Thank you for all the positive feedback on “How I got involved in Geophysics”. The response has been very positive so if you would like to share you story and thank some of your mentors, please contact me.

Both the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta have been announcing recipients of their graduate degrees in Geophysics in this column. (see the New Degrees section of this column). If there are any other universities interested in doing the same, please contact me.

P.S. In regards to Ron Larson’s story below, I was not relentless in my pursuit. I was merely making sure he kept his word. And… he didn’t relent, he surrendered.

Carmen Swalwell

How I got into Geophysics...

Ron Larson, Apache Canada Ltd.

Carmen has been relentless with her requests for me to provide a narrative of how I decided to become a geophysicist. Given that the idea for this part of the column was partly mine, I have relented. I went to the U of C to take a degree in either Physics or English literature. At the time, I was doing a fair amount of low standard rock climbing. My father, a geologist, suggested that the objective dangers of climbing might be reduced by reducing one’s ignorance about rocks, so I took a geology course. It was very interesting, but the prospect of following the same career path as my father was alarming. Of greater concern was the social world that the physics teaching assistants (all of them graduate students in Physics) seemed to promise – enough said. Also of concern was the fact that an English degree, while both interesting and not terribly difficult, promised slightly less in terms of jobs prospects than perhaps anything else off e red at the university. Faced with that three-fold dilemma, I reviewed the course calendar. In it there were some geophysics courses. The “geo” part promised to foster the interest in things geological. The physics part was clear enough. And the combination promised far more beer than a pure physics program. I don’t know if this was true or not; nor can I get reliable information from other students of the day. We just cannot remember! I do recall having a reasonably good time though. Another thing I recall was my response to a fellow student’s question as we approached the summer of our third year. The question was, “Have you checked the job board at the Student‘s Union building?” What went immediately through my head was this: “People will pay you to do this!!!” And it turns out they do. This is a good thing, in many ways, for all of us. After all, in the words of Rob Stewart at one of his CSEG lunch meeting presentations: “A day without seismic is like a day without sunshine”.

Kevin Marsh, Statcom Ltd.

It was 1978 and I just graduated from Queen’s. The plan was to head west and work in Banff followed by some traveling. I came to Calgary first and was staying at a cousin’s house in Fairview. Looking out her kitchen window I could see Western Geophysical across Blackfoot Trail. I asked my cousin what business they were in. She couldn’t answer my inquiry. However, she knew they hired seasonal field workers. The next day I walked across Blackfoot – resume in hand – and of course in June they weren’t hiring field workers.

However, they had a contract position drafting side labels (yes they were drafted by hand). The drafting person was on maternity leave until September. When the contract ended one thing led to another and I was offered a junior processing position – making the princely sum of $1200.00 per month. I probably would have quit to travel but chance led me to meet Peter Bediz while working on a potash seismic survey. I have rarely met anyone as enthusiastic and positive as Peter and decided to stay another year. Before that year was over I was offered a processing position at Digitech making far more money than I imagined. At Digitech I worked for one of my other mentors Ray Lipkewich who always stressed expediency and accuracy. From those early days I have continued processing and marketing seismic data with a number of different companies.

Peter Cary, Sensor Geophysical Ltd.

I was interested in astronomy and physics from an early age when growing up in Edmonton. My family moved to Timmins in northern Ontario for the last couple of years of my high school, so I ended up at the University of Toronto studying physics and math, intent on becoming an astronomer.

The summer before heading to Toronto, I got a job with Texasgulf Inc., a big mining company in Timmins, in a grungy warehouse behind a motel on the edge of town, washing soil samples all day long. The job was extremely boring and mindless, but a small group of guys (university students who lived in the motel all summer) also used the warehouse as a base for the geophysical surveying that they were doing in the bush around Timmins. I hooked up with a couple of them on weekends who like me preferred to earn some extra money for the coming university year by working Sundays, as well as the other six days of the week. I clearly remember my first magnetometer survey—the blackflies were absolutely voracious! We tried to cover any exposed flesh, but they crawled up our sleeves and into our ears anyway. But I loved being out there, dragging instruments through the bush, applying physical principles, and analyzing the data at the end of the day. It was fun!

That September I headed to Toronto to become an astronomer. But my first astronomy course turned me off. I didn’t much like the professor or the students or the material. But I liked my math and physics courses. The next summer I got a job with the geophysicists back in Timmins. In the following summers I traveled all over the country with them. I spent my summers during university doing field work with mining geophysicists in Ontario, B.C., the Yukon, N.W.T., Quebec, Newfoundland and New Brunswick, flying around in helicopters, working outdoors in wild places, eating well, and earning pretty good money.

By the time it came to choose my specialty in fourth year, it was a no-brainer. I already had lots of experience, and I was hooked on geophysics.

On the Move...

Divestco Inc. proudly welcomes the addition of two new staff members:

Jonathan Turner joins the sales and marketing team as Account Manager for software and data and Fiona Pinnell who joins the training and support team. Divestco Inc. is pleased to be able to compliment our staff with these two new employees.

Recent promotions and additions within Paradigm Geophysical’s Service Team:

Glen Larsen (Supervisor, Land Processing)
Milka Cotra (Seismic Processing Team Leader)
Suzanne Rae (Seismic Processing Team Leader)
Verdon Toews (Seismic Processing Team Leader)

Roger Hawthorne returned to join the Calgary operation of Paradigm Geophysical as Manager of Technical Sales. Roger brings 39 years of worldwide experience in the processing and reservoir geophysics side of the industry. Although Roger is well known in the Calgary geophysical industry, he has spent the last twelve years overseas working for our company in such places as Nigeria, the Middle East and Mexico. His experience and knowledge is a definite asset to our operation. Give Roger a call at 571- 1616 to renew acquaintances and hear some interesting stories.

