Helen Belyea Geochemistry and Geochronology

One of the first female geologists allowed to work in the field by the Geological Survey of Canada and only the second woman to work as a geologist. The first was Alice Wilson.

The Story

A teacher who had also served as a lieutenant in the Canadian Navy, Belyea was hired as a technologist in 1945 by the Canadian Geological Survey, and was promoted to geologist in 1947. After oil was struck at Leduc, Alberta, she was one of two geologists sent in 1950 to monitor the discovery. An accomplished equestrian, Belyea went on many field excursions by horseback, travelling for days through the mountains of Alberta and BC. Belyea's many awards included the Barlow Memorial Award for an economic geology paper; she was the first woman honoured this way.

Sources: Despite the Odds 1990; Image: Alberta Women's Science Network website.

Biography at Mentors of the Millennium. Wikipedia entry: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Belyea


The Person

November 13, 1913
St. John, New Brunswick
Date of Death
May 20, 1986
Place of Death
Other Interests
Mountaineering, skiing, walking, swimming, horseback riding. Membeer, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra League. Assoc. Director of Calgary Zoological Society.
research scientist emeritus
Institute of Sedimentary and Petroleum Geology (ISPG)
  • BSc (Geology), Dalhousie U, Nova Scotia
  • MSc (Geology), Dalhousie U, Nova Scotia
  • PhD, Northwestern U, Evanston, Illinois, USA, 1939
  • Barlow Memorial Medal (Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 1959
  • Honorary Member of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, 1962
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, 1962
  • Officer of the Order of Canada, 1967
Last Updated
September 12, 2014

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