Natural Resources

A. K. Snelgrove

reprinted from SCIENCE, February 26, 1937, Vol. 85, No. 2200, pages 220-221.

Official geological surveys of the island of Newfoundland were begun as early as 1839 (James Beete Jukes, 1839-40) and carried out intensively by a small personnel for half a century (Alexander Murray, 1864-1883; James P. Howley, 1869-1909; Dr. Herbert A. Baker, 1926-1929). The advances in the science of geology since the pioneer work was performed are so great and the need of up-to-date information on the mineral resources so pressing, however, that on its induction into office in 1933 the new Commission of Government, appointed by the British Crown, authorized the resumption of the Geological Survey of a Geological Section of the Department of Natural Resources.

The nucleus of the staff of the Geological Section consists of new Newfoundlanders: Dr. A.K. Snelgrove, assistant professor of geology in Princeton University, was appointed government geologist, and Mr. C.K. Howse, B.Sc., assistant government geologist. Dr. Snelgrove continues in his Princeton position, also.

Following the recent practice of the Geological Survey of Canada and of Surveys in Crown Colonies, the field work of the Geological Section is devoted primarily to investigations in economic geology, designed to foster the mining industry. The reports on this work are issued as a series of bulletins, the purpose of which is to provide a scientific foundation for mineral exploration and exploitation. Areal studies in particular are yielding fundamental data on the structure, stratigraphy and petrogenesis of this most northeasterly part of the Appalachian Mountain System of North America. For the benefit of prospectors, areal geological sheets are distributed separately, with a simple description of the character and manner of occurrence of economic mineral deposits known or likely to be present. Already published are the results of surveys of chromite and gold deposits by the Government Geologist, and of two areal geological studies in cooperation with the Department of Geology of Princeton University: The Bay of Exploits area, by Dr. G.R. Heyl, and the Southern Half of the Bay of Islands Igneous Complex by J.R. Cooper. A bibliography of Newfoundland geology, 1818-1936, by Rachel M. Betts, Guyot Hall Library, Princeton University, forms Bulletin No. 5, which was issued recently.

In the past field season an unusually comprehensive program of geological mapping was carried out, with the assistance of a temporary staff of a score of geologists in the areas represented in Fig. 1. Geodetic control is being provided for the topographical base maps by a five-year geodetic survey program now in progress in cooperation with the Geodetic Service of Canada, under a grant from the Colonial Development Fund.

As Princeton University Geological Expeditions have been sent to Newfoundland intermittently since 1911, and fourteen Princeton contributions to the geology of the island have already been published, it is natural that a majority of the geologists called in on this expanded government work were from Princeton. However, the faculties or student bodies of seven other American and Canadian universities were also represented. Notable members of the temporary and consulting staffs include: Professor G.W. Bain, of Amherst College, who studied the promising marble deposits of Canada Bay and Sops Arm; Professors A.O. Hayes and H. Johnson, of Rutgers Unversity, who investigated the Bay St. George Carboniferous area; Professor B.F. Howell, of Princeton University, authority on Cambrian formations; Professor W.H. Twenhofel, chairman of the Department of Geology of the University of Wisconsin, authority on Silurian rocks. In addition ten Princeton geologists, chief among whom was Professor A.F. Buddington, chairman of the Department of Geology, Professor E. Sampson and Dr. H.H. Hess, engaged in faculty research, consultation to mining companies or collection of data for theses.

Through the participation of Mr. J.W. Sullivan, graduate student at Yale University, the studies in the geology of the west coast made by four Yale expeditions since 1910 was continued.

The Geological Section also acts in an advisory capacity to the Labrador Mining and Exploration Company, Ltd., holders of a mineral concession of over 20,000 square miles in Newfoundland Labrador, on which extensive work was begun last summer and is to be continued for a number of years.

The present geological activities are being followed up by prospecting and exploration by local, Canadian, United States and English interests, and it is anticipated that a number of the campaigns now in progress will yield tangible results in the form of development of latent resources and afford some amelioration of the economic difficulties which confront Newfoundland.

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