Eric.Grunsky.PhotoDr. Eric Christopher Grunsky

Dr. Grunsky is the worthy recipient of the 2012 William Christian Krumbein Medal because of his long and continuous service to the IAMG community as a scientist in the fields of mathematics and statistics in the earth sciences, as a supporter of the Association, and for his service to the profession.

Eric’s service and recognition within the IAMG and elsewhere have been awarded in the past. He received the Felix Chayes Prize for Excellence in Research in Statistical Petrology in 2005 and was honored as a Visiting Research Fellow, Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in 2011. He has also been appointed as an adjunct professor at two universities in Ontario, Canada.

Eric’s career has been long and varied during which he has developed expertise, which has resulted in significant contributions to the earth sciences. During his undergraduate years at the University of Toronto (1969-1973), he developed a keen interest in quantitative aspects of geosciences through the use of computers. His interest was encouraged by Professor Gordon Smith who mentored Eric on the use of computers to solve a variety of quantitative problems. His M.Sc. thesis, with Professors Fried Schwerdtner, Pierre Robin and Dick Bailey, at the University of Toronto, was one of the earlier studies in three dimensional analysis of reconstructed tectonites by means of the integration of digital serial sections.

After completing his M.Sc. degree (1975-1978), Eric was hired by the Ontario Geological Survey (OGS). His duties not only included both detailed and regional geological field mapping, but also to introduce the use of computers into the organization. Eric’s leadership in this area enabled the adoption of computer technology throughout the OGS. He led an internal review on the management and access of geoscience data, which contributed to a restructuring of the OGS Geoscience Data Centre.  In the mid-1980’s his research started to focus on the use of geochemistry and statistics to evaluate patterns related to primary compositional variation in volcanic rocks, but also the recognition of alteration and base- and precious-metal mineralization. At the same time he became aware of the work by John Aitchison, the issue of closure and its pertinence in examining whole rock geochemistry. His studies, presentations and publications on the statistical evaluation of geochemical data and its value in mineral exploration were quickly recognized by the mineral exploration community at both the national and international levels. As well, his interest in spatial analysis and a meeting with Graeme Bonham-Carter and me resulted with his enrolment in a Ph.D. program at the University of Ottawa under my supervision. Eric was commuting from Toronto to Ottawa where we enjoyed his biweekly or monthly visits.

Upon completion of his Ph.D. (1985-1988), Eric was offered employment by the Division of Exploration and Mining Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia. While at CSIRO, he studied the geochemistry of laterite and other weathered materials using statistical methods and introduced the use of multivariate statistical methods to the Australian mineral exploration community. He was invited to give several short courses on the use of numerical and statistical methods to the mineral exploration industry and graduate level university courses. It was during this time that Eric had the opportunity to meet Vera Pawlowsky at a conference on the statistical prediction of mineral resources in Wuhan, China, where they discovered a mutual interest in the statistics of compositional data.

In 1991, Eric was offered the opportunity to work on a mineral resource assessment project at the British Columbia Geological Survey, Canada. This project allowed him to re-align his knowledge of statistics and his background in regional geological studies for the creation of grade-tonnage models that were uniquely defined for British Columbia mineral deposits as well as the adaptation of the USGS Mark 3 mineral resource estimation simulator for estimating resource potential in the province.

Eric’s background in geoscience information management from his time at the OGS led to an opportunity to develop an information management strategy for the Alberta Geological Survey (AGS) from 1998 to 2002. His leadership in the knowledge of both managing and delivery of digital geoscience information allowed him to work at the national level with provincial, territorial and national agencies in developing an integrated national geoscience delivery structure.

During his time at the AGS he became involved in the study of multi-beam radar satellite imagery as a tool for terrain mapping. Eric designed and managed one of the largest RADARSAT-1 image acquisition campaigns for a provincial agency ever implemented by the Canadian Space Agency that resulted in more than 280 images of varying incidence angles and look directions. Using his knowledge of multivariate statistical methods, Eric demonstrated that unique features of landforms could be effectively identified and mapped at the regional scale. Eric’s innovative approach to evaluating RADARAT-1 satellite imagery was recognized by the Canadian Space Agency through several invitations to present his work at national meetings and agency operational reviews.

