The Geology Department welcomes Dr. Noah Phillips who will be joining the Department in January 2022

new faculty Dr. Noah PhillipsThe Geology Department is thrilled to announce that Dr. Noah Phillips will be joining the Department in January 2022 as our new structural geologist.  Noah will be replacing Dr. Hill who will be starting her phased retirement this summer.  We are very much looking forward to Noah’s arrival.

Noah is excited to be moving to Thunder Bay from Texas, where he has been working as an NSERC postdoctoral fellow at Texas A&M University.  Noah is a structural geologist who studies deformation processes in faults and shear zones to better understand the earthquake cycle, the movement of tectonic plates, and the structural controls of mineral, hydrocarbon, and water resources.  His favorite tools of the trade are detailed geologic mapping, microstructural studies, experimental rock deformation, and numerical modelling.  He is excited to pursue new field-based studies of terrane bounding faults and shear zones in the Superior Province and to incorporate Lakehead students into his research.  Noah is a graduate of the University of British Columbia (BSc), the University of New Brunswick (MSc), and McGill University (PhD), and spent seven summers working on mineral exploration projects in British Columbia and the Yukon.

Geology Professor named NOHFC IRC Chair in Mineral Exploration

Dr. Pete Hollings, Chair and Professor of Geology at Lakehead University, will spend five years as the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) Industrial Research Chair in Mineral Exploration, working with Impala Canada to investigate the Lac des Iles palladium mine and the Sunday Lake intrusion of the Midcontinent Rift, both located northwest of Thunder Bay.

Dr. Hollings is receiving $670,370 from the NOHFC with matching funds coming from Lakehead University. He is also receiving $375,000 from Impala with matching funds coming from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, bringing the total funding for the project to $2.1 million.

The NOHFC/Lakehead University grants will fund the Research Chair while the funding from the Impala/NSERC grants will support a the five students and one Postdoctoral Fellow working on the petrogenesis of Archean and Mesoproterozoic Ni-Cu-PGE mineralization in Northwestern Ontario, a project that will investigate the billion-year-old Sunday Lake intrusion of the Midcontinent Rift and the 2.7-billion-year-old Lac des Iles complex – both being explored by Impala – for nickel, copper, and platinum group elements.

Dr. Hollings will train the next generation of geologists – including five Master of Science students, five Honours Bachelor of Science students and one Post Doctoral Fellow, who will work closely together to investigate the two deposits.

He and his team will develop techniques that can be applied to the discovery of new deposits. Dr. Hollings said this training will make Lakehead University a hub for nickel-copper-platinum group element research in Ontario.

For more information please visit these press releases from NOHFC and Impala Canada Ltd.

Congratulations to Demily Thibodeau, awarded the 2020 Northwestern Ontario Mining Scholarship sponsored by the NW Ontario chapter of Women in Mining and Impala Canada Ltd

The Department of Geology would like to congratulate Demily Thibodeau, a first-year geology major who has just been awarded the  2020 Northwestern Ontario Mining Scholarship sponsored by the NW Ontario chapter of Women in Mining and Impala Canada Ltd. Demily is following in the footsteps of her father who is a Prospector in the Wawa area.

Tenure Track Faculty Position - Department of Geology (Thunder Bay Campus)

Department of Geology

Tenure Track Appointment (Thunder Bay)

The Department of Geology at Lakehead University invites applications for a Tenure Track Appointment. We are looking for a candidate to establish a dynamic and externally-funded program of research in Structural Geology at Lakehead University’s Thunder Bay campus. A strong interest in Economic Geology, particularly magmatic and hydrothermal ore deposits, is a significant asset. The successful candidate will be expected to teach undergraduate and graduate courses for the Department of Geology. The position will commence August 1, 2021 at a rank commensurate with experience and qualifications.

For consideration, candidates will have:

  • An earned Ph.D. in Geology with demonstrated expertise in structural geology from a Ph.D. granting institution recognized by Canadian Universities, with the ability to apply this expertise to ore deposit studies;
  • A successful track record of high-quality research, and the communication of research through both traditional and non-traditional venues;
  • A demonstrated commitment to teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels;
  • Desire and ability to help build enrollment at the undergraduate and graduate levels;
  • Experience with experiential learning and online or alternative modes of course delivery is highly desired.