Jinggui Lu joined Paradigm Canada in December as a Processing Geophysicist. Jinggui is bringing to our company 10 years experience in seismic data processing, R&D and programming which makes him a great asset to our land group.

Josh Feng joined the Service group at Paradigm Canada in January as a Processing Geophysicist. With more than 4 years of industry experience in seismic data processing and interpretation, combined with 5 years research experience, Josh will contribute to achieving our company’s technical goals.

Darlon Reyes joined Paradigm Canada in November in the role of Geophysical Technologist for our Service group. With 10 years of experience in geophysical processing and data management, Darlon will add significant value to our team.

Jonathan Banyard recently joined Time Seismic Exchange Limited, a Veritas DGC Company. In his position of Sales and Marketing Manager, Jonathan will be marketing over 12,000 square kilometres of Time’s modern 3-D, and playing a key role in developing new 3-D programs in Alberta and British Columbia. Jonathan’s contact details are:; Tel: 403-205-9193; Cell: 403-813-1355.

Arcis is pleased to announce the addition of four new members to our Seismic Data Processing team: Fafu Zeng, Vladimir Alexeev, Spencer Lee and Tom Charlton. Fafu joins Arcis as a depth imager, Vladimir as a seismic data processor and software developer, and both Spencer and Tom as experienced seismic data processors. Spencer has 25 years of experience and Tom has 16 years. Arcis offers the energy industry a unique, integrated complement of seismic services; including, data processing, participation surveys, data marketing, geotechnical services and access to an extensive data library.

Fafu Zeng: 403-781-6226,
Vladimir Alexeev: 403-781-1428,
Spencer Lee: 403-781-6232,
Tom Charlton: 403-781-1425,

Veritas DGC Inc. announced that Dr. Scott Cheadle has been appointed Depth Imaging Manager, Canadian Land Processing. In this new role, Dr. Cheadle will be responsible for leading Veritas’ depth imaging initiatives in Calgary, continuing to build the business by maintaining client focus and further advancing the technology. Also joining the depth imaging team is Dr. Graziella Kirtland Grech, in the role of Technical Advisor. Her focus is to help develop the tools and processes that the team requires to advance the technology. She will also provide technical support to the team and its clients.

Pete Bratton joined Iron Mountain as an Account Executive in their Energy Services division. Amongst many other things, this group is responsible for the e-Search Data Management application (of which Schlumberger is a reseller) as well as the complete suite of exploration data management services previously offered by The Hays Group and Oil Data. who are now 100% owned by Iron Mountain. The opening of the Iron Mountain Energy Services business unit in Calgary is partly in response to worldwide resurgence of the legacy tape archival business. It seems there is still a significant number of 9 track tapes in storage, and the expertise and hardware to deal with these tapes is becoming scarce, which is prompting companies to reformat them while they can. Pete’s phone number, for now is 403-531-2000. They are still building Pete’s office and the hot tub is a problem for them. Pete’s email is

Bells are Ringing

Ann Young, Marketing Coordinator for Divestco Inc., has changed her name to Ann Burgess. The reason for this is twofold – her recent marriage to Pat Burgess. AND so we no longer mix her up with the other Ann Young we know so well! Ann’s new email at Divestco is

New Degrees

The University of Alberta is pleased to announce that the following graduate degrees in Geophysics have been awarded.

Name of Author: Wen Xiao
M.Sc. Thesis: Magnetotelluric exploration in the Rocky Mountain Foothills

Name of Author: Pavlo Y. Cholach
Ph.D. Thesis: The elasticity of intrinsically anisotropic rocks

Name of Author: Gabriel Solano
M.Sc. Thesis: Zero offset VSP data processing and attenuation estimates in the oil sands

The University of Calgary, Department of Geology and Geophysics is pleased to announce that they have awarded the following graduate degrees:

Name of Author: Carrie Armeneau
M.Sc. Thesis: Syntectonic Vein Formation in the Rundle Thurst Sheet near Canmore, Alberta

Name of Author: Sandy Chen
M.Sc. Thesis: 4D Time-Lapse Seismology on Foamy Oil and Wormhole Footprints in a Heavy Oil Cold Production Reservoir, Lloydminster, Alberta

Name of Author: Jennifer Cole
M.Sc. Thesis: Arsenic in a Village Drinking Water Supply, Mexico

Name of Author: Christopher Ogiesoba
M.Sc. Thesis: Prestack Vp/Vs Scanning and Automatic PS to PP time mapping using Multicomponent Seismic Data

Name of Author: Hannah Tran
M.Sc. Thesis: Monitoring Fluid Injection using Time-Lapse Analysis: A Rainbow Lake Case Study

Name of Author: Carlos Nieto
M.Sc. Thesis: Multicomponent Seismic Exploration and Ground- Penetrating Radar Surveying in the Canadian Arctic

Name of Author: Samantha Siegel
M.Sc. Thesis: Geophysical Interpretation of the Fort Simpson Basin, Southwest Northwest Territories

Name of Author: Luc Rock
Ph.D. Thesis: Assessment of the Usefulness of the Isotopic Composition of Surface Water Nitrate



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