In 2002, Eric accepted a position at the Geological Survey of Canada in Ottawa as an information management specialist for the Mineral Resources Division and for his knowledge of quantitative methods for evaluating geochemical data. Eric quickly became involved with a number of projects that enabled him to study and describe geochemical/geological processes from a range of geochemical datasets. As well, his previous work on three-dimensional spatial analysis was revived for specialized geochemical studies in the Noranda mining camp in Quebec. During the next 9 years Eric became involved in geochemical studies of kimberlites, as well as lake, stream and soil sediments for a wide range of projects within the GSC. Additionally, he became involved in the statistical analysis studies of soil and stream sediment geochemistry with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Geoscience Australia (GA). Eric also participated in two of the compositional data analysis workshops that were held in Girona and Saint Felieu de Guixols, Spain, by Vera Pawlowsky’s research group.

Larry Drew at the U.S Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia, has had the good fortune to work with Eric since 2005, during which time they have successfully solved several problematic issues in the interpretation of the geochemistry of soils and stream sediments. Eric’s background knowledge and enthusiasm to carry out research into new areas has certainly made a significant contribution to their work

Eric’s use of statistical methods for integrating satellite imagery formed the basis for a new paradigm of surficial materials mapping across Canada’s North. During his time at the GSC, he worked with surficial mapping geologists and remote sensing geologists to develop a methodology for surficial materials mapping, based on the statistical integration and classification of satellite imagery derived from radar and optical sensors. This approach has defined a new large scale mapping process that has been implemented by the GSC as part of its northern mapping strategy.

Throughout his professional career, Eric has documented his research findings through publications and presentations. He has published 39 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 5 review articles, 80 government reports, maps and open file reports, 11 contributions to books, 70 conference proceedings and public reports, 23 solicited consultations by outside agencies and 149 invited conference/presentations/lectures. Eric has been invited on international scientific committees for the IAMG and the International Association of Applied Geochemists.

He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Waterloo in the departments of Earth Sciences and Biology and as an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Laurentian University where he has lectured on the use of statistics in the interpretation of geochemical data and mentored and supervised graduate students in the use of statistics for evaluating geoscience data.

Dr. Grunsky has been a member of the IAMG since 1985. He has served as Editor-in-Chief, Computers & Geosciences from 2006 to 2011 after being an Associate Editor from 1996 to 2006.  Currently he serves on the Board of Mathematical Geosciences. He also was on the Editorial board of Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis (2001 – present), and Natural Resources Research (1999 – 2006). Dr. Grunsky’s commitment to the IAMG is also demonstrated through his service as elected Councillor (1992 – 1996). He initiated the development of the IAMG ftp and web sites and was the IAMG website manager from 1995-2006. Eric is married to Jean Hubay. With their two children, Kurt and Anna, they live in Ottawa, Ontario.

Dr. Grunsky’s current contributions to the quantitative aspects of earth science are built on his experience and knowledge from the past. As well, however, he is keen to learn and discover new ways of looking at data and developing/enhancing statistical methodologies. Dr. Grunsky is the consummate scientist – he never stops learning and achieving!

Frits Agterberg,
Geological Survey of Canada



The following students won a Mathematical Geosciences Student Award:

Mohammad Ali Maleki Tehrani,  PhD student from the Department of Mining Engineering, University of Chile, studying under Prof. Xavier Emery. The project title is “Geometallurgical ore body modelling”

Chen Guoxiong, PhD student, Faculty of Earth Resources, China University of Geosicences, studying under Qiuming Cheng on a “Discussion of High-pass filtering of singularity method for extracting gravity and magnetic anomalies”

Dr. Li Liangping, working with Sanjay Srinivasan at The University of Texas at Austin on “A hybrid multiple-point statistics approach to integrate dynamic data into geological model”.


Natural Resources Research Student Award recipients are:

Pía Lois, Graduate student at the Universidad de Chile under Prof. Brian Townley working on “Analysis of the interaction of different types of rock, alteration and mineralization with aqueous alkaline media and its physicochemical effects in the recovery off copper”

James MacNeil, Graduate student at McGill University under Roussos Dimitrakopoulos. His project is “High order stochastic simulations, parallelization and effects on stochastic mine production scheduling”


The Computers & Geosciences Research Scholarships go to:

Dr. Delphine Roubinet, University of Lausanne (Switzerland) with a project on “Discrete Dual Porosity Modeling of Electrical Current Flow in Fractured Media” with Dr. James Irving.

Carlos Loureiro, working under Dr. Andrew Cooper (Environmental Sciences Research Institute, University of Ulster, UK) and Dr. Óscar Ferreira (Centre for Marine and Environmental Research, University of Algarve, PT) on “What is actually happening in the rip-currents of embayed beaches? Development and validation of open-source parallel implementation of high-resolution coupled wave-circulation models for HPC clusters.” 

