Geoscience in Ontario
Learn about the study of the Earth and how the Ontario Geological Survey helps inform mineral exploration and land use planning.
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The Ontario Geological Survey (OGS) collects, shares and uses geoscience data and information.
They are the stewards of Ontario’s public geoscience data and provide public access to this information. The OGS publishes maps, reports and digital data on Ontario’s geology. They do investigations in the field to define and understand geological process and the earth’s resources. The information and data the OGS collects is used to attract and guide investment in minerals and to help the government make provincial land-use planning decisions related to the environment, ecology, climate change and public health and safety.
The OGS has three core functions, including:
- Geological mapping and surveying
- delivering chemical and physical analyses of inorganic materials at the Geoscience Laboratories (Geo Labs)
- cartographic, editorial and publication services of geoscience products
- warehouse services, library and archiving services
- Mineral investment expertise that includes taking inventory and assessing Ontario’s earth resource potential in local areas
The OGS works with provincial, national and international geoscience partners to create a more robust geoscientific “evidence base” in Ontario. This evidence is used to support decisions on the sustainable use of land, minerals, energy, groundwater, and living with environmental change.
The Ontario Geological Survey regularly publishes maps, reports and digital data on Ontario’s geology. The Publications Release Notice identifies upcoming publications one week before their release. All publications can be downloaded free of charge from the GeologyOntario online warehouse. Maps and reports in hard-copy (paper) format and digital data sets can be purchased from the Publication Sales office.
The John B. Gammon Geoscience Library
The John B. Gammon Geoscience Library houses a comprehensive collection of journals, thesis, government documents, maps and reference material related to geology and mineral exploration. The library also has geoscientific journals available and provides computer terminals to access the GeoRef geoscience literature database and the GeologyOntario application.
Resident Geologist Program
The Resident Geologist Program (RGP) is a network of eight regional offices located across the province. The RGP provides public access to geoscience databases and local geological resource material. Geologists provide geological consultation and advisory services (PDF) and produce monthly reports for each Resident Geologist District.
The RGP has several functions, including:
- promoting and stimulating mineral exploration
- maintaining and providing public access to geoscience data and other resource materials
- monitoring and reporting on mineral exploration and development activity and issues affecting the minerals sector
- providing geoscience information and knowledge for land-use planning
- providing and/or participating in public forums to promote Ontario's minerals industry
- delivering prospecting courses and public information sessions
- engaging and building relationships with Indigenous communities
The RGP also produces monthly reports that may include information on mining and exploration activity, property visits, mine visits, First Nations and Métis meetings and field trips within each Resident Geologist District. Archived month end reports are available upon request.
To get in touch with a geologist, contact the Resident Geologist Program or one of their local offices.
Aggregate is a construction product made from sand and gravel or by crushing bedrock.
Bedrock geology is a general term that refers to the solid rock that lies beneath the soil and other surficial materials like sand and gravel.
Geochemistry is the study of the chemical composition of earth and its rocks and minerals.
Geophysics is a way of studying the geology and structure of the earth by measuring its physical properties.
Water held underground in the soil, rock layers or in pores and crevices in rock is known as groundwater.
Industrial minerals are non-metallic minerals that provide resources for the construction, chemical and manufacturing industries of the province.
Land-use planning is the process of designating sections of land for specific uses.
A mineral is a solid, naturally occurring combination of inorganic substances. Metallic minerals are minerals which contain one or more metallic elements.
Non-renewable energy is energy that comes from a source that cannot be replaced after it has been used.
Surficial geology, also referred to as Quaternary geology, refers to those unconsolidated geologic materials lying on top of the bedrock.