Logo Earthworks
Show/Hide Menu
Home
Gondwana
News
Publications
About
Contact

News

newsanimation

Earthworks 20 years

: The last of the students left ITC in Delft and the courses in Exploration Geophysics and Mineral Exploration were relocated to the Enschede campus on 1 September 2000. Six months later, on 1 March 2001, Colin became part-time at ITC and set up Earthworks as a consultancy. Since consulting missions were always an active part of Colin’s work within the institute itself, it was not possible to…

The Fit of the Southern Continents - 50 years on

It is now 50 years since Alan Smith and Tony Hallam published in Nature their classic paper on Gondwana reconstruction (Smith & Hallam, 1970). Here is a link to a video of Alan talking about this work in 2012 [ link ] . Smith and Hallam applied the same contour-fitting algorithm used in Bullard, Everett and Smith (1965) to fit the 500 fathom (914 m) bathymetric contours for South America…

New Gondwana dispersion model launched

The most recent developments to the Earthworks Gondwana dispersal model have been used to derive two series of high-resolution images that are released today [ here ] . The model, CR20ABAW, incorporates the most recent thinking on the early opening of the South Atlantic Ocean, the articulation of Patagonia by closing the Early Cretaceous rift basins there and the refinement of movements along…

Gravity survey and the origin of mankind

The Kalahari occupies an exceedingly flat tableland taking up much of the central part of southern Africa. When the national gravity survey of Botswana was mooted in 1970, absolute heights above seal level for this remote, dry and thinly-populated area were unavailable and precision primary levelling was still in progress. Earlier levelling work in pursuit of potential engineering work on river…

African petroleum geologists meet again in London

The 18th in a series of annual conferences on the petroleum geology of Africa was held at the London Olympia, October 1-2. The series, organised by the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB) and the Geological Society of Houston, alternates between these two cities. The Olympia meeting was attended by over 500 delegates who followed two days of presentations, posters and an…

How Mining Geophysics got started

With advancing years one is inclined to reflect on a career. Few geophysicists have done so as effectively as Norm Paterson. His new book tells the story of how the now-familiar techniques of geophysics in mineral exploration got started in the 25 years following the end of the second World War. It is a fascinating history of scientific and technical creativity. Creative because no one knew…

Earthworks: BV or not BV?

Earthworks brought an end to its status as a 'besloten venootschap' (BV) at the end of 2018, marking another stage in the transition to purely curiosity-driven research. In 2019, the main thrust of this will be directed towards the new Gondwana map project, IGCP-628, and improved models for Gondwana dispersal. Colin's independent project activity started in March 2001 when his appointment at…

Gondwana workshop in Rio

Project IGCP-628 - the Geological Map of Gondwana - nears completion. A workshop to review the remaining issues and discuss the path to completion was held at the State University of Rio de Janiero (UFRJ) March 19-21. In addition to the resident project team, the workshop was attended by Victor Ramos from Argentina, David McCarthy from the UK, Giancarlo Scardia from Brazil and Colin Reeves…

New refinements to East Gondwana break-up model

The work of refining the model of Gondwana break-up and dispersion is on-going. New, improved data for the magnetic isochrons in the Indian Ocean greatly reduce the level of uncertainty in the paleo-positions of Antarctica and Madagascar against Africa. This, in turn, reduces the uncertainty in the position of India once it was able to move independently of either Antarctica or Madagascar. The…

Alan Smith mini-symposium

A short symposium was held in the Department of Earth Sciences in Cambridge on Friday February 9 this year. The theme was to honour the memory of Alan Smith and some of the many ways he contributed to teaching, research and scientific progress over his career. The event was held the day before his memorial service in St John's College Chapel and was followed by a meal attended by Alan's…

Malawi geophysical interpretation completed

A new national airborne geophysical coverage (aeromagnectic and gamma-ray spectrometry) of Malawi was completed in 2014. A contract to interpret the results was awarded to the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) working in cooperation with BRGM (France) and brought to completion early in 2018. Some of the highlights of this work were presented at a two-day meeting held in Zomba, Malawi, January…

