Alexander (Sandy) D. McCracken

Research Scientist


Natural Resources Canada

Current research and/or projects

My specialty is on the evolution of Ordovician to Devonian conodonts, and with this I determine the geological age of the rocks where these extinct marine microfossils occur. Conodonts are also useful for determining the paleoenvironment and paleogeography of marine basins, and the thermal history of rocks. Knowing as much as we can about sedimentary basins gives us a better understanding of where potential resources may occur. These resources include not only oil and gas, but also minerals such as zinc, lead and diamonds.

Research and/or project statements


The study of the Ordovician and Silurian conodonts of the sedimentary basins of the Hudson Bay, James Bay, and Ungava Bay areas.

The use of conodont research in support of geological mapping in Canada by colleagues at the GSC and other Canadian geological surveys.

Professional activities / interests

I am a member of the Geological Association of Canada and its Paleontology Division since 1975. Through this Association, I’ve been involved in the monograph series Palaeontographica Canadiana (now preparing for the publication of its 35th volume) since 1992 and the annual Canadian Paleontology Conference (since 1991), amongst other programs.

In Calgary, I’ve been active in outreach – Treasurer of the Calgary Science Network for several years, and one of the organizers for the GSC Calgary’s Rock ‘N’ Fossil Road Show that we hold at different Calgary Public Libraries every year.

Education and awards

PhD in Geology, University of Western Ontario, 1985.

Key publications

  1. McCRACKEN, A.D. 1989. Protopanderodus (Conodontata) from the Ordovician Road River Group, northern Yukon Territory, and the evolution of the genus. Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 388, 39 p., 3 Pl.
  2. McCRACKEN, A.D., ARMSTRONG, D.K., and McGREGOR, D.C. 1996. Fossils as indicators of thermal alteration associated with kimberlites. In Searching for diamonds in Canada. Edited by A.N. LeCheminant, D.G. Richardson, R.N.W. DiLabio, and K.A. Richardson. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 3228: 143-145.
  3. McCRACKEN, A.D., and BOLTON, T.E. (Editors). 2000. Geology and paleontology of the southeast Arctic Platform and southern Baffin Island. Geological Survey of Canada Bulletin 557, 248 pp., 54 Pls.
  4. McCRACKEN, A.D., 2002. PaleoGallery: images from the past about studying the past. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 4416, 1 sheet. doi:10.4095/213657.
  5. ARMSTRONG, D.K., McCRACKEN, A.D., ASSELIN, E., and BRUNTON, F.R. 34. 2013.Project Unit 10-028. The Hudson Platform Project: Stratigraphy of the core Aquitaine Sogepet et al. Pen No. 1. Summary of Field Work and Other Activities 2013, Ontario Geological Survey, Open File Report 6290, p. 34-1 to 34-21.