Dr. Marc St-Onge - Professor, Geologist

Dr. Marc St-Onge

Professor, Geologist

Marc is an experienced field geologist and petrologist interested in documenting the origin of continents and the plate tectonic evolution of the Arctic.

Marc graduated in 1981 from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, with a PhD in Earth Sciences. For over thirty-seven years, he was an Officer and Project Leader at the Geological Survey of Canada, leading field science expeditions to study unknown or little-known destinations and phenomena in remote parts of the world, from the Coppermine River area in the Canadian Arctic (where he and colleagues discovered the oldest rocks in the world) to Banks Island, the Keewatin, northern Quebec, southeastern, southwestern, central and northern Baffin Island, western Greenland, northwest Scotland, the Himalaya of Pakistan, India and Nepal and the Tibetan Plateau in China.

His documented contributions to scientific exploration and geological field research are evidenced by the publication of over 135 peer-reviewed scientific papers in international journals (including Nature) and technical reports, 120 geological maps (a record at the Geological Survey of Canada), and 150 conference abstracts.

Associated with Adventure Canada since 2004, he has transited the Northwest Passage several times and explored the east coast of Baffin Island, the west coast of Greenland, the north coast of Arctic Quebec and circumnavigated Ireland as geologist on board.

He was appointed Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford in 2004, Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2010, Vice-President (North America) of the Commission for the Geological Map of the World in 2012, Visiting Senior Scholar at the University of Cambridge in 2019, and Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford in 2019.

His passion and knowledge of Arctic geology served as inspiration for a short story by Margaret Atwood (Stone Mattress), and his innovative work led to the publication of the circumpolar Geological Map of the Arctic in 2011, the Tectonic Map of Arctic Canada in 2015, the Geological Survey of Canada’s first-ever geological maps in Inuktitut in 2015 and 2016, the Tectonic Map of the Arctic in 2019, and the forthcoming Canada-3D App in 2022.

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society recognized Marc as one of Canada’s Top 100 Modern-Day Explorers in 2015 and named him one of Canada’s 90 Greatest Explorers of All Time in 2020. He received the Geologic Mapping Award in Honor of Florence Bascom from the Geological Society of America and the Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2016, and the Stefansson medal from The Explorers Club in 2023.

Marc lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with his wife Dr. Janet King and is presently Senior Emeritus Scientist at the Geological Survey of Canada.