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Gordon F. West


Gordon F. West


Applied geophysics: Electromagnetic, seismic and potential field exploration methods; Geophysical investigations of Precambrian crustal structure.

Telephone: (416)978-3155
e-mail: west@physicsdomain

Research  | Papers  |  Post-Docs  | Students

Brief CV

B.A.Sc., Toronto (1955); M.A., Toronto (1957); Ph.D., Toronto (1960). PDF, Paris (1961-62); Assist. Prof., Toronto (1960); Assoc. Prof., Toronto (1966-72); Visiting Professorships, U.B.C. (1974); Macquarrie U., Australia (1981); NGRI, India (1982); Transect Leader (KSZ) Project Lithoprobe (1986-1995); Occasional consultant to several mineral exploration companies (1960-present).


Research Interests

The goal of applied geophysics is to provide methods of sensing the interior structure of the earth's crust without requiring direct access to it; for instance, by using seismic waves, low or high frequency electromagnetic fields, or the Earth's own gravity and magnetic field. Many well developed geophysical tools are now widely used in petroleum and mineral exploration, engineering and hydrological studies, archeology, and in fundamental geological studies. However, many investigation problems still are too difficult, so one of my chief aims is to develop new or improved ways to tackle some of these cases. Another is to use current methods to investigate regional- or crustal-scale geology at depth, so as to better understand past geological processes.

Most of this research is carried out as graduate student thesis projects. (I have been thesis advisor for of more than 40 M.Sc. and 20 Ph.D. students). Studies have varied very widely in emphasis, from theoretical/computational work to the design of insturmentation, and from field testing of prototype concepts to the interpretation of regular survey data. Some of the work has resulted in new companies being formed by graduates to exploit the results in industry.

The following activities are current:

PROJECT LITHOPROBE: In this national collaborative Earth Science project, the geological structure of the Earth's crust in Canada is being investigated through a series of ``transect'' studies. Much new geophysical information, especially crustal scale seismic reflection data have been acquired. Analysis of some of these data is often undertaken as a thesis project. Current foci in my group are the Kapuskasing Structural Zone and the Kirkland Lake areas of Northern Ontario; also the Upper Proterozoic Keweenawan structures under Lake Superior.

SEISMIC METHODS: Developed largely for use in exploring sedimentary basins to depths of several kilometers for petroleum, the seismic reflection method is now being adapted to function in a variety of new geological environments. My group currently focusses on devising instrumental and interpretational systems for borehole-to-borehole seismology in the audio frequency range (data interpretation based on tomographic principles), on the investigation of structures in crystalline metamorphic rocks of the Precambrian shield for mineral exploration, and imaging the structure of shallow glacial deposits for environmental studies.

EM EXPLORATION METHODS : A key use of controlled source EM methods is in looking for sulphide base metal ores. Over the past 20 years, our research has helped increase the useful exploration depth of surface surveys to about 500 m (from about 50 m) and to depths of several kilometers when using bore hole methods. Several important mineral deposits have been found as a result.

Recent Publications

``The Kapuskasing uplift: - a geological and geophysical sysnthesis'', J.A. Percival and G.F. West, Canadian Journal of Earth Science v31, n7, p 256 - 1286, (1994).

``Evidence from the Matachewan dyke swarm regarding the tectonic evolution of the Kapuskasing structural zone'', G.F. West and R.E. Ernst, Canadian Journal of Earth Sciece, v 24, n 11, p 1798-1811 (1991).

``The physics of the electromagnetic exploration method'', G.F. West and J.C. macnae, also ''Airborne electromagnetic methods'', G.J. Palachy and G.F. west, invited reviews in SEG special volume Electromagnetic methods in Applied Geophysics vol. 2, ed. M.N. Nabighian, Society of Exploration Geophysicists (1991).

``Seismic tomography at a fireflood site'', N.D. Bregman, P. Hurley and G.F. West, Geophysics 54, v 54, n 9, p 1082 - 1090 (1989).