About Reeves

Short curriculum vitae

Helicopter against Kalahari sunset

Colin Reeves has been involved since 1970 with the application of (airborne) geophysical mapping to support geological reconnaissance and resource exploration in the developing countries. He holds degrees from Cambridge, Birmingham and Leeds universities in England and started his professional career with the Geological Survey of Botswana in 1970 where he planned and executed the first national gravity survey coverage over a five-year period. From 1976 to 1983 he lived in Canada, working first for Geoterrex Limited in Ottawa and then Paterson, Grant and Watson Limited (PGW) in Toronto. He interpreted the initial CIDA aeromagnetic coverage of the Kalahari in Botswana before spending time on similar projects in Brazil, Ivory Coast, the South China Sea, Tanzania, Kenya and Burundi. He became a director of PGW and - with Ian MacLeod - co-founded Geosoft® in this period.

In 1983 he moved to Delft, The Netherlands, becoming Professor in Exploration Geophysics at the International Institute for Aerial Survey and Earth Sciences (ITC). Here he took charge of postgraduate and MSc courses in exploration geophysics for students almost exclusively from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Some 250 students, including over 50 research MScs, passed through his division over 20 years, many now holding senior positions in their own countries and the wider world. 

He continued with consulting work, mainly in Africa and India, as part of his ITC duties and then accepted an invitation from the Government of Australia to head the geophysical mapping programme of the Australian Geological Survey Organisation (now Geoscience Australia) during a two-year leave of absence, 1991-3. In Canberra he supervised, inter alia, the production of the first magnetic and gravity anomaly images of all Australia. He also initiated the digital compilation of all aeromagnetic data for the whole of Africa (AMMP), Arabia, India and the Middle East (AAIME) from his ITC base, 1989-1999.

Magnetic anomaly map of Australia, First EditionAfter returning to the Netherlands in 1993 he was elected as head of the Delft Location of ITC and then, in 1996, to the chairmanship of the Department of Earth Resources Surveys. He served internationally as chairman of Division V (Instruments, Observatories, Surveys and Analyses) for the International Association for Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA) from 1995 to 1999. He was for many years an active member (including chairman, 1991 to 1995) of IAGA’s working group Magnetic Anomalies, Land and Sea, culminating in the first edition of the Magnetic Anomaly Map of the World in 2007.  He has published widely on geophysical mapping and its contribution to understanding geology and regional tectonics. He has hands-on experience of most countries in sub-Saharan Africa through visits or student projects and has retained active contacts with leading geoscientists in India through visits and international projects there since 1985. 

Bouvet triple junction at 112 MaThe last intake of students at Delft occurred in September 1999, leading to his early retirment from ITC in 2004.  He set up Earthworks BV as a vehicle for pursuing consulting projects in the 'emeritus' phase of his career.

Projects have included contributions to nationwide airborne geophysical surveys in Mozambique, Madagascar, Uganda, Nigeria and currently (2016) Malawi.  The supervision of the Nigeria survey, from inception to interpretation, involved more than two million line-km of data acquisition under World Bank auspices (2004-2010). Making the wealth of geo-data accumulated from such surveys readily accessible to the user community is a challenge that remains.  Many national geological surveys in Africa have yet to embrace the use of internet to achieve this.

He is now devoting his time increasingly to research interests in the re-assembly of Gondwana and the precise mechanism of its dispersal. In this role he is an active team member of the Gondwana Map project (IGCP-628) at the State University of Rio de Janeiro. A course of lectures entitled African Geodynamics (brochure) resulting from this work has now been given 14 times in five different continents.  He served as visiting professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2005-2010.  He has delivered numerous talks and lectures at scientific conferences including as Association Lecturer at IAGA's 11th Scientific Assembly at Sopron, Hungary (2009) and as distinguished lecturer in Europe for the AAPG in 2011. Most recently he won the 'Best Oral Paper' award at the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain's 'Africa' meeting in London in September 2015.

Colin still lives in the old centre of Delft and works from an independent office nearby.

2016 June 20.                                                                      


Colin Reeves MA MSc PhD

Achterom 41a
2611 PL Delft
The Netherlands

+31 611 35 62 72