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Dr. Ted ("Doc") Link (1897-1980) is described, as Canada's most important petroleum geologist in the first half of the 20th century. Born in Illinois, he led the Imperial Oil teams, which made the finds that launched the modern industry, including Norman Wells in 1920 and the 1947 Leduc gusher.
Link pioneered the commercial use of aircraft in the Northwest Territories and the use of aerial photography on geological surveying, and used cross-section models in geological work. He was known for his brilliant mind, his willingness to listen to others ideas and take action, and his sense of humor. He developed numerous theories still relevant today and wrote prodigiously for technical journals.
Link earned his degree in geology before joining Imperial Oil subsidiary Northwest Company Ltd. in 1918. It had been formed in 1917 as a vehicle for large-scale exploration in western Canada. When the Norman Wells discovery was drilled, it was the world's most northerly oil reservoir. It remains one of Canada's largest onshore fields.
From Canada's North, Link went to South America for a few years, then took a leave from Imperial to earn his doctorate in structural geology, again in Chicago. During the Second World War, as chief geologist on the war-defense Canol project - a 900 km pipeline from Norman Wells to Whitehorse-Link led an exploration effort to find more N.W.T. oilfields, mapping 2.6 million square kilometers.
He returned to Imperial as chief geologist and directed the Leduc discovery team before leaving in 1950 to found Link and Nauss, which grew into Link, Downing and Cooke Ltd. of Calgary and Toronto. Link continued to make significant contributions as an enthusiastic explorationist, distinguished speaker and president of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
Elected a fellow of the Geological Society of America in 1928, Link was also a charter member of the Alberta Society of Petroleum Geologists, the predecessor of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists. He was honored with three awards from the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, and in 1977 received an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary.
Link's widow, Vi, lives in Victoria. They have two sons.