The following history of the Saskatchewan Geological Society is taken from the "Musings from the President's Cubbyhole" section of the 2001 newsletters written by Dr. Don Kent, who is one of the longest-standing active SGS members

I propose to intermittently make some contributions on the history of the geological society to the newsletter over this next year, if the editor will permit me to do so. Much of what I will write is based on my own personal acquaintance with the oil industry and experiences within the society. It seems appropriate to have some comments in this February edition of the newsletter since the organizational meeting for the society was at the long demolished Kitchener Hotel in the 1700 block of Rose Street on February 1st, 1951 (Paterson, 1982, 4th Williston Basin Symposium Vol.). Paterson indicates that the majority present at a meeting in the Novia Cafe on March 6th, 1951 finally agreed to the name "Saskatchewan Geological Society". However, the society did not become a corporate entity until 1952. I will risk drawing some derogatory comments from certain members of the society, by say that I had just reach my 18th birthday seven days prior to that momentous first meeting, and I was looking forward to leaving for the University of Alberta in the fall to begin studies in petroleum engineering. My roommate for that coming year was to be a high school classmate whose family owned an oil company, Marion Oils, which operated some 13 wells in the Lloydminster area. Needless to say, he was also planning to take petroleum engineering

My parents and I had moved to Regina in 1948, at the beginning of the first "oil boom" (1948-1958) as chronicled by Steve Halabura in the 5th Williston Basin Symposium Vol. By the time I finished my bachelor's and master's degrees, I was able to get into the tail end of that boom and to experience through friends the disappointments and disillusionment brought about by the accompanying lay-offs. Prior to 1948 my only knowledge of hydrocarbons was from the gaslights in my place of my birth, Medicine Hat, and the occasional blown-off gas well to celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday and July 1st. It didn't take long after we arrived in Regina to be caught up in the "oil boom". It was even easier for my family as a company that purchased shares of freehold mineral rights in southeastern Saskatchewan employed my mother, as office manager. They even drilled a well in the Forget area but were unsuccessful in finding economic quantities of oil. I tried to get a job with Petty Geophysical Engineering Co., as a surveyor in the summer of 1952, but they were more inclined to hire Americans and had only one Canadian university graduate, Henry Sawatzky. Henry was later the Chief Geophysicist for the Dept. of Mineral Resources. I had to settle for a surveying job with Dept. of Highways in the Assiniboia area, but that is where I first encountered geologists. California Standard had field geologists in southern Saskatchewan doing structural surface mapping. Laurence Vigrass was on one of those parties, but the party that I met included Dave Organ and Bill Brisbin. Brisbin later was a faculty member of the geology department at the University of Manitoba, and Dave Organ, I believe, spent his entire career with California Standard/Chevron. Those field parties were operating out of California Standard's district office in Regina.

I, reluctantly, agreed to the request of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta to give up my quest of a Petroleum Engineering degree, and after a year out of university, I moved on to the U of S to take Geological Engineering. The pinnacle of the post-Leduc "oil boom" was in the mid-1950's. When I finished the working on my master's thesis on the geology of oil occurrences in the Lloydminster area, the job market had dried up, and I had one job to chose from, a subsurface research position at the brand new Subsurface Geological Laboratory of the Sask. Dept. of Mineral Resources. I became an active member of the society in the fall of 1958 and attended my first AGM that year.


The Society Throughout the 1950's  

The impact of the Leduc oil discoveries on the Saskatchewan exploration scene can be measured in part from the oil company listings in the yellow pages of the Regina Telephone Directories for the period 1948-1958. The 1948 directory listed only one oil producing company; Bata Petroleums Ltd. located at 310 of the Broder Building. The number of listings grew to 5 exploration companies in 1949, British American Oil, Farmer's Mutual Petroleums, Imperial Oil, Sohio Petroleum and Tide Water Associated Oil Co-Operators as well as Bata. When the geological society was organized in 1951, there were 18 companies included. Among them are some that are still in existence, such as California Standard (Chevron), Canadian Gulf, Sun Oil (Suncor), Union Oil of California (Unocal), Socony-Vacuum (Mobil), as well as some that have been absorbed by those listed previously, British America (Gulf) and Canadian Superior (Mobil). By 1953 the number of companies had increased to 24, and in 1958, when I arrived on the scene looking for work, there were 29 companies. In addition, there was a sizable service industry including Core Lab, Chemical and Geological Labs, McCullough Tools, Mid-Continental Coring, Schlumberger, Riley's, two geophysical companies and the Prairie Oil Scout.

