Friday, December 30, 2011

Lessons to learn from 2011 earthquakes

Natural hazards, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and global climate-change pose unremitting threats to our young, 10,000-year-old, civilization. There are ample evidences to map a complete profile of vulnerabilities, which we have been facing in the past. The devastations of Acehnese and Thai coasts in 2004, of Kashmir and New Orleans in 2005, of southwest Java in 2006, of Sumatra again in 2007, western Sichuan and Myanmar in 2008, of Haiti in 2010 and of Japan in 2011, comprise an unremitting event of death and destruction.

In some of these events the warning signs were known to exist; for example, New Orleans and Port au Prince, which had long been recognised as a catastrophe waiting to happen, but somehow even that awareness has had no effect! Similarly, there are several places in the world, for example SE Asia, where the knowledge about earthquakes is still in its infancy. This has caused colossal loss to life and property. For example in Kashmir and Aceh, these tragic examples, in which basic scientific ignorance and the inability to translate the acquired knowledge into timely planned action clearly shows the challenges earth science faces today.

The recent earthquake in Japan and the tsunami that followed it, once again highlighted and simultaneously warned us about our ignorance in understanding the dynamic earth processes. Though, there were fewer casualties, but, the scientific information about the earthquake potential and its associated hazards were grossly ignored or simply not put into an effective action plan. Japan is probably the only country with a sophisticated earthquake instrumentation, knowledge and preparedness to tackle these hazards; however, the bitter truth remains that they have failed to warn people about events of such magnitude, that many said was a surprise, but, in reality, this had been forecasted by many scientists. It therefore, gives us an opportunity to review the status of earthquake research in all countries, which are at the verge of earthquake disasters.

Before the awareness about a possible threat, which can be posed by tsunamis dawned on people at large, especially in the wake of a number of recent tsunamis, there was almost no concern to map underwater faults, potentially because we were ignorant of the consequences it can have. However, the need was revived and Japan, by now has 50 observatories offshore to understand the sea-floor faults. This number is extremely less, compared to 8,700 on land. But, many nations have none or a few such stations to map deadly faults, mostly on sea-floor. It is therefore, imperative to map active faults on ocean floor and deploy the geophysical instruments to measure the deformation as accurately as possible. This is crucial for our safety and welfare, which should be our priority.

It may take several decades to understand/predict the complicated tectonics associated with earthquakes, before we can successfully warn people in advance. However, the effects can be minimized by educating societies. This practice has played a huge role in saving lives, for example in Japan. There are reports, where a principle of a school, demolished a wall to allow the students to freely run to higher altitudes, before the arrival of a tsunami. All those people were subsequently saved. However, there are also cases where people went to the protective tsunami wall to see its arrival, thereby, ignoring its dangerous impact. This happens because people were NOT told in advance that the tsunami waves can reach enormous heights.

One thing however is clear; which is that dangers and hazards associated with a tsunami or an earthquake can be much bigger than what we anticipate and therefore prior preparations should be made for the same.


Afroz Ahmad Shah

Friday, November 25, 2011

ACCESS Student Recruitment Call

ACCESS a new national community of students and supervisors, all working in different scientific fields in our unique and globally recognised natural laboratory for the study of Earth Systems. ACCESS is recruiting post-graduate students (honours, masters and doctoral) from several disciplines of natural and physical science to join its exciting initiative!
ACCESS is a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary programme, partnering with various South African universities and key research agencies. As an NRF Centre of Excellence, ACCESS, together with its partners, aims to deliver a new scale of intervention in Earth Systems Science in southern Africa within the scope of the Department of Science and Technology’s Global Change Grand Challenge.
- Eligibility criteria:
Applicants who have a research interest within or related to one of the following disciplines are invited to apply:
• Earth Systems Modelling and Biochemical Cycles
• Seasonal/Inter-annual Climate Predictability
• Water Resources Dynamics
• Urban and Rural Land Cover and Land Use
• Ecosystem Services and Livelihoods
• Long-term Climate and Impacts
• Marine and Coastal, Estuarine Systems.

- Application deadline
All applications for 2012 must be submitted for consideration before 28 November 2011

For more information, download the brochure of the call.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Urgent: Exclusive YES Meeting tonight moderated from Morocco!

Join us today in an exclusive online YES meeting moderated from EL Jadida, Morocco where the First International Conference on African and Arabian Geoparcs is taking place!
YES members present on site will report the conference progress and the YES activities planned on site.
Make sure to add "yes.morocco" to your skype list so that we can will add you to the conversation.
The meeting will start at 10pm GMT.
We're looking forward to have many YES members participating, we need your ideas to make the YES presence in the conference a success!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Learning Geology in 3D - Visible Geology online!

Last year I saw a poster that Rowan Cockett from University of Calgary presented about his educational structural geology software that he developed at the AGU 2010 Fall Meeting (See the blogpost here).

Rowan has just finished putting the bulk of the software on the web and is looking for feedback from the geoscience community on this software so he can tune it and refine it. The software is free, and you can give it a test drive at:

You can contact Rowan through the website from the homepage by clicking on the button that says "Contact".

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

European Geoscience Union General Assembly 2012: Call for Abstracts on Himalaya-Karakoram-Tibet Geosciences

YES Network members are call to submit their abtract (s) for the upcoming European Geoscience Union General Assembly that will take place in Vienna, Austria from the 22-27 April 2012. One of the session during this conference is TS4.5 Geodynamics of Collisional type orogenic belts and its response to climate and erosional process-Himalaya, Karakoram and Tibet. For more information about the above session  please contact Dr. Soumyajit Mukherjee at  and also follow this link .

