2013 Western Inter-University Geoscience Conference (WIUGC)

WIUGC 2013

The CSEG Foundation recently sponsored the 2013 Western Inter-University Geoscience Conference (WIUGC) which was hosted by the University of British Columbia’s G.M. Dawson Club in Vancouver from January 3rd – 5th. Two CSEG representatives, Mike Smorodin of Apoterra Seismic Processing Ltd. and Aaron Foyer of Talisman Energy, attended the conference to educate students about geophysics and to promote student membership within the CSEG.

The conference had four main components: field trips, industry speakers, student presentations and social events. Aaron Foyer was one of the industry speakers and gave a very memorable talk titled “Seismic Techniques in the Oil and Gas Industry”. Along with explaining the basics of reflection seismology, Aaron showed some great visuals of paleo-channels mapped using seismic data and also touched on more general industry points like land sales and mineral rights. Many students went out of their way to thank Aaron for helping them understand better seismic theory and its practical applications. In the student presentations there were many great talks covering much of the geoscience spectrum, including oil and gas, mining, environmental and even outer space. Johan Gilchrist of the UBC was given the CSEG's award for Best Geophysical Presentation for his talk titled “Origins of the Solar System: OSIRIS-REX and Paleomagnetism”. Congratulations Johan and good luck to next year’s student presenters.

The 2013 WIUGC had approximately 90 attendees, 9 of whom were from the University of Calgary’s Geophysics Undergraduate Students Society (GUSS), and 8 of those were geophysics students. This exceptional showing from the U of C granted them and Mount Royal University’s Joli Fou Geology club the honours to host the 2014 WIUGC, which will be the 50th anniversary of the conference. It is going to be a great event so if you have the chance to attend as a student, give a talk as a professional, or sponsor as a company, I would seize the opportunity. Please do not hesitate to email me at mikes@apoterra.com if you have any questions or would like to get in touch with the organizing committee.

Mike Smorodin, Geoph.I.T.
Apoterra Seismic Processing Ltd.

Geophysics Undergraduates Students’ Society of University of Calgary at WIUGC

Eight members of GUSS at the University of Calgary had the opportunity to attend the WIUGC in Vancouver, BC. This was the 49th annual event and it was well organized and attended. The “Rock Breaker” ice breaker was full of energy and excitement as we met student from many of the other Western Canadian Universities.

The field trip the next day involved a tour of the old Britannia copper mine that was in operation from the early 1900’s until closing in 1974. We walked through the mine, learned about its history and how science and technology had increased and changed the methods of recovering the metals from the host rock. During the operation of the mine, understanding and concern for environmental impact was minimal and very few measures were taken to ensure viability of life in the natural environment. The EPCOR Britannia mine water treatment plant was installed to handle the extensive acid rain drainage that was occurring in the area due to mining operations. This plant described many of the processes that have taken place for remediation of the Howe Sound/Britannia Mine area to take it from one of the worst environmental impacts to one of the great success stories.

On the last day there were many talks given on a variety of intriguing subjects, such as methods in mineral exploration. To students of a University and city so closely tied to the Oil and Gas industry, having the opportunity to hear and learn many aspects on the hard rock side of the discipline was captivating. One talk given by an undergraduate geophysics student working on a project called OSIRIS-RX was extremely fascinating. The speaker, Johan Gilchrist, described his work and research of sending a satellite probe to land on an asteroid and to take a sample and study it, in order to help our understanding its origin in the solar system and to give greater information about the solar system itself.

We are grateful and indebted to the CSEG and PennWest for helping us with this opportunity to travel to the WIUGC and broaden our understanding of geology and geophysics. We would also like to thank those who sponsor the CSEG Foundation, which in turn has allowed us to attend the conference and assist us in learning more about our geoscience discipline.

Dennis Ellison

Mike Smorodin (left), award winner Johan Gilchrist (centre) and Aaron Foyer (right) at the WIUGC.
Figure 1. Mike Smorodin (left), award winner Johan Gilchrist (centre) and Aaron Foyer (right) at the WIUGC.
U of C GUSS students receive the mantle for the WIUGC 2014 in Calgary.
Figure 2. U of C GUSS students receive the mantle for the WIUGC 2014 in Calgary. (l to r) Micaela MacDonald, Aaron Foyer (CSEG), Adrienne McDougall, Mike Smorodin (CSEG), Matthew Lennon, Dennis Ellison, Jordan Domin, Victor Hoang and Matthew Torriero. Missing: Hussein Hassanali.
U of Regina Geology students in Vancouver for the WIUGC.
Figure 3. U of Regina Geology students in Vancouver for the WIUGC. Back row (l to r) Brea Palmer, Jonathan Berthiaume, Samantha Van de Kerckhove, Dustin Ormiston and Clarke Plews. Middle row (l to r) Corbin Stewart, Mark Matthews, Nathan Wielgoz and Brendin Sand. Front row (l to r) Ashlee Latimer, Christina Kelly, Tara Fuchs, Scott MacKnight and Scott Lee.

University of Regina Geology Students at WIUGC

Fourteen students majoring in Geology from the University of Regina had the opportunity to attend the WIUGC. The fourteen students from the U of R are members of the D.M. Kent Club of Geology and represented the university, as well as Saskatchewan, at the geological conference. Last year, students from the same club successfully hosted the event and this year they wanted to show support in return to this year’s hosting committee. The attendees were Ashlee Latimer, Mark Matthews, Clarke Plews, Tara Fuchs, Scott MacKnight, Samantha Van de Kerckhove, Corbin Stewart, Scott Lee, Brendin Sand, Christina Kelly, Nathan Wielgoz, Dustin Ormiston, Brea Palmer and Jonathan Berthiaume.

The conference started off with a bang which involved an interactive game of dodge ball, followed by a geology-themed “Rockbreaker”. The following day consisted of half the students participating in a field trip to the Britannia Mine, where they had a tour through the no longer active mine as well as the water treatment plant that is established there now. Meanwhile, other students were busy in a gold panning and ore deposits workshop where their academic skills were truly tested. A career fair followed in the afternoon where students met employers from across Western Canada, including CSEG representatives, one of whom gave an intriguing presentation on geophysics later that night. The next day continued with undergraduate and graduate research talks, as well as a few more industry talks, where students could be informed of the newest research and discoveries. The formal banquet was held that night when everyone attending the conference was able to discuss a weekend full of learning from and interaction with fellow students and industry professionals.

On behalf of the University of Regina Geology students who had the opportunity to attend WIUGC, I would like to thank you, the CSEG Foundation, for your support as it made this outstanding event possible. It is greatly appreciated—thank you!

Ashlee Latimer,
President of the D.M. Kent Club



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