A pioneer in the geophysical industry, Anthony (Tony) Barringer has made numerous contributions to the development of exploration technology, both in Canada and abroad. His most noteworthy contribution was the development of the INPUT (Induced Pulse Transient) airborne electromagnetic (EM) system. This technology became the premier fixed-wing airborne survey system, and has been credited in the discovery of more than 25 commercial ore deposits with a combined value of tens of billions of dollars.
Born October 20, 1925, Barringer postponed his university studies to serve in the British army during the Second World War. He returned to the United Kingdom in 1948 and, by 1951, had obtained a B.Sc. in economic geology from the Imperial College of Science and Technology at the University of London. He obtained his PhD from Imperial College in 1954.
Barringer soon accepted a post in Toronto as an exploration geologist for Selco Exploration, rising to become manager of its Airborne and Technical Services division. It was here that he invented and began developing the INPUT airborne EM system, as well as portable ground EM equipment.
In 1961, he formed Barringer Research Ltd., a private company based in Toronto. Development work on the airborne system then reached an advanced stage, and he licensed geophysical companies for use of the application around the world. In 1967, Barringer Research went public on the US “over the counter” system, thus ushering in a 20-year period of joint research programs with major oil and mining companies on exploration and remote-sensing technology.
A decade later, Barringer moved the company’s headquarters, and his home, to Denver, Colorado. He later became a citizen of the United States.
Barringer inspired and taught many young geophysicists. During his career, he made numerous technical contributions to the mining industry, many of which are known to the community by trade names such as E-phase, radiophase, COTRAN, SURTRACE, LASERTRACE and AIRTRACE.
Other technologies developed under his leadership include: FLUOROSCAN, a laser-induced fluorescence-based system used primarily in oil and gas exploration; COSPEC (correlation spectrometer), a technology used to measure atmospheric dispersions of various gases; and GASPEC, an infrared remote sensor for atmospheric gases which has been used by NASA to measure the world-wide atmospheric distribution of carbon dioxide.
Although he retired in 1989, Barringer remained active by working with a number of research laboratories in the United States. He has received many awards and honours, including the Logan Medal of the Geological Association of Canada and the Jackling Award of the American Association of Mining and Petroleum Engineers.