Andrew D. Miall

photo of andrew miall

University of Toronto
Department of Earth Sciences

22 Russell Street, Toronto
Ontario, Canada M5S 3B1

Tel.: 416 978 8841

Mobile: 647-588-6562

Fax.: 416 978 3938


Andrew Miall has been Professor of Geology at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Toronto, since 1979, where his focus is teaching and research on the stratigraphy and sedimentology of sedimentary basins. His particular interest is in sequence stratigraphy, and in the sedimentology of nonmarine sandstones, and their characteristics as reservoir rocks for non-renewable resources. He is the inaugural holder of the Gordon Stollery Chair in Basin Analysis and Petroleum Geology, which was founded in 2001. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1995.

Andrew Miall was born and educated in Brighton, England, and completed his B.Sc. in Geology at the University of London in 1965. He emigrated to Canada in that year and joined the graduate research program in Arctic geology at University of Ottawa, gaining a Ph.D. from this work in 1969. He worked for several companies in Calgary and then joined the Geological Survey of Canada in Calgary in 1972 as a Research Scientist in the Arctic Islands section, working on a wide variety of regional basin studies. In 1977 he chaired the First International Symposium on Fluvial Sedimentology in Calgary, an initiative sponsored by the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists and which established a new theme of basic research endeavours carried forward by this major national society (the eleventh conference in the series returned to Calgary in 2017). Miall completed his Arctic work in the early 1980s after moving to Toronto, and has subsequently focused on field-based research in the Colorado Plateau area of the United States, together with projects in Asia and Australia. His work on the sedimentary facies, architectural-elements and facies models of fluvial deposits has been widely used, and he is a recognized authority on the theory and practice of sequence stratigraphy, and the historical evolution of the science of stratigraphy.

Reflecting his broader interest in energy and climate-change issues, since 1998 Miall has taught a popular science-for-non-scientists course at the University of Toronto entitled “Geology in Public Issues”, which deals with geological hazards, energy and water resources, and global change. From 2000-2004 Andrew Miall served as Canada’s representative to the NATO Science and the Environment Program’s “Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society”, during which time he assisted in the organization of several international workshops dealing with natural hazards.

Andrew Miall was Vice President of the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada from 2005 to 2007 and President of the Academy from 2007-2009. He chaired the Program Committees which organized the Royal Society of Canada Annual Symposia on energy in 2003 and on water in 2006, and in 2009 he chaired the RSC Committee that held a one-day symposium in October to celebrate the International year of Astronomy, entitled “The universe and our place in it.” Andrew Miall has also served as a panelist at several symposia in the Program on Water Issues at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, on such topics as carbon sequestration, shale gas and Canada’s oil sands.

In the fall of 2010, Miall was selected by the federal Environment Minister, the Honorable James Prentice, to serve on a committee of six Canadian scientists enjoined with the task of improving environmental oversight and management of the Canadian oil sands. This committee submitted its report in December, 2010. In January 2011, He was appointed by the Environment Minister of Alberta, the Honorable Rob Renner, to the Alberta Environmental Monitoring Panel, tasked with making recommendations for a complete overhaul of Alberta’s environmental monitoring work, with an initial focus on the Oil Sands. The final report was delivered to Minister Renner on June 30th, 2011. In both cases, the objective of these committees was to develop world-class environmental monitoring and reporting practices, aimed at improving the management of air and water pollution, as industrial development activity in the oil sands increases in the coming decades. Most of the recommendations of these panels have since been implemented, resulting in significant improvements in the management of water and air pollution issues in the Lower Athabasca region.

Andrew Miall is the author of several research-level textbooks. His “Principles of Sedimentary Basin Analysis”, first published in 1984, is now in its third edition. A second book, “The geology of fluvial deposits: sedimentary facies, basin analysis and petroleum geology” was published in April 1996. A third book “The geology of stratigraphic sequences” appeared in the fall of 1996. A revised second edition was published in May 2010, and incorporated much new work dealing with the origins of sequences. His new book, “Fluvial depositional systems” appeared in the Fall of 2013. A completely new text, “Stratigraphy: A modern synthesis”, was published in January 2016. The lavishly illustrated book “Canada Rocks: The Geologic Journey”, authored by N. Eyles and A. D. Miall, appeared in the fall of 2007. This is the first treatment of the geological history of Canada prepared for a general readership.

Miall was Editor of the national Canadian journal Geoscience Canada from 1982 to 1989, and was Co-Chief Editor of the Elsevier journal Sedimentary Geology from 1987 to 2005. He is currently serving as the Sedimentology editor for Earth Science Reviews.