Society technical meetings during the fifties were commonly supper meetings held at a variety of locations including the Kitchener Hotel, Hotel Saskatchewan, and Pinder's Cafeteria in the basement of the old MacCallum-Hill Building. Local geologists and others from outside of the province gave talks. The first three speakers in order of appearance were Jas. T Cawley, deputy minister of Natural Resources and first V.P. of the society, H.D. Dodson, and Bob Bishop, first secretary-treasurer. Bob gave several other talks to the society during his stay in Regina, including a classic paper in which he described criteria for the recognition of salt solution structures in the Venn area of central Saskatchewan. An ongoing verbal battle raged over the Avonlea fault from 1956-1959, both at society meetings and in the Journal of the Alberta Society of Petroleum Geologists (precursor to the Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology). Protagonists included Regina- and Calgary-based geologists, such as Bishop, Ralph Edie, H.W. Woodward, Sawatzky, Agarwal, Wilson, and Binnert Haites. I was able to get in on the last of the presentations by Sawatzky et al. (1958) and Haites (1959).

Ted Link, at that time president of the Alberta Society of Petroleum Geologists, was the speaker at the February 5, 1957 dinner meeting at the Saskatchewan Hotel. He talked on "Random thoughts on the origin, habitat and finding of oil and gas". Larry Sloss of Krumbein and Sloss fame was also a dinner meeting speaker at the Saskatchewan Hotel on October 2, 1957. The topic of his presentation was "Stratigraphic analysis and the search for oil". Incidently, tickets for dinner meetings were $3.50. Other speakers included Prof. F.H "Harry" Edmunds, University of Saskatchewan, who spoke on his sabbatical year world tour, and Jack Mollard, the 1957 AGM speaker, who spoke about his work experiences in Pakistan and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). There were occasions when two papers were presented on the same night, as was the case on April 9, 1959 when Cumming, Fuller, and Porter presented "Separation of strata - Palaeozoic limestones of the Williston Basin" and Jack Nesbitt presented a paper simply entitled "Core examination".

Members of the society got involved in a number of projects related to the Williston Basin during the Fifties. Bob Milner, Jack Porter, Bob Bishop, and Raen DeWitt were members of a Williston Basin nomenclature committee that proposed many of the stratigraphic terms that are still used today. John Fuller chaired a committee of the Saskatchewan Geological Society whose mandate was to standardize the Mississippian nomenclature. The fruits of that committee's work were circulated as a report of the Mississippian Names and Correlation committee. It included a 10 page report and 4 well-log cross-sections that "?not only correlate the principal marker horizons but also establish the boundaries of useful operational units." (Quote from press release prepared by Stan Kanik, 1957). I believe that a copy of the report and its accompanying cross-sections is still around. Probably the two biggest undertakings for the society membership were the First and Second International Williston Basin symposia held in Bismarck, North Dakota, October 10-12, 1956 and Regina, April 23-25, 1958. Both were financially and technically successful events. Can you imagine a registration fee of $5.00 for the first symposium and hotel rooms ranging from $5.00 single to $10.00 double. The meeting in Bismarck attracted approximately 500 registrants and the one in Regina, 566. Two hundred and twenty of those people at the second symposium were from Regina. Although not all may have been members of the society, I know that when I arrived in Regina from the University in May of 1958 there were at least 196 members in the society. Unfortunately for me, I missed that second symposium because I was trying to clean up the research on my thesis, but 11 of my colleagues from the University were in attendance.

