The people, science and technology behind discovery

Subscribe to the Magazine

Get new articles sent directly to
your mailbox.

Join the network

Twitter Updates Group Forum

Earth Explorer is an online source of news, expertise and applied knowledge for resource explorers and earth scientists. Sponsored by Geosoft.

News & Views

News Archive

December 7, 2016

Geosoft introduces IP and resistivity inversion in VOXI Earth Modelling

Geosoft has added induced polarization and resistivity data inversion to its VOXI Earth Modelling 3D inversion software service. Geoscientists are now able to create detailed 3D models of conductivity and chargeability from IP and resistivity survey data with VOXI. The resulting models can assist in interpreting and targeting regions for mineral and environmental applications...

December 5, 2016

Mexico's Deepwater Round Exceeds Expectations

Some of the world's biggest oil companies showed up Dec. 5 and agreed to invest on the Mexican side of the Gulf of Mexico, proving that deepwater exploration still has a pulse despite challenging market conditions...

November 30, 2016

Magnetic inversion results for Ngamiland available for download

A regional-scale geophysical inversion of magnetic field data in the Ngamiland region of northwestern Botswana is now available for download from the Botswana Geoscience Portal, a partnership initiative of the Botswana Geoscience Institute, industry sponsors and Geosoft...

November 30, 2016

LIGO Resumes Search for Gravitational Waves

After a series of upgrades, the twin detectors of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, have turned back on and resumed their search for ripples in the fabric of space and time known as gravitational waves. LIGO transitioned from their engineering test runs to full science observations at 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on November 30...

November 9, 2016

International Volcano Scientists Unite

For the first time, the United States will host the international Volcano Observatory Best Practices workshop, previously held only in Italy. The workshop will take place this month in Vancouver, Washington. It is designed specifically for volcano observatories around the world and their staff to exchange ideas and best practices with each other...

October 4, 2016

USGS Assesses Mineral Potential for Sagebrush Habitats in Six Western States

USGS has completed a comprehensive assessment and inventory of potential mineral resources covering approximately 10 million acres of Federal and adjacent lands in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming...

October 3, 2016

Uganda Targets Up to U.S.$100 Million for Mineral Exploration

Uganda is well endowed with mineral resources and, like many naturally-gifted African countries, is becoming keen on ensuring that these resources play a transformative role in its long-term structural transformation dream - the Vision 2040...

September 9, 2016

Small-Scale Fishers Get A Big Boost With First-Of-Its Kind Impact Investment Fund

Conservation organization Rare announces the Meloy Fund for Small-Scale Fisheries at Our Ocean Conference. The Global Environment Facility, one of the largest funders of conservation worldwide, will be investing $6 million into the fund...

September 1, 2016

Scientists take to the skies to track West African pollution

Scientists operating research aircraft over West Africa have detected organic materials in the atmosphere over a number of urban areas, contributing to concerns of the rise in pollution across the region...

August 17, 2016

New IGS Xplore prospectivity maps for Botswana

International Geoscience Services have released a series of base metal prospectivity maps for the Ngamiland District of northwestern Botswana using free geodata available on the recently-launched Botswana Geoscience Portal, hosted by Geosoft. The maps identify favorable areas for copper, zinc and lead mineralization using geological, geochemical and geophysical datasets downloaded directly from the portal.

August 11, 2016

NexGen Makes New High Grade Discovery

NexGen Energy reported the discovery of a new high grade zone of mineralization 4.7 km northeast of the Arrow Deposit as part of an on-going summer drilling program on its 100% owned, Rook I property, Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan...

August 10, 2016

Rampion UXO Disposal to Take Place This Week

E.ON has confirmed that the two unexploded devices, detected along the Rampion offshore cable route will be safely disposed this week following the consultation with the Marine Management Organisation...

August 9, 2016

Diamonds In The Rough: E&Ps Find New Reserves In Mature Basins

The oil industry’s history demonstrates clearly that new plays and prospects have long been found in mature basins that were thought to be well on the way to being squeezed dry. Through the acquisition of new data, developing new concepts and coming up with fresh interpretations, long-producing basins around the world from the North Sea to Malaysia have continued to reveal new riches...

August 8, 2016

Northern Shield Identifies High Quality VTEM Targets at Séquoi

Northern Shield Resources announced the results of the interpretation and modelling of the VTEM survey from the Séquoi Property in the Labrador Trough of Quebec . Séquoi is owned 100% by Northern Shield and is being explored for Noril'sk style Ni-Cu-PGE massive sulphides. After geophysical modelling and interpretation of the VTEM data from Séquoi, six VTEM anomalies of significant interest have been identified...

August 3, 2016

Rio Tinto tailors big data drive to copper

Rio Tinto will put the weight of an exploration big data push and its newly-formed Growth and Innovation group behind its desire to identify a "tier 1" copper asset. Speaking at the annual Diggers & Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, Growth and Innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh said Australia was "overdue for a tier 1" mineral discovery of any type...

August 1, 2016

Tetra Tech Awarded $200 Million Navy CLEAN Contract

Tetra Tech announced that it has been awarded a $200 million, single-award contract by Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic. Through the Comprehensive Long-term Environmental Action Navy (CLEAN) contract, Tetra Tech will provide environmental engineering support services to installations within the NAVFAC Atlantic Area of Responsibility...