Miall has been the editor of four technical books, plus many research papers. He was a Distinguished Lecturer for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in 1986-1987. In 1992 he was named the Earth Resources Foundation-Esso Australia Distinguished Lecturer for that year by the Earth Resources Foundation of the University of Sydney, and toured Australia. He has also been a guest lecturer of the Academy of Science, China (1985), the Geological Society of South Africa (1979), and the Academy of Sciences, Poland (1978), a Visiting Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (1990), a Visiting Professor at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada (1977), a sabbatical-leave visitor at University of Oxford, U. K. (1991-1992), and the Boyd Lecturer in Petroleum Exploration at the University of Texas, Austin (1995). He has lectured widely throughout Canada and the United States, and has also lectured, presented technology-transfer courses to petroleum-industry groups and undertaken consulting work in South Africa, Venezuela, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, The Netherlands, and New Zealand. He has been a regular short-course instructor for the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists in Calgary since 2000.

Andrew Miall was awarded the Past President’s Medal of the Geological Association of Canada in 1983 and became a Distinguished Fellow of that society in 1995. In 1992 he was awarded the D.Sc. degree, a Higher Doctorate, from the University of London, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, in March 2001. In 2004 he received the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Grover E. Murray Distinguished Educator Award. He was inducted as an Honorary Member of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists in 2012. In 2014 he was the recipient of the Francis J. Pettijohn Medal for Sedimentology, awarded by the Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the Geological Association of Canada’s Logan Medal. In 2015 he received the Digby McLaren Medal in Stratigraphy, awarded by the International Commission on Stratigraphy. At the International Geological Congress at Cape Town, August 2016, he received the IUGS Science Excellence Award in Stratigraphy.

Andrew is married to Charlene Miall, Professor of Sociology at McMaster University, with whom he is working on a project to investigate the evolution of the earth-sciences in Canada, with particular reference to environmental issues, such as global change. They have two adult children, Christopher Miall (partner: Natalie Miall), and Sarah Kohlsmith (partner: Brad Kohlsmith), and three grandchildren, Meredith, Henry and Owen.

Students please note that Prof. Miall is approaching retirement and is no longer taking on new undergraduate projects or graduate students.


Selected Publications


Miall, A. D. (2017): Collingwood and The Blue Mountain—Portrait of a Changing Georgian Bay Community, in Eyles, N., ed., Georgian Bay: Discovering a unique North American ecosystem, Georgian Bay Land Trust, Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Toronto, p. 218-233.

Miall, A. D. (2017): Sequence stratigraphy and geologic time, in Montenari, M., ed., Stratigraphy and Time Scales, Elsevier, Amsterdam, v. 2, in press

Miall, A. D., (2017): Depositional Environments, in: Sorkhabi, R., ed., The Encyclopedia of Petroleum Geoscience, Springer Verlag, Berlin, in press.


Miall, A. D., (2016): The valuation of unconformities: Earth Science Reviews, v. 163, p. 22-71.

Miall, A. D. (2016): Stratigraphy: A modern synthesis. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 454 p.


Miall, A. D. (2015): Making stratigraphy respectable: from stamp collecting to astronomical calibration: Geoscience Canada, v. 42, p. 271-302.

Miall, A. D. (2015): Updating uniformitarianism: stratigraphy as just a set of “frozen accidents”.  in Smith, D. G., Bailey, R., J., Burgess, P., and Fraser, A., eds., Strata and time: Geological Society, London, Special Publication 404, p. 11-36.


Miall, A. D. (2014): Fluvial depositional systems: Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 316 p.

Miall, A. D. (2014): The emptiness of the stratigraphic record: A preliminary evaluation of missing time in the Mesaverde Group, Book Cliffs, Utah: Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 84, p. 457-469 


Miall, A. D. (2013): The Environmental Hydrogeology of the Oil Sands, Lower Athabasca Area, Alberta. Geoscience Canada,40(3):215-233. – One of a set of five articles constituting a special issue on the environmental management of the Oil Sands.

Miall, A. D. (2013): The Alberta Oil Sands: developing a new regime of environmental management, 2010-2013: Geoscience Canada, v. 40, p. 174-181.

 Miall, A. D. (2013): Sophisticated Stratigraphy. In: M. E. Bickford (ed.): The web of geological sciences: Advances, impacts and interactions, Geological Society of America, Boulder, Colorado. Special Publication 500, p. 169-190 (An invited review as part of a celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the GSA).