East Africa margin in Petroleum Geoscience

The meeting dedicated to the East Africa Margin, held at the Geological Society in London in April 2016, has led to a dedicated volume of the journal Petroleum Geoscience. The contribution by Colin Reeves is entitled The development of the East African margin during Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous times: a perspective from global tectonics. This paper was released recently online under the doi…

Gondwana-16 meets in Bangkok

Every three years, those with scientific interests in the geology common to all parts of Gondwana meet to discuss developments. In November 2017 it was the turn of Bangkok and the Thai Department of Mineral Resources to host the meeting of 300 participants from 20 countries at a convenient downtown location. Talks were spread over four days and addressed many aspects from geodynamics to…

Ian MacLeod receives Cecil Green Enterprise Award from SEG

Ian MacLeod, chief technologist at Geosoft Inc., was recently honoured with the Cecil Green Entreprise Award from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. The award took place at the SEG's annual convention, held this year in Houston in September. Geosoft's news release can be found here . The citation for the award was written by Colin Reeves who was associated with Ian in the formative…

16th African Petroleum Geology conference, London 2017

The Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain held its 16th annual 'Africa' conference in London from August 28 to September 1, as usual in collaboration with the Geological Society of Houston. The event kicked off with an evening lecture at the Geological Society at Burlington House when Colin Reeves spoke on 'Gondwana re-assembled: challenges for making the new map and insights for…

A tribute to Dr Alan Smith

Dr Alan Smith passed away in Cambridge on August 13, aged 80. Alan was a pioneer in the early days of plate tectonics, working with Edward Bullard and Jim Everett at what was then the Department of Geodesy and Geophysics at Cambridge on the first computer-generated fits of the continents around the Atlantic Ocean. The first fit was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society in 1965, at…

ITC-Delft staff hold reunion lunch for Colin's 70th birthday

Eleven former staff members of the ITC location in Delft (that closed in 2001) got together in Delft for a lunch to mark Colin Reeves' 70th birthday. The lunch was held at the restaurant Het Rieten Dak in the Delftse Hout where Colin marked his 50th birthday with most of the present group 20 years ago. This time it was on September 14, a few days after Colin's birthday, and the unseasonably…

48° Congresso Brasileiro de Geologia, October 9-13.

Colin Reeves will give the plenary session talk on the final day of the Brazilian Geological Congress. The congress will be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil from October 9th to 13th. The congress marks the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Geological Society of Brazil. http://www.48cbg.com.br/ http://fellinievents.com.br/en/eventos/48o-congresso-brasileiro-de-geologia/ The title of the…

Transit of Mercury, 2016 May 9

Clear skies over The Netherlands gave the perfect opportunity to view the transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the sun yesterday. The following photo was taken at 13:34 CET with a 90 mm refracting telescope fitted with a solar filter and hooked up to an i-Phone.

Indian Ocean history in print

A model of the evolution of the Indian Ocean that has been under development for many years has now been published. The digital version was released on February 27 under doi number http://doi.org/10.1144/SP431.12 with the title Insight into the Eastern Margin of Africa from a New Tectonic Model of the Indian Ocean. The contribution is part of Geological Society Special Publication No. 43…

Geosoft celebrates 30 years

On Saturday January 16 Geosoft celebrated its 30th anniversary with a Gala Evening at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. Colin Reeves was invited to take part as one of the founders of the company. About 150 employees and spouses attended the evening with many receiving awards for long service to the company. The idea started in 1981 when both Ian MacLeod (now Chief Technologist at Geosoft…

Gravity at Sea, Then and Now

A celebration of the pioneering marine gravity work of Dutch geophysicist Professor F.A. Vening Meinesz more than 80 years ago was recently held in Delft. The symposium took place in the Mekelzaal of the Science Centre in Delft (space formerly occupied by the mineralogical museum) and was organised by the Hollandse Cirkel, an organisation dedicated to the history of geodesy in The Netherlands…

