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Richard Smith

Richard Smith

Full Professor, Harquail School of Earth Sciences
Harquail School of Earth Sciences
Science, Engineering and Architecture
B-8018/B-8019, Willet Green Miller Centre


Richard Smith received a BSc and MSc from the University of Adelaide, Australia and an MSc and PhD from the University of Toronto. In 1989, he worked at Lamontagne Geophysics in Toronto (1989) where he helped develop methods for generating conductivity depth sections from airborne electromagnetic data. In 1990, Richard held an ARC post-doctoral fellowship at Macquarie University in Sydney (1990). From 1990 to 1992, Richard worked as an explorationist at Pasminco Exploration in Melbourne. In 1993, Richard joined Geoterrex Ltd, an airborne geophysical survey company, later purchased by Fugro. Here he developed methods for processing and interpreting airborne magnetic and electromagnetic data. In May 2009, Richard took up an Industrial Research Chair in Exploration Geophysics at Laurentian University in Sudbury. Dr Smith is a member of the SEG (Chair, Mining and Geothermal committee, 2008-2010), the EAGE, KEGS, the ASEG (Federal Executive, 1992-1993), and the PDAC (conference organizing committee, 2008-2011). He is the recipient of a number of awards for the "best presentation" at conferences and is a co-recipient of the award for the best paper in the journal Geophysics for 1997 and the best paper in Exploration and Mining Geology (2012). In 2009/2010 he was the CSEG Distinguished Lecturer.  Richard was inducted into the International Mining Technology Hall of Fame -- Exploration Category in 2018.  


  • B.Sc. (Hons), University of Adelaide, Australia
  • M.Sc., University of Toronto, Canada
  • M.Sc., University of Adelaide, Australia
  • Ph.D., University of Toronto, Canada

On The Web


My main research interests are in the application of geophysical methods to the discovery of all types of mineral deposits. In particular, I am interested in using geophysical methods to create an image of the earth that reflects the physical properties of the material below the surface of the earth. These images can in some cases be used to infer the geology.

The geophysical methods used are electromagnetic methods, potential field methods, radio imaging methods, geophysical logging and measuring physical properties of core and outcrop using hand-held instruments.

For more details, see the list of recent publications.


  • Best Presentation ASEG/SEG conference 1988
  • Best Presentaiton ASEG conference 1997
  • Best paper in the journal Geophysics 1997
  • Barlow Memorial Medal for the Best Paper in the journal Exploration and Mining Geology 2012
  • Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists Distinguished Lecturer, 2009/2010
  • Best poster paper in the Mining sessions at the 2016 SEG meeting in Dallas (Richard Smith) for the paper entitled “Induced-polarization effects in airborne electromagnetic data: Estimating chargeability from shape reversals”

  • Best student paper in the Mining sessions at the 2016 SEG meeting in Dallas (Tomas Naprstek and Richard Smith) for the paper entitled “A new method for aeromagnetic data interpolation with a focus on linear features” 
  • Best student poster paper in the Mining sessions at the 2016 SEG meeting in Dallas (Frederic Gaucher and Richard Smith) for the paper entitled “Exploring for copper gold deposits with time-domain electromagnetics in the Chapais-Chibougamau mining camp: Case history of a challenging variable environment”
  • Goldschmidt Lecturer, Norwegian Geological Survey (NGU), March 14, 2016



Fall 2009: GEOL 5956 Exploration Geophysics

Winter 2010: GEOL 4956 Geophysics

Fall 2010: GEOL 5007/6007 Student Seminar GEOL 6506 Directed Studies

Winter 2011: GEOL 4956 Geophysics

Fall 2011: GEOL 5956 Exploration Geophysics

Winter 2012: GEOL 4956 Geophysics

Fall 2012: GEOL 1006 Introductory Geology I/ GEOL 1021 Understanding Earth I.

Winter 2013: GEOL 4956 Geophysics

Spring 2013: MERC Greenstone Gold and VMS field course (co-taught)

Fall 2013: GEOL 5956 Exploration Geophysics

Winter 2014: GEOL 4956 Geophysics; GEOL 5957 Advanced Topics in Geophysics

Winter 2015: GEOL 4956 Geophysics; GEOL 2066 Near Surface Geophysics; GEOL 5066 Hydrothermal Ore deposits (co-taught)

Fall 2015: GEOL 4956 Geophysics; GEOL 5956 Exploration Geophysics

Winter 2016: Sabbatical

Fall 2016: GEOL 3146 Physics of the Earth;  GEOL 4956  Mineral Exploration Geophysics;

Winter 2017: GEOL 2066  Near Surface Geophysics; GEOL 5957  Advanced Topics in Geophysics

