University of Toronto
Department of Geology
University of Toronto Scarborough
Nick Eyles holds a Ph.D (East Anglia) and D.Sc. (Leicester) and is Professor of Geology at the University of Toronto. His prime research interest is in glacial sedimentology and has many years experience with field work at modern glaciers. He has worked at the universities of Leicester, Newcastle upon Tyne and East Anglia in Great Britain, at Memorial University in Newfoundland and has been at Toronto since 1981 when he was awarded a prestigious NSERC University Research Fellowship. He has authored more than 150 publications in leading scientific journals on ice age geology and environmental geology and has conducted geological fieldwork from the Arctic to the Antarctic, including work with the Ocean Drilling Program onboard the drillship Resolution. Recent sabbaticals have been held in Brazil and Australia.
He has edited books on glacial geology (‘Glacial Geology: An Introduction for Engineers and Earth Scientists’ published by Pergamon), co-edited a book on paleoclimate (‘Earth’s Glacial Record’ published by Cambridge University Press) and urban geology (‘Environmental Geology of Urban Areas’) published by the Geological Association of Canada.
He is well known for his public outreach activities and the well known ‘Rocks’ series published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside such as ‘Toronto Rocks’ (1998 with L. Clinton), ‘Ontario Rocks’ (2002) and ‘Canada Rocks: The Geologic Journey’ (2007) with Andrew Miall (Toronto Star ‘Science Book of the Year’). Two other books ‘Canadian Shield – The Rocks that Made Canada’ and ‘Road Rocks - Geological Wonders of Ontario’ will appear shortly. ‘Earth Rocks’ is in preparation.
Nick was on the road with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for seven months in 2009-10 as host of Geologic Journey –World a five part ‘Nature of Things’ series with David Suzuki. ‘Tectonic Europe’, ‘Along the African Rift’, ‘Pacific Rim West’, ‘Pacific Rim: The Americas’ and ‘Asia: Collision Zone’ will begin airing in late October 2010. Consult the CBC web site for full details and how you can contribute to it.
When not looking at rocks in the field or writing about their history, Nick is an avid adventure motorcyclist (with a BMW 1200GS) and hockey player.
Nick is a P.Geo licensed to practise geoscience in Canada by the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario.
Students should consult the APGO web site for details of requirements and plan their courses accordingly. If you require advice on requirements feel free to email Nick.
Current Research Projects as of late 2010
I am very interested in the relationship between climate and tectonics and currently working with graduate students such as Shannon Carto in Australia (Flinders Ranges) and the eastern USA (Boston Basin) testing the rock record against the Snowball Earth hypothesis (SEH) which posits that Earth froze entirely on at least three (some say four) occasions 750-590 million years ago. It is my opinion that SEH overstates the case for dramatic freezing and that regional ‘wet-based’ glaciation driven by tectonics was more likely. Our work is based on detailed analysis of sedimentary facies and the broader plate tectonic setting of glaciation and is rooted in long experience working in modern glacial environments.
I continue to work with local communities on the impact on urban waterfronts by urban sediments and contaminants (mostly metals and road salt) focusing on lagoons along the Lake Ontario waterfront (e.g., Frenchman’s Bay). Mandy Meriano and I have published several papers which identified the very large volumes of salt that reach these lagoons and our findings have received widespread media interest.
Over the years I have conducted a wide variety of geophysical cruises on lakes in Canada and with a colleague Michael Doughty I am currently publishing a series of papers on the extensive record of ongoing faulting and tectonic activity in Lake Timiskaming. I have access to a full range of geophysical equipment and a 26 foot research boat.
Lately I have been working with Lenore Keeshig-Tobias (an Ojibway) on geological interpretations of native ‘geomythology’ in the Great Lakes.
Louise Daurio has recently completed work on glacial moraines recently discovered in Ubehebe volcanic crater in Death Valley. This has implications for understanding similar forms on Mars.
Lisa Tutty and I have been working successfully on using geophysical methods (sidescan sonar, magnetic, sub bottom sonar) to map fish habitat in the Great Lakes.