London talk voted Best Paper

The Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain, in collaboration with the Geological Society of Houston, hosted its 14th conference on African Exploration and Production in London, September 3 and 4. About 600 delegates attended, mostly from across the spectrum of commercial interests in petroleum exploration in Africa. There were two days of talks, an extensive poster display and a large…

Gondwana Map workshop in Rio

A two-week workshop around the New Gondwana Map project (IGCP-628) was held in Rio de Janiero from June 22 until July 3. There was a full programme of talks and software instruction classes and the many aspects of producing the new map were discussed by specialists from many parts of the southern continents. The following week, July 6-10, Colin Reeves gave his 'African Geodynamics' course over…

A Tribute to Dave Hutchins

It is with sadness that I received news of the death of David G. Hutchins on April 30 in Windhoek, Namibia. Dave and I go back many years. For both of us our first professional experience, after gaining our MScs from the University of Birmingham, was with the Geological Survey of Botswana in Lobatse. Dave arrived there a year or two after me and together we carried out the National Gravity…

News of Gondwana

Building a working model of Gondwana dispersion has reached a new horizon. A paper summarising many of the results from the past years of work on understanding the Indian Ocean has been accepted for publication and should appear in a Special Publication of the Geological Society later this year. The rotation parameters for achiveing the fit and the relative movements of Africa, Antarctica and…

Okavango Revisited

At the suggestion of my son Alexander, the two of us recently took a trip back to where I first did fieldwork for the Geological Survey of Botswana, starting in 1970 - the Okavango Delta in the NW corner of the country. We flew directly to Maun from Johannesburg and, after an initial overnight camping trip by motorboat and makoro, picked up a rented 4x4. We set off NE towards Shorobe with a plan…

Two talks for Gondwana-15

The Gondwana-15 conference will take place in Madrid from 14 to 18 July. Colin Reeves will be presenting two papers, one reporting recent work on the precise process by which Gondwana disrupted, the other appealing for a new cooperation between geologists and geophysicists in making a better map of the Precambrian crust of Africa as a constituent element of the new Geological Map of Gondwana…

Publications Update

There has not been much activity on this website recently but quite a lot of material has been published as extended abstracts and refereed publications in the last 18 months. These items may prove useful to those following Gondwana-related research and exploration interests. The list below summarises what has appeared. I will do my best to provide copies in response to e-mail requests. Key, R…

Earthworks on the Radio in New York

Colin Reeves contributed to a an item on Uptown Radio in New York concerning a new World Bank initiative in Africa. The plan is to raise US$ 1 billion for systematic mapping of the whole of Africa to stimulate the resource exploration sector. Many people probably find it difficult to imagine that the geology and resources of much of the continent is still largely unknown, even today. The…

New Gondwana Map project approved

An international project to produce a new geological map of Gondwana - a successor to the de Wit et al. map from1988 - has received the support of Unesco and the IUGS under the name The Gondwana Map Project– the geological map and the tectonic evolution of Gondwana. It has IGCP Project No. 628. The project starts in 2013, has a five year duration and is led by Professor Renata Schmitt at…

African Geodynamics courses in 2013

The next opportunity to follow this course will be at the SAGA meeting in Skukuza, October 2013 (see 'Read more', below). The tenth running of the African Geodynamics course was held during the 24th Colloquium of African Geology in Addis Abeba, January 11 and 12, and generated considerable interest The course is an attempt to distil the experience of more than 20 years of plate tectonic…

Geological Society of Africa to meet in Addis

The 24th Colloquium of African Geology will be held at the United Nations Economic Commission Conference Center (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 8 to 14 January 2013 ( http://www.cag24.org.et/ ). A session has been devoted to Regional geophysical mapping applied to exploration of the geology of Africa with convenors Jörg Ebbing and Mark Jessel. Over 20 oral presentations have been…