Important dates
Abstract submission  deadline 17 January 2012, 24:00 CET
Financial support  deadline 15 December 2011, 24:00 CET

Monday, October 10, 2011

GSA Careers Networking Luncheon - A HUGE Success!

The YES Network co-organized the Geoscience Careers Networking Luncheon with the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and the Geological Society of America (GSA) at the GSA 2011 meeting. Thank you to AGI, GSA and ConocoPhillips for their generous contributions to the event.

We had a total of 241 students (56% Bachelor's, 23% Master's, 19% Doctorates). Five of these students were in high school. Students were from 110 different universities with 24 of those universities outside of the US (19- Canada, 2- Turkey, 1-Nigeria, 1-Australia, and 1-Argentina).

Students networked with 47 US and non-US based geoscience professionals from the following sectors:
Oil & Gas
Minerals exploration
Environmental consulting
Federal Government
State Government
Scientific Instrumentation

Students chatted with professionals and landed job interviews, internships, and found out about a variety of jobs in different business sectors outside of academia. Overall the response from students and geoscience professionals was overwhelmingly positive!

If you were at the luncheon today, please tell us what you thought!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Back to School

Cross-posted on GeoSelim here

In response of Anne Jefferson questions for Accretionary Wedge #38:
If you are a current or future student… what do you want to know about life and careers in the geosciences? Are there things you aren’t getting to learn or do in classes that you think are important? What sort of experiences do you want to get out of school and how do you think school can or should help you prepare for a career?
My respond here focus on the method of studying geology. It’s helpful to study how particular branch of geoscience are developed, like how continental drift theory are become the most accepted theory, but it’s not necessary to study how seismic investigation are developed thorough the time. Students need to know how to interpret a seismic section; not to know who developed that branch of science so the large introductions of any subject in collage is like wasting the time. How is this branch of science work? why it useful? and how can i use it? that what i think is  important in studying any subject. Geoscience professors should focus on hand on experience not the amount of information that students will use it after the graduation. Actually geologists are a storyteller about Earth history. Don’t tell your student the story, teach them how to tell a good story.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Award Committee Volunteers Wanted

The YES 2012 coordinators are seeking YES members to form a committee to select outstanding public figures to receive an award for his/her impacts on the connection between geosciences and societal issue. 
The recipient will be awarded this honor at the YES World Congress in Brisbane. This is a short term position, and members of the committee will need to act quickly to formulate nominees for the award. 

Tasks include: nominating one person from each continent; producing a short bio on each nominee (photo and text); contacting the nominee to inform him/her of their nomination; communicating with the Executive team regarding nominations. The bio will be used in a special edition of the Newsletter to showcase each public figure and published online for YES members to review and vote. 

Please contact to volunteer or for more information.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sightseeing in Aberystwyth, Wales

By Debra Colarossi, South Africa

Aberystwyth is a coastal town located along the western coast of Wales in the United Kingdom. It is home to Aberystwyth University and doubles up as a holiday town during the summer months. One of the must see tourist attractions is The Castle, the ruins of which stand on the rocky headland overlooking Cardigan Bay. The castle is a testament to the pursuit of Welsh independence from the English Crown and the adjoining beach is host to the Aberystwyth Castle mosaics chronicling the history of the castle from 1277 when the castle was built for King Edward I, though to its capture byOwain Glyndwr in 1404, its subsequent loss to Prince Henry in 1408 and its destruction in 1649 by Oliver Cromwell's army.

The Castle offers a stunning view of the coastline as well as of the Old College, a failed hotel that became the first university in Wales. The building is constructed in high Victorian Gothic style and is carved from a beautiful, clean sandstone. the southern tower's external mosaic depicts Archimedes receiving emblems of modern science and industry.

The war memorial located at Castle Point depicts the angel of peace holding a wreath of victory and raising mankind from the ashes of war. It was sculpted by Mario Rutelli, an Italian sculptor, after being commissioned in 1919. The panels along the bottom of the memorial contain the names of the men and women from the Borough of Aberystwyth who died in World War 2.

Historical information was take from the Aberystwyth Town Guide published by The Aberystwyth Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Menter Aberystwyth in June 2011.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Join the YES Network's free web-cast session at GSA 2011!

The YES Network is convening GSA Session 215: "T.171 Developing the Global Geoscientist through International Geoscience Networks and Research Projects"

This session will be broadcast via web-cast, and web-based participation is free. Find the session's schedule and register as a web-based participant on the YES Network website:

This session will focus on best practices for cultivating global geoscientists through the use of international geoscience networks and cutting-edge technologies and the development of international research projects from these international networks. This session also highlights the Geoscientists Without Borders® program and its associated projects, including the logistics of establishing projects and the impact the program and projects have made.

Session Chairs: Leila Gonzales, Sophie J. Hancock
Co-sponsoring Organizations:GSA Geoscience Education Division; YES Network; American Geological Institute; Society of Exploration Geophysicists Foundation; GSA Geophysics Division; Society of Economic Geologists

Thank you to the SEG Foundation and the American Geological Institute for making the session web-cast possible.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Submit your abstract to a YES Network session at AGU!

The GSA 2011 meeting abstract deadline just passed, and now it's time to focus on getting those abstracts ready for the AGU 2011 Fall Meeting! Did you know about the sessions that the YES Network is convening at the AGU 2011 meeting? If not, here's the information. Please consider submitting an abstract to one of the following sessions that the YES Network is convening.

