AUGC 2010 - Acadia University

tl_files/sites/ees/Images/links/augc60th-logo-w.gifThe 60th Annual Atlantic Universities Geological Conference (AUGC) was hosted by the Fletcher Geology Club and Department of Earth and Environmental Science at Acadia University on October 28-30th, 2010. The conference was attended by close to 100 undergraduate students (as well some graduate students and faculty members) from Acadia, Dalhousie, Memorial, Saint Mary's, Saint Francis Xavier, and UNB, in addition to representatives from government and industry.

The student organizing team included Leah Chiste, Graeme Hovey, Nor Afiqah Mohamad Radzi, and Dwight DeMerchant, assisted by faculty advisor Dr. Sandra Barr.  Thanks to the hard work of this committee over the past year and the generosity of many donors, the conference activities were well supported, thus enabling as many students as possible to attend at a reasonable cost.

Registration began on Thursday afternoon, and the registration package included a commemorative plaid shirt bearing the conference logo.  On Thursday evening, a welcoming party was held at the Old Orchard Inn in Greenwich, near Wolfville.  In addition to entertainment by the Hupman Brothers band, the evening included the "Challenge Bowl", a Jeopardy-style competition sponsored by the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists in which two-person teams from each university competed.  The winning team of Matthew Vaughan and Anne Belanger (Dalhousie University) was awarded a trip to the annual meeting of the CSEG (in Calgary, May 2011) to compete nationally, with the potential for the winning team there to continue to an international competition in the USA.

On Friday, the students participated in their choice of one of three field trips led by Acadia professors:

(1) Rocks, Mud, and Scenery: An Introduction to the Amazing Geology of the Wolfville Area:  (co-leaders Sandra Barr and Ian Spooner).

(2) Stratigraphic and Structural Enigmas of the Noel Shore (co-leaders Rob Raeside and Peir Pufahl).

(3) Economic Geology of the Windsor Sub-basin (leader Cliff Stanley).

In keeping with the season, Friday evening's activities included a "ghost-walk" featuring a graveyard visit and encounters with some interesting characters from Wolfville's past history.

On Saturday morning, representatives from the student clubs met to discuss AUGC business, with the main focus being the updating of the AUGC constitution.  Several changes in the constitution were approved, including changing the name to Atlantic Universities Geoscience Conference and updating of the procedures to allow for both oral and poster presentations.  Information about the awards was made more generic, as many of the details change regularly and those changes (such as the value of each award) are outside the direct control of the AUGC itself.

Oral and poster presentations began at 9 am in the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre on the Acadia campus. It was a full day, with a total of 25 student presentations (18 oral and 7 poster), as well as presentations by representatives from CSEG and Geoscientists Nova Scotia.   For the student oral presentations, the panel of judges comprised Chris White (Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources), Aaron Grimeau (CSPG), Sarah Trend (Imperial Oil Resources, St. John's) and Mark Graves (Acadian Mining). Posters were judged by Jacey Seebach (CSPG) and Sarah Trend.

The closing banquet was held at the Old Orchard Inn.  The guest speaker was Dr. Randy Miller, New Brunswick Museum, who gave an entertaining and informative talk on the recently approved Stonehammer Geopark in the Saint John area, southern New Brunswick.

Awards were made as follows:

APICS-NSERC award ($500) comprised of $400 from NSERC and $100 from the APICS communications award: Travis McCarron, St. F.X. "The origin and composition of polyphase inclusions in tourmaline from the Greenbushes pegmatite, Western Australia."

CSPG (Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists) award - a plaque for the best presentation of a petroleum geology-related paper.  Value $500: Frank Ryan, (MUN) "Early Jurassic Gordondale Member - Shale gas potential and XRD, wireline log, and TOC analysis."

Frank Shea award - best paper in economic geology. Awarded by the Mining Society of Nova Scotia, value $500 to the winner, and $100 to the student club: Sarah Gordon (UNB) "The petrogenesis of calc-alkaline lamprophyres from Mali, West Africa."

CSEG Foundation award - awarded to the best paper in geophysics.  Value $300: Matthew Vaughan (Dalhousie) "High resolution seismic stratigraphy (GPR) of braided channel complexes in the Triassic Wolfville Formation - controls on reservoir heterogeneity."

Best Poster award, provided by Imperial Oil: Nor Afiqah Mohamad Radzi (Acadia).  "Petrography of stratigraphic units in the subsurface in the Phetchabun Basin, Thailand."

In addition to these awards, all of the presenters were awarded a certificate recognizing their efforts from the Atlantic Geoscience Society.

AUGC conference web page available here