Preference will be given to candidates with expertise complementary to existing department strengths in ore deposit studies, sedimentology and Precambrian geology. Candidates are expected to offer introductory and advanced courses, supervise theses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and demonstrate excellence in both research and teaching.

Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and research. With campuses located in Thunder Bay and Orillia, Lakehead has approximately 10,000 students and 2,160 faculty and staff.  With an emphasis on collaborative learning, independent critical thinking and multidisciplinary approaches to teaching, Lakehead offers a variety of degree and diploma programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels through its ten faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Health and Behavioural Sciences, Natural Resources Management, Science and Environmental Studies, Social Sciences and Humanities, Graduate Studies, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (West Campus) and Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law. For further information, please visit:

The Department of Geology at Lakehead University is a dynamic group of interdisciplinary researchers with active field and laboratory research programs in economic geology, Archean tectonics, as well as early Earth atmosphere and terrestrial biogeochemistry. We are a small department with a strong focus on experiential learning and have strong connections with the local industry. Lakehead University has several centralized labs to support research, including the Lakehead University Environmental Laboratory, and the Lakehead University Instrumentation Lab.

For further information, please contact Dr. Pete Hollings, Chair of Geology ( Detailed information on the Department is available through the website of the Department of Geology (

Review of applications will begin on January 2, 2021 and continue until the position is filled. The electronic application (in the form of one PDF document) should include a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, evidence of teaching effectiveness (including a statement of teaching philosophy, experience with experiential learning and online or alternative modes of course delivery, course outlines and teaching evaluations for previously-taught courses), and the names and contact information of three references. A completed Confirmation of Eligibility to Work in Canada form must accompany your package. This form is available on our website at 

Applicants should submit their electronic application to:

Dr. Todd Randall, Dean

Faculty of Science and Environmental Studies

Lakehead University

955 Oliver Road

Thunder Bay, ON  P7B 5E1

Email: to

Lakehead University is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment and welcomes applications from all qualified individuals including women, racialized persons, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities and other equity-seeking groups. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.  This is in accordance with Canadian immigration requirements.

We appreciate your interest; however, only those selected for an interview will be notified. Lakehead University is committed to supporting an accessible environment. Applicants requiring accommodation during the interview process should contact the Office of Human Resources at (807) 343 8334 or to make appropriate arrangements.

This position is subject to final budgetary approval.

"Career paths in/into the Diamond Mining Industry" presented by Brad Wood (HBSc.'89)

Event Date: Friday, October 2, 2020 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Event Location: Zoom
Event Contact Name: Jenna Kirker Beaulieu
Event Contact E-mail:

Brad Wood (HBSc.'89) worked full time with De Beers Canada Inc. for 29 years, starting his career in diamond exploration and progressed through Mineral Evaluation and into Mining.  He has been involved in exploration activities throughout Canada and in Namibia and South Africa.  He was responsible for discovering the first kimberlites in Alberta and on Victoria Island in the Canadian Arctic.  He has spent 2 ½ years in South Africa working at De Beers; Namaqualand Alluvial Diamond Mines as the Divisional Geologist.  Brad has been involved in all stages of the Victor Diamond Mine development in Northern Ontario; from finding the first piece of kimberlite float on the Attawapiskat River in 1987, as a summer student, through the Pre-feasibility and Feasibility stages of evaluation, and into the Construction and Development phases where he held the position of Ore Extraction Manager.  Brad moved to Namibia in September 2014 to take on the position of Mine Manager for Namdeb’s Northern Coastal Mines until 2018, when he moved back to Canada and currently lives in Port Colborne, Ontario.


Congratulations to Drs. Mitchell, Hollings and B. Gélinas who were awarded medals from the Geological Association of Canada

The Geological Association of Canada presented medals to three Lakehead members

Three members of the Lakehead University community recently received medals from the Geological Association of Canada at a conference in Vancouver. 

Dr. Roger Mitchell, professor emeritus in Geology, received the Career Achievement Medal from the Volcanology and Igneous Petrology Division in recognition of career achievements in the field of volcanology and/or igneous petrology. Recipients are chosen based on their lifetime scientific contributions.

Dr. Peter Hollings, Chair of Geology, received the Howard Street Robinson Medal from the Minerals Deposit Division of the GAC, presented to a respected and well-spoken geoscientist who will further the scientific study of Precambrian Geology and or Metal Mining through a presentation of a distinguished lecture across Canada.  Dr. Hollings received the medal after doing a lecture tour that included 23 talks at 20 different universities across Canada. His talk was called Using igneous petrology to unravel the tectonic triggers for porphyry mineralization.

