to these events — more so than many people understand.”

    Past Glacial Environments — published by Elsevier, one of the world’s major providers of scientific technical and medical information — was released Dec. 5 and is available on Amazon.

    Read the full story here

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  • Brock celebrates the ‘science of where’ on GIS Day

    Undergraduate and graduate students demonstrated how Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software can be used to visualize and analyze geographic information in order to solve the real-world problems that are the focus of their research at the annual Esri Canada Scholarship Competition.

    “The Esri Canada GIS Scholarship program aims to recognize excellence in research at institutions across Canada by supporting and encouraging students in their future work,” said Krista Amolins, Higher Education Developer and Analyst with Esri Canada, who visited Brock to hear the presentations.


    The competition was the highlight of Brock’s seventh annual GIS Day, hosted by Brock’s Map, Data & GIS Library and the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies. GIS Day falls during Geography Awareness Week.

    Competitor Brian Giordano, a PhD candidate for the Centre for Biotechnology who studies the spread of West Nile virus, finds that GIS software helps him share his findings more widely.

    “Trying to explain complex analyses to the general public can be difficult,” said Giordano. “Mapping software provides a simple yet elegant way to showcase the data in a way that the general public can relate to and easily understand.”

    Brent Thorne, who is working on a master’s degree in the Department of Earth Science, believes that GIS can be applied to almost any project.

    “I’ve had the opportunity to work on an accessibility web map application and remote sensing of Niagara region vineyards, and to conduct GIS analysis on Arctic vegetation,” said Thorne, who also completed a BSc in Physical Geography at Brock. He credits his GIS courses with opening his eyes to the possibilities of GIS software.

    Thorne now shares his GIS knowledge and experience with others by posting tutorials on his YouTube channel.

    With presentations complete, Assistant Professor Kevin Turner and instructor Brodie Hague, both of the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, and Colleen Beard and Sharon Janzen, both of the Map, Data & GIS Library, will meet to deliberate and choose a winner, who will be announced in mid-January.

    In addition to a cash award of $1,000, the winner will receive several of Esri’s ArcGIS products, including desktop software, an ArcGIS Developer subscription, publications, training, conference registration, and eligibility for future awards and opportunities — a value of more than $50,000. They will also be added to the gallery of recipients at

    Students, staff, and faculty interested in obtaining ArcGIS software can learn more on the Map, Data and GIS Library web page.

    Read the full story here

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  • November 24: Earth Sciences’ CSPG Student Industry Field Trip (SIFT) presentation

    Join the Department of Earth Sciences on Friday, November 24 at 10am in Mackenzie Chown D308 for a presentation by Sean Mundreon, 2017 participant to the Student Industry Field Trip.

    Sean Mundreon SIFT Talk

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  • Brock prof aids with new Mars discovery

    With Mars still home to many unknowns, each discovery made on the Red Planet draws a new sense of excitement from Brock University scientist Mariek Schmidt.

    The thrill of new findings has again bubbled up for the Associate Professor of Earth Sciences while analyzing data from the Mars Curiosity rover. Schmidt was part of a team of Canadian researchers who recently released a report suggesting that a large area on Mars not only once contained water, but also housed other conditions that would have allowed micro-organisms to live.

    Read the full article here

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  • September 29: Earth Sciences Guest Speaker Series

    The Department of Earth Sciences Guest Speaker Series
    featuring Dr. Peter Putnam
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Central European Petroleum Ltd.

    DATE: Friday, September 29

    TIME: 1pm – 2pm

    LOCATION: Mackenzie Chown D308

    Earth Sciences Guest Speaker Series – Peter Putnam

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  • Tour to explore geologic history of campus

    With a little bit of knowledge and a lot of imagination, Earth Sciences Professor Francine McCarthy plans to help curious minds uncover the geologic past of the Brock campus. During an hourlong guided walking tour of the University property, held as part of Science Literacy Week, McCarthy will provide insight into the geology of the landscape.

    WHEN: Tuesday, September 19 from 5-6pm (arrive early)

    WHERE: Meet in the James A. Gibson Library, Matheson Learning Commons


    NOTE: Wear appropriate clothing and footwear as the tour will run rain or shine

    More information about the tour and programming for Science Literacy Week here


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  • September 5: Earth Sciences Orientation

    The Department of Earth Sciences and the Brock Geology Club would like to welcome you to our Department Orientation event on Tuesday, September 5, from 12:30-2pm in Mackenzie Chown D Block, room 319.

    Do you have questions about classes, APGO considerations, summer jobs or special topics? The Orientation event provides an opportunity to ask them! Join your fellow classmates, graduate students, staff and professors for a presentation, meet and greet and department tour. Pizza and refreshments will be provided.

    Please RSVP as soon as possible if you would like to attend.

    All Earth Sciences, Environmental Geoscience and Combined Earth Science majors are invited and all Earth Science graduate students, staff and faculty are also welcome to attend.

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  • August 24: Master of Science thesis defence

    Saif Al-Silwadi, a candidate in the Department of Earth Sciences, will present his Master of Science thesis defence by video conference on Thursday, Aug. 24 at 1 p.m. in Welch Hall 147.

    His thesis is titled Dinoflagellate cyst stratigraphy and paleoecology of the Upper Miocene and Pliocene, Rees Borehole, Northern Belgium.

    His examination committee members are Dr. Brian Ross, Chair; Dr. Lucy Edwards, External Examiner, (US Geological Survey, Reston VA); Dr. Martin Head, Supervisor; Dr. Richard Cheel and Dr. Francine McCarthy, Committee Members.

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  • Earth Sciences Professor Francine McCarthy on harmful algal blooms

    Brock University’s Earth Sciences professor, Francine McCarthy provides further insight on the harmful algal blooms predicted for western Lake Erie in her interview with The Tribune. As McCarthy explains, “While the western end of Lake Erie will always be hit hardest by harmful algal blooms, it doesn’t mean the eastern end is immune. It could certainly happen here.” Read the full interview here

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  • Brock-led team says methane spike responsible for near-extinction 252 million years ago

    If you’re looking for insight into the current climate change debate, travel back — way back — to around 252 million years ago, when life on Earth nearly came to a screeching halt. Brock University Earth Sciences researchers and professors, Uwe Brand and Nigel Blamey have recently shown that a huge release of methane into the Earth’s atmosphere near the end of the Permian geological period was responsible for what’s been described as the “greatest natural catastrophe that’s been experienced by life on Earth.” Those findings are relevant today as research into contemporary climate change continues. Read more here

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