Dr. Phil McCausland

Meteoritics, Tectonics, Paleomagnetism

Phil McCausland

Director, Western Paleomagnetic and Petrophysical Laboratory
Adjunct Professor

Ph.D. Western University, 2002
Office: BGS 0187
Labs: WSC 34, 36; BGS 1009
Phone: 519-661-2111 x.88008
Fax: 519-661-3198
Email: pmccausl@uwo.ca
Curriculum Vitae
Lab Website (WPPL)

Research Interests

I have two main areas of research:

  1. Paleomagnetism applied to the study of supercontinent assembly and dispersal, terrane tectonics and orogeny
  2. Petrophysical properties and mineralogy of Earth & planetary materials as it relates to mineral exploration, meteoritics, and the geological evolution of the Earth and small bodies of the Solar System

These are currently pursued by my research group (graduate students in italics) along the following themes: 

  • Paleogeography of the Earth: determining the Earth’s Precambrian-Paleozoic paleogeography via paleomagnetic and other techniques, as a context for understanding extreme paleoclimates, burgeoning life, and as a tracer of global geodynamics. (Thomson, MacRae)
  • Tectonics of accretionary orogens and mountain belts: paleomagnetic tracking of the collision, obduction and lateral motion of crustal fragments –terranes– to investigate the mechanisms of their assembly into mountain belts (Applalachians-Caledonides, Canadian Cordillera, Central Asia). (Warsame)
  • Shock metamorphism and parent body processes in the Early Solar System: investigation of the mineralogy and petrology of meteorites as recorders of impact shock deformation, redox processes and small body evolution (Uribe, Li)
  • Petrophysical properties, mineralogy and mineral exploration: investigation of mineralogy, density, porosity, magnetic, electrical and acoustic properties of ore deposits and their host rocks, as a guide for mineral exploration (Gunawardana, Sara)

Selected Publications

  • Symons, D.T.A., Kawasaki, K, McCausland, P.J.A. and Hart, C.J.R. accepted. Paleopole for the 69 Ma Prospector Mountain Stock: A critique of the Carmacks / “Baja BC” transport estimate for Yukon, Canada. Geophysical Journal International
  • Pontefract, A., Osinski, G.R., Cockell, C.S., Southam, G., McCausland, P.J.A., Umoh, J. and Holdsworth, D.W. accepted. Microbial diversity of impact-generated habitats. Astrobiology
  • Bramble, M.S., Flemming, R.L. and McCausland, P.J.A. 2015. Grain size measurement from two-dimensional micro-X-ray diffraction: Laboratory application of a radial integration technique. American Mineralogist, v. 100, p. 1899-1911, doi:10.2138/am-2015-5181
  • Symons, D.T.A., McCausland, P.J.A.. Kawasaki, K. and Hart, C.R. 2015. Post-Triassic para-autochthoneity of the Yukon-Tanana Terrane: Paleomagnetism of the Early Cretaceous Quiet Lake Batholith. Geophysical Journal International, v 203, pp 312–326, doi: 10.1093/gji/ggv296
  • McCausland, P.J.A. 2015. Fireballs. Observers Handbook 2015, The Royal Astronomical Society of Canda, Ed. D.M.F. Chapman, pp 255-256.
  • Samson, C., Butler, S., Fry, C., McCausland, P.J.A., Herd, R.K., Sharomi, O., Spiteri, R.J. and Ralchenko, M. 2014. 3-D Laser images of splash-form tektites and their use in aerodynamic numerical simulations of tektite formation. Meteoritics and Planetary Science v 49, pp 740-749, doi: 10.1111/maps.12287
  • Jin, J., Harper, D.A.T., Cocks, L.R.M., McCausland, P.J.A., Rasmussen, C.M.Ø. and Sheehan, P.M. 2013. Locating the Late Ordovician equator in Laurentia using palaeobiological and palaeomagnetic data. Geology v 41, pp 107-110;  doi:10.1130/G33688.1 [highlighted in: Editor’s Choice, Science Dec 14, 2012]
  • McCausland P.J.A., Flemming, R.L., Wilson, G.C., Renaud, J., Dillon, D. and Holdsworth, D.W. 2013. The Wood Lake, Ontario H4 ordinary chondrite, a new Canadian meteorite. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences v 50, pp 32-43.
  • Wilson. G.C. and McCausland, P.J.A. 2013. Canadian meteorites: a brief review. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences v 50, pp 4-13.
  • Torsvik, T.H., Van der Voo, R., Preeden, U. and ten others. 2012. Phanerozoic Polar Wander, Paleogeography and Dynamics. Earth Science Reviews v. 114, pp 325-368.
  • Pisarevsky, S.A., McCausland, P.J.A., Hodych, J.P., O’Brien, S., Tait, J.A. and Murphy, J.B. 2012. Paleomagnetic study of the Late Neoproterozoic Bull Arm and Crown Hill Formations (Musgravetown Group) of eastern Newfoundland: implications for Avalonia and West Gondwana paleogeography. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences v. 49, 308-327.
  • Plint, A.G., Tyagi, A., McCausland, P.J.A., Krawetz, J.R., Zhang, H., Roca, X., Hu, G., Varban, B., Kreitner, M.A. and Hay, M.J. 2011. Dynamic relationship between subsidence, sedimentation, and unconformities in middle Cretaceous, shallow-marine strata of the Western Canada Foreland Basin and their possible tectonic causes, in: Recent Advances in Tectonics of Sedimentary Basins, C. Buxby and A. Azor, Eds. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford.
  • McCausland, P.J.A., Samson, C. and McLeod, T. 2011. Meteorite Small Fragment Bulk Density via Visible Light 3D Laser Imaging, Meteoritics and Planetary Science v. 46, pp 1097-1109, doi: 10.1111/j.1945-5100.2011.01217.x
  • McCausland, P.J.A., Hankard, F., Van der Voo, R. and Hall, C.M. 2011. Ediacaran paleogeography of Laurentia: Paleomagnetism and 40Ar-39Ar geochronology of the 583 Ma Baie des Moutons syenite, Quebec. Precambrian Research, v. 187, pp 58-78, doi: 10.1016/j.precamres. 2011.02.004.
  • Brown, P.G., McCausland, P.J.A., Fries, M., Silber, E., Edwards, W.N., Wong, D.K., Wiegert, P., Weryk, R.J., Fries, J. and Krzeminski, Z. 2011. The Fall of the Grimsby Meteorite - I: Fireball dynamics and orbit from radar, video and infrasound records. Meteoritics and Planetary Science v. 46, pp 339-363, doi: 10.1111/j.1945-5100.2010.01167.