Brigitte Gélinas, right, received the Silver Medal from the Volcanology and Igneous Petrology Division for the best MSc thesis in the field of igneous petrology in Canada. Her thesis was Geology and Geochemistry of the Laird Lake Property and Associated Gold Mineralization, Red Lake Greenstone Belt, Northwestern Ontario.   

The Volcanology and Igneous Petrology Division of the Geological Association of Canada annually presents three medals for the most outstanding theses, written by Canadians or submitted to Canadian universities, which comprise material at least 50 per cent related to volcanology and igneous petrology. 

2017-2018 Geology Department Group Photo

Another academic year has come to an end, and in keeping with tradition, the 2017-2018 Geology Department student photo was taken on Monday, March 26th with 42 participants which included students, alumni, faculty and staff. 


Possible meteorite strike still a mystery

A geologist with Lakehead University is hopeful fragments collected from a crater near Highway 61 are from a meteorite, but definitive answers are not available just yet. TBNewsWatch Doug Diaczuk

Dec. 18 THUNDER BAY - What fell from the sky last week on the city’s south side near Highway 61 still remains a mystery, but a geologist at Lakehead University said a lot of the signs do point to a possible meteorite strike. Stephen Kissin, a geology professor at Lakehead University, has been examining small fragments recovered from the site of what could be a meteorite striking the ground on Highway 61 near Mount Forest Boulevard. “It is a little problematic because the site was dirty and there were old pieces of asphalt in it as well, and they are all dirty, so it’s difficult to tell just by quick looks exactly what’s there,” Kissin said. The strike occurred last Wednesday at approximately 11 p.m. during the Geminid Meteor Shower. Residents in the area contacted police after reportedly hearing a loud explosion that shook nearby houses. A small crater was found on the side of the highway by police who were investigating the incident. Kissin said it is looking hopeful that fragments recovered are in fact from a meteorite, but it cannot be conclusively determined until the fragments are cleaned and examined using an electron microscope. According to Kissin, meteorites are identified by the internal structure, and not the shape, as many people believe. “There are three kinds of meteorites,” Kissin said. “Iron meteorites, stony meteorites, which this likely is, and the most common kind are chondrites, they have tiny little round structures in them called chondrules.” Kissin compared this possible strike to an airburst that happened over Quebec in June, 1994. The St. Robert Meteorite was seen over Montreal and left behind several large fragments over a seven kilometer area, or ellipse. If the strike in Thunder Bay was similar, it may have left behind other larger fragments that just haven’t been found yet. “It certainly seems there would be larger fragments, if they made it to earth,” Kissin said. “That’s another problem. So much of the earth is covered by water anyway, so if they land in water, that’s the end of the story. But it was almost certainly larger than what we saw here because of the loud detonation and the shockwaves people reported.” Kissin said it still remains an open question regarding exactly what caused the crater and explosion last Friday based on the samples collected. But he hopes to have more definitive answers in the coming weeks as the samples undergo further testing. He is also still interested in hearing any further eyewitness accounts of the strike. So far, only one person has come forward claiming to have seen the flash of light. “I would be interested in hearing from anyone who did see it,” Kissin said. “It was, however, over a sparsely populated area and late at night, and a cold night as well, so perhaps people weren’t about.”

Please scroll 5:37 into this TBTV video for the story:

