Emeritus Professor Colin Reeves: five years after

It is now five years since Professor Colin Reeves took early retirement from ITC. He still lives in Delft and continues with his activities in exploration geophysics. Travelling on projects in Africa and India frequently brings him into contact with former ITC course participants.


The World Bank continues to sponsor projects for the sustainable management of mineral resources in Africa and he has recently been involved with such projects in Madagascar, Uganda and Nigeria where the largest-ever airborne geophysical survey – more than 2 million line kilometers – has recently been completed by Netherlands-based Fugro. He is also still active with his research into the fragmentation of Gondwana that has attracted the interest of the oil industry since most of the southern hemisphere's oil reserves are to be found in the rifts and continental margins that began evolving 180 million years ago when Gondwana's long life as a supercontinent ended. Local geological knowledge – and working with fellow professionals from many diverse countries – brings surprising new results through comparing corners of the world that are now widely separated. A recent Gondwana dispersion animation is to be found on his website,

He gives workshops on the insights this work has given into global tectonics and, in 2004, he was appointed to an honorary chair at the School of Geosciences at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa where he spends some time each year. He has also been appointed an Associate of AEON, the Africa Earth Observation Network, at the University of Cape Town where 'Earth Stewardship Science' – a multidisciplinary approach to tackling the problems that will arise from scarce resources and uncertain climates – is being cultivated. In August 2009 he had the honour of speaking on 'Geomagnetism and the Exploration of Global Geology' as one of the two Association Lecturers at the IAGA General Assembly in Sopron, Hungary. The talk was recorded and may be seen on the website ( He has written contributions to two earth science encyclopedias and his e-book on the principles and practice of aeromagnetic surveying was published in 2009 ( that may be of interest to alumni whose countries are planning activities in this area. 

Recently he has become involved in GIRAF (, an attempt to accelerate the adoption of appropriate ICT in the national geological surveys of Africa, and eGY-Africa ( which attempts to speak up for African scientists who, through poor internet connectivity in that continent, increasingly find themselves on the wrong side of the growing 'digital divide' in world science. He is always pleased to hear from former students and to learn of their own professional problems and achievements.

Reeves speaks at Windhoek,
March 2009.
Reeves delivers the Association Lecture
at the IAGA General Assembly in Sopron, August 2009.

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