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Colin Reeves

Short curriculum vitae

On gravity survey in the Kalahari
Colin Reeves has been involved since 1970 with the application of (airborne) geophysical mapping to support geological reconnaissance and resource exploration in the southern hemisphere. He holds degrees from Cambridge, Birmingham and Leeds universities in England and started his professional career with the Geological Survey of Botswana in 1970 where he planned and executed the first national gravity survey coverage over a five-year period. From 1976 to 1983 he lived in Canada, working first for Geoterrex Limited in Ottawa and then Paterson, Grant and Watson Limited (PGW) in Toronto. He interpreted the initial CIDA aeromagnetic coverage of the Kalahari in Botswana before spending time on similar projects in Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, the South China Sea, Tanzania, Kenya and Burundi. He became a director of PGW and, with Ian MacLeod, co-founded Geosoft® in this period.
ITC fieldwork
In 1983 he moved to Delft, The Netherlands, where he was appointed Professor in Exploration Geophysics at the International Institute for Aerial Survey and Earth Sciences (ITC) as it was then. He took charge of postgraduate and MSc courses in exploration geophysics for students almost exclusively from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Some 250 students, including over 50 research MScs, passed through his division over 20-plus years, many of whom now hold senior positions in their own countries and the wider world.
He continued with consulting projects, mostly in Africa and India, as part of his ITC duties. He initiated the digital compilation of all aeromagnetic data for the whole of Africa (AMMP), Arabia, India and the Middle East (AAIME), 1989-1999. He accepted an invitation from the Government of Australia to head the geophysical mapping programme of the Australian Geological Survey Organisation (now Geoscience Australia) during a two-year leave of absence, 1991-3. In Canberra he supervised, inter alia, the production of the first magnetic and gravity anomaly images of all Australia. On returning to ITC, development projects included the introduction of GIS techniques to geological surveys in Africa and India (Geodesa, Indigeo), 1993-2002.
Magnetic Anomalies First Edition 1993
In 1993 he was elected as head of the Delft Location of ITC and then, in 1996, to the chairmanship of the Department of Earth Resources Surveys. He served internationally as chairman of Division V (Instruments, Observatories, Surveys and Analyses) for the International Association for Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA) from 1995 to 1999. He was for many years an active member (including chairman, 1991 to 1995) of IAGA’s working group Magnetic Anomalies, Land and Sea, culminating in the first edition of the Magnetic Anomaly Map of the World in 2007. He has published widely on geophysical mapping and its contribution to understanding geology and regional tectonics. He has hands-on experience of most countries in sub-Saharan Africa through visits or student projects and has retained active contacts with leading geoscientists in India through visits and international projects there since 1985.
Institutional reorganisation, including the closure of the Delft facility, led progressively to his early retirement from ITC in 2004. He set up Earthworks in 2001 so as to remain active in consulting projects in the 'emeritus' phase of his career.
Projects executed independently have included contributions to nationwide airborne geophysical surveys in Mozambique, Madagascar, Uganda and Nigeria. This work concluded in 2018 with supervising the interpretation of the new national coverage of Malawi. The supervision of the Nigeria survey, from inception to interpretation, involved more than two million line-km of data acquisition under World Bank auspices (2004-2010). Making the wealth of new exploration data accumulated from such projects readily accessible to the user community is, sadly, a challenge that still remains. Many national geological surveys in Africa have yet to realise the potential of online media to achieve this.
Colin’s interest in accurately defining the process of Gondwana dispersal goes back many years and was developed in parallel with consulting work until 2018, after which time he could devote himself to this more fully. He worked in collaboration with Alan Smith and Lawrence Rush in Cambridge on the development of the ‘Atlas’ plate reconstruction software for many years. He has been an active team member of the Gondwana Map Project (IGCP-628) at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro since its inception. A course of lectures entitled ‘African Geodynamics’ (brochure) resulting from this work has now been given 14 times on five different continents.
Colin Reeves
He served as visiting professor in geophysics at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2005-2010 and was the Rast-Holbrook lecturer at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, in 2011. He has delivered numerous talks and lectures at scientific conferences including as Association Lecturer at IAGA's 11th Scientific Assembly at Sopron, Hungary (2009) and as Distinguished Lecturer in Europe for the AAPG in 2011. He has contributed regularly to the ‘Africa’ meetings of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain since 2009 and won the 'Best Oral Paper' award at their meeting in London in September 2015. Since 2017 he has served on the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society.
Colin still lives in the old centre of Delft and works from an independent office nearby. He became a Dutch citizen in 2018.
last updated: 2021 June 16