AGU 2011 abstract deadline is this Wednesday, 04 August.

ED32: Innovative Education, Outreach, and Communication (EOC) Activities by Early Career Scientists (ECS)
Beyond research, scientists are expected to communicate their science. EOC activities by scientists enhance public understanding of pressing topics, foster scientific literacy among the public, open lines of communication with scientists, and inspire young people to consider science careers. EOC skill development is crucial for ECS. While important for obtaining funding, ECS training generally does not cultivate EOC skills. ECS efficacy in EOC occurs through practical experience and professional development activities. This session aims to highlight innovative EOC activities initiated and conducted by ECS, as well as professional development activities designed to foster these skills.

ED49: The Student-to-Professional Continuum: How to Retain Students and Successfully Transition Graduates into Geoscience Careers 
Since the mid-1990's geoscience degree completion rates have remained near 12% for undergraduates and 20% for graduate students. Furthermore, data from NSF indicates that only 30 percent of geoscience graduates work in core geoscience occupations. The US and other developed nations are beginning to see the loss of technical skills in the geoscience workforce, both within academia, government, and industry sectors. The implementation of successful retention and student-to-professional transition strategies are critical for bolstering the supply of new graduates to geoscience occupations.

ED51: Using International Networks to Develop the Future Global Geoscience Workforce
As the geoscience workforce becomes increasingly global, geoscience graduates need to be equipped with strong geoscience skills and experience in international collaboration. Data from the IUGS Global Geoscience Taskforce indicates that developed nations face the immediate need to replace the current wave of retiring geoscientists while developing nations need to bolster human and capital infrastructure to support the training of future geoscientists. International geoscience networks, which remove geographical constraints and connect geoscientists via the web, may help solve the unequal distribution of geoscience capacity while providing geoscience students with the ability to develop international experience.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Aquifers Properties

Cross-posted on GeoSelim here

Aquifers Properties:

1- Porosity
3- Storativity
4- Specific Storage
5- Hydraulic Conductivity
6- Transmissivity and Permeability

Monday, July 25, 2011

Reviewers for the Bulletin needed!

Hello YES Members, 

The Bulletin team is looking for reviewers for articles submitted the the YES Network Bulletin. We are looking for reviewers with all types of specialties - hydrology, volcanology, tectonics, etc. We have a paper  that is ready to be reviewed now by someone with structural geology expertise. Please contact the Bulletin team at

Many thanks!
The Bulletin team

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A visit to Craters of the Moon, Idaho

I'm an Idaho girl. Usually when I say this to people not from Idaho, they think of potatoes... and they don't think of volcanoes. Idaho contains the largest, youngest lava field in North America, with features similar to what you'd find in Hawaii. It's fairly close to Yellowstone National Park, and many visitors to the Craters are surprised at the stark beauty that the black rocks can express. Here are a few shot of what you can see (and do!) when visiting Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.

First and foremost, here's a little introduction to the geology of the Craters area. Approximately 65 Ma, the mountain west began experiencing extensive normal faulting throughout the region. We call this the Basin and Range province, where repetitive north-south trending mountain ranges are evenly spaced with valley separating them. As this continued, an area of hot upwelling mantle, or hotspot, began blowtorching its way beneath the North American plate. Roughly 8-10 Ma, the Craters area sat above this Yellowstone hotspot. As the hotspot melted and thinned the underlying lithosphere, it created explosive rhyolite eruptions, similar to the type of volcanics you find at Yellowstone today. As the plate continued to move, the hotspot left the area, and is currently beneath Yellowstone National Park. Because the lithosphere has been thinned, it becomes more difficult to create ranges from Basin and Range normal faulting - the lithosphere just doesn't have enough heartiness to it. Instead, the lithosphere rifts apart, releasing the pressure on the underlying mantle, allowing the mantle to melt to create magma. The magma slowly migrates to the surface along the length of the rift. Approximately every 2,000 years (beginning 15,000 years ago), the Craters will erupt along the propagating rift, and create lava flows, fire fountains, cinder cones, and other basaltic features. The last eruption at the Craters was abut 2,000 years ago... which means... any day now we could see more lavas erupting in the middle of Idaho!

Things to do
Ranger Tours
I was once a National Park Service Park Ranger, so I'd suggest taking a Ranger Tour! The rangers at the Craters will lead you through caves (lava tubes), around the youngest cinder cone in the park (Broken Top), or give you an introduction to the geology, cultural history, and modern history (did you know that the Oregon Trail passes through the park?). There is a very informative visitor's center with cool displays and nice bathrooms. Believe me, the Craters are in the middle of nowhere. You'll be thankful for clean bathrooms.

The Loop Road
Most of the main features are accessible along the park's 7 mile loop road. Off of this road, you can hike to the top of a cinder cone (Inferno Cone), or hike into the mouth of a volcano (North Crater Trail). You can also explore several lava tubes, which are the park's proud caves. The caves stay nice and cool all summer long. In fact, you can find ice in some of them all year round! The caves are by permit only, so be sure to get your permit from the visitor's center before going. 

