NSERC Chair for
Women in Science & Engineering

ICAN-WISE 2017 Feature

Candace Toner

Candace was mentored by Dr. Michelle DeWolfe from Mount Royal University through a summer project in geological and earth sciences, focused on the Karrat Group formations in Greenland. Through petrography, isotopic analysis, age dating, and other geochemical methods, their work sought to better understand the processes of formation of these rocks.

Weeks 1-2

The first couple of weeks of research have focused on literary review. I have been provided with documentation that details the field work which was conducted in West Greenland in 2016, Dr. DeWolfe’s field notes, and whole rock geochemical data from rock samples collected. This has allowed me to familiarize myself with the lithology and structural geology of the nearly 200 km of coast line that was surveyed.

The next step of my investigation will be to analyze the whole rock geochemistry in greater depth. With this information, I will be able to correlate samples collected at various sites. I have also been reviewing literature pertaining to the volcanic structure and geochemistry of the Bravo Lake Formation in Baffin Island, Nunavut, to make comparisons between the two locations.

Weeks 3-4

The past couple of weeks have been spent looking at the geochemistry of the samples collected. I began by isolating data from amphibolites, basalts, metabasalts and related samples. I have been using bivariate plot diagrams to compare the samples and look for trends in trace element distribution.

Next I will be using various discrimination diagrams in Igpet to try to identify tectonic environments of deposition for the samples.

Weeks 5-6

Candace Weeks 5-6

One of my tasks was to examine hand samples of the rocks that were collected by Dr. DeWolfe and her field team from the west coast of Greenland. The purpose of this task was to document a description of each rock that was be useful in determining the metamorphic grade of the samples from each location. This helped to determine whether the metamorphic grade was consistent through the collection sites.

Weeks 7-8

Candace Weeks 5-6

Thin sections of the samples are examined to determine the mineral content of rocks that were collected by Dr. DeWolfe and her field team from the west coast of Greenland. Unique mineral assemblages are indicative of different metamorphic grades. Identifying these minerals in thin sections aides in determining the metamorphic grade of the rock.

Weeks 9-10

Candace Weeks 5-6

Mount Royal University’s Faculty of Science and Technology hosts a student research day each year where students are given the opportunity to present their research. For this presentation, I prepared a poster and was able to explain how geologists are able to use hand samples, thin sections and geochemical data in order to gain a better understanding of the geologic history of our planet.

Weeks 11-12

Candace Weeks 11-12
Candace Weeks 11-12

I had the privilege of visiting a grade 11 science class at Nelson Mandela High School where I shared a bit about my research and spoke to them about the various careers that a post-secondary education in the geosciences can open for them. I brought hand samples and thin sections for them to look at. These samples and the presentation sparked a lively discussion about geology, a unit that they were conveniently studying at the time of this presentation!