Publications

PESGB February 2005

Tue 01 February 2005

Category: Magazines

Geology and Catastrophism

As I sit down to write this editorial I am compelled to reflect on the sense of awe for our discipline of geology and geophysics. The earthquake in the Indian Ocean on Boxing Day is a telling reminder of the dynamic nature of our planet. The concept of Plate Tectonics with discrete crustal plates moving continuously, albeit very slowly is a difficult concept to explain to a non geoscientist when he/she is able to walk about on an apparently stationary surface. The energy within the tsunami and the distances it carried its load is a poignant example of the importance of catastrophism in the geological record. Despite the longevity of the planet it is often geologically instantaneous events that leave the most indelible mark on the rock record. The generosity of the people of the world to the disaster appeal at least offers hope for the future.
Contemplating the importance of instantaneous geological events brought my thought process to the importance of turbidites as reservoir rocks in petroleum systems. Anybody who has spent time in the field with Professor Mutti tracing the path of a turbidity current from the proximal chaotic polymict and polymodal facies through the thick reservoir quality sandstones to the fine grained thinly bedded distal equivalents get to see at first hand the results of a geologically instantaneous event often triggered by a seismic event. I find it poignant that seismically triggered events that cause earthquakes and devastation can also be a power for good as demonstrated by the deposition of high quality turbidite sandstones so important as oil and gas reservoirs the world will increasingly rely on for future oil and gas resources.
So on to 2005 and the events of our society. This year is supposed to be a “quiet” year for the PESGB as there is no PETEX to plan for. Of course I may regret that statement in December! I see this year a real opportunity to strengthen our relationships with other earth science groups in the UK and Europe. We are working on co-operating with the Petroleum Group of the Geological Society of London on an event later in the year. I hope this will be the first of many in the future. The EAGE Convention is taking place in London in 2007 and we have been approached by them to co-operate in some way.
The potential co-operation with the Geological Society leads me to a rugby analogy ! I visualise the Geological Society as rather like the “pack” that underpins and supports our earth science
world. They are the rock on which we progress upfie ld , with the PESGS members representing the “backs” mainly drawn from the oil industry and seen as the fast moving technology guzzling glamour boys of the geoscience world! A bit like the way the front row sees the wingers!
In a more serious vein, 2005 will bring the 23rd Licensing Round in the UK, Harlequins will stay in the Zurich Premiership and the UK geoscience fraternity will work closer together.

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