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Energy Minerals Division

A Division of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists

About Fran Hein

Fran Hein


Frances J. Hein, Ph.D., P.Geol.

Alberta Energy Research Conservation Board

Calgary, Alberta


Fran Hein, Ph.D., P.Geol. is currently serving as Chair of EMD’s Tight Gas Sands Committee. She has served as EMD Secretary and EMD Vice President.

Hein has been largely involved with the editing of the upcoming AAPG Memoir on Oil Sands and as EMD co-chair for the AAPG 2010 ICE Convention in Calgary. She is also a member of the Canadian Heavy Oil Association, and has served as associate editor for the Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology and a guest editor for Natural Resources Research, as well as a reviewer for many other earth science publications.

Hein received her Bachelor’s degree at University of Illinois (Chicago); Master’s and Ph.D. at McMaster University (Ontario), all in geology. Her initial thesis work dealt with facies models of braided rivers and of deep-sea conglomerates. She is licensed in Alberta as a Professional Geologist and has taught at a number of universities in both the U.S. and Canada for almost 20 years (including University of Southern California, Dalhousie University, University of Alberta and University of Calgary).

Hein has co-authored two textbooks published by SEPM:

  1. Compilation on Recognition of Ancient Sedimentary Environments, and
  2. Deep-Sea Marine Sedimentation and Tectonics, with Kevin Pickering and Rick Hiscott.

She has supervised more than 30 graduate students/post-doctorial students. Much of this research was conducted in Canada, from Precambrian to Modern sediments. She also worked with students in northern Canada and the Arctic, including the Yukon, Baffin Island, Axel Heiberg Island, Greenland and Iceland. The Yukon work was conducted over 20 years of supervising graduate students on placer gold studies in the Klondike and elsewhere; and the other work was largely related to modern deep-sea sedimentation processes in offshore areas of the North Atlantic and the Arctic.

For the past 13 years, Hein worked with the Alberta Government (Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB)/Alberta Geological Survey) focusing on the Athabasca oil sands, mainly in the more remote areas of northeastern Alberta. She was recently appointed Chief Geologist with the ERCB continuing oil sands work and is looking to develop geologic frameworks for other unconventional resource development in Alberta.

Hein has participated in the Geologist-in-the-Schools Program and in a program teaching elementary and middle-school to teach geology with the EdGeo program in Calgary.