Geology Speaker Tour

Dr. Alana Hinchey

NFLD Geological Survey
Virtual locations: StFX, UNB, and SMU

The Science (and Art) of Regional Bedrock Mapping: Lessons from Labrador and Life

Although essential research elements and core field skill requirements have not changed, there have been some fundamental changes in the field of bedrock mapping over the last 20 years. A complex, multidisciplinary approach is required to unravel the evolution of complex tectonic regimes. We need to apply a full suite of analytical techniques to a map area, such as field mapping, structural analysis, lithogeochemistry, isotope geochemisty, petrography, and geochronology in order to decipher its lithological, structural, and metamorphic history.

The advent of digital data capture systems and portable tablets have altered the way data are collected, integrated and published. These advances in technology allow the full integration of GIS into bedrock mapping. We now utilize digital geologic mapping to improve our field efficiency and problem solving capabilities. Basic digital mapping is just the beginning of new and evolving capabilities with true 3D mapping (i.e. mapping through a 3D interface as opposed to building a 3D model post field mapping). With the aid of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), we are developing and applying high-resolution, photo-realistic terrain models as a base surface for 3D mapping. The integration of these new technologies into digital field workflows and 3D visualizations is transforming the practice of bedrock mapping by making it more accessible and visually realistic.


Alana earned a B.Sc.Hons. (Geological Science) from Queen’s University in 1999, followed by a M.Sc. (Earth Sciences) from Memorial University in 2001, and a Ph.D. (Earth Sciences) from Carleton University in 2005.

Upon graduation, she worked with the Geological Survey of Canada under a Post-Doctoral Fellowship, before joining the provincial Geological Survey of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2006 as a bedrock mapping geologist.

In 2012, Alana was promoted to Senior Geologist for the Regional Geology Section and is accountable for the collection, development and interpretation of bedrock-geological data for the Province, as well as various research projects including deciphering the evolution of the Makkovik Province. In addition to Provincial products, Alana’s work on Precambrian volcano-sedimentary sequences has recently been published in high-impact journals such as Lithos and Precambrian Research.

Alana is also a passionate volunteer for geoscience engagement and Provincial geoheritage. She was a key contributor to the successful application for the UNESCO Discovery Global Geopark on the Bonavista Peninsula. She currently serves on several non-profit boards, including the Canadian Geological Foundation, and the Geological Association of Canada.

Dr. John Spray

Planetary and Space Science Centre
University of New Brunswick
Virtual locations: Acadia, MUN and Dal

Back to the Moon: New Opportunities for Geological Exploration and Lunar Science

It is approaching 50 years since the last human walked on another planetary body (Apollo 17, 1972), but there is now renewed interest in returning to the Moon, with multiple space agencies currently planning lunar exploration activities. This includes a proposed lunar-orbiting space station (Lunar Gateway) and associated ground operations. The NASA-led Artemis program plans to send the first woman and the next man to the south pole of the Moon by 2024, with the goal of achieving sustainable exploration by 2028 via collaboration with commercial and international partners, including Canada. Drivers for this new phase of lunar exploration are several, some of the more important are:

(1) A growing appreciation that the Moon is more complicated and varied in its composition, internal structure and overall geology than was initially presumed following the Apollo (USA) and Luna (Russia) landings. This has important scientific implications regarding the origin and evolution of the Moon, and how these relate to Earth’s first 1 billion years of activity;

(2) The discovery of water ice and other volatiles in cold, shadowed regions of the poles is revolutionary. H2O can provide water and O2 for humans to live, as well as H2 for fuel. The discovery of other volatiles has additional positive implications with regard to in situ resource utilization (ISRU);

(3) The need to develop and prove technology capabilities on a near-Earth planetary body in preparation for future deeper space exploration by robots and humans (e.g., Mars, asteroids, and certain gas giant moons). This alludes to the Moon as a technology proving ground for future space exploration.

The presentation will provide an overview of the geology of the Moon, including future opportunities for geological exploration, and lunar science and associated technology development.



John is Director of the Planetary and Space Science Centre at the University of New Brunswick. He currently manages a research team of eight, comprising research scientists, engineers, graduate and undergraduate students and staff. The team’s research activities focus on investigating planetary materials, frictional melting, impact cratering mechanics, the geology of the Moon and Mars, and processes associated with hypervelocity impact and shock effects. He currently directs the Canadian (International) Regional Planetary Image Facility (RPIF), where the focus is on managing the Earth Impact Database. John received his BSc in Geology from Cardiff University (Wales) and his PhD in Earth Sciences from Cambridge University (England). He held the Canada Research Chair in Extreme Deformation and Planetary Materials from 2006-2018, and is currently a co-investigator on the science teams for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and the upcoming European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover missions.