Society news was commonly submitted to the ASPG Journal and most often it contained news of transfers in and out of Regina. A noteworthy report was sent in December of 1956 announcing the arrival of two new Department of Mineral Resources staff members, Ann Crowthers (later Fuzesy) and John Buller. Ann became head of the Records Section (precursor of Bob Troyer's Geodata) and John, head of Reservoir Geology which eventually became Geology and Petroleum Lands. The Subsurface Lab opened in late April of 1958 and the first person to move into it was John Brindle, newly appointed head of research, replacing John Fuller who went to Amerada's office in Regina. I followed John in May. The 1958 AGM was a memorable event for me, not only because it was my first and I had an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the big boys of geology in Regina but also because of something that happened during the business meeting. Since the society was flush with money from two successful symposia, the sale of symposia volumes and the Mississippian report and cross-section, George McLeod of Canadian Devonian Petroleum put forward a motion that the "society give $5000.00" to the Springhill disaster fund. Springhill, N.S. had been hit by three events in 1956, 1957 and 1958, two mine explosions in which a total of 115 miners were killed, and a fire that destroyed the major part of the business district. The motion was passed and in years to come, when revenues from memberships seriously declined, and the society approached bankruptcy, those of us left behind regretted the generosity of the members that night. I believe that this was the one and only AGM to be held at the Regina Petroleum Club which was located in the building now occupied by the Brass Lantern. Although it was called the Petroleum Club, the membership was mainly doctors and lawyers. After the AGM a few of us retired to Al Chesney's office at Central Canadian Stratigraphic Services and expounded on potential exploration targets, into the 'wee small hours', over leftover beer from the AGM. At that time the Strat Service office was on Broad Street at the north end of the present site of the Canada Employment Centre.


The 1960s ( the fall and resurrection of memberships, field trips and core seminars).  

Drilling activity in Saskatchewan in the late 1950's was so great that the Department of Mineral Resources had difficulty keeping up to the flood of information being submitted. Consequently, there was a steady influx of new geological staff. Laslo Fuzsey and Steve Magas joined after the Hungarian revolution in 1956. They were seasoned geologists as was Karl von Ledebur. However, many of the recruits, like Gordon Hutch, Bill Wilson, Norma Tweedy and myself were raw rookies. Two people that were hired in 1959 changed the direction of my career. They were Jim Christopher and Lyn Jones, the second and third PhD's to be hired for the Research Section. It was obvious to me with a mere Masters degree that I had little chance for advancement, so in the fall of 1960, I entered the PhD program at the University of Alberta. The year 1960 opened on a rather sad and sobering note as Imperial Oil laid-off a number of geological staff just before Christmas-1959. Shell followed with lay-offs shortly afterward, and this set a trend in the 1960's. It wasn't long afterward that California Standard (Chevron) shutdown its office as did Canadian Superior. However on the bright side, Mobil closed its exploration office in Swift Current and moved everyone to Regina. They occupied space in the Financial Building where SEM is located at the present time.

I presented my first paper to a society evening meeting in 1960 at the Hotel Saskatchewan. The paper was based on my research on the evaporites of the Upper Ordovician. It was a rather intimidating experience for a rookie geologist as the attendees included J.G.C.M. Fuller, Alistair Cumming, Bob Milner and Geoff Thomas some of the well-known petroleum geologists of that time.

The geological society hit on hard times in the mid-1960's, in fact, the paid up membership in the spring of 1964 was 19. The executive recommended to the vice-president, Lyn Jones, that he should set-up a membership drive committee to bring back delinquent members. I was recruited to that committee, and before the opening date of the Third Williston Basin Symposium in the fall of 1964, the membership roll was up to 86. The Third Williston Basin Symposium was the first time that Montana geologists got involved. The symposium was held in Regina to help SGS improve its financial situation, which was, to say the least, woeful. There were about 450 geologists at the symposium and the society's coffers were greatly replenished.

