OBITUARY: Bert Lee, 1923-2009

Born on June 17, 1923, in Chelsea, QC, Hulbert (Bert) Austin Lee participated in World War II as a bomb-aimer in La...

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Born on June 17, 1923, in Chelsea, QC, Hulbert (Bert) Austin Lee participated in World War II as a bomb-aimer in Lancaster bombers (RCAF 419 Squadron). After the war, he continued his education, obtaining a BSc in geology from Queen's University in 1949 and a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1953, Bert joined the Geological Survey of Canada in 1950 as a Pleistocene geologist and left in 1969 to start Lee Geo-Indicators Ltd. in Stittsville, ON, of which he was president until 1996. Bert was a fellow of the Geological Society of America as well as a member of the CIM and PDAC.

 

Geologically, Lee is best known for his pioneer work in drift prospecting and kimberlite indicator mineral tracing (“glaciofocus” research) on the Munro Esker, Kirkland Lake and in the Moose River Basin, Ontario, in the 1960s. By means of the techniques that he developed he discovered the first kimberlite in Gauthier Township, Kirkland Lake area. In hindsight, his results indicated the presence of all the kimberlites that have since been found along the Munro Esker.

 

In addition, he also investigated the dispersal gold in the tills of the Kirkland Lake area, and he worked some claims in McGarry Township, where he applied his expertise to gold exploration. Bert carried out extensive mapping in the St. John River valley, New Brunswick and Quebec, as well as in the Rivière-du-Loup, Fort George and Sakami Lake areas of Quebec.

 

Lee also proposed the concept of the Keewatin Ice Divide as a result of mapping the surficial geology of the southern District of Keewatin with the GSC’s first helicopter-supported field work in the north, ‘Operation Keewatin’, in 1952 (GSC Bulletin 51, 1959). In total, Bert authored some 30 papers for the GSC and numerous articles and abstracts in scientific journals.

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