Geological Surveys and African Development

The 34th International Geological Congress in Brisbane attracted almost 6000 delegates from all over the world. Colin Reeves contributed a paper to the special session on the role of geological surveys in the development of resources under the title: Modern technology: opportunity or threat for failing geological surveys? The talk was deliberately controversial and drew supportive reactions…

New Buildings for GSI Training School in India

The introduction of GIS methodologies to the Geological Survey of India (GSI) and other Indian geo-institutes was pioneered in the late 1990s by a project, Indigeo , that brought ITC and the Maastricht School of Management together in an initiative supported by The Netherlands government. The project was based in renovated buildings on the GSI Hyderabad campus and provided training for many…

Three Beers from the Mid-Atlantic Fridge!

In May 2012 Colin visited Iceland again, this time with his two sons Richard and Alexander. An earlier visit, as a student in 1966, was an early influence in his decision to study earth sciences. The brief trip enabled the three to visit most of the tourist attractions in the SW of the country. Included was a tour of a geothermally-powered combined electric power and district heating facility…

AAPG Lecture Tour, Europe

Colin Reeves gave a lecture sponsored by the AAPG, RWE and Maersk at several locations in Europe during November and December 2011. The title of the talk was 'Some plate-tectonic thoughts on the early opening of the South Atlantic Ocean'. The venues were Geneva (Nov 30), Vienna (Dec 1), Hamburg (Dec 7) and Copenhagen (Dec 15). The abstract of the talk may be seen here . Plate tectonics…

Nigerian airborne survey assignment completed

One of our biggest assignments to date was completed at the end of 2011. Leading the team of consultants, made up of Earthworks BV, Geoexploration (Nigeria) Associates and GeoWitch of The Netherlands, supervising the new two-million line-kilometre airborne geophysical coverage of all onshore Nigeria was an assignment that extended over almost eight years. Paterson, Grant and Watson delivered…

Geophysics in Botswana, 40 years ago

At the request of the Geological Survey of Botswana I have retrieved a selection of 35 mm slides from my archives to tell the story of how regional geophysical surveys got started in the Kalahari. The work began with geophysical studies in the Okavango delta (gravity, seismic refraction and micro-seismicity) and later extended into a national gravity survey and aeromagnetic reconnaissance of…

Earthworks 2001-2011

March 2011 marks ten years since Earthworks began when Colin Reeves first became part-time with ITC. Time to reflect on ten years of projects and look forward to the future. The way we are still thinking was set out in a recent public presentation entitled Africa: Resources in Development . A PDF version of the presentation may be downloaded here . The seminar formed part of the Rast-Holbrook…

Two new animations

Two new animations of continental movements are approaching completeness. South Atlantic Ocean The first of these is an animation of the development of the South Atlantic Ocean to accompany an invited paper in the Journal of African Earth Sciences. The animation may be viewed and downloaded here but is subject to revision during the review process. Bouvet Mantle Plume The second animation…

Nigeria geophysical coverage update

The new airborne geophysical coverage of Nigeria was completed in July 2010 with the addition of airborne gravity and magnetic survey over the region of the Niger Delta. The aeromagnetic and gamma-ray spectrometry data acquired up to July 2009 were released in January this year. The new survey now covers the whole land area of the country - over 2 million km of flying. The release of the Phase…

ITC Delft - Alma Mater no more

Generations of students from around the world dedicated to map-making have passed through this building, the last of them leaving in 2000. Now the original building of ITC in Delft is no more. It was demolished in October 2010. ITC itself, now a faculty of TU Twente, will celebrate its 60th anniversary in Enschede in December 2010. In Delft, the neighbouring Mijnbouw building is already open in…

India's passive margins: a new model

The model of Gondwana dispersal developed by Earthworks over many years has specific consequences for the sequence of events by which India's passive margins developed. These events are summarised in a new publication from the Government of India's Department of Science and Technology. The article appeared in the August 2010 edition of the Newsletter 'Deep Continental Studies'. A reprint of…