I served my first term as president of the society in 1965. That was also the year that we had our first multi-day field trip, a Friday to Sunday trip to the Lower Paleozoic outcrops in Interlake area of Manitoba. Two 36 passenger busses were used to transport participants in the field trip area. There were about 60 geologists from Calgary, Casper, Billings, Bismarck and Regina,. That trip was the precursor to a series of annual field trips from 1966 to 1972. They included the Hanson Lake Road - 1966, the Devonian outcrop belt of Manitoba - 1967, Little Rocky Mountains - 1968, Saskatchewan Cypress Hills - 1969, La Ronge area - 1970, Alberta Cypress Hills and Writing-on-Stone Prov. Park 1971 and Geology and its application to engineering practice in the Qu'Appelle Valley - 1972 (jointly with the Regina Geotechnical Group). Transportation for the 1967 field trip was a spectacle as it consisted of a 23-car cavalcade, carrying about 50 participants, that wound its way through western Manitoba. In addition to the field trips, the society sponsored, the first ever, in Canada if not North America, core seminar (Pre-Mississippian Core Seminar) in 1968. This was the brain-child of Esther James (later Magathan). It was followed by "Exploring Saskatchewan's Precambrian in 1969", co-chaired by Ralph Cheesman and Tony Gordon, and the "Mesozoic Core Seminar in 1970", co-chaired by John Brindle and Russ Holmberg. The former was during my second term as president and was organized to take advantage of interest in uranium discoveries in the Athabasca Basin. It was particularly appropriate because several oil companies including Imperial Oil and Gulf had acquired exploration blocks in the basin. Registrations were about 100 for each of the core seminars and 224 for the Precambrian conference. All were considered to be successful, and they added to the society's bank account. Although there was a new generation of oil companies in Regina in the late 1960's, i.e., Pure Oil, Western Decalta, Home Oil, Marathon, which had taken over the Tidewater operations, the number of petroleum geologists in the society decreased significantly in the late 1960's and early 1970's. During this time, the membership became a mix of "hardrock" and "softrock" interests.

Through the years society monthly technical meetings have been held in a variety of locations. In the early years they were held at the Kitchener Hotel and Hotel Saskatchewan. The latter became a favorite venue during the early 1960's, but we eventual took advantage of Bob Milner's membership at the Assiniboia Club and held evening meetings either in the main dining room, when there was a dinner meeting or in one of two small meeting rooms on the first level. Annual general meetings were also held at the Assiniboia Club. The 1969 annual meeting at the Assiniboia Club was particular memorable> It was a bitterly cold night with the temperature in the - 30C range, and as they were leaving the club, three faculty members of the fledgling geology department at the University of Saskatchewan Regina Campus became embroiled in an altercation with two drunken members of the Assiniboia Club who called our heroes "Bloody limeys!" They proceeded to kick one of them in the derriere, and one member of the group, who was a Canadian, took exception to being called a limey and was ready to protect his Canadian heritage. One other was ready to uphold his right to be a limey, but cooler heads prevailed and no real fisticuffs took place. (No names shall be mentioned to protect the innocent.) Bob Milner's departure from Regina in 1972 not only disrupted his 24-year residency in the city, but it also required the society to find another home for technical meetings. The Regina Inn became the location of choice for most meetings in the remaining years of the 1970's. However, the society did take advantage of Barry Lahey's membership at the United Services Institute and held a couple of annual general meetings at that location. Regulations at the Institute required that all males had to wear a jacket and tie. The first annual meeting held there was probably the only time that any members of the society saw John Lewry wearing a tie. Incidentally, the Institute supplied the tie.


Presidents of the Society during the first 25 years of its existence are listed below.  

1951 - A. (Allan) Graves

Mobil Oil Co.

1952 - R.A. (Bob) Bishop

Sohio Petroleum

1953 - H.F. (Harold) Morrow

Gardner, Low and Morrow

1954 - N.W. Martison

Shell Oil Co.

1955 - R.L. (Bob) Milner

Tidewater Assoc. Oil Co.

1956 - C.D. (Derry) Gould

British American Oil Co.

1957 - A.L. (Lloyd) Flood

L-M Oil Co.

1958 - A.D. (Allistair) Cummings

Tidewater Assoc. Oil Co.

1959- G.L. (George) McLeod

Canadian Devonian Petroleum Co.

1960 - C.K. (Keith) Caldwell

British American Oil Co.

1961 - D.R. (Dave) Francis

Sask. Dept. Mineral Res.

