Lakehead University Researchers Present Papers at Geological Society of America Conference

(October 25, 2007 – Thunder Bay, ON) Lakehead University is pleased to announce that two of its researchers will receive the opportunity to present their work at the upcoming 119th annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, which takes place in Denver, Colorado.  Geology professor, Dr. Andrew Conly, and Amy Godwin, Biology graduate student, will travel to Denver to present their respective research on Sunday, October 28.
Both Conly and Godwin focus their research on elevated sulphate levels found in Hogarth and Caland pit lakes, water bodies produced by continuous ground water flooding at two inactive mine pits located at the Steep Rock mining area near Atikokan, Ontario.  
Conly's research, entitled "Source and Nature of Sulfate Toxicity of Two Pit Lakes at the Former Steep Rock Iron Mine, Northwestern Ontario," summarizes various stages of toxicity testing as gathered from water samples extracted from the water bodies, as well as the possible source of the sulphate toxicity.  “Steep Rock provides an excellent opportunity to understand water quality issues surrounding pit lakes, a topic which has surprisingly received little attention from environmental researchers,” Conly explains, while adding that Steep Rock is a very unique case study; its poor water quality is not the result of contamination associated with acid mine drainage, which typifies many unremediated mine sites, but rather is due to high sulphate levels introduced by ground waters that continue to fill the two pits.  “This work has required the integration of biological and geochemical approaches, and has provided students, like Amy Godwin, the opportunity to cross the traditional boundaries of our scientific disciplines.  Our work will have far-reaching consequences as it will help direct remediation measures to mitigate against potential long-term negative impacts on the surrounding area.”

Godwin's research paper, "Predictive Modeling of Water Quality Issues of Two Pit Lakes at the Former Steep Rock Iron Mine, Northwestern Ontario," outlines various methods used to predict and interpret the results of water-rock reactions occurring as the pits fill, as well as the impact of the eventual mixing and outflow of the combined pit into the Seine River on the area’s aquatic life.  “Being a biology student, I am a little bit nervous that I’ll be out of my element at such a large conference.  However, I also see this as a valuable opportunity and learning experience that will allow me to network with those doing similar research, and to learn from their work.”   

Over 6000 Geoscientists are expected to attend the upcoming meeting.

Established in 1888, the Geological Society of America (GSA) is a global and professional organization comprising more than 20,500 members in over 85 countries.  The GSA provides access to elements that are essential to the professional growth of earth scientists at all levels of expertise and from all sectors, including academic, government, business, and industry.  Its growing membership unites thousands of earth scientists around the world, fosters continued study of the planet, and provides opportunity to share scientific findings. 


Media: Dr. Conly and Amy Godwin may be contacted for interview.  Please call Heather Scott at 343-8177 to arrange interview times.  If you have any questions regarding this media release, please contact: Heather Scott, Communications Officer, 807-343-8177,; or Eleanor Abaya, Director of Communications, 807-343-8372,


About Lakehead

Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,700 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit


Last updated October 25, 2007

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