Day off?

Most people have today off (in Canada). Us grad students are still working away , so here’s a cartoon geologic time scale. I don’t know the original source, somewhere from tumblr. If it’s yours, let me know, I’ll give you credit. EDIT: Thank you Callan Bentley, the below picture is by Ray Troll, and is found in Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway.

An idea for vendors in the exhibit hall: Day 3 Geocon 2012

I got the feeling at the talks that this was really the tail end of the conference. My favorite talk of the day was given  in the Education & Mentorship session by Jon Noad on teaching geology to non-geologists and leading educational field courses. Larry Herd gave an entertaining talk regarding the generation gaps in the industry and communicating between age groups.

For lunch we attended the Student-Industry luncheon. I don’t know if this was the first time running the luncheon, but it could have been better organized. Only about half the tables were completely full of industry and students. The rest were either full or half full of students with one industry representative. Personally, the table I sat at did not have a useful discussion with our representative. I don’t know if many industry representatives bailed last minute or the luncheon couldn’t get enough to sign up, but it would be better to have an even ratio.

After lunch I headed over to the session on Structural Interpretations. I was rather disappointed with the content of the session. Willem Langenberg gave a talk about LiDAR and geologic cross sections, but it really amounted to him overlaying old geologic maps on LiDAR and spinning it around. Yes LiDAR is an amazing tool, but I would have liked to see actual science. Mariem D. Grifi spoke about using a stratographic study to elucidate the subsidence history and structure in southern Alberta. Her talk was very insightful and well presented despite annoying technical interruptions. I did not return to the session after the coffee break.

During the coffee break a friend and myself walked the exhibit hall one last time and grabbed some free shwag. We discussed how all these companies give out pens, bottle openers (love getting these because they’re actually useful), pins, stickers (love these too), stress balls, candies, t-shirts, ect., yet most of the time people just graze, grab a free pen then move on to the next booth. I think a better idea would be for a company to have actual rocks, cores, thin sections, ect.

Most people will be more interested in the rocks and actually come up and talk to the reps about them. I base this assertion from my experience at the SCEC (Southern California Earthquake Center) conference and the AGU Fall Meeting. At SCEC my advisor had a table in front of her poster with actual rock samples from the work presented in the poster. This was great because the geologists in the crowd stopped to look at and discuss the rock samples and poster, and the seismologists and geophysists stopped to see what a real fault rock looks like. At AGU I met a masters student from Otago who had thin-section-sized billets of rock glued to his poster. Part of his project was looking at rocks across the Alpine Fault in New Zealand. He had the rocks to the West of the fault on one side of a drawn fault and the rocks on the East side of the fault on the other side. It was great seeing real rocks and not just photographs of samples.

I understand not every company can do this, but I think having rocks or samples out is a better way to start a conversation than laying out free pens on a table.

Also, a horizontal drilling company was giving out t-shirts with a “Get Horizontal” slogan. Awesome. Too bad they only had XL sizes left.

#SciWrite update and day two of Geocon 2012

Alright this day started off with exciting news. My #SciWrite manuscript was accepted with moderate revisions.  This is the first manuscript I’ve ever written and was too excited to make the morning Geoconvention 2012 talks. Instead I spent time reading through reviewer comments and emailing with my co-authors. Can you blame me?

How I felt upon hearing the news my manuscript was accepted with moderate revisions.

In lieu of morning talk coverage, here’s an owl:

and an owl cleaning itself

Eventually I closed my laptop and popped into the Future Petroleum Resources of Canada III: Arctic Archipelago in time to see Dylan Tullius discussed the reservoir potential of the early Cretaceous Isachsen Formation in the Sverdrup Basin. He gave an excellent talk and had beautiful slides. I stuck around after the coffee break for Ashton Embry’s talk on episodic tectonism recorded in the depositional history of the Sverdrup Basin.

After lunch I sat in on the Carbonate Sedimentology session. The highlight of that session was a talk given by Graham Banks on porosity in northern Iraq carbonate reservoirs. Graham and his team found fine-grained carbonates with a complex fracture network that created a high permeability reservoir. They utilized a fracture analysis tool called the Sky Held Imaging Tool (whoever came up with that name didn’t think it through) to map fracture patterns with stitched images. Graham showed two very cool photos of bitumen seeping out of an outcrop wall. The session wrapped up with a talk by Stephen Longfield and Hadi Slayman on combining facies analysis and geostatistics to model reservoir permeability.

Geoconvention 2012 Vision: Day 1

I’ve been in Calgary, Alberta first for a short course on sequence stratigraphy and now for the conference Geoconvention 2012: Vision. After finally finding the badge pick up booth, I started circling interesting talks.

I ended up spending the first half of the morning in the session titled Carbonates from Canada and Abroad. Hans G. Machel discussed the karsts of Barbados including natural oil seep pools at the surface. The talk was very exciting and included amazing photographs of caves and sea stacks. A masters student mapped 2830 sinkholes. The age of the rocks? Less than 1 million years. That’s some fast processing.

For the afternoon I sat in on Structure and Tectonic Styles of Fold and Thrust Belts – Dr. Eric W. Mountjoy Honorary Session. This session was amazing. It highlighted the amazing work and life of Eric Mountjoy, who produced a map of Jasper Park’s Miette area, and studied the area for much of his life. Many of the speakers in the session were former students of his and their talks centered on the research they did under him. This session was particularly interesting to me as I am studying thrust faults in a nappe complex and had just visited the Canadian Rockies (Banff)for the first time over the weekend. Here are the presentation topics for those interested in learning about them:

Raymond A. Price presented on the Cordilleran Foreland Thrust-and-Fold Belt in southern Canada
Daniel Lebel presented on Transfer zones.
Stephen E. Grasby discussed the Development of the Selwyn Range Shear Zone in Relation to Middle Miette Facies Change
Normand Begin discussed fieldwork in a landmine area and the Influence of Pre-existing Extensional Faulting and Foredeep Basin Geometry.
Margot McMechan presented on Structural Style and Kinematic Evolution of the Central Rockie Mountain Foothills.

Looking forward to tomorrow. I have yet to pick out which talks I will be attending…

A noble cause: Repairing Wikipedia’s Geology articles

Wikipedia can be a great first stop when beginning research. Mainly it is a great first stop if the article is well cited. Wikipedia can lead you to top scientific papers on a subject. However, if an article is incomplete, poorly cited, or wrong it can not only be useless, but also point you in the wrong direction.

Recently a grip (I love using that word) of Geology Wikipedia articles got repaired, improved, and/or written. This past semester I was a teaching assistant for an upper division Tectonics course taught by Christie Rowe. One of the assignments for the students was the Wikipedia Repair Project. This gave students in the course an opportunity to help other geology students, because chances are the first Google search result is going to be a Wikipedia article.

  • The assignment had students pick an article that needed work. 
  • Either save or print the article and mark it up. 
  • Do the necessary research. 
  • Edit (improve) the article offline.
  • Submit the original and edited versions to the TA correcting the assignment.
The TA then graded the assignment and with the grade gave one of the following recommendations:
  • Edit the online Wikipedia article with the new and improved version.
  • Make minor edits and edit the online version.
  • Major edits then modify the online version after re-submission and approval.
  • Or… do not modify the Wikipedia article.
The student’s grade was not finalized until the followed the recommendation. 
Now it’s time to get your readin’ on. Here’s a list of the articles that made the final cut and have been updated:
For profs who are interested in implementing a similar assignment in their courses here is a pdf of the assignment sheet.

What geo-wikipedia articles are lacking? This could be a fun project for the blogosphere, though maybe we should leave some articles for the undergrads.