Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences:
the coordinated voice for Canadian Earth Sciences

The Mission of CFES is to be the coordinated voice of the Earth science community in Canada, ensuring that decision makers and the general public understand the contributions of Earth sciences to Canadian society and the Canadian economy

What is CFES - what does CFES do?

CFES/FCST was established in 2006 as the successor to the Canadian Geoscience Council (CGC). CFES is an umbrella organization of 12 Canadian member societies and 2 cooperative groups (the list of member organizations is here). Our constituency represents industry (minerals, hydrocarbons, environmental/geotechnical), government (Provincial/Territorial Geological Surveys) and Academia, in total, an estimated 20,000 Canadian earth scientists.  CFES/FCST also closely cooperates with 4 observer organizations.

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News & Events

Jul 8, 2014

New data from trees preserved in lakes in the Taiga of northern Quebec show that eastern Canada experienced much colder than usual summers following distant volcanic eruptions in the 13th century, and again in the 19th century.

The so-called ‘Little Ice Age’ is well-documented in the historical and tree ring records worldwide, but the strength and duration of cold episodes following the large volcanic eruptions has remained a topic of debate and until now there was little data from eastern North America.

The authors note the abruptness of the shift to colder summers and suggest that eastern Canada may be particularly sensitive to the effects of volcanic eruptions.

Original research paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) on June 30, 2014.

Jun 27, 2014

On June 7th at the 17th Annual Meeting of Geoscientists Canada, Paul Rennick, P.Geo, took office as President 2014-2015, after serving a year as its President-Elect. Mr. Rennick resides in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where he is employed by the Ministry of Energy and Mines as its Manager, Promotion and Information Services. Geoscientists Canada, is the national organization of the 10 provincial and territorial licensing bodies/ordre that regulate the practice of geoscience in Canada.

Jun 25, 2014

Every 14 months, a ‘slow’ earthquake occurs beneath Vancouver island which last for 10 to 14 days; a new study helps explain why some slow quakes happen more frequently than others.

Occurring along faults around the world at a depth of 25-40 km, slow earthquakes are undetectable by humans, but they vary in frequency, with some happening as often as every six months. The study shows that the more silica there is in the continental crust, the faster ‘slow’ earthquakes will occur. Silica lets water flow more easily through the crust, lubricating the fault and making the earthquakes happen sooner.

While slow earthquakes are not dangerous, there is a slightly higher risk that a conventional earthquake could start during a slow earthquake.

Full paper from Nature
Jun 17, 2014

New fossils of an ancient fish from Marble Canyon in British Columbia’s Kootenay National Park have provided insight into how jaws evolved. The remains represent the best-preserved fossils of Metaspriggina walcottii, a 500 million-year-old species that is among the oldest known fish.

Based on the shape of features called ‘branchial bars’ associated with the gills, the authors suggest that Metaspriggina represents an ancestor of modern jawed fish and that other ancient jawless fish like lampreys or hagfish – which still exist today – are an evolutionary offshoot.

Original research paper published in the Nature on June 11, 2014.


Jun 5, 2014

The annual meeting of the Geological Association of Canada (GAC) was held jointly with the Mineralogical Association of Canada (MAC) in late May in Fredericton, New Brunswick, focused on the scenic campus of the University of New Brunswick.  Over 650 delegates enjoyed a highly successful meeting, hosted by a Local Organizing Committee led by Drs. David Lentz and Chris McFarlane, both of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of New Brunswick.  The weather was pleasant, giving the delegates ample reason to enjoy the brisk hikes up and down hill between session venues and the poster/exhibit hall.  A wide variety of field trips was held both pre- and post-meeting, and the event was rounded off by a selection of short courses and workshops, including a highly successful Technical Writing Workshop for Students organized by Dr. Jacob Hanley of Saint Mary’s University (Halifax).  Of particular note for CFES was the keynote address given by outgoing GAC president Richard Wardle (St. John’s, NL) titled “Geoscience in Canada: the best of times, the worst of times” in which he stressed the importance of CFES in strengthening communication within and outside the earth science community, especially with politicians and decision-makers. Also of broad interest was the plenary address by GAC Logan Medalist Andrew Miall titled “The environmental management of unconventional resources: lessons learned from the oil sands”.  Both lectures packed a very large lecture hall.

 Watch future issues of GAC’s on-line journal Geoscience Canada for the text of these presentations.

(Submitted by Sandra M. Barr, President-Elect, CFES)

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