Wednesday, November 28, 2012

AGU Fall Meeting 2012 Virtual Meeting offerings

AGU has expanded and improved our 2012 Fall Meeting virtual meeting offerings by adding a free, live streaming option for several key sessions and lectures. For more information on the schedule of events that will be live streamed, visit

To receive notifications on the virtual meeting program schedule, including reminders about start times for live streaming events, text AGUVirtual to 69302. (Please note that standard text messaging rates apply.) These events are free and open to non-Fall Meeting attendees – please share this information with anyone you feel may be interested.

Live Streaming Schedule*

Event: AGU Presidential Forum
Speaker: Ira Flatow, NPR Science Correspondent
Date & Time: Monday, 3 December: 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. PST

Event: DEEPSEA CHALLENGE: New Science and Technology at Extreme Depths
Speakers: Panel Discussion, including James Cameron, National Geographic Explorer-In-Residence; Douglas Bartlett, Microbiologist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Patricia Fryer, Geologist, University of Hawaii;  and Kevin Hand, Astrobiologist, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Date & Time: Tuesday, 4 December: 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. PST

Event: AGU Union Frontiers of Geophysics Lecture
Speaker: Professor Sir Bob Watson, CMG, FRS and Chief Scientific Adviser to Defra
Date & Time: Wednesday, 5 December: 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. PST

Event: AGU Union Agency Lecture
Speaker: Dr. Subra Suresh, Director of the National Science Foundation
Date & Time: Thursday, 6 December: 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. PST

Event: Communicating Geohazard Risk Assessments:  Lessons Learned From the Verdicts in the L’Aquila Earthquake Case
Speakers: Panel Discussion
Date & Time: Thursday, 6 December: 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. PST

*These sessions will also be available through the Video On-Demand program within 48-hours after the live presentations. All scheduled times are listed for Pacific Standard Time.

The 5 Magic Parameters for Oil Accumulation: Nigeria’s Chad Basin Experience

I offer this as a follow-up piece to my article titled “Oil in Nigeria’s Chad Basin: A Deepening Dilemma” which was originally written for the July 2012 newsletter of the Young Earth Scientists (YES) Network of the Geological Society of Africa. Although the article in question was initially meant to be published only for the benefit of fellow YES Members, who by default, subscribe to the YES Network newsletter, I would later feel the need to spread out its readership by publishing the same piece in both print and online national dailies in Nigeria.
As it was, the ensuing wider reach of the article would generate some little responses from everyday journal readers. I therefore received with delight, responses from professionals that vary from academics in the earth sciences to industry-based professionals, and to professionals-turned-politicians. Each of them has sought to know more on the so-called five magic parameters for oil accumulation in the Chad Basin area of Nigeria. Here it goes:

Source rock: The Gongila formation or Fika Shale can serve as a potential source rock for petroleum accumulation in the Chad Basin based on its Total Organic Carbon (TOC). The TOC of the Gongila Formation which is rated at 1.2wt percent, and that of the Fika Shale is rated at 0.9wt percent.

Reservoir rock: Some geologists are wont to believe that following its stratigraphic position and its lithology, not only the Gombe Sandstone can be a reservoir rock; the Kerri-Kerri Formation can be a suitable reservoir rock too.

Geothermal temperature: The depth of burial of the source rock can be said to be as deep as 300 meters, a reasonable depth at which the requirement to convert organic matter into petroleum is plausible (60 to 120 degrees centigrade). The temperature gradient of the Chad Basin is said to be increasing by a degree centigrade per a hundred meters with a surface temperature average of 35 degrees centigrade. It is believed that the source rock of this basin falls somewhere between 65 to 70 degrees centigrade as per geothermal temperature.

Migration pathway: Based on the preceding parameters (above), it is believed that hydrocarbon have been generated in the Chad Basin area of Nigeria. The Chad Basin is believed to have experienced a series of tectonic activities that resulted into series of faults probably during the Jurassic as a result of the splitting of Gondwanaland. These are favorable conditions that can serve as suitable migration pathways for accumulated hydrocarbon.

Trap: Hydrocarbon traps in the Chad Basin can be as a result of both Santonian folding or Jurassic rifting that has resulted into faults.

Conclusion: It is reported by Klemme (1986) that 35 percent of rifted basins are productive. While Kingston et. al (1983) reported that 49 percent of poly-historic basins are productive worldwide. The Chad Basin qualifies as both rifted and poly-historic. It is therefore possible that based on the above evidences, hydrocarbon might have occurred in the Chad Basin area of Nigeria. Although it must be noted that there is a bit of a controversial subject associated with the basin’s productivity—the presence of some volcanic intrusions; is a notable factor which might degrade the organic matter. But by and large, there is the need for further research, to help evaluate in detail, the hydrocarbon potentials of the Chad Basin area of Nigeria.

Corrigendum: I mistakenly wrote in my previous piece, “Oil in Nigeria’s Chad Basin: A Deepening Dilemma” (page 8 of the July 2012 YES Network Newsletter) that geothermal temperature of between 120-150 degrees centigrade supports oil formation. To put it correctly, the oil formation window falls between 60 to 120 degrees centigrade. The implication of this is palpable to a beginning student of petroleum geology. The error is therefore regretted.