I am actively collaborating with the research group of Myrna and Andre Simpson in categorizing glacial sediments and paleoenvironments geochemically.
-If you are interested in graduate work please contact Nick directly by email. Remember to plan ahead by 12 months as the deadlines for applications for postgraduate scholarships (NSERC, U of T etc) must be submitted in your last undergraduate year.
Publications since 2007
Xu, Y.P., Simpson. A., Eyles, N., Simpson, M.J. (2010f) Biomarker record of organic matter inputs into Northwest Atlantic sediments during Marine Isotope Stages 11 and 12. Applied Geochemistry in press
Eyles, N., Eyles, C.H and Menzies, J. (2010d) End moraine construction by submarginal incremental till deposition below the Laurentide Ice Sheet : Southern Ontario, Canada. Boreas in press (DOI: 10.1111/j.1502-3885.2010.00171.x)
Doughty, M., Eyles, N. and Daurio, L. (2010c) Earthquake-triggered slumps (1935 Timiskaming M6.2) in Lake Kipawa, Western Quebec Seismic Zone, Canada. Sedimentary Geology 228, 113-118.
Xu, Y.P., Simpson. A., Eyles, N., Simpson, M.J. (2010b) Sources and molecular composition of cryoconite organic matter from the Athabasca Glacier, Canadian Rocky Mountains. Organic Geochemistry 41, 177-186.
Eyles, N. and Meriano, M. (2010a) Road impacted sediment and water in a Lake Ontario watershed and lagoon, City of Pickering, Ontario, Canada: an example of urban basin analysis. Sedimentary Geology 224, 15-28.
Meriano, M., Eyles, N. and Howard, K.W.F. (2009b) Hydrogeological impacts of road salt from Canada’s busiest highway on a Lake Ontario watershed and lagoon (Frenchman’s Bay), City of Pickering. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 107, 66-81.
Meriano, M. and Eyles, N. (2009b) Quantitative assessment of the hydraulic role of subglaciofluvial interbeds in promoting deposition of deformation till (NorthernTill, Ontario). Quaternary Science Reviews 28, 608-620.
James, N.P., Eyles, C.H., Eyles, N., Hiatt, E., and Kyser, T.K. (2009a) Oceanographic significance of a cold-water carbonate environment: glaciomarine sediments of the Pleistocene Yakataga Formation, Middleton Island, Alaska. Sedimentology 56, 367-397
Couch, A. and Eyles, N. (2008c) Sedimentary record of glacial Lake Mackenzie, Northwest Territories, Canada: implications for Arctic freshwater routing. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 268, 26-38.
Eyles, N. and Meulendyk, T. (2008b) Ground penetrating radar study of a Pleistocene ice-scoured glaciolacustrine sequence boundary. Boreas 37, 226-233.
Eyles, N. (2008a) Glacioepochs and the supercontinent cycle after ~3.0 Ga: tectonic boundary conditions for global cooling. Palaeogeography, Palaeoecology, Palaeoclimatology 258, 89-129.
Seilheimer, T.S., Wei, A., Chow-Fraser, P. and Eyles, N. (2007d) Impact of urbanization on the water quality, fish habitat and fish community of a Lake Ontario marsh, Frenchman’s Bay. Urban Ecosystems 10, 299-319.
Eyles, N. and Januszczak, N. (2007c). Syntectonic submarine mass flows of the Neoproterozoic Otavi Group, Namibia: where is the evidence of global glaciation? Basin Research 19, 179-188
Eyles, C.H., Eyles, N. and Grey, K. (2007b) Palaeoclimate implications from deep drilling of Neoproterozoic strata in the Officer Basin and Adelaide Rift Complex of Australia: a marine record of wet-based glaciers. Palaeogeography, Palaeoecology, Palaeoclimatology 248, 291-312
Kerr. M. and Eyles, N. (2007a) Origin of drumlins on the floor of Lake Ontario and in Upper New York State. Sedimentary Geology 193, 7-20.