Did a meteorite impact near Thunder Bay Wednesday night?
Weather Network Friday, December 15, 2017
Police in Thunder Bay are reporting a possible meteorite crash near the city on Wednesday night. Based on what's missing from the story, is that really what happened, though? Here's what we know. At roughly 11 p.m. on Wednesday night, officers from the Thunder Bay Police Service were dispatched to investigate reports of an explosion, just to the southwest of the city. According to a Police Service press release, upon searching the area, along Highway 61, near Mount Forest Road, the officers discovered "a large round hole in the snow on the side of the road approximately two and a half feet around." In the centre of the hole, they said, was a pile of a "rock like substance". The same hole, from a different angle, shows the size, and the depth of the crater. Credit: Thunder Bay Police Services No footprints or tire tracks were found in the vicinity of the hole, according to the Police statement, and based on images taken at the scene, the hole was located on the shoulder of the asphalt road. According to a report by CBC News, local resident Linda Pohole had called police after hearing an explosion. "I called it in thinking that something happened in Mount Forest, and maybe a house exploded," she told CBC News. "It was that loud, and my son said he felt the house vibrate." Dr. Stephen Kissin, Professor Emeritus from Lakehead University, examines a hole in the ground that some say was caused by a meteorite. The original material that police found in the middle of the crater appears to have been removed. Credit: Lakehead University Police Services contacted Lakehead University, and the following morning, Dr. Stephen Kissin, a Professor Emeritus from the university's geology department, was on the scene to investigate. However, upon arriving, he found no meteorite present in the hole. Presumably, the "rock like substance" went missing overnight. While there was some speculation that this may have been the result of the Geminid Meteor Shower, Dr. Kissin told CBC News that it was not likely, and that this was just a coincidence. What happens when a meteorite strikes the ground? Although tonnes of meteoroids are swept up by Earth's atmosphere every day, most of them are bits of dust or ice crystals, with the occasional larger piece of rock or ice. Any of the smaller meteoroids can create a brief flash of light in the sky, as they plunge into the atmosphere travelling at hundreds of thousands of kilometres per hour. The flash is produced as the air in the meteoroid's path is instantaneously compressed to the point where it glows, white hot. We had an excellent example of this over the past few days, due to the Tuesday night peak of the Geminid Meteor Shower. These small bits of matter are often vapourized by the hot, compressed air, however, and thus nothing survives to reach the ground. Larger meteoroids are much more noticeable as they enter the atmosphere. They are travelling just as fast as the smaller bits, and their larger mass compresses more air, causing an even brighter flash of light. This is usually called a "fireball". Some fireballs are so bright that they briefly light up the sky as if it were daytime, and a smaller subset can produce sonic booms. These meteoroids are far more likely to survive to reach the ground, often in pieces as they tend to break apart while they are still high up in the air. On their way to the ground, larger meteoroids will pass into their "dark flight" phase. This is when the meteoroid has been slowed down by its interaction with the atmosphere so much that it's no longer compressing the air to the point of incandescence, and the meteoroid simply become a rock falling at somewhere around terminal velocity towards the ground. It can still cover plenty of distance across the map during this time, as it takes a ballistic trajectory towards the ground. When it hits, it's called a meteorite. When it hits the ground, a dark flight meteoroid can still be travelling at around 500-600 km/h, so there's certainly the potential for it to produce a small crater. It's unlikely that the impact would cause an explosion, however. Any explosion, and resulting shaking of local residences, would result from the meteoroid breaking up, far above the ground. For example, on March 26, 2003, the city of Chicago was pelted by hundreds of meteorites. One 15 centimetre-wide, 2.7 kg specimen managed to punch through the roof of a house, and the kitchen floor as well, ending up in a laundry pile in the basement. It did not, however, produce an explosion that shook nearby houses. According to a report by the Meteoritical Society, it did, however, produce a bright fireball that was visible in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio. Was this a meteorite, or something else? Watch the video above, and you'll see a fairly good example of a bright fireball event. So, what's missing for this event in the Thunder Bay area is the bright flash that should have accompanied it. An object big enough to generate a sonic boom, which shakes houses on the ground in the vicinity, would have caused a very bright fireball, possibly even a bolide explosion. This is the kind of event where night suddenly turns into day for a brief moment, and this would have been clearly visible for hundreds of kilometres around. As of Friday, December 15, there have been no fireball reports from the Thunder Bay area for that night on the American Meteor Society website, which logs fireball reports from anywhere in the world. Since the skies in the area were reasonably clear that night, the chances of a bright fireball going unnoticed, especially with the city of Thunder Bay only a short distance away, are slim. Dr. Kissin is reportedly still examining the sample collected from the site, so no conclusions have yet been made. It will not be surprising, though, if something else - terrestrial and likely human-caused - is responsible for this event.
Stephen Kissin, professor emeritus with Lakehead University's geology department, checks out an area alongside Highway 61 where police suspect a meteorite may  have hit the ground. (Jeff Walters/CBC)
Stephen Kissin, professor emeritus with Lakehead University's geology department, checks out an area alongside Highway 61 where police suspect a meteorite may have hit the ground. (Jeff Walters/CBC)