Dr. James MacEachern

Dr. James A. MacEachern
Professor, Earth Sciences, SFU

Room 7235, Technology and Science Complex (TASC) 1
8888 University Drive, SFU
Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6

Phone: (778) 782-5388


My current research focuses on integrating ichnology with sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy. I am currently evaluating a number of Cretaceous stratigraphic units in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin of Alberta and Saskatchewan.  I am particularly interested in supervising projects that serve to refine facies models for mixed-process shallow- and marginal-marine settings, and establishing criteria for identifying key bounding surfaces for sequence stratigraphic systems tracts.  Mapping of facies successions at the systems tract scale permits high-resolution reconstructions of paleogeography.  Most of this work is based on collection and analysis of rock data, but also may include micropaleontological and geochemical data to augment the facies analysis.  At present, I am supervising projects focused on the McMurray Formation, Clearwater Formation, Grand Rapids Formation, and Viking Formation. The McMurray Formation work is part of a larger research consortium between academia and industry, aimed at resolving the architecture and sequence stratigraphy of the McMurray Sub-Basin.

I also continue to maintain a focus on trace fossil omission suites and their role(s) in identifying and interpreting the origins of sequence stratigraphic discontinuities.  Facies successions bounded by these key sequence stratigraphic surfaces commonly correspond to regionally extensive systems tracts, which then can be mapped to better resolve stratigraphic architecture.

My past research has been conducted in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada, as well as internationally in Australia, Norway, the USA, and South Africa. The research has centered around developing integrated ichnological-sedimentological facies models for shoreface/strandplains, estuarine incised valleys, and marine deltas. Since 2003, I have focused most of my attention on the physico-chemical conditions affecting trace fossil associations in marine deltaic environments, initially investigating end-member types and progressively addressing more complex mixed process systems. This focus has recently allowed the proposal of two new Seilacherian ichnofacies: one that characterizes prodeltaic successions (the Phycosiphon Ichnofacies) and one that typifies delta-front successions (the Rosselia Ichnofacies).

In addition, I have also supervised outcrop studies of submarine fan deposits in the Nanaimo Group on Salt Spring Island and shallow-marine strata of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation in the Drumheller area of Alberta.


2020 Middleton Medal, Geological Association of Canada The Middleton Medal for Sedimentology is awarded biannually for “an outstanding long-term contribution or a seminal contribution to any aspect of sedimentology by a Canadian or a sedimentology researcher working in Canada”.




SEPM Certificate of Recognition for Oral Presentation


SEPM Annual Meeting 




AAPG 2008 Ziad Beydoun Memorial Award 


Best International Poster




W.W. Hutchison Medal, Geological Association of Canada


The W.W. Hutchison medal is awarded annually to a young individual for “recent exceptional advances in Canadian Earth Science research”.




CSPG Best Geological Paper Award


CSPG Best Geological Paper Award



EASC 611  Sedimentology

EASC 612  Stratigraphy

EASC 622  Principles of Ichnology