University of Toronto
Department of Geology
University of Toronto Scarborough
Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences
Nick Eyles holds a Ph.D (East Anglia) and D.Sc. (Leicester) and is Professor of Geology at the University of Toronto where he has taught for 30 years. His prime research interest is in glacial sedimentology and has many years experience with field work at modern glaciers and ice sheets from Antarctica to the Arctic. 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 worked with the International Ocean Drilling Program on board the drillship Resolution. Recent sabbaticals have been held in Brazil and Australia.
Nick 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.
Nick is well known for his public outreach activities and the ‘Rocks’ series of books 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’). ‘Canadian Shield – The Rocks that Made Canada’ appeared in early 2011; ‘Road Rocks - Geological Wonders of Ontario’ will be published summer 2012.
He 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’ aired in late October 2010. The series has been one of the most watched CBC documentaries to date: a re-airing of ‘Pacific Rim West’ in the wake of the March 2011 Tohoku Earthquake in Japan had more than 1 million viewers. The series was nominated for 3 Gemini awards.
Consult the CBC web site and UTSC blog for full details and how you can contribute to it.
Nick has just been awarded the 2012 Geosciences in the Media Award from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists currently the world's largest professional geological society with over 30,000 members. The award is presented for notable journalistic achievement in any medium, which contributes to public understanding of geology, energy resources or the technology of oil and gas exploration. The award will be presented at the Annual Convention in Long Beach California in April 2012.
When not looking at rocks in the field or writing about their history, he is an avid adventure motorcyclist (with a BMW 1200GS) and hockey player.
I am very interested in the relationship between ancient glacial climates and tectonics and currently working with graduate students such as Shannon Carto (Ph.D) in the eastern USA (‘Squantum Tillite’ of the 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. SEH overstates the case for dramatic freezing and downplays sedimentologic evidence for regional ‘wet-based’ glaciation driven by tectonics. 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). Several papers with Dr. Mandy Meriano have identified the very large volumes of salt that reach these lagoons and these findings have received widespread media interest.
Over the years I have conducted a wide variety of geophysical cruises on lakes in Canada and with Michael Doughty 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.
Louise Daurio (M.Sc) has recently completed work on rock glaciers recently discovered in Ubehebe volcanic crater in Death Valley, California. This has implications for understanding similar forms on Mars.
Lisa Tutty (Ph.D) has been working successfully on using geophysical methods (sidescan sonar, magnetic, sub bottom sonar) to map fish habitat in the Great Lakes.
Tom Meulendyk (Research Associate) and I are working on the application of ground penetrating radar to understand the deep subsurface structure of Holocene sand dunes in Ontario.
I am using SRTM data to map onset zones of ice streams within the Laurentide Ice Sheet with reference to the streamlined (drumlinized) bedrock surfaces eroded under fast flowing ice.
I am actively collaborating with the research group of Myrna and Andre Simpson at UTSC in understanding the geochemical evolution of glacial sediments, and the use of organic matter in fingerprinting their origins.
-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.