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.