Fall 2017: GEOL 5956 Exploration Geophysics;

Winter 2017: GEOL 3146 Physics of the Earth ;  GEOL 4956  Mineral Exploration Geophysics

Fall 2017: GEOL 5956 Exploration Geophysics

Winter 2018: GEOL 3146 Physics of the Earth;  GEOL 4956  Mineral Exploration Geophysics

Student/Postdoctoral Supervision (last 5 years)

Bachelor’s Honours

Hume, Brandon (2017-2018)  Specific Gravity measurements in the Abitibi Sub-Province, Canada

Long, S. Robert (2013-2014)   Can the ground resistivity method detect alteration at the Midwest Uranium Deposit, northern Saskatchewan, Canada?

Pecman, Melissa (2013-2014)  Using hand-held tools to measure physical properties from core

drilled at the Victoria Property, Sudbury, Canada.

Desmarais, Jacques (2013-2014)  A study for designing surveys with the InfiniTEM system.


Baloyi, Nkholo Kevin (2017-2017)  Geological Interpretation of Aeromagnetic Data from the

SwayzeGreenstone Belt, Abitibi Subprovince, Ontario, Canada

Master’s Thesis

Zamperoni, Anthony (2018-)  A computer algorithm for calculating the response of a sphere below overburden for survey planning and geophysical modelling.

Justina, Fabiano Della (2018-)  Physical properties cross sections of Metal Earth transects interpreted from geophysical data

McNeice, William (2017-)  A comparison of the magnetic susceptibility measured on outcrop and derived from aeromagnetic data

Bagley, Thomas (2017-)  Using the resistive-limit data from x- and z-component airborne electromagnetic data to determine the overburden thickness

Ghahfarokhito, Amir Maleki (2017-)  Physical property cross sections of the Metal Earth Chibougamau transect

Huggins, Jacqueline (2016-2018)  Geological characterisation guided by fuzzy k-means clustering of physical properties measured from core samples from the Victoria property, Sudbury Ontario

Gazo, Nikolas (2015-2017)  Ground electromagnetic experiments to investigate the possibility of using an airborne electromagnetic system to detect nuclear magnetic resonance associated with unbound water in the subsurface

Gaucher, Frédéric (2014-2017)  Developing a new electromagnetic method to explore for copper-gold deposits in the Chapais district, Québec.

Naprstek, Tomas (2013-2014)  Physics of the radio imaging method

Schaub, Christoph (2013-2014) Monitoring rock stress using electric and magnetic field measurements

Deng, Deng (2012-2014)  Comparison of instruments for measuring the magnetic susceptibilty of drill core

Karimi Sharif, Ladan (2011-2013) Tomographic imaging of cross-well radio imaging data

Lymburner, Joshua (2010-2013)  A multiple transmitter/receiver electromagnetic system

Parry, Devon (2010-2013) A comparative study of physical property measurements collected around the Sudbury Basin


Roots, Eric (2017-)  Inversion of magnetotelluric data with smoothing in the geochron domain and discontinuities across geological and structural boundaries

Maepa, Mothepana Francisca (2016-)  Mineral prospectivity mapping using geological and geophysical data in the Abitibi subprovince

Naprstek, Tomas (2014-)  Magnetic data gridding and interpretation

Li, Yongxing (2013-2017)  Modelling of Radio Imaging data

Mahmoodi, Omid (2012-2015)  Using physical properties measurements to infer the geology

Olaniyan, Oladele (2011-2014) Using geophysical data to study the geometric shape of the Sudbury structure

Kolaj, Michal (2010-2015) Using electromagnetic gradient measurements to investigate the subsurface


Eshaghi, Esmaeil (2017-) Geophysical compilation and interpretation of geophysical data on the

Metal Earth transects.

Research Associate

Hill, Graham (2018-)  Magnetotelluric data acquisition, processing and interpretation on the

Metal Earth transects

Mir, Reza (2013-2018) Processing and inversion of geophysical data for the CMIC Footprints CRD project