Miall, A. D. (2011): A Phanerozoic Time Chart for Canada. Geoscience Canada, 38:135-140.

Catuneanu, O., Galloway, W.E., Kendall, C.G.St.C., Miall, A.D., Posamentier, H.W., Strasser A., and Tucker M.E. (2011): Sequence Stratigraphy: Methodology and Nomenclature: Report to ISSC: Newsletters on Stratigraphy, v. 4 (3), p. 173-245

Miall, C. E. & Miall, A. D. (2011): Misconceptions regarding climate change and energy: challenges for social policy development. In: Gill, S., and Dhawan, RK (ed.): New Directions in Canadian Studies, pp. 61-80, Vedanta Books, New Delhi.


Miall, A. D. (2010): Alluvial deposits. In: James, N. P., and Dalrymple, R. W., (ed.): Facies Models 4, pp. 105-137, Geological Association of Canada, St. John’s, Newfoundland, 4th edition. GEOtext 6.

Miall, A. D. (2010): The geology of stratigraphic sequences, second edition: Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 522 p


Miall, A. D. & Miall, C. E. (2009): The Geoscience of Climate and Energy 1. Understanding the Climate System, and the Consequences of Climate Change for the Exploitation and Management of Natural Resources: The View from Banff.Geoscience Canada,  v. 36(1), p. 33-41.


Miall, A. D., ed. (2008): The Sedimentary Basins of the United States and Canada: Sedimentary basins of the World, v. 5, K. J. Hsü, Series Editor, Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, 610 p

Miall, C.E. & Miall, A. D. (2008): Canada-wide Survey of Earth Scientists: A Preliminary Report on the State of the Discipline, the Fossil Fuel Industries and Environmental Science. Geoscience Canada, v. 35(1), p. 32-41.


Eyles, N., and Miall, A. D. (2007): Canada Rocks: The Geologic Journey: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Toronto, 512 p 


Miall, A. D. (2006): Reconstructing the architecture and sequence stratigraphy of the preserved fluvial record as a tool for reservoir development: a reality check; American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin v. 90, p. 989-1002.

Miall, A. D. (2006): How do we identify big rivers, and how big is big? Sedimentary Geology, v. 186, p. 39-50.


Miall, A. D. & Miall, C. E. (2004): Empiricism and model-building: around the hermeneutic circle in the pursuit of stratigraphic correlation. Stratigraphy, v. 1(1), p. 27-46.

Miall A.D. (2004): Empiricism and model building in stratigraphy: the historical roots of present-day practices. Stratigraphy, v. 1(1), p. 3-25.


Miall, A. D., and Jones, B. (2003): Fluvial architecture of the Hawkesbury Sandstone (Triassic), near Sydney, Australia: Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 73, p. 531-545


Miall, C. E. & Miall, A. D. (2002): The Exxon Factor: The roles of corporate and academic science in the emergence and legitimation of a new global model of sequence stratigraphy. Sociological Quarterly, v. 43, p. 307–334.

 Miall, A. D. (2002): Architecture and sequence stratigraphy of Pleistocene fluvial systems in the Malay Basin, based on seismic time-slice analysis: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 86, p. 1201-1216


Miall, A. D. & Miall, C. E. (2001): Sequence stratigraphy as a scientific enterprise: the evolution and persistence of conflicting paradigms. Earth Science Reviews, v. 54, p. 321–348.

Miall, A. D, and Arush, M. (2001): Cryptic sequence boundaries in braided fluvial successions: Sedimentology: v. 48(5), p. 971-985. .

Miall, A. D., and Arush, M. (2001): The Castlegate Sandstone of the Book Cliffs, Utah: sequence stratigraphy, paleogeography, and tectonic controls: Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 71, p. 536-547


Basin analysis, sedimentary geology and stratigraphy

Prof. Miall is or has been the instructor for the following courses:

ESS 103H1F: Geology in Public Issues

Natural hazards (volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, landslides), natural resources (oil and gas, coal, water), climate change.

This course is intended as a breadth-requirement for non-science students, and may also be taken for general interest. No prior knowledge of science or mathematics is required. Course content may be browsed on the “Blackboard” website for this course, as a “guest” or “observer”.

ESS 431H1S: Basin Analysis

Advanced principles of sedimentary basin analysis, including sequence stratigraphy, quantitative basin models, sedimentation and plate tectonics.

Graduate seminar courses in basin analysis and nonmarine sedimentology are offered as required.

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