Wildflower Season
Surprisingly, there is a lot of life out on the cinders and lava. Wildflowers typically start blooming in early June. Different species will bloom at different times throughout the summer, and one flower (the Blazing Star) is only open at night as it's pollenated by moths. Peak time for the wildflower bloom is usually the end of June or beginning of July, depending on how much precipitation has fallen. My favorite is the bitterroot, which is also the state flower of Montana. It grows right out of the cinders, indicating that the lavas are holding water, even though it's hot and dry on the surface.
The Craters are open year round. At about 6,000 feet elevation, they get their fair amount of snow. In fact, there is so much snow there in the winter that the 7 mile loop road is closed to vehicles, and opened for cross-country skiing! You can also take snowshoes out onto the lava flows. Have you ever summit a cinder cone on snowshoes? It's an amazing experience!

Well, that's my plug for visiting Idaho and visiting a national park. There's also a campground that can accommodate RVs and tents, in case you have so much fun that you decide to stay the night. There are also a lot of special events that happen. For example, the astronomical society brings out their telescopes twice per summer and allow the public to explore the night sky. The views of the Milky Way are absolutely stunning! Here are a few more pictures of the Craters. Hope to see you in Idaho!

In the mouth of North Crater, viewing the Pioneer Mountains
Backside of Inferno Cone, covered with dwarf buckwheat flowers

Dwarf buckwheat in bloom

all photos property of Tiffany A. Rivera

Friday, July 22, 2011

Call for Papers: Special Volume, Intl J. Earth Sci.

Geology & Geophysics 1st year field trip to Ambaji, Gujrat, December 2010

Chhabi Jain
M.Sc. 1st Yr, Applied Geophysics (2010-2011)

Department of Earth Sciences
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Powai, Mumbai- 400 076, Maharashtra, INDIA

The geological fieldwork at Ambaji (Gujrat) is an annual tradition of our Department. It is a part of the curriculum for the 1st year students of Geology and Geophysics that provides them a hands-on experience of geology. It enhances our understanding of the subject as we actually study the rocks, their constituent minerals and structures we read about in books. The training is so useful for research and field-oriented works that a number of Ph.D. students also joined us.

As Dr. T.K.Biswal said, “Field geology is such a subject that our knowledge about any outcrops or structures is augmented with more and more observations”. And “…it is necessary to understand the field because it provides the basic data in almost all geoscientific studies.” “The fieldwork at Ambaji has even sparked brilliant ideas put forward by students that led me to write interesting manuscripts”, said Dr. Soumyajit Mukherjee.

This year, the field trip to Ambaji was undertaken by the 14 first year students of geophysics, 30 first year students of geology and five of the Ph.D. and M.Tech. students in our department. We were guided by Profs. Tapas Kumar Biswal (TKB) and Somyajit Mukherjee (SM). Four cooks from IIT including Mr. Stefen constituted the support team. TKB has been studing this terrain for two decades or so. This was the 12th batch of IITB students he was instructing in the field. SM, on the other hand, is relatively a new entrant in this area as this was only his second visit. Over the years, the residents of Ambaji have become familiar with geologists from IIT Bombay! Being a tourist place, finding accommodation at Ambaji is very easy.

Since the students of geophysics come from a pure science (physics, chemistry & math) background, this excursion represents their very first fieldwork. They were therefore given special instructions by the teachers about what was to be carried. Students were instructed to wear sun-screen lotion, full-sleeve shirts, full pants, white hats, and sports (or ‘hunter’) shoes with strong grips. We had to drink only bottled water and had to remain careful about snakes!

On 1st December at 8 p.m., our Institute bus dropped us at the Bandra Terminus (train station) where we boarded the Aravali Express at 9 p.m. Chatting, singing and playing chess filled the next 13 hours. In no time it seemed, and much to our co-passengers’ pleasure, the train halted at Abu Road station on 2nd December at right time. We had about an hour travel in a fleet of jeeps to reach the ‘Rewari Dharmshala’ at Ambaji.

A beaming TKB, who had earlier driven to Ambaji with Stephen, greeted us and allotted our rooms. The boys shared the hall with the non-teaching staff. A corner of it was also reserved for cooking (a stove and utensils were brought from Mumbai).

On the first day, we were taken out for lunch as what our teachers called an ‘icebreaking session’. After a (heavy) meal and casual photography, we headed to the famous Ambaji temple. It was grand, made of white marble, with beautifully carved pillars and a sprawling courtyard. The previous batch of students recommended us an ice cream shop named ‘Apsara’ near the temple. We located that shop and earmarked it for future visits!

In the evening, SM made an ‘unusual’ start to fieldwork at a nearby outcrop of granite gneiss where he showed us for about an hour weak foliations and conjugate fractures. For dinner we had hot dal, vegetables, salad and rice. The meal was simple, delicious and homely.

Our field work was not restricted to Ambaji alone, but included many other places around it. Jeeps were hired to travel to all those locations. To cover an optimum area, we were scheduled to start from the dharmshala at 9.00 a.m everyday. To meet this requirement, we had to follow a strict itinerary each day. Those who woke up early made tea ready by 6.30 a.m. Breakfast was served by 8.00 a.m and lunch was packed while we were having breakfast before 9 a.m. We would do fieldwork until lunch time around 1 p.m. We would then resume work up to 3.30 p.m. Back at Dharamshala, we used to fill our cups with tea and sit around the courtyard, relax and chat. Some boys got a cricket bat and a ball. Using a bucket as wickets, they played cricket every day until it got too dark to see the ball! The spectators would seat themselves on the roof and cheer them on. Dinner was ready by 8.00 p.m. Each day we had to submit a resume of our field study to SM. So, until dinner was ready, we would sit in several groups and scribble our reports together. At dinner, we were given our own plates, spoons and glasses, which we had to maintain till the end of the stay. House work was indispensable!