  • some of the publications below are available for download at
  • Thurston, J.B. and Smith, R.S., 1997,Automatic conversion of magnetic data to depth, dip, and susceptibility contrast using the SPI (TM) method: Geophysics 62, 807-813
  • Smith, R.S., and Thurston, J.B., 1998, ISPITM-the improved source parameter imaging method: Geophysical Prospecting 46, 141-151.
  • Smith, R.S., Edwards, R.N., Buselli, G., 1996, An automatic technique for presentation of coincident-loop, impulse-response, transient, electromagnetic data: Geophysics 59, 1542-1550
  • Smith, R.S., and Annan, A.P., 2000, Using an induction coil sensor to indirectly measure the B-field response in the bandwidth of the transient electromagnetic method: Geophysics 65, 1489-1494.
  • Smith, R., Fountain, D., and Allard, M., 2003, The MEGATEM fixed-wing transient EM system applied to mineral exploration: A discovery case history: First Break 21, 73-77
  • Li, Yongxing and Smith, Richard, 2017, Contrast source inversion (CSI) method to cross-hole radio-imaging (RIM) data - Part 2: A complex synthetic example and a case study: Journal of Applied Geophysics, 150, 93–100.
  • Frédéric E. S. Gaucher and Richard S. Smith, 2017, The impact of magnetic viscosity on time-domain electromagnetic data from iron oxide minerals embedded in rocks at Opemiska, Québec, Canada: Geophysics, 82(5), B165-B176.
  • Li, Yongxing and Smith, Richard, 2017, Modelling and straight-ray tomographic imaging studies of cross-hole radio-frequency electromagnetic data for mineral exploration:  Geophysical prospecting, 66, No 2, 282 – 299. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2478.12516
  • Kolaj M. and Smith, R. S., 2017, Inductive electromagnetic data interpretation using a 3-D distribution of 3-D magnetic or electric dipoles: Geophysics, 82(4), E187-E195. doi 10.1190/GEO2016-0260.1
  • Mahmoodi, O., Smith, R. S. and Spicer, B., 2017, Using constrained inversion of gravity and magnetic field to produce a 3D litho-prediction model. Geophysical Prospecting, 65, 1662–1679. doi:10.1111/1365-2478.12484
  • Desmarais, J. K. and Richard S. Smith, 2016, Approximate semianalytical solutions for the electromagnetic response of a dipping-sphere interacting with conductive overburden: Geophysics, 81(4), E265–E277. 10.1190/GEO2015-0597.1
  • Long, S. M. R., Smith, R. S., and Hearst, R. B., 2016, Ground resistivity method and DCIP2D forward and inversion modelling to identify alteration at the Midwest uranium deposit, northern Saskatchewan, Canada: Exploration Geophysics, published on line.
  • Naprstek, T. and R. S. Smith, 2016, The effect of dielectric permittivity on the fields radiated from a radio-frequency electric dipole in a homogeneous whole space: Geophysics, 81(2), K1-K8. DOI:10.1190/geo2015-0219.1
  • Mahmoodi, Omid, Richard S Smith and Douglas K. Tinkham., 2016, Supervised classification of down-hole physical properties measurements using neural network to predict lithology: Journal of Applied Geophysics, 124, 17-26. doi:10.1016/j.jappgeo.2015.11.006 
  • Parry, D., R. S. Smith and O. Mahmoodi, 2015, Tools used in mineral exploration for measuring the conductivity and the resistivity in drillholes and on drill core: observations on their range of sensitivity: Exploration Geophysics, 47, 315-322.
  • Lo, B., Y. Li, R.Smith, J. Arce, M. Shore, and T. Lane, 2015, Introduction to special section: Mining and minerals exploration interpretation: Interpretation, 3(2),  p. SLi.
  • Li, Yongxing and Richard S. Smith, 2015, Forward modelling of radio imaging (RIM) data with the Comsol RF module: Computers and Geosciences, 85, 60–67.
  • Mahmoodi, O., Smith, R., 2015, Clustering of downhole physical property measurements at the Victoria property, Sudbury for the purpose of extracting lithological information: Journal of Applied Geophysics, 118, 145–154.
  • Lo, B., Y. Li, R.Smith, J. Arce, M. Shore, and T. Lane, 2015, Introduction to special section: Mining and minerals exploration interpretation: Interpretation, 3(2), p. SLi.
  • Olaniyan, O., R. S. Smith, B. Lafrance, 2015, Regional 3D geophysical investigation of the Sudbury Structure: Interpretation 3(2), SL63-SL81.
  • Kolaj, M., and Smith, R., 2015, A multiple transmitter and receiver electromagnetic system for improved target detection: Geophysics 80 (4), E247–E255, doi: 10.1190/GEO2014-0466.1
  • Desmarais, J.K., Smith, R.S., 2015, The total component (or vector magnitude) and the energy envelope as tools to interpret airborne electromagnetic data: a comparative study: Journal of Applied Geophysics, in press. APPGEO3783R1
