This month I would like to urge all of you to read my sister column, The Grapevine. A formal announcement about the next JGF is included in the Grapevine this month. Our next event is on November 3, 2009. The biggest challenge that the JGF has always faced is the modest attitude of geophysicists. Many of the intermediate, senior and retired geophysicists do not think the juniors and students would be interested in networking with them. They think it is only for people that are in a position to hire. That is not true! In order for the JGF to continue its success geophysicists of ALL experience levels are encouraged to attend. We promise you will find the experience a rewarding one.


Aguila Exploration is pleased to welcome Julia Rozema to their GIS team. Julia has a Bsc in Geography and a BGIS and has extensive experience in mapping, spatial analysis and GIS software development. She will be working with Sean Callaghan, GIS Manager, to provide state of the art GIS solutions and support to our clients. You can reach Julia at

Aguila Exploration Consultants Ltd. is committed to excellence in the provision of Seismic Project Management and Consulting services to the Oil & Gas exploration industry. Visit us at

How I Got Involved in Geophysics...

In this portion of the column members of the geophysical community share their stories of how they got involved in this industry. Most of us did by accident more than by design. If you would like to share your story or thank some of the people that helped you along the way, please contact me! People would like you to share your story. CS

Dr. Henry Lyatsky, P.Geoph., P.Geol.
Lyatsky Geoscience Research & Consulting Ltd.

For life is not the thing we thought, and not the thing we plan.
– Robert Service

Seemed like a good idea at the time. That’s how we all get into stuff. I am a field geologist’s kid, birthday in July. My childhood was spent in St. Petersburg, Russia, and I tagged along for some of Dad’s field work, including a rather hairy summer in Azerbaijan back country.

We moved to Calgary 30 years ago and Dad went to work for Home Oil. Calgary was then half its current size, with a delightful small-town and frontier flavor. I went to the University of Calgary with a delusion that I liked physics, settling for geophysics as a familiar and practical compromise. That’s my recollection of it, anyway, through three decades of distance and much beer haze. I took geology as well, getting a B.Sc. in both programs in 1985. I hope some of Dad’s education in classical geology rubbed off on me too. A great time came when I worked on my geophysics M.Sc. in coal exploration at UofC with Don Lawton, who is the best supervisor I ever had. Summers were spent in oil-industry jobs downtown, or windsurfing in BC and Montana and playing competition paintball. A highlight was to get to know Carmen Swalwell, who has now asked me to write this column.

My Ph.D. program was eventful. I started at the University of Victoria, then moved to Vancouver to work on a project supported by the Geological Survey of Canada which also provided superb mentoring by some of the country’s top geologists. My resulting 1992 geology thesis at UBC was a petroleum assessment of the Queen Charlotte Basin offshore BC, which is still in demand for publication and from which my lecture just last winter was televised nationally on CPAC. Living on the West Coast proved to me how Albertan I had become.

A post-doc followed in London, UK. Something of a wash-out academically, but a great time was had with industry colleagues using gravity and seismic data in North Sea sub-salt exploration. Besides, London is London, matchless in all kinds of ways all of which needn’t be detailed here. It was a surprise how un- European I felt. I came back home to Calgary in 1994 and rebooted the consulting firm my father had started, specializing in gravity and magnetic studies. There were some interviews for academic and government jobs but I realized it’s too restrictive and not for me; I just couldn’t squeeze out of myself the words they needed to hear, and I was not going to leave Calgary again.

Fig. 01

There was some magnificent field work along the way. The accompanying picture is of my fly camp in the Coppermine River area, Nunavut, in 1996; have a read of Jack London’s “Love of Life” for what it’s like. My three books on western Canada geology were published by Springer-Verlag. The Alberta Geological Survey published two atlases of my gravity and magnetic maps, including a big atlas of southern and central Alberta in their Special Publication 72. I teach a commercial short course on the basics of gravity and magnetics. Together with Michael Enachescu and Geophysical Service Incorporated, we are currently marketing our joint geophysical study offshore Labrador.

The hardest thing of all was to learn self-promotion and public performance. I’ve recently served two years as president of the Mineral Exploration Group, a province-wide mining-industry non-profit with an annual conference in Calgary; exposure to hard-rock geology back in Vancouver came in useful. My management training was in politics, where I’ve had several organizational and management positions in campaigns of Ted Morton and Stephen Harper, but that’s another story.

So there it is, boys and girls, if you are just starting out. All recessions end, like all booms. If you assume your life trajectory will be linear, have some imagination. And don’t waste your time chasing prestige and status; nobody impressive will be impressed, and anyway they don’t care about that at the Pearly Gate. It’s more fun to be out in the mountains, hiking.



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