The Suffel Collection is a global collection of ore suites that was first initiated at Western by Dr. Rod McDonald around 1940. In 1946-47, Dr. Gordon Suffel began to reorganize and add to this nucleus. By the early 1970s, gifts from faculty, students and donations by interested mining companies amounted to approximately 15,000 catalogued specimens. Subsequent to his retirement in 1975, the Suffel Collection has been augmented primarily by sampling during student/faculty fieldtrips and from rock suites utilized in theses on the geology of mineral deposits. This latter phase of collection was initiated by R.W. Hutchinson, then carried on by R.W. Hodder and N.A. Duke. The collection now consists of more than 40,000 catalogued samples.
The Suffel Collection is a valuable resource for mineral deposit research, from conventional metallogenic studies to investigations into the susceptibility of differing ores to weathering. Having a range of sample material from widely different deposit types is becoming increasingly important as many of the mines represented in the collection are now closed and inaccessible. Comparative studies are central to research into the subtle differences shown by broadly similar deposit types. Housing such a large number of ore suites under one roof is unique in North America.
The samples are available for teaching and research purposes, and hundreds have sections suitable for microscopy. The collection is more freely available to senior undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and alumni. Specimens from the collection may be borrowed as research specimens with the proviso that the borrower provides an electronic copy of any data acquired, and recognition in subsequent publication.
The Earth Sciences Department at Western also annually awards the G. Gordon Suffel Fellowship for Graduate Studies in Applied Economic Geology to graduate students in a Master's or PhD program in Geology who have selected a thesis topic in applied economic geology, based on academic achievement and research merit. The recipient may receive this fellowship for up to three years, dependent upon performance and satisfactory progress. The student(s) selected will give a lecture to the Earth Sciences Department during the second term of the award, describing their research; and is required to assist in curating the Suffel Collection.
The Dana Collection is a global suite of research quality mineral specimens that was first developed by Dr. G. Gordon Suffel and was later curated by Dr. Roberta Flemming. The collection, named after Dana's system of mineralogy, was developed to include the highest quality mineral specimens from the Suffel Collection to be used for both research and display. Subsequent donors have added to the Dana Collection, providing a wide range of mineral species and varieties for use in research by graduate students, faculty, and other academics, by loan agreement. The collection currently contains upwards of 8000 specimens from hundreds of deposits worldwide. The largest individual donor to the Dana Collection is Arnim Walter, with his mineral donations constituting almost half of the collection. Being an avid mineral enthusiast and professional photographer, Arnim spent his life touring, photographing and collecting spectacular mineral specimens from mines around the world. There are several displays containing Dana Collection minerals in the Department of Earth Sciences at Western. These minerals may be borrowed as research specimens with the proviso the borrower provides to the Dana Collection an electronic copy of any data acquired, and recognition in subsequent publication.
Western Meteorite Collection
The Western Meteorite Collection is an approved institutional repository of the Meteoritical Society. As Canada's leading research centre for planetary science and space exploration, Western is home to a collection of more than 250 meteorites that are available for researchers and students. The Western Meteorite Collection contains research type specimens including signature Canadian observed fall meteorites such as Dresden (1939), Tagish Lake (2000) and Grimsby (2009). This collection is primarily housed and displayed in the Biological and Geological Sciences Building. The growing Western meteorite collection contains a wide variety of meteorites and meteorite types to facilitate research as well as teaching and outreach activities throughout each year. Samples for these activities are available by request.
Western Paleontology Collection
The Western Paleontology Collection is a suite of fossils consisting of all the major invertebrate phyla, with some bacterial, protist, plant, and vertebrate specimens. The collection is primarily used for teaching, accumulated over many decades from purchases, donations from fossil collectors, and contributions from the research collections of department faculty. The fossils are mostly from well-known fossil sites in North America, Europe, and other parts of the world. Teaching fossils are kept in the teaching laboratory in the Biological and Geological Sciences Building.