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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

Sep 28, 2014

The 2014 Fall Council Meeting and Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences will be held in Ottawa on Friday November 28th (5-9 pm) and Saturday November 29th (8 am -5 pm).

Meeting location: Gendron Hall, room 080 in the Biosciences Complex (30 Marie Curie) on the University of Ottawa campus.

Sep 28, 2014

A new study shows water in certain stretches of the 542-kilometre Fraser Canyon in British Columbia is flowing ‘upside-down’, a discovery that helps explain why the canyon walls remain so steep.

Researchers discovered that high velocity water flows down into deep pools and then upwells along the canyon walls, such that the water along the bottom flowing faster than at the top. They employed a raft-mounted acoustic device that used the Doppler effect from sound waves to determine how fast water flows at various points and depths along the Fraser River.

This is the opposite to most rivers, where the water near the bottom is slowed by friction. The fast-moving flow scours the bottom and sides of the canyon rather than depositing sediment as slower-moving water would; this keeps the cliffs sheer.

The hydraulic study helps us understand the critical role of climate-linked processes like erosion in forming mountain ranges, which in turn affect the climate and soil conditions for those living near them.

Original research paper published in the journal Nature on September 24, 2014.

Sep 22, 2014

A new study shows that methane leaks in drinking water wells around shale-gas wells in Pennsylvania and Texas come from failures in the integrity of gas well construction, and not from the drilling or hydraulic fracturing.

The authors developed a new technique to look for the concentration of noble-gas isotopes in  drinking-water samples to determine the methane’s origin: methane leaking from the well will have a 1,000 times less helium and neon isotopes than methane slowly leaking naturally from the underground.

This research could help people determine the origin of the gases contaminating their drinking water.

Original research paper published in PNAS on September 15, 2014.

Aug 31, 2014

A 560 million-year-old fossil from Newoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula may record the oldest evidence of muscle tissue, according to a new paper.

The fossil comes from a time known as the Ediacaran period, renowned for its preservation of the first large and complex organisms known. Most Ediacaran organisms were flat, sheet-like, or frond-like creatures whose relationships to modern organisms are hard to pin down. 

This particular fossil organism, Haootia quadriformis, contains symmetrical fibrous structures that the authors interpret as muscle tissue. The authors suggest that H. quadriformis could be an early member of Cnidaria, a group whose living members include jellyfish and sea anemones.

Original research paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B on August 26, 2014
Aug 16, 2014

A new paper helps quantify how much of the global loss of glaciers can be attributed to human activity as opposed to natural variation in earth’s temperature. The study uses a mathematical model to compare the amount of glacier melt that would have been expected based on natural and man-made forcings to the actual amount.

For the overall time period of 1851 to 2010, the human contribution is hard to quantify, and is reported as 25 ± 35 per cent. However, the availability of better data in more recent decades allows a more detailed analysis for the period 1991 to 2010; here the human contribution is reported at 69 ± 24 per cent.

The model complements similar results obtained for global temperatures and sea levels.

Original research paper published in the journal Science on August 14, 2014.

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