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Ontario Geological Survey Key Facts

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Ontario Geological Survey Key Facts

The Ontario Geological Survey, a division of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2016.

  • The Ontario Geological Survey is responsible for documenting and publishing information about Ontario's geology, and makes its findings available to the public. 
  • Since it was established as the Ontario Bureau of Mines on May 4, 1891, the Ontario Geological Survey has published nearly 14,000 geoscience products, including some 10,000 geoscience maps. 
  • Ontario Geological Survey Geoscience Laboratories were established in 1898, and gold was the first element analyzed by the lab.
  • Ontario's first provincial geologist, Willet Green Miller, served from 1902-1925. 
  • Historically, canoes were used by Ontario Geological Survey geologists working in the Far North. Most maps were concentrated along navigable river systems.
  • In 1955, Resident Geologist Offices were located in Kenora, Port Arthur, Cobalt, Swastika and Timmins. Today, there are eight offices: Red Lake, Kenora, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Kirkland Lake, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Tweed.
  • The Ontario Geological Survey has worked with NASA on moon missions. In 1971, Resident Geologist Program staff showed Apollo astronauts the meteorite impact features of the Sudbury area.
  • When NASA scientists visited some outcrops of bedrock in the Porcupine mining district near Timmins, their rock sample from Mars looked similar to rocks in Tisdale Township, so they named the rock "Tisdale 2".
  • Prior to being appointed the first Ontario Geological Survey Resident Geologist, Dr. H.D. Horwood conducted ground-breaking bedrock mapping in Red Lake's greenstone belt. His reports, maps and detailed descriptions of surface and underground mining properties are still used today. 
  • The first airborne geophysical survey flown for the Ontario Geological Survey took place in 1975 and consisted of 3,102 line kilometres of magnetic surveying in the Bamaji-Fry Lakes Area. 
  • In 1978, the Mineral Research Laboratories Branch and the Geological Branch were joined into the Ontario Geological Survey.
  • The first Aggregate Resources Inventory Paper (ARIP) was published in 1979. It was completed for Mono Township in Dufferin County. Since then, over 200 ARIPs and Open File Reports have been produced.
  • In 1992, the Ontario Geological Survey relocated from Toronto to a new building on the Laurentian University campus. The Willet Green Miller Centre is named after Ontario's first provincial geologist.
  • Since 2002, the Ontario Geological Survey has cored over 300 boreholes to bedrock in southern Ontario for its Groundwater Initiative.
  • In 2014-15 alone, some 85,530 analyses were performed by the Ontario Geological Survey Geoscience Laboratories.
  • The largest (line kilometre) continuous airborne geophysical survey flown by the Ontario Geological Survey was the 2015 Hearst and Smooth Rock Falls survey with a total of 179,377 line kilometres of magnetic and spectrometer surveying.
  • Ontario Geological Survey mapping in the Werner Lake area led to an $11 million investment toward cobalt exploration.
  • Ontario Geological Survey geologists working in the Far North of Ontario stock emergency kits with three days of food rations.
  • There are 2.1 million line kilometres of high-resolution airborne geophysical data available free of charge from the Ontario Geological Survey.
  • The Ontario Geological Survey submits about 60 litres total volume of groundwater to the Geoscience Laboratories for chemical analysis each year.
  • Ontario Geological Survey data was part of early groundwork that attracted claim staking near Fort Frances and led to the discovery of New Gold's Rainy River project (expected to open in 2017).
  • The Ontario Geological Survey was one of Canada's first geological surveys to use Google Earth as a platform for delivering geoscience data to the public and to facilitate viewing of geological data in an easy-to-use format. Almost all Ontario Geological Survey data can be viewed on the OGS Earth web page.
  • Ontario Geological Survey geoscience data collected since its establishment is available to the public for free download.
  • Ontario Geological Survey airborne geophysical survey data published in April 2015 triggered claim staking of a nickel-copper-platinum group metal target in the Thunder Bay area by Transition Metals.

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