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Canadian Explorers

Canada's greatest explorers 2015

Marc St-Onge

While most research scientists in academia and government extensively publish the results of their work in scholarly journals, not many, even at the world-renowned Geological Survey of Canada, can also claim lead authorship on more than 100 geological maps — a milestone Marc St-Onge will be achieving this year.

St-Onge is Senior Research Scientist at the GSC, part of the Earth Sciences Sector of Natural Resources Canada in Ottawa. Over the course of his career, he has led and participated in multiple geological mapping projects in remote parts of the world, from the Coppermine River area in the N.W.T. (where he and colleagues discovered the world’s oldest rocks in 1983) to Banks Island, the Keewatin, northern Quebec (where he and students documented the oldest fragment of oceanic crust), southern and central Baffin Island, western Greenland, the Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau in Asia. In fact, it was only recently that he was in Nepal mapping faults north of Kathmandu, which have since moved with such devastating consequences. Marc was appointed Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford in 2004 and Fellow of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2010. His passion and knowledge of Arctic geology served as inspiration for a recent short story by Margaret Atwood (“Stone Mattress”), and his innovative work with geological maps led to the publication of the international “Geological Map of the Arctic” in 2011, and the “Tectonic Map of Arctic Canada” and the GSC’s first-ever geological maps in Inuktitut (Baffin dialect) in 2015.


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