  • Desmarais, J.K., Smith, R.S., 2015, Combining spatial components and Hilbert transforms to interpret ground-time-domain-electromagnetic data: Geophysics, 80(4) E237-E246, doi: 10.1190/GEO2014-0528.1
  • Desmarais, J.K., Smith, R.S., 2015, Benefits of using multi-component transmitter–receiver systems for determining geometrical parameters of a dipole conductor from single-line anomalies: Exploration Geophysics: in press
  • Desmarais, J.K., Smith, R.S., 2015, Decomposing the electromagnetic response of magnetic dipoles to determine the geometric parameters of a dipole conductor: Exploration Geophysics, in press.
  • Desmarais, J.K., Smith, R.S., 2015, Survey design to maximize the volume of exploration of the InfiniTEM system when looking for discrete targets: Journal of Applied Geophysics, 115, 11-23. doi:10.1016/j.jappgeo.2015.02.012
  • Lymburner, J. and Smith, R.S., 2014, A procedure for collecting electromagnetic data using multiple transmitters and receivers capable of deep and focussed exploration: Geophysics, 80(1), E1-E10. doi: 10.1190/geo2014-0251.1
  • Olaniyan, O., Smith, R.S., and Lafrance, B., 2014, A constrained potential field data interpretation of the deep geometry of the Sudbury structure: Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 51(7): 715–729
  • Kolaj, M., and Smith, R., 2014, Robust conductance estimates from spatial and temporal derivatives of borehole electromagnetic data: Geophysics, 79(3), E115–E123. doi: 10.1190/geo2013-0387.1
  • Kolaj, M., and Smith, R., 2014, Mapping lateral changes in conductance of a thin sheet using time-domain inductive electromagnetic data: Geophysics, 79(1), E1-E10. 10.1190/GEO2013-0219.1
  • Smith, R. S., 2014, Electromagnetic induction methods in mining geophysics from 2008 to 2012:, Surveys in Geophysics: 35(1), 123-156. DOI 10.1007/s10712-013-9227-1
  • Kolaj, M. and Smith, R. 2013, Using spatial derivatives of electromagnetic data to map lateral conductance variations in thin-sheet models: Applications over mine tailings ponds: Geophysics, 78(5), E225–E235. doi: 10.1190/geo2012-0457.
  • Olaniyan, O., Smith, R., and Morris, B., 2013, Qualitative geophysical interpretation of the Sudbury Structure: Interpretation, 1(1), T25–T43. doi: 10.1190/INT-2012-0010.1
  • Guo, K., J. E. Mungall, R. S. Smith, 2013, The ratio of B-field and dB/dt time constants from time-domain electromagnetic data: a new tool for estimating size and conductivity of mineral deposits: Exploration Geophysics, in press,
  • Smith, R. S. and B. Neil, 2013, Precision requirements for specifying transmitter waveforms used for modelling the off-time electromagnetic response: Exploration Geophysics, 44(1), 1-5.
  • Smith, R. S., 2012, Using combinations of spatial gradients to improve the detectability of buried conductors below or within conductive material. Geophysics, 78(1), E19-31.
  • Smith, R.S., Thurston, J.B., Salem, A. and Reid, A.B., 2012, A grid implementation of the SLUTH algorithm for visualizing the depth and structural index of magnetic sources: Computers and Geosciences, 44, 100-108.
  • Smith, R.S., and Wasylechko, R., 2012, Sensitivity cross-sections in airborne electromagnetic methods using discrete conductors: Exploration Geophysics, 43, 95-103.
  • Vallée, M. A., Smith, R. S. and Keating, P., 2011, Metalliferous mining geophysics – State of the art after a decade in the new millennium: Geophysics, 76, W31-W50.
  • Smith, R.S., Koch, R. Hodges, G. and Lemieux, J., 2011, A comparison of airborne electromagnetic data with ground resistivity data over the Midwest deposit in the Athabasca basin: Near Surface Geophysics, 9, 319-330.
  • Bouchedda, A., Chouteau, M., Keating, P. and Smith, R., 2010, Sferics noise reduction in time-domain electromagnetic systems: application to MEGATEMII signal enhancement: Exploration Geophysics, 41, 225-239. doi:10.1071/EG09007
  • Ulla, J., Smith, R., Samson, C., Vallée, M., 2010, Automation of the SLUTH method: a novel approach to airborne magnetic data interpretation: Near Surface Geophysics, 8, 519-528. doi:10.3997/1873-0604.2010033
  • Smith, R.S., Wood, G. and Powell, B., 2010, Detection of alteration at the Millennium uranium deposit in the Athabasca Basin: a comparison of data from two airborne electromagnetic systems with ground resistivity data. Geophysical Prospecting, 58, 1147-1158.
  • Vallée, M.A., Smith, R.S. and Keating, P., 2010, Case history of combined airborne time-domain electromagnetics and power line fields survey in Chibougamau, Canada: Geophysics, 75, B67- B72.