I read with great interest the excellent interview with John Boyd, published in the May 2010 issue of the RECORDER. I humbly judge it to be one of the best interviews so far published. I congratulate the interviewers and the interviewed full heartedly for a splendid job they accomplished, reflecting John’s outstanding contributions to geophysics. His vision and daring achievements will always be highly valued by many generations to come.
Having been involved in the utilization of applied seismology for potash in its early stages, if not originally, I was particularly interested in John’s comments on the subject of the Saskatchewan potash deposits. In this respect allow me to provide some historical facts. Long before the start of potash mining in Saskatchewan geologists had recognized from oil/gas borehole logs the presence of potash deposits and their extensions. To the best of my knowledge and recollection no seismic surveys were conducted specifically for potash, and to resolve inherent problems specifically encountered with potash, until the early 1960s.
It is interesting to note how coincidence can play important roles in our routine work. While attending an industry party at the Palliser Hotel in the early ‘60s, I kept making eye contact with this one gentleman thinking, “I know this fellow but who is he?” and he was obviously feeling the same way.
It turned out he was a school mate from the Colorado School of Mines. He told me he was CEO of a USA mining company and that they had just acquired potash mining rights in an area now known as the Cory Potash Mine near Saskatoon. He said, “I don’t know anything about potash – can you help?” “Neither do I,” was my reply!
Then he said, “We are going to Saskatoon with our company aircraft; why don’t you come along?” I did. We walked in the wheat field destined to become the mine location. We learned of two main troublesome problems. First, a water bearing upper formation presented a serious mine inundation risk, which was later resolved by freezing the water near the entry shaft; the other challenge was to detect and avoid areas of salt collapse, and this is where the application of seismic came in. We also attempted, rather successfully, to develop a hypothesis for predicting ore grade. Later on John and his company applied the latest seismic principles to improve the results of the seismic methods considerably. They certainly deserve a great deal of credit for it.
Again, our thanks to the RECORDER and everyone involved in this highest quality interview.
Respectfully submitted by,
Peter I. Bediz
Note: An interview with Peter, at the then age of 90, was published in the February 2005 issue of the RECORDER.