Professional Affiliations

President, Solid Earth Section of the Canadian Geophysical Union  
Secretary-Treasurer, Geophysics Division of the Geological Association of Canada
Senior Representative for Canada to IAGA (International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy)    http://iugg.org/IAGA/index.html

Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society
Member: GAC, MAC, AGU, GSA, CGU, AAS, Meteoritical Society, Atlantic Geoscience Society, RASC

Meteorite Impact Advisory Committee – Canada National Fireball Coordinator (2014-present)

Participant, IGCP 628 “The Gondwana Map Project– the geological map and the tectonic evolution of Gondwana”

Participant, IGCP 648 “Supercontinent Cycles & Global Geodynamics”

Check out the Grimsby meteorite fall, Sept 25, 2009

Present Students

  • Uribe, Diego (September 2014 – present; co supervised with M. Izawa and R. Flemming) M.Sc. Planetary Science, University of Western Ontario: “Primitive enstatite achondrites as indicators of environments and processes during early planetary differentiation”
  • Thomson, Andrew (September 2014 – present; co-supervised with C. Tsujita) M.Sc. Geology, University of Western Ontario: “Quantitative analysis of Middle Devonian coral growth ridges for paleoenvironmental and geodynamic purposes”
  • Warsame, Halima (September 2015 – present; co-supervised with C. Tsujita) M.Sc. Geology, University of Western Ontario: “Paleogeography of Early Paleozoic Laurentia and Meguma, Avalonia terranes via paleomagnetism and faunal analysis”
  • MacRae, Michelle (September 2015 – present; co-supervised with J. Jin) M.Sc. Geology, University of Western Ontario: “Ordovician continental paleogeography and paleoenvironment for the Michigan basin from paleomagnetic and faunal analysis”
  • Gunawardana, Hiruni (September 2015 – present; co-supervised with G. Pratt) M.Sc. Geophysics, University of Western Ontario: “Petrophysical Properties and 3D modeling of sulphide mineralization distribution at the Marathon Cu-PGE deposit, Marathon, Ontario”
  • Sara, Sundeep (May 2016 – present; co-supervised with R. Linnen) Acc. M.Sc. Geology, University of Western Ontario: “Analysis of NI 43-101 effectiveness: Case study approach”
  • Li, Yaozhu (September 2016 – present; co supervised with R. Flemming)     M.Sc. Planetary Science, University of Western Ontario: “Ureilite meteorite record of shock metamorphism and parent body processes”


  • Fernandes, Earl (Acc. M.Sc. Geology, 2015, University of Western Ontario): “Magnetic fabric of the Foy offset dyke, Sudbury, as a possible vector for sulphide mineralization”
  • Gunawardana, Hiruni (B.Sc. Geology, 2015, University of Western Ontario): “Devonian paleoposition of Avalonia and Laurentia using paleomagnetic data from the McArras Brook Formation, Nova Scotia”
  • Uribe, Diego (B.Sc. Geology 2014, University of Western Ontario): “Investigation of the mineralogical record of fireball fragmentation events in meteorite fusion crust”
  • Bramble, Michael (B.Sc. Planetary Science 2014, University of Western Ontario, co-supervised with R. Flemming): “Quantification of grain size by 2D micro-XRD”
  • Pol, Joshua (B.Sc. Geology 2014, University of Western Ontario, co-supervised with C. Tsujita): “Analysis of Middle Devonian coral growth ridges by means of quantitative visual based methods”
  • Rupert, Alexandra (B.Sc. Geology 2014, University of Western Ontario, co-supervised with R. Flemming): “Quantification of ordinary chondrite shock metamorphism using micro-XRD”
  • Round, Stephanie (B.Sc. Geology 2010; University of Western Ontario, co-supervised with R. Flemming): “Classification of meteorites by olivine unit cell using micro X-ray diffraction”
  • Brown, Ross L. (B.Sc. Geophysics 2006; University of Western Ontario, co-supervised with L. Mansinha): “Locating subsurface structures by means of Ground Penetrating Radar and Magnetometer Surveys”

Courses Taught

ES 2250Y co-instructor Second Year Field School (Winter 2015)
ES 4490E Senior Thesis class (2013-2014; 2014-2015)
ES 4450Y co-instructor Fourth Year Field School (Fall 2014)
ES 1086G “Origin & Geology of the Solar System” – online offering (Winter 2014)
ES 2240G “Catastrophic Events in Earth History” –online offering (Winter 2013)
ES 1081A “Resources, Environment and Sustainability in a Material Society” (Fall 2012)
ES 2260A "Stratigraphy and Sedimentology" (former Earth Sciences 260 - Fall 2007)