William Logan hired Alexander Murray in 1843 as the Geological Survey's first employee, with the title of assistant provincial geologist. A Scottish naval officer turned geologist and a tireless worker, Murray provided the earliest description of the Huronian System, a major division of Precambrian rocks stretching from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, to Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec.
Murray first employed the term Huronian in 1847 to describe the rocks along the north shore of Lake Huron. In his report for the year 1848-1849, he described two groups: a "Granitic or Metamorphic group" and "a Quartz Rock Group" that he had interpreted to have undergone "a great state of disturbance."
From 1846 to 1859 Murray traced the geographic distribution of these formations westward as he assessed the economic potential of resources such as gypsum, peat, and petroleum. Through systematic mapping, he eventually traced the southern boundary of the Canadian Shield and provided the first accurate maps of the region, which included the Sudbury Basin.
Murray left the Geological Survey in 1864 to become the first director of the new Geological Survey of Newfoundland.
Winchell, A., 1891. A last word with the Huronian; Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 2, p. 85-124. doi:10.1130/GSAB-2-85
Young, G.M., Long, D.G.F., Fedo, C.M., and Nesbitt, H.W., 2001. Paleoproterozoic Huronian basin: product of a Wilson cycle punctuated by glaciations and a meteorite impact; Sedimentary Geology, v. 141-142, p. 233-254. doi:10.1016/S0037-0738(01)00076-8