Bob Garrett

Bob Garrett – Honorary Fellow

The Association of Applied Geochemists is pleased to announce that Honorary Fellowship in the Association has been awarded to Robert G. Garrett, of the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), Ottawa (emeritus), in recognition of his distinguished contributions to applied geochemistry during a career spanning more than 50 years. Honorary Fellows of the Association are granted this exceptional recognition for their contributions in generating and disseminating applied geochemical research at a high level and their long-standing commitment to the Association.

Robert Garrett has greatly influenced applied geochemistry during his 38 years as a Research Scientist and 15 years as an Emeritus Scientist (still active) at the GSC. Over his career he has authored or co-authored over 150 published papers, articles and government reports, a text book, and 5 book chapters, including 2 chapters in the Handbook of Exploration Geochemistry, volume 2, Statistics and Data Analysis in Geochemical Prospecting.

Robert is best known for his investigations and developments of statistical and mathematical methods for the interpretation of regional geochemical data and their application to mineral exploration. His research and resulting publications cover a wide range of topics including the design of geochemical surveys, management of geochemical data, geochemistry of organic lake sediments, drainage geochemistry, metals in the environment, and influence of geology on agricultural soils and crops. Robert was one of the very first to recognize early on the importance and power of exploratory data analysis (EDA) in geochemistry. He wrote the ‘RGR’ package as part of the R Open Source statistical computing and graphics package to provide easy access to many powerful data analysis techniques and to assist applied geochemists in interpreting data.

Robert has made consistent contributions to applied geochemistry in Canada and many other countries around the world. His GSC studies focussed on regional geochemistry, contributing to the design and implementation of Canada’s National Geochemical Reconnaissance Program in the 1970s and the development of improved geochemical exploration methods and procedures for interpreting geochemical data. Internationally, he participated in Canadian International Development Agency exploration geochemistry projects in Brazil, Malaysia, and Jamaica. His geochemical interests involved international collaborations through COGEODATA, IGCP Projects 98, 259 and 360, the IUGS Global Geochemical Baselines working group, and the IUGS’ Commission on Global Geochemical Baselines. He undertook regional geochemical studies in the Canadian Prairies to support diamond exploration that led to collaboration with soil and agricultural scientists in Canada and the USA concerning the phytoavailability of trace elements and their accumulation in food grains.

He contributed expertise to heavy metals and North America Free Trade Agreement meetings concerning policy initiatives for metals in the environment, Canadian CEPA risk assessment and regulatory related matters, Federal Toxic Substances Management Plan, Metals in the Environment (MITE), Toxic Substances Research Initiative (TSRI), and the North American Geochemical Soil Landscapes project with the United States Geological Survey, together with other US and Canadian federal departments.

Since retiring in 2005, Robert has continued to contribute to the GSC’s scientific program as an Emeritus Scientist and to mentor younger scientists. Robert has also continued his ongoing development of the RGR package. The most recent update was released May 21, 2020.

Robert has been providing support and guidance to the Association since it was formed in 1970, in the early years as Councillor, Vice President and President and a member of the Bibliography Committee and the Awards & Medals Committee. In later years to the present, he further supported the Association by serving on the editorial boards of both of the Association’s flagship journals, Journal of Geochemical Exploration and Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis, and writing contributions for the newsletter EXPLORE.

M. Beth McClenaghan (Ontario, Canada)
Gwendy E.M. Hall (Ontario, Canada)
Clemens Reimann (Königstetten, Austria)