1962 - E.A. (Ted) Brownless

California Stand. Oil Co.

1963 - H.Ll. (Lyn) Jones

Sask. Dept. Mineral Res.

1964 - R.L. Milner

Oliphant and Oliphant Oil Co.

1965 - D.M. (Don) Kent

Sask. Dept. Mineral Res.

1966 - S.P. (Stu) Jordan

S.P. Jordan Geologists Ltd.

1967 - J.E. (Jim) Christopher

Sask. Dept. Mineral Res.

1968 - R.A. Holmberg

Marathon Oil Co.

1969 - D.M. Kent

Sask. Dept. Mineral Res.

1970 - W.A. (Tony) Gordon

Univ. of Sask. Regina Campus

1971 - L.M. (Laslo) Fusezy

Sask. Dept. Mineral Res.

1972 - D.R. Francis

Sask. Dept. Mineral Res.

1973 - R.L. (Bob) McPherson

D.L. Surjik and Assoc.

1974 - G.R. (Geoff) Parslow

University of Regina

1975 - C.E, (Colin) Dunn

Sask. Dept. Mineral Res.

1976 - L.W. (Laurence) Vigrass

University of Regina


The 1970's, and the birth of a new Geology Department  

The University of Saskatchewan Regina Campus was established in the early 1960's, and Lyn Jones of Saskatchewan Mineral resources gave the first lectures in introductory geology in 1965. The associate dean of Natural Sciences at the University was keen to establish a strong science presence in the Liberal Arts University and took the first steps toward establishing a Geology Department with the hiring of Dr. W. A. (Tony) Gordon in the spring of 1966. Tony came from the UK via the University of Puerto Rico and Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. He became an active member of the geological society holding positions as program chairman and president. In addition, as previously noted, he was also co-chair of the organizing committee of a society -sponsored conference. The Geology Department became a reality in 1968 when John Lewry was hired as a second faculty member. Laurence Vigrass arrived in November of 1968, and Geof Parslow was hired in time to begin teaching in the fall semester of 1969. In addition, I was hired as a seasonal lecturer in 1968 and again in 1970 to teach stratigraphy. I joined the department, permanently, as an associate professor in September of 1971. The degrees granted to the first graduates were 3-year BA degrees, but B.Sc. and B.Sc. Honours were approved for the 1970 fall semester. A Master's program came into effect in 1971. In late 1970 or early 1971, Bob Milner put a motion on the floor at a geological society's monthly technical meeting proposing that the society establish a prize for the student in the geology department with the best academic record. The first winner of that prize was Daryl Wightman who was also the Department's first Honours graduate and NSERC scholarship winner. Daryl went to Dalhousie to do a Masters and Ph.D., and then made a name for himself through studies on the sedimentology of Lower Cretaceous heavy oil-bearing rocks. Grant Garven won the 1975 Geological Society prize, and he has developed an international reputation in geohydrology. He is, presently, on the faculty of the Department of Geology at Johns Hopkins University. Fran Haidl (1977) and Pam Schwann (1982), well-known and respected members of the Society were also prize winners. Following the death of Bob Milner in the early 1980's the prize was renamed in his honour.

In addition to Tony Gordon other faculty members in Geology at the U of R play active roles in the society. Geof Parslow was president and co-chaired organizing committees for two conferences. Laurence Vigrass also filled the positions of program chairman and president as well as being in-charge of the program for the 6th Williston Basin Symposium. In 1979 I served my third term as society president.

The transition of the geological society from a petroleum based organization to a mix of "soft-" and "hard-rock" interests can be traced through the themes of society-sponsored conferences in the mid and late 1970's. The 1974 conference "Fuels - a geological appraisal" emphasizes this transition as it was a mixture of papers on subjects related to fossil fuels and other sources of energy. The 1976 conference on "Uranium in Saskatchewan" and the 1978 conference on "Uranium Exploration Techniques" took advantage of the intense interest in uranium exploration in Saskatchewan at that time.



