Researcher Profile

Sonya Dehler

Job Title: Research Scientist
Employer: Geological Survey of Canada (Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth NS)
Place of Birth: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Further Education: University of Calgary (B.Sc.), University of British Columbia (M.Sc., Ph.D.)
Geographic focus of research: Offshore areas (Atlantic provinces, east coast, west coast)as well as the margins of the UK, Portugal/Spain.

Brief synopsis of current research:
My primary research interest is to understand the structure and evolution of continental margins. The deep crustal structure has a strong influence on the development of sedimentary basins and seafloor bathymetry, and it is important to consider the evolution of the entire margin in order to understand the details. I am presently working on the Canadian east coast margins, which formed during opening of the Atlantic Ocean and Labrador Sea. I apply computer modelling techniques to geophysical data (primarily gravity, magnetics and seismic) collected during scientific surveys to develop models showing the present structure of the crust and to unravel the evolutionary history of the margin.


Recent Publications:

Williams, H., Dehler, S.A., Grant, A.C. and Oakey, G.N. 1999. Tectonics of Atlantic Canada. Geoscience Canada 26, 51-70.

Keen, C.E. and Dehler, S.A. 1997. Extensional styles and gravity anomalies at rifted continental margins: Some North Atlantic examples. Tectonics 6, 744-754.

Dehler, S.A., Keen, C.E. and Rohr, K.M.M. 1997. Tectonic and thermal evolution of Queen Charlotte Basin: Lithospheric deformation and subsidence models. Basin Research 9, 243-261.

The oceans represent the last great frontier on Earth. They cover a large part of the planet, yet we still know very little about them. The oceans appear to be passive, yet most of the "active" processes associated with tectonic forces occur beneath the oceans. Crust is created at spreading ridges and destroyed at subduction zones beneath the oceans. At continental margins, sediment that is deposited in great amounts may later host large oil and gas deposits. It is a challenge studying such remote areas, since there are few opportunities to actually see beneath the water layer. We rely on geophysical "remote sensing" data, and the occasional drillcore, to give us the information we need to understand the crustal structure of continental shelves and ocean basins. New technology, such as swath bathymetry and satellite mapping, and sophisticated computer imaging techniques are providing detailed images of the seafloor and helping to change the way we think about the "submerged" part of the planet.