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Dowling, Donaldson Bogart (1858– 1925)

Born in Ontario on November 5, 1858, Dowling graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Applied Science in 1883. He joined the Geological Survey in 1884 and worked there until his death. Initially employed as a topographer, he developed into a well-respected geologist.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries he worked extensively in Saskatchewan, as well as in northern Manitoba, Ontario and Alberta. J.B. Tyrrell, his party chief in northern Saskatchewan during the 1890s, described him as “positively brilliant.” In 1899 Dowling was the first to recognize the mineral potential of the future Flin-Flon/ Sherridon mining district, but he is best known for his geological mapping of Coal and other mineral resources of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. His 1914 publication on the coalfields of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and eastern British Columbia was considered a seminal work. He was also a lead author in the four-volume coal Resources of the World, compiled for the Twelfth International Geological Congress in 1913.

Dowling, active in academic circles, was elected fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1912 and president of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy in 1918. He served as advisor to several government organizations. Particularly important to western Canada was his 1915 discovery of artesian water in southern Alberta. He died on May 26, 1925.

Marilyn Lewry

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Further Reading

Allan, J.A. and S.E. Slipper. 1931. “Donaldson Bogart Dowling,” Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists 10: 1123–28; Dowling, D.B. 1914. Coalfields of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Eastern British Columbia. Geological Survey of Canada Memoir No. 53.
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