The SGS in the 1980's  

The decade of the 1980's saw renewed vigour in the SGS. Saskoil had been operating since 1973, so by the 1980's it had a fairly large geological staff located in Regina. Then of course, there was "Cambridge Mafia", Lorsong, Kaldi and Broughton, who gave a renewed vigour to the Subsurface Lab after their arrival in the late 1970's. The first significant activity of the decade was the conference "Lloydminster and Beyond" in 1980, which attracted 250 delegates. It was followed by the 1981 field trip to the Black Hills. Two 15-passenger vanloads of participants visited the geological sites of the Black Hills area, including Spearfish Canyon, Homestake Gold Mine, Devil's Tower, Mammoth Hot Springs, and White River Badlands. The group was guided through parts of the area by Dr. Paul Greis of the South Dakota School of Mines, and in the evenings, Alf Hartling and Jim Lorsong lead the attack on eating establishments. However, they had a propensity for a combination of Mexican cuisine and beer, much to the consternation of their fellow-passengers the following day.

This most successful field trip was followed in 1982 by the 4th Williston Basin Symposium sponsored by SGS and the North Dakota Geological Society and hosted by SGS. The organizing committee for this symposium had more than its share of headaches. Firstly, a fire gutted the interior of the main ballroom of the Hotel Saskatchewan and labour unrest made it questionable whether or not the facility would be ready for the symposium dates. This was followed by cancellation of Frontier Airlines direct flights from Denver to Regina. It was felt at the time that this could have a detrimental effect on registrations, since most of the interest in the Williston Basin was from companies in the Denver area. However, all obstacles were overcome, and the symposium was obviously timely as it attracted close to 400 participants. The 4th symposium was the first one to have field trips associated with it. A pre-conference field trip led by Hugh McCabe, Manitoba Energy and Mines, visited Paleozoic outcrops of Manitoba. A post-conference trip organized by Dean Potter went to the Little Rocky Mountains of Montana. Jim Clements of Shell Oil, who had mapped the area for his M.Sc, guided it.

The following summer saw the members of the society participating in a second multi-day, long distance field trip that examined the mineral resources of Wyoming. The trip included tours of a coal strip-mining operation at Gillette, Wyoming in the Powder River basin, a sediment-hosted uranium mine near Sheridan, and a sedimentary iron mining operation at Iron Mountain. In addition to these specific sites, the group visited various outcrop locations illustrating elements of the sedimentary geology of Wyoming, including Casper Mountain, Fremont Canyon, Sinks Canyon in the Wind River Range and Wind River Canyon. Field trip participants were royally entertained by members of the Wyoming Geological Association at an evening meeting of the Association and a barbecue at the home of John Traut, one of the members of the Association. The gastronomic highlight of this trip was supper at a steakhouse in Hudson, just outside of Lander, Wyoming, where some field trip participants partook of 32-ounce T-bone steak dinners.

Invigorated by the success of "Lloydminster and Beyond" and the 4th Williston Basin Symposium, the society hosted three additional conferences in the 1980's, "Oil and Gas in Saskatchewan" in 1984, "Economic Minerals of Saskatchewan" in 1986 and "Modern Exploration Techniques" in 1989. In addition, members of the society played significant roles on the organizing committee for the 5th Williston Basin Symposium, hosted by the North Dakota Geological Society in Grand Forks. I was co-chair of the organizing committee and spent many hours on the road between Regina and Minot to attend organizational meetings. In addition, Malcolm Wilson and his production committee spent many long hours getting the symposium volume out in time for the meeting. Important adjuncts to this symposium were a pre-symposium field trip to the Paleozoic outcrops of Manitoba, led by Hugh McCabe and myself, and a post-conference core workshop held at the North Dakota Geological Survey's core storage facility in Grand Forks. In spite of a devastating downturn in the oil industry in North America, the symposium was a moderate success. The year 1987 was an extra busy year for society members as they also participated in another multi-day, long distance field trip, this time to the Bearpaw, Little Rocky and Big Snowy mountains of Montana guided by Jim Christopher and Don Kent.

I'm sure that Bob Troyer would agree that one of the most important events of the 1980's was the initiation of the SGS Annual Golf Tournament in 1987. Like the annual general meeting, the golf tournament and barbecue are social events eagerly anticipated by the Regina geological community.