By Mohammed Dahiru Aminu

Mohammed Dahiru Aminu, wrote from London, United Kingdom. He can be reached at

Monday, November 19, 2012

Session NH9.8 -Geoethics and natural hazards: the role and responsibility of the geoscientists (CALL FOR ABSTRACTS)

EGU 2013 - General Assembly (Vienna, 7-12 April 2013 ) 

Convener: Silvia Peppoloni - Co-Conveners: Susan W. Kieffer, Janusz Wasowski, Ezzoura Errami, Elizabeth Silva, Meng Wang 

Session description: 
Mankind is both an active part within Nature, as a factor which conditions Nature itself, and a passive element towards Nature, since it is exposed and forced to coexist with natural phenomena. This involves a risk for human life, for productive activities and artistic and historical heritage. So it has become more and more urgent to follow a respectful and pragmatic behavior towards the Geosphere. Geoethics, born as a meeting point of Geology, Sociology and Philosophy, deals with theoretical and practical aspects of decisions concerning the risk management and mitigation of geohazards, the use of geo-resources and solutions to geo-environmental problems. So it could turn out to be an effective tool for influencing the awareness of society about these problems all over the world, combining ethical and cultural values with technical and economic considerations.
The socio-cultural role played by geoscientists is essential. Geoscientists can promote a culture, sensitive to the environment, correct information on natural risks, a more constructive relationship amongst the scientific community, mass media, civil society and policy-makers. The commitment of Geoscientists in communication and education at different levels can contribute to replace the "culture of emergency" with the more effective "culture of prevention". Geoscientists has scientific and technical knowledge and this implies their responsibility to act in an ethical way, turning this knowledge into ethical action, by taking into account the common good and the public use.
The Conveners invite abstracts from Authors on the above and related ethical issues, dealing with their views and experiences: in studying and managing natural hazards, as well as in designing and implementing risk reduction, in suggesting models, methods and ideas to influence the decision-makers in risk reduction programs, in transferring information about risks to the Society, in teaching especially young people correct behaviors toward the Geosphere. 

Submit an abstract: 

Deadline: 09 January 2013

Friday, November 9, 2012

Harriet Evelyn Wallace Scholarship 2013-2014

The American Geosciences Institute is accepting applications for the new Harriet Evelyn Wallace Scholarship for the 2013-2014 academic year. Applications are open to all women pursuing a Master’s or Doctoral degree in the geosciences. The successful applicant will be a thesis-based, full time student and must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The Harriet Evelyn Wallace Scholarship is solely merit-based and applicants will be evaluated on their probability of successfully completing a geoscience graduate program and transitioning into the geoscience profession following graduation.

Applicants may either be entering graduate school or already enrolled in a graduate program in the geosciences. The successful applicant will be awarded $5,000 for her first scholarship year. She will be eligible for a second year scholarship of $5,000 upon successful completion of her first year. Renewals are contingent upon request by the Harriet Evelyn Wallace Scholar and by meeting the appropriate continuation qualifications.

Applicants must submit GRE scores, all post-secondary academic transcripts, graduate academic transcripts (if applicable), CV or Resume and submit a 500-word abstract about their research interests. If the applicant is intending on pursuing graduate school, she will need to send proof of acceptance in the program before the award is funded. The successful applicant will have an undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or higher and a graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. In addition, all applicants must be active members of at least one of AGI’s professional member societies. For a full list, please visit:

Interested in applying? Please visit:

Application deadline is January 4th, 2013. The successful applicant for the 2013-2014 Harriet Evelyn Wallace Scholarship will be informed on February 8th and must formally accept the award by February 11th, 2013.

If there are any questions regarding the Harriet Evelyn Wallace Scholarship or application procedures, please submit inquires to the scholarship coordinator Heather Houlton at

EGU 2013 Session CL 1.4 Climate Response to Orbital Forcing

Dear colleagues,

With the deadline for financial support applications for the EGU General Assembly fast approaching (30 November 2012) we are pleased to announce that abstract submission is now open for the following session of the EGU General Assembly in 2013 (07-12 April 2013). 

CL 1.4 Climate response to orbital forcing
Convenors: Erin McClymont, Alan Haywood and Aisling Dolan
To include an invited presentation by Michel Crucifix (Universite catholique de Louvain) “Global sensitivity analysis: a systematic approach to estimate regional effects of the astronomical forcing”

The session outline is provided below. The final abstract deadline is 09 January 2013, but where financial support is sought this deadline is 30 November 2012.

The pacing of the global climate system by orbital variations is clearly demonstrated in the timing of glacial-interglacial cycles, but the mechanisms that translate this forcing into regional and global climate changes continue to be debated. We invite submissions that explore the climate system response to orbital forcing, that seek to support or refute the traditional Milankovitch view of a northern hemisphere ice-sheet control, and that test the stability of these relationships under different climate regimes or across evolving climate states (e.g. mid Pleistocene transition, Pliocene-Pleistocene transition, Miocene vs Pliocene). Submissions exploring proxy data and/or modelling work are welcomed.

This session has two partner sessions: "Modelling paleoclimates from the Cretaceous to the Holocene: learning from numerical experiments and model-data comparisons (organised by D. Lunt et al.) and "Paleo models and data - lessons for the future" (organised by J. Hargreaves et al).