We would like to invite you to join us for a virtual Celebration of Canadian Geoscience! This event will take place over several days from May 10-21, 2021, and will showcase present and past medalists, our Sections, Divisions, and partner organizations. We will celebrate the Canadian Geoscience community at a time when we cannot yet gather together at our traditional events. All members are invited to attend as many of the talks as they wish at no cost!

Schedule of Events

For simplified schedule click here!

May 10th: Talk by the 2021 Hutchison Medalist, Dr. Vincent van Hinsberg (McGill University) – 2:30 pm ET


Talk title: “The corundum conundrum: Constraining the conditions of ruby formation in high-grade metamorphic melanges of SW Greenland.”

The W.W. Hutchison Medal is named after Dr. William W. Hutchison in recognition of his many contributions to Canadian and international geoscience. The medal is awarded to a young individual for recent exceptional advances in Canadian earth science research.

The 2021 Hutchison Medal is awarded to Dr. Vincent van Hinsberg from McGill University for his major contributions to the geological sciences by using mineral chemistry and petrology to address issues ranging from the composition of subduction fluids to the nature of subduction during the Archean.


May 11th: Talk by the 2020 Paleontology Division’s Pikaia Award winner, Dr. Matthew Clapham – 2:30pm ET

Talk title: “Climate change and extinctions in deep time: lessons for the future”

The Pikaia Award is awarded biennially in even-numbered years by the Geological Association of Canada’s Paleontology Division. It is awarded to an early career researcher a) in recognition of a recent exceptional contribution to research on any aspect of Canadian palaeontology, or b) who is Canadian and has made outstanding contributions to the field of palaeontology.

The recipient of the 2020 Pikaia Award is Dr. Matthew Clapham from the University of California Santa Cruz for his sustained and fundamental contributions to the study of late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic benthic marine paleoecology and evolution and continuing work on a variety of evolutionary and paleoecological research areas.


May 12th: Talk by Mineral Deposits Division Duncan R. Derry Medal winners, 2020 Winner Dr. Sarah-Jane Barnes and 2021 Winner Dr. Iain Samson2:30pm ET

The Duncan R. Derry Medal is the highest award bestowed by the Mineral Deposits Division. It is awarded annually to the outstanding economic geologist who has made significant contributions to the science of economic geology in Canada. 

Talk title: “Making Platinum-group Element Deposits – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” 

The 2020 Derry medal is awarded to Dr. Sarah-Jane Barnes (Université du Québec a Chicoutimi) in recognition for her pioneering work on the geochemistry and mineralogy of Platinum Group Elements and the formation of magmatic deposits.


Talk title: “Metasomatism and Ta-Nb mineralization in peraluminous granites: perspectives from the Nanling Range, China.” 

The 2021 Derry medal is awarded to Dr. Iain Samson (University of Windsor) in recognition of his significant contributions to the advancement of mineral deposits models for critical metals. 


May 13th: Talk by the 2021 Volcanology and Igneous Petrology Division’s Career Achievement Award winner, Dr. Brendan Murphy – 2:30pm ET

Talk title: “Appinite suites and their genetic relationship with coeval granitoid batholiths”

The Career Achievement Award is made by the Volcanology and Igneous Petrology Division of the Geological Association of Canada in recognition of career achievements in the field of volcanology and/or igneous petrology.  

The recipient of the 2021 VIP Career Achievement Award is Dr. Brendan Murphy from St. Francis Xavier University in recognition for his exceptional career with extensive contributions to our understanding of igneous petrology and igneous relationships to tectonism. 


May 14th: Presentation of the 2021 National GAC medalists (Logan, Ambrose, Neale, and Hutchinson medals) and a retirement celebration for the one and only Eleanor Penney who we will miss dearly! – 2:30pm ET

This session will feature all of GAC’s 2021 National Medal winners, the Logan Medal, the Ambrose Medal, Hutchinson Medal, and the Neale Medal. Each nominator will be invited to read the citation, and each recipient will give a short acceptance.          

This day will also feature a retirement celebration for Eleanor Penney. Eleanor has been with GAC since 1992 and has been a mainstay of the organization in every possible way. We will miss her dearly. Please join us to wish her well for retirement and new adventures!


May 17th: Talk by the 2021 GAC Logan medalist, Dr. Kurt Konhauser – 2:30pm ET

The Logan is of the Geological Association of Canada is intended to recognize individuals for their sustained distinguished achievement in Canadian Earth sciences. The 2021 winner is Dr. Kurt Konhauser from the University of Alberta.