Instructor Dr. Soumyajit Mukherjee explains a small scale structure

The first few basic things which we were taught in the field were measuring attitudes of planes and lines using clinometers and locating ourselves on the map. We measured the fracture planes in the granite gneiss, SM’s first outcrop, near our dharamshala and got them verified by the teachers. At places where folds were observed, we measured axes and axial planes of folds. Next, we learnt how to take back-bearings using a Brunton compass as well as a clinometer. The readings were more accurate from the Brunton, but it was harder to use. Thus, most bearings were taken using the clinometer. By the method of back-bearing, we then located ourselves on the toposheets. TKB pointed out a cuesta hill, which became an easy natural landmark to measure bearings from several locations. We were taught how to handle topo-sheets and how to read contours. From then on, at every new outcrop, we were first asked to locate ourselves on the topo-sheet.

The next area of focus was mineral identification and petrology. Ambaji and its surrounding towns were built on the Aravallis, one of the oldest mountain ranges of India. Rich with its prolonged tectonic history, both igneous and sedimentary rocks of the area enjoyed low-grade metamorphism. I was more interested in an outcrop of mica schist which had a high percentage of quartz. Shining muscovite could be easily recognized! Slickensides on sporadic fault planes led us to deduce their sense of slip Serpentine veins often parallels the slickensides. At places, tourmaline was also found in the mica schist.

Another common rock type in Ambaji was calc-schist. Weathered calc-schist is most easily recognized by its ‘ridge and furrow’ appearance. In this, small, light coloured “furrows” mark where the carbonate in rock has weathered away and the brownish ‘ridges’ consist of more resistant silica-rich layers.

Igneous rocks like basalts and granites were frequently encountered. We studied the Sendra Granite and the Erinpura Granite. Leucocratic granite is pales in colour because it contains a high percentage of quartz alongwith feldspar and dark spots of biotite. We identified individual minerals using hand lenses. These granites are characterized by spheroidal weathering. A number of caverns and crevices could be found in the granitic hills, many hidden behind thorny bushes, desert shrubs and cacti.

When we first examined these rocks, an instant competition started to test who could collect the best sample to take back to IITB! While boys could be seen trying to climb higher up to reach undisturbed samples, girls were seen (borrowing hammers) and breaking rocks themselves to extract an appropriate specimen. We had hung our hand lenses round our neck for convenience and we would study every rock we spotted to locate that finest one!

We also had the opportunity to study some rare rock outcrops such as pillow lava basalt, layered gabbros and anorthosites. Lensoid-shaped pillows could be spotted at many places in the spillites. They had distinct chilled margins where yellowish-green coloured epidotes developed. The outcrop contained sodium rich minerals like albite too. Layered (meta-) gabbro outcrops were rare. The anorthosite outcrops were magnificent. The grain size of plagioclase was over 2 cm.

Students fearlessly cross a river to search a litho-contact!

The hills of Ambaji are a storehouse that has been mined for minerals like Copper, zinc, lead and pyrite. We had the pleasure of visiting one such open-cast mine at Deri. The mine had been excavated extensively and is now exhausted. Until more advanced technology is developed to extract the scanty mineral deposits from the remaining rocks, the mine has to remain closed. The competition was on to collect the shiniest sample and the maximum number of samples of different types! There was purple sphalerite, black galena, and golden yellow pyrite (fool’s gold). The most difficult mineral to identify was chalcopyrite (a copper sulphide). While pyrite and chalcopyrite differed by just a shade, they shone deceptively like biotite in sun light.

Apart from mineral mining and other geologically significant structures, Ambaji is well known for its marbles. While Makrana is India’s best quality marble, Ambaji marble is not far behind. On the last day of our trip, TKB took us to visit a marble quarry. An entire mountainside seemed to have been excavated. At its base, gigantic slabs of marble were being cut, washed, polished and segregated from the unusable rock. The marble glistened pearly white and grey-green impurity minerals made natural patterns on the stone. Adjacent to the quarried limestone was an outcrop where green amphibolites had formed. Marble deposits are fast depleting in the world. The quarry we visited was estimated to be productive for another 50 years only.

When asked about why field trips were organized to Ambaji, SM said that the terrain is a “heaven for structural geologists”. It was true! Fractures, superposed folds and faults were visible in most of the outcrops. The type of these faults could be deduced from their attitude and that of their slickensides. We also classified folds based on the plunge of fold axes and the dip of the axial planes. Dolerite dykes were fairly common in some calc-silicate outcrops. These dykes were boudinaged. We calculated the aspect ratio of the boudins. Shear structures were studied in the Kengura Shear Zones. Here, granites were sheared to mylonites. Sitting over the unusual rock outcrop, our two teachers not only taught us the fundamentals of ductile shear structures, but also supplemented the theory with actual samples of proto-, normal- and ultra-mylonites. In these rocks, quartz grains became ribbons and feldspar clasts elongated by ductile shear. Together, they formed the C-fabrics. Faint S-fabrics could also be made out in many rocks. Stretching lineations were also faintly visible over some of the mylonite foliations in some samples. A thorough search also revealed winged porphyroclasts in the mylonites, which is rather uncommon. Observing these shear structures was very exciting. While searching for specimens and measuring the lineation to find the direction of shear, SM demonstrated how to take ‘oriented’ samples.