The following people were presidents of the society from 1977 to 1989.  

1977 - R. (Bob) Macdonald

Sask. Dept. Mineral Resources

1978 - G.R. Parslow

University of Regina

1979 - D.M. Kent

University of Regina

1980 - J.E. Christopher

Sask. Dept. Mineral Resources

1981 - J.F. (John) Lewry

University of Regina

1982 - J.A. (Jim ) Lorsong

Sask. Dept. Mineral Resources

1983 - A.L. (Alf) Hartling

SaskOil Co.

1984 - P. (Phil) Reeves

Sask. Dept. Mineral Resources

1985 - D.G. (Dave)MacDougall

Sask. Dept. Mineral Resources

1986 - M.W. (Malcolm) Wilson

Sask. Dept. Mineral Resources

1987 - C.F. (Chris) Gilboy

Sask. Energy and Mines

1988 - R.L. (Rick) Bennett

Sask. Energy and Mines

1989 - F.M. (Fran) Haidl

Sask. Energy and Mines


The SGS in the 1990's and 2000's  

The members of the society maintained the high level of activity that was established in the ‘80s into the decade of the 1990s. The society’s monthly luncheon meetings found a more or less permanent home in the Lancaster Lounge of the Royal Canadian Legion. The 6th Williston Basin Symposium was held in Regina in 1991 and attracted nearly 300 participants. Poster presentations were a part of the program for the first time. The program also included two field trips, one to the Little Rockies and the other to the Devonian outcrops of western Manitoba, and a core workshop.  This symposium was the first one since 1964 in which all three societies located in the Williston Basin, Montana, North Dakota and Saskatchewan, participated. Montana followed up four years later and hosted the 7th symposium in 1995. The “hardrock” members of the society got together and organized MinExpo ’96 which “…featured a diverse mix of presentations focusing on both recent advances in our understanding of the province’s geological history as well as new developments in economic geology and mineral exploration.”  (Quoted from the foreword written to the symposium volume by the editors Ken Ashton and Charlie Harper). Regina was again the host city for the 8th Williston Basin Symposium, which attracted some 300 participants. Two publications came out of that symposium, the regular symposium volume, ably edited by Jim Christopher, Chris Gilboy, Doug Paterson and Steven Bend, and a core workshop volume, organized and edited by Kim Kreis.

Field trips have been a significant component of the society’s activities since the first field trip to the Avonlea Badlands in 1964. This emphasis was maintained in the ‘90s with numerous one-day trips to potash mines, coalmines and various proximal geological features. In addition, variable numbers of society members participated in multi-day field trips to a variety of localities. In the early ‘90s Gary Delaney led a group to the Kimberley area to visit the Cominco mining operations. The Little Rockies were revisited in 1992 as part of a central Montana fieldtrip that included the Bears Paw, Big Snowy and Little Belt mountains. Who can forget three vans of fieldtrip participants being hijacked by a retired tectonophysicist? The 1993 fieldtrip was a siliciclastic sedimentologist’s delight as virtually every Cretaceous outcrop between Shaunavon and Coleman, Alberta was visited. That was the occasion when Riona was almost left behind in Milk River, Alberta. In 1995, the rocks of the Black Hills again reverberate to the hammers of members of the SGS. The highlight of that trip was a wild ride deep into the Black Hills to examine rocks of the Wyoming Precambrian Province. The 1996 fieldtrip was one of the most spectacular trips. Through the kindness of six members of the Wyoming Geological Association who supplied powerboats, the participants were able to view the splendid exposures of Paleozoic rocks from the waters of the Alcova Reservoir in Fremont Canyon. The 1997 fieldtrip brought a return to the USA as the participants took in the geology of Beartooth Pass, Yellowstone, Madison Canyon and southwestern Montana.  The Burgess Shale and Walcott’s quarry were the focus of the 1998 field trip, that also included a tour of the Royal Tyrrell Museum, an introduction to the geology of the Drumheller Badlands and the Devonian stromatoporoid banks at Grassi Lake, Alberta. The Sweet Grass Hills were the main focus of the 1999 fieldtrip, but also included the shonkinitic volcanic rocks at Shonkin Gap and in the Adel Mountains as well as the overthrust in the Rocky Mountains from Sun River Canyon to Marias Pass. A small, but enthusiastic, group of geologists participated in the 2000 fieldtrip to western Manitoba, which included the Cretaceous rocks of the Manitoba Escarpment as well as Middle Devonian reef outcrops, the Salt Point salt springs, a tour of the surface geology in the Flin Flon area and Ordovician outcrops on Amisk Lake and along the Hanson Lake Road. The 2001 fieldtrip took participants into eastern Idaho to examine Paleozoic and Proterozoic exposures as well as Tertiary and Quaternary volcanic rocks at Craters-of-the-Moon and Yellowstone.