Dr. Kurt Konhauser has added substantially to our knowledge of Geobiology (i.e. integrated microbiology and sedimentary geology research), and is one of the founding workers for this growing field. He has authored the popular textbook “Introduction to Geomicrobiology”, and he co-edited the very important volume “Fundamentals of Geobiology”. Konhauser also founded the international journal Geobiology, and he is the Editor and Chief for the journal. Konhauser’s efforts have helped to develop the field of Geobiology in surprisingly rapid fashion. In Canada, Konhauser is the undisputed leader of the new Geobiology movement and he has singlehandedly placed Canada at the forefront of Geobiology research and learning.


May 18th: Talk by the 2021 CTG Dave Elliott Best Paper Award winners, Mike Duvall, John Waldron, Laurent Godin, and Yani Najman – 2:30pm ET


Talk title: “The Himalayan Outer Frontal Thrust: A Snapshot of Early Foreland Basin Deformation.”

This award is presented each year by the Canadian Tectonics Group to an exceptional publication in the fields of tectonics and/or structural geology by a researcher at a Canadian institution (lead author) or investigating a Canadian field area.

The 2021 winners are Mike Duvall, John Waldron, Laurent Godin, and Yani Najman for their paper “Active strike-slip faults and an outer frontal thrust in the Himalayan foreland basin” published in PNAS.

Duvall, M. J., Waldron, J. W., Godin, L., & Najman, Y. (2020). Active strike-slip faults and an outer frontal thrust in the Himalayan foreland basin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(30), 17615-17621.

 “This is a short, well written, and well illustrated paper with very high potential impact. Based on previously unpublished seismic data from the Ganges Basin, the authors argue for the presence of several strike-slip faults and a blind thrust fault, all with relatively small displacements, but with huge implications for seismic hazard assessment in the Himalayan foreland region. The work also has major implications for thrust belt kinematics in general, particularly in how thrust salients develop, and how thrust faults propagate into their neighboring foreland regions.”


May 19th: GAC Annual Business Meeting for all members – 3:00pm ET


May 20th: Talk by the 2019 Gesner Medal winner from the Atlantic Geoscience Society, Dr. Damian Nance – 2:30pm ET

Talk title: “Pannotia: To Be or Not To Be?”

The Gesner Medal is awarded by the Atlantic Geoscience Society to a person who has, through their own efforts (maps, publications, memoirs, etc.) developed and promoted the advancement of geoscience in the Atlantic Region in any field of geology with significant impact beyond the immediate Atlantic Region.

The 2019 Gesner Medal was awarded to Dr. Damian Nance for fundamental contributions to our understanding of the geology of Atlantic Canada and his major influence on the theories of plate tectonics and global-scale geodynamics developed over his career.


May 21st: Talk by the 2020 Precambrian Division Howard Street Robinson Medalist, Dr. Elizabeth Turner – 11:30am ET  AND Student Day – Scientific Writing Workshop 2-5pm ET

Talk title: “Neoproterozoic rocks that keep on giving – new lessons from old rocks…”

The Robinson Medal recognizes respected and well-spoken geoscientists who have made exceptional contributions towards the scientific study of Precambrian geology and or metal mining through a presentation of a distinguished lecture series across Canada. The medalist is selected by the Howard Street Robinson Committee and the Executive of the Division sponsoring the tour – the Mineral Deposits Division or the Precambrian Division on an alternating annual basis.

The 2020 Howard Street Robinson medal was awarded to Dr. Elizabeth Turner of Laurentian University for her work in tectonostratigraphic, paleoenvironmental, and paleobiological evolution of Proterozoic and Paleozoic sedimentary basins, and her unique contribution to the study of sedimentary-hosted mineralization in Canada, Europe and Africa.


Student Day – Scientific writing workshop with Dr. Jacob Hanley (St. Mary’s University) aimed at senior undergraduate and graduate students – 2:30-6pm ET

Technical Writing Workshop for Students 

This is a half-day workshop involving technical presentations on the key elements of scientific/technical communication. Topics will include: (i) The scope of geoscience technical writing in government, industry and academia including thesis preparation; (ii) peer-review, grant writing and writing as a professional geoscientist; (iii) styles of writing: the good, the bad and the ugly; and (iv) integrating technical writing with data presentation. Short exercises will enable students to improve their critical editing skills (what must be present and what shouldn’t be), revising a draft, and online tools and resources for citing work, getting more organized with writing and tracking your progress. Participants should be prepared to work on critical editing of a piece of their own work, comprising a 2-3 page excerpt from a thesis or term paper that is completed in or in progress.