The study of geological structures at Ambaji is incomplete without a mention of Surpagla (a neighbouring village, named so because believers discovered there God’s footprints). It is a place to study ‘ideal’ structures found in textbooks. To reach these structures, we had to cross a rivulet. Caught in the spirit of adventure, we students folded our jeans, removed our shoes and splashed our way across. The first rock type we encountered was pelitic granulite, a well banded rock showing migmatitic features- stromatic structures, augens, folds and boudins. The paleosome layers (dark body) consist of mafic minerals such as biotites, garnets, sillimanites and green spinel. Pockets of granites were seen within the granulites. As we climbed and slipped over the steep, slippery terrain, we found calc-granulites displaying their characteristic ribbed appearance. We were taught to identify minerals like diopside and garnet. Pegmatite veins containing small percentages of tourmaline intruded parallel to the slaty cleavage in the country rocks. The veins showed boudins, which were also folded along with the parent rock. Biot’s Law of buckling and disharmonic folding were practically observed and verified. The time spent at Surpagla was the best geological moment in this fieldwork.

Speaking of adventure, another day that must be mentioned is when we visited Mount Abu. It was a day set aside to relax and experience non-geologic joys, though some field work was done there too! Our first destination was the Gabbar hill where we enjoyed a cable-car ride from the base of the hill to the peak where a temple dedicated to Goddess Ambaji stands. While floating in mid-air via rope-way, we got a mesmerizing aerial view of the region. Bare granitic hills with scanty shrubs that sprawled across the horizon were interspersed with sparse townships. These are the Erinpura Granites with an age of ~ 750 million years. Spheroidal weathering was the ubiquitous feature. Next we stopped at Guru Shikhar, the highest peak in Rajasthan. On this is built a small temple to commemorate guru Duttatreya-ji who is believed to have started the guru-shishya tradition, which is ingrained in the Indian culture.

We next visited the historically significant Dilwara temple. Made of beautiful white marble, this Jain temple is an architectural wonder. Each pillar and the ceiling are intricately carved with finest details. Each design is individual and unique. The temple houses statues made of marble and gold.

Towards that evening, we finally reached Mt. Abu. Some students went boating in the pretty Nakki Lake, which is surrounded by lush greenery and houses the Toad rock in its centre. Many devotional places have also been constructed around the lake. A few other students made a beeline for the local market. They roamed the market place in mixed groups, licking ice creams of odd flavours and clicking photographs. Many students bought warm caps and scarves or souvenirs to take back home. Tired from the travelling and wanting a place to sit together and chat, we hunted for a dhaba. The food joint where we eventually had tea boasted of having been the set of many Bollywood films! As sun-down approached, we hurried to secure comfortable spots at the sunset point. These are small platforms built high on the mountain, which offer a magnificent view of the sun while it rises and sets. And truely, the vision was breath-taking. The horizon was oddly divided into a layer of light clouds over layers of dark ones. The horizon was magnificently stratified into alternating layers of light and dark clouds. The sun seemed to be swallowed by the divide, glowing a dull yellow, then bright orange followed by a fiery red and finally sinking into blue-purple oblivion. Peace and calm descended on us as we watched the sinking ball of fire. Still wrapped in the golden glow of its memory, we finally made our way back to the vehicles. It was indeed a memorable day!

Towards the end of the field trip, students were divided into four groups. Each group was assigned a particular region on the toposheet to map. We had to first identify the various rocks constituting that region then map the litho-contacts as far as possible. All that we had learned so far in the field was put to a test. For three days, each group travelled to its assigned destination. In the process, two groups even encountered some hostile villagers who refused to allow the students to proceed further and even threatened to behead them on grounds of trespassing! Despite these minor impediments, the group work was fun. We studied rocks on our own, documented and photographed the geological structures that we encountered, measured attitudes and brought back significant samples.

Towards the end of the trip, we were taken once again to all the locations we had previously visited and worked in. Now that we were familiar with the structures and minerals present at each location, TKB summarized the tectonic events of the entire Delli basin of the Aravallis. The field work ended with the study of a unique outcrop of calc-granulite in which granite intrusion altered (or metamorphosed) the adjoining parent rock to ‘skarns’ (burning involves oxidation). High temperature minerals developed in scarns due to contact metamorphism. That particular outcrop contained one such mineral: wollastonite. It is commercially used as a refractory mineral since it can withstand scorching high temperatures. Since the mineral is very rare, we were instructed to take minimum number of samples to preserve the outcrop.

Academic satisfaction was not the only cause of joy on the trip. Some occasions for celebration fell within the fortnight spent in Ambaji. At the start of our trip itself, a student revealed she has been selected for employment in the Geological Survey of India. We didn’t rest till she agreed to take us out for dinner- though we deeply regretted our choice of restaurant when the food turned out to be inedible! Birthdays of three students, (including Chhavi Jain!) happened to fall during of the field trip. Ambaji being a very small town, great effort went into locating a confectionery shop. Cake was bought on all three occasions and mid-night parties were organized. With lit candles, balloons and colourful streamers, any room in the guesthouse was decorated and the birthday was celebrated there! The following day, everyone was treated at the ‘Apsara’ ice-cream parlour. On the last night of the trip, the students also organized a bonfire. We borrowed some firewood. Frequent addition of paper, cardboard and dried leaves kept it aflame for over an hour. We sang songs around it and played antakshari. A game of dumb charades was also enjoyed.