Mojtaba Rajabi, PhD student at Australian School of Petroleum, University of Adelaide working with Associate Professor Mark Tingay on “The Present-day Stress Field of Australia”                                                                                                                                     

Aikaterini Spanoudaki, Institute for Applied and Computational Mathematics, Foundation for Research and Technology in Heraklion, Crete, working under Dr. Nikolaos Karmpanis in a project on “3D numerical modelling of surface water-groundwater flow and salinity interactions in the coastal zone”.

We received 11 applications (as opposed to twice as many in 2011 when I reminded student chapters and the IAMG membership of the deadline for applications) from:
Canada (1)
China (3)
Egypt (1)
Germany (1)
India (1)
Netherlands (1)
Pakistan (1)
USA (2)

Four are recommended to receive a student research grant. We leave the amount open as this decision should be taken by the council. We suggest that each awardee receives the same amount of money. The following students were chosen:

Seyoum, Wondwosen (University of Georgia)
Determination of Satellite-based Discharge Values and Accuracy in the Nile River, Africa

Cheng, Lilu (State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resoures, China University of Geosciences)
Fluid dilution as the mechanism for rejuvenation of near-solidus magma bodies

Salati, Sanaz (Faculty of geo-information science and earth observation, Twente University, The Netherlands)
Spectral remote sensing of onshore hydrocarbon seeps-induced alterations

Raza, Shahzada Hassan (Department Of Earth Sciences, Quaid-i-azam University, Islamabad)
Nonlinear modeling of petrophysical properties in fractured reservoirs:  Application from a Himalayan foreland basin

Reported by Helmut Schaeben
Chair of Student Affairs Committee



last update 2013-06-20

Natural Resources Research Student Awards

                  (sponsored by IAMG)


At most two Natural Resources Research (NRR) Student Awards will be awarded every year, to early career scientists (postgraduate students, i.e. Masters or Doctoral candidates, or Post-Doctoral researchers) working in the field of natural resources exploration and management. The total annual budget for these awards is US$5,000.

Research projects should lie within the Aims & Scope of the IAMG-sponsored journal NRR, as outlined on the journal’s webpage The NRR Student Awards are intended to encourage graduate students and post-docs working on quantitative approaches in the fields of exploration, assessment, extraction and utilization of a wide variety of natural resources.

The online application form at must be completed each year by 31st May. Besides routine identifying information, applicants are asked to

1.    Describe their research project, in particular: a) the scientific motivation for the proposed study, b) the relationship of the proposed work to the state of the art, and c) the main objectives.

2.    Provide the name and contact e-mail address of the research supervisor and the name of the institution where the work will be undertaken.

3.    Outline a budget showing how the funds will be spent.

4.    And (optionally) a description of any special needs (e.g. equipment, field travel) required by the applicant.

Each project shall normally only be sponsored in one year; applications for sponsorship for a second or multiple year should be clearly marked as such.

Successful applicants for the NRR Student Awards will usually be notified by 30th August, or before the IAMG annual conference (IGC every 4thyear), whichever is earlier. Payment of each award (minus a holdback payment of $500) will be made by the IAMG Treasurer, direct to each candidate, before the end of September of the award year. If the winners are in attendance at the IAMG annual conference (or IGC every fourth year), the prizes may be awarded at the meeting in an awards session, though attendance at such meetings shall have no bearing on the selection process. The holdback payment will be sent to the awardee upon receipt of a short final report and abstract, to be sent by e-mail to the IAMG office and due by 30th September of the year following. Abstracts will normally be published in the IAMG Newsletter and posted on the IAMG members website. Such report is not intended to replace a full-length research article which is encouraged for submission to Natural Resources Research, where it would be subject to the normal rigorous peer-review process employed by the journal.


Terms & Conditions

The applicants and their responsibilities:

  1. Eligible candidates are those currently undertaking Masters or Ph. D. studies who wish to use the award to conduct a period of research related to their thesis, or newly qualified Post Doctoral scientists who are within three years following the completion of their Ph. D. studies at the deadline for application.
  2. The candidate must declare on the application form any other awards or grants applied for or received.
  3. Applications must be in English.
  4. Candidates should be undertaking research in the fields of exploration, assessment, extraction and utilization of a wide variety of natural resources as outlined in the Aims & Scope of the journal Natural Resources Research.
  5. The deadline for applications will be 31st May each year.
  6. Any academic research paper arising from the research conducted using the NRR Student Award should be submitted to Natural Resources Research for first refusal. Awardees should also submit to the IAMG Office a short summary report that will be placed on the IAMG webpage and a short abstract, suitable for publication in the IAMG Newsletter. These shall be due by the end of September of the year following the award.


last update: 2017-03-07

Additional information