Through the years, the society has played a significant role in enhancing public awareness of geology through its annual school lecture program which, in fact, started in 1986. Over the years, this program has brought several thousand elementary and secondary school students in contact with famous Canadian geologists. Members of the society have also played a leading role in EdGeo workshops and the creation of the GeoRock Garden at Campbell Collegiate. A most important outreach project of the society is the Saskatchewan Geological Highway Map. After an earlier highway map committee disbanded because of concerns over the high costs for map production, a new committee was organized in 1998 and has seen the project through to the publishing stage. The map is expected to be released at the GAC/MAC annual meeting in Saskatoon in the spring of 2002.

In the realization that new members can best be recruited while they are still in university, in the past fifteen years or so, the society has established awards for the best undergraduate and graduate student posters displayed at the Saskatchewan Energy and Mines Open House. In addition, the Walter Kupsch Award for the U of S geology student with the best grades was established as a counterpart to the Milner Award given annually to a geology major at the University of Regina. In recent years, the society has also held a student night at which the results of University of Regina geology student research projects are presented.

In the late 1980s when, the then, Association of Professional Engineers of Saskatchewan announced that revisions to their act were intended to include registration of geologist, the society along with its Saskatoon counterpart, the CIM Geology Division, played an active role in ensure that the welfare of geoscientists was safeguarded. Members of the society were invited to participate on the act revision committee and on standing committees of APES. This early participation by society members in programs of the APEGS has led to good relations between the two organizations.


The following is a list of society presidents through the 1990s and into the new millennium.

1990 – G. (Gary) Delaney

Sask. Energy and Mines

1991 – B. (Brian) Reilly

Sask. Energy and Mines

1992 - L.W. Vigrass

L.W. Vigrass Consulting Geologist

1993 – R. (Reigh) MacPherson

Wascana Energy

1994 – D.G. MacDougall

Sask. Energy and Mines

1995 – K. (Ken) Ashton

Sask. Energy and Mines

1996 – F. (Fred) Swanson

Sask. Energy and Mines

1997 – L.K. (Kim) Kreis

Sask. Energy and Mines

1998 – R. (Ralf) Maxiener

Sask. Energy and Mines

1999 - D. (Dave) Sandy

Tappit Resources

2000 - G. (Gary) Yeo

Sask. Energy and Mines

2001 - D.M. Kent

D.M. Kent Consulting Geologist Ltd.

2002 – Melinda Yurkowski

Sask. Energy and Mines

2003 – Alain Legault

Tappit Resources

2004 – Erik Nickel

Sask. Industry and Resources

2005 –Mike Gunning

Sask. Industry and Resources

2006 - Steve WhittakerSask. Industry and Resources
2007 - Kate MacLachlanSask. Energy and Resources
2008 - Jennifer Smith &
             David MacDougall
Sask. Energy and Resources
2009 - Arden MarshSask. Energy and Resources
2010 - Murray RogersSask. Energy and Resources
2011 - Gavin JensenSask. Energy and Resources
2012 - Gavin JensenSask. Energy and Resources
2013 - Lynn KelleySask. Environment
2014 - Colin CardSask. Economy
2015 - Ralf MaxeinerSask. Economy
2016 - Ryan MorelliSask. Economy
2017 - Monica ClivetiUniversity of Regina
2018 - Erik NickelPetroleum Technology Research Centre


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