Even in a fortnight, the field trip taught us more than what we could ever learn from books. Besides geology, it taught us how to work as a team, adjust in a group and to find how to make the best out of even the worst situations. Our analytical skills and observational power were greatly enhanced. The difficult terrains we climbed, the knowledge we gained and the friends we made were the non-geological benefits.

Though the field trip was sufficient in every way, the department is planning some changes in future. To remain at par with current technology, the faculty wishes to include lithocontact mapping using GPS next year. Some also feel that the presence of a geomorphologist and a sedimentologist could improve the field education. A debate is still underway as to whether geology and geophysics students should continue to be taken into the field together or should they learn separately. The field experience would be more fruitful if the duration of work were stretched from a fortnight to a month.

Profs. T. K. Biswal & S. Mukherjee instructed geology to students in field, which was funded by IIT Bombay. SM annotated the text, which underwent some polishing by Chris Talbot (retired from Uppsala University). CT is thanked additionally for suggesting a more appropriate title.

We are privileged to receive Chris Talbot’s following two sets of comments on Chhabi Jain’s account:
"I enjoyed the fascinating account by Chhavi Jain of your field trip. Together you write very well. My suggestions aim to smooth it a little. I have taken the liberty of including Ms. Jain in the address. Let’s hope that she will look at real rocks when making her geophysical measurements.

Chhabi Jain is already a skilled writer, and I have been honoured to add a few suggestions that might improve the readability of a fascinating account. I would have liked to know the trip was 14 days long near the beginning. You inspired me to read about the Guru-Shishya tradition."
~Christopher Talbot (Olney, UK, 2011.02.02)

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Hello Everyone!
We are starting to get really excited about the 2012 YESCongress and are planning a lot of really great activities.
The YES program will run in the evening after the IGC sessions thus meaning that you wont miss anything! We strongly encourage all members to put in abstracts for a IGC session relevant to your area of research.
The GeoHost program is offering limited funding for this event so don't forget to get your applications in my 1st of November-PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR NATIONAL REPRESENTATIVE FIRST IN CASE THERE IS LOCAL FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR YOU.

It is also nearly time for the GSA fall meeting-don't forget to register to attend the YES sessions via the website!

Hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Colors on Geology: Culture Problem

Colors on Geologic Time Scale or on Geologic Maps form a problem to all geologists around the world, there are many standards  in color. I'll not speak about the history of colors or the culture behind the difference in colors, Geologic maps rely on color to symbolize the different ages of rocks. same area can be mapped in different colors, and you can use one or two reference to geologic time scale.USGS have standards and BGS have another standards, it's not the problem of 'Colors' and 'Colours'. When biologists made one DNA standards, they work on  the Human Genome Project to mapping the Human genome, the complete code of the human genome is one of the best science achievements. All Geologists need one standard for the geological time scale, or for Geologic Maps whatever it's source (origin) or it's culture. one standard is important for many scientific reasons.

Original post: Colors on Geology: Culture Problem

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 24th - Free AGU Webinar: Introduction to Negotiation Strategy and Tactics

I just wanted to bring to your attention this upcoming free webinar from the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Introduction to Negotiation Strategy and Tactics
Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Time: 1500h–1600h EDT (1900h–2000h UTC)

Registration link:

Did you know that the salary of your very first job after graduation determines your salaries for the rest of your life? Learn the basics of how to create a win-win situation and negotiate right from start to finish in the job decision process. Clarifying your needs and wants, and those of the other party are key. The negotiation skills you learn are valuable in that they can be applied to any situation in your professional (and even personal) life. For more information about this webinar, please visit:

Bloggers wanted!

Do you have a talent for writing? Would you like to share your perspectives about geoscience topics? Do you have a great fieldwork experience that you'd like to share? If so, consider contributing to the YES Network Blog! The blog posts should be about a geoscience topic and written in a style attractive to all readers.

For more information, or to submit your contribution, email

Friday, May 6, 2011

Student-to-Professional Continuum Survey

Please take a few moments to share your thoughts about what methods you think are best for attracting students to geoscience university programs, retaining students through their academic careers and also helping them transition into geoscience careers. The survey is posted on the YES Network website at:

Please share your thoughts in the survey, and pass this information along to your colleagues!

Friday, April 29, 2011

GeoCareer in Egypt

After a year and half of job hunting for a geologist position, I feel like I'm searching for water on Mars. It's hard to find suitable position match your qualifications. I know it has become global issues for geology career, but I don't want to lose my faith. Government oil/mining companies already have corrupted hiring system. In general, they ask you for your grade (GPA), they hire only the perfect student, but How can they judge the low grade fresh graduates? the national universities has given you this grade/score, because they are using bad/old education system not applicable in the industry. Some universities adding general subjects or Islamic subjects/syllabi that doesn't related to geoscience and that's may affect on your (GPA). I hope one day we end any corrupted system to provide fair jobs for everyone or change the minds of who in charge. On the other hand foreign companies and investors always want experienced geologist, but most of Egyptian geologist are fresh graduate. I surprised! when I realized the employment gap between foreign companies and the government, there's no connection.

Cross-posted on GeoSelim here

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Raffle for AGI's Most Popular Publications!

Come share your thoughts about connecting geoscience graduate and employer needs at the YES Network-APECS town hall meeting today (7pm, Room 5), and you could win one of AGI's most popular publications: the Glossary of Geology or the Geoscience Handbook. To enter the drawing for the raffle, sign up on the YES Network sheet at the town hall meeting. The lucky winners will be drawn tonight and will be notified by email tomorrow. Prizes can be picked up at the AGI exhibit booth (59) at 3pm on Thursday. Thank you to the American Geological Institute for providing these prizes!

And the winners are...
... Todd Albert - Glossary of Geology
... Matheswaran Karthikeyan - Geoscience Handbook

Congratulations to both!

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 5th is YES Network day at EGU 2011!

What a whirlwind of a day at EGU! No kidding about the whirlwind either. There were high winds and rain showers that rolled in as I headed out to the conference center this afternoon. As soon as everyone got off the train, the winds unleashed and rain came down in horizontal sheets. Then as fast as it came, it was gone. The day seemed to whirl right by just as fast.

Prof. Aberra Mogessie, who served on the Scientific Committee for the YES Africa Symposium and presented at the Opening Ceremony stopped by to chat with AGI and YES Network members at the AGI booth (#59).

I also saw a couple of great posters about developing networks of geoscientists committed to working on natural hazard issues, and to providing the data sets as open access. That reminded me of the virtual roundtable discussions at the YES Africa Symposium this January. Here are some links to the abstracts, so those of you who are already collaborating on these type of projects can expand your network with some more people who are interested in the same topic. Here's the link to the abstracts at the poster session this afternoon entitled: Global capacity building efforts in Seismology.

That leads us into tomorrow which is the main YES Network day at EGU 2011. We kick off the day with lunch at noon. We're all going to meet at the booth #59 and go out to eat lunch. If the weather is nice, we'll head over to the park right behind the conference center. Then there is the poster session at 5:30-7pm in Hall XL followed by the YES Network-APECS town hall session "Career development: How do we integrate geoscience graduate and employer needs?" at 7pm in Room 5.

I just checked the stats, and we have over 60 web-based participants registered for the YES Network-APECS townhall tomorrow, and a large majority are YES Network members! We're really looking forward to having you all join us for the discussion. Please keep spreading the word about the town hall. We are very much looking forward to making this a super-interactive session by bringing together our web-participants and in-person audience. So the more people we have online and in the room, the better!

After the town hall is over, we'll be headed out to Cafe Einstein for the YES Network-APECS networking social. Thank you again to AGU and SCAR for sponsoring this event. We'll see you all tomorrow either in the virtual world at the townhall, or in person here at EGU.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Join us at EGU 2011!

In case you haven't seen our busy YES Network schedule yet, it's posted at

We've got a lot of activities planned from two technical sessions that YES Network members are co-convening (one on sedimentology and stratigraphy and another on global geoscience capacity building), a town hall session on career development issues pertaining to connecting employer and geoscience graduate needs, and several social outings. Check the YES Network website for the latest updates to our schedule.

This year we actually have booth space at EGU, and a special thanks to the American Geological Institute for providing us with the space. Stop on by Exhibit booth #59 to chat with other YES Network members, pick up a copy of our newsletter or flyer, and a YES Network sticker for your EGU name badge.

If you are coming to EGU this year, please email Jo (networkyes.president[at] - Subject line: Attending EGU 2011) so we can keep in touch with you during the meeting. Also, if you want us to post your presentation on our schedule of events, email Leila (lmg[at]

We hope to see you in Vienna!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Submit your National Chapter News to the YES Network Newsletter!

National Representatives! Share what's going on in your YES National Chapter with the rest of the YES Network membership. Send your news, information about upcoming events, or solitications for help with YES Network activities in your country to the YES Network Newsletter publication team (lmg[at] We look forward to hearing from you!

Shauna, Tiffany, and Leila
YES Network Newsletter Publication Team

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Join the YES Africa 2011 Online Chat about Resources for Early-Career Geoscientists

12 Jan 2011: Do you have ideas on how the YES Network can help develop tools to help early career geoscientists (YOU!) in their careers? Join us NOW on our skype chat - add YESNetworkRT2 to your skype contacts. We'll be discussing this until 16:00 GMT today. See you online!

Monday, January 10, 2011


Happy New Year from Johannesburg, South Africa where we've just started the Colloquium of African Geology! Even though this is the 23rd CAG, this is only the 5th hosted in Africa and the first in South Africa. The CAG is the biennial meeting of the Geological Society of Africa. This year there are some 500 participants from 56 countries. South Africa is excited to kick off a decade of earth science including the IGC in 2016.

At the opening ceremony which was held at the University of Johannesburg's newly renovated Soweto Campus, we heard an excellent welcoming address from the South African Minister of Science and Technology, Ms. Naledi Pandor. She spoke at length about the different kinds of geological wealth in South Africa, including the Cradle of Humanity World Heritage Site, and asked the good question ' With all this wealth, why aren't we wealthy?' She talked about the need for geoscience to become a 'strategic science' for development both through supporting 'innovation and knowledge generation' and by making it a science for the public. It was an inspirational talk and a challenge for all young geoscientists to rise to a more dynamic and socially relevant future.

I attended a number of fascinating talks today during the scientific sessions on paleontology, anthropology and paleoclimatology in Africa - and the connections between all three from isotopes to bones to agricultural practice to landscape evolution! These presentations were part of a tribute to Prodessor P.V. Tobias who gave a closing plenary talk on the history of his career as an anthropologist working on human evolution, which managed to turn into a challenge for interdisciplinary curiousity-driven future research.

Fingers crossed we've worked out the bugs for the virtual components of the YES Africa Symposium tomorrow (the Minister and the President of the Geological Society of Africa both complimented us on this effort). Looking forward to meeting all virtual speakers and participants - as well as those in the room!