May 3, 2016

NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS), MODUM Partners announce "Young Scientist Summer School on Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons"

This international project cooperates closely with CHEMSEA (Search and Assessment of Chemical Weapons) Project for and sharing and knowledge transfer...

April 12, 2016

Monday mad rush for gold stocks

Renewed optimism about the outlook for gold saw investors pile back into gold stocks, pushing many stock to 52-week highs in heavy volumes...

April 11, 2016

Medgold Resources: Continues to Expand the Boticas Gold Project, Portugal; Proposes $200,000 Private Placement

Medgold Resources is pleased to announce new assay results from contiguous rock-chip sampling from the Limarinho South zone at its Boticas gold project in Portugal, which include a highlight of 6.0m @ 5.7 g/t Au...

April 8, 2016

De-carbonizing our energy sector

Nuclear energy currently provides around 11 percent of the world's electricity. China, the European Union, the United States, India, Russia, South Korea, and other nations’ have major existing fleets...

April 1, 2016

Follow-Up Drilling Results Indicate Wide Gold Zones at Hendricks Gold Discovery

Gascoyne Resources Limited announced that it has received the final assay results from the 10,000 metre aircore exploration drilling programme...

March 26, 2016

The Oil Market Is Finally Hitting Its Breaking Point

After a significant reduction in investments over the past two years, oil companies can no longer overcome the production declines from legacy wells...

March 15, 2016

N-Sea Expands into the French Offshore Wind Industry

Subsea IMR provider, N-Sea, has signed a letter of intent with CERES Recherches & Expertise Sous-Marine and TechSub Industrie Environement, to provide subsea survey, installation and remediation services to the French offshore wind industry...

March 9, 2016

PDAC 2016 Convention Exceeds 22,000 Attendees

Optimism and opportunity abounded at the PDAC 2016 Convention of The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada in spite of recent industry challenges...

March 3, 2016

6 Alpha Launches EOD Contracting Division

6 Alpha Associates, a specialist risk consultancy practice, with expertise in the assessment and management of unexploded ordnance, has launched a dedicated explosive ordnance disposal division...

African Geology meetings in London, Houston – and Africa

by Colin Reeves on March 24, 2014 News&Views

Geophysicists in elephant country – a game drive during SAGA 2013.

Over the past twelve years, the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain and the Houston Geological Society have jointly established the premier global meeting devoted to Africa’s petroleum geology. The meeting has alternated between London and Houston every September and in 2013 it was London’s turn. Having outgrown its earlier central venue in Westminster, the conference centre at the famous Wembley Stadium hosted the 12th event with about 500 delegates attending talks in a single-session format totaling 26 talks over two full days. There were posters, trade displays and refreshments between and after session hours. The theme this year was ‘Success in Rift, Sag and Passive Margin Settings’. The presentations included many up-to-date reports on findings and exploration strategies mostly on the west coast (Day 1) and the East African Rift and coastline (Day 2), indicating very active and evolving exploration portfolios in both regions that find little exposure in the scientific literature. For anyone with an interest in finding oil in Africa, the13th meeting, in Houston, September 2014, is a must.

Later in September your correspondent was in Houston for the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) annual convention. With over 10,000 delegates, this is a large meeting by any yardstick, requiring the scale of the George R. Brown Convention Centre to accommodate it. It had been more than 30 years since I last attended the SEG and the shear immensity of it was almost intimidating. The hardware and software of seismic exploration and drilling demands a major industry to support it, of course, but look carefully and you can also find exponents of other geophysical methods to talk to. In comparison with the London meeting, this whole event was much more about ‘selling surveys’ than ‘finding oil’ and all the geological insight that goes with it. While more than half of the SEG membership is now based outside the US, an all-American spirit still predominates. And ‘spare no expense’ seems to be a louder message than anything to do with representing us as a professional group, conscious of our global environmental footprint, both in what we do day-to-day and the resources we find for the consumers of the world to turn into yet more CO2.

I was there primarily at the invitation of the Gravity and Magnetics Committee who had asked me to address their annual luncheon. My talk attempted, in a light-hearted way, to address the need for geological insight in potential field interpretation since potential fields are essentially non-unique, despite their immense value at the reconnaissance stage of geological mapping and exploration. The exploration highlight of the meeting for me was a workshop on ‘Exploration of Continental Rifts: from Regional to Prospect Level’, on an afternoon after the main sessions were over and the vast exhibition cleared away. A group of about 50 of us were treated to nine half-hour talks by speakers concerned mostly with petroleum exploration projects within rifts in Africa. This is certainly a hot topic where the scarcity of base-line geoscience information gathered over the past 50 years in Africa means a lot of surprises lie in store.

The last of this trilogy of African meetings took me to Africa itself where the South African Geophysical Association (SAGA) held its 13th Biennial Conference, followed immediately by AEM-2013 (The Sixth International Conference on Airborne EM -which I skipped), at the start of October. The venue was the new conference centre at the Skukuza Camp of the Kruger National Park. The ‘park’ itself, it should be mentioned, has the dimensions of many small countries of the world! In terms of sound organisation, attention to detail and a general feeling of everybody being very welcome – including for game drives and social events in the evenings – this was a delight for the 300-odd delegate who wisely made the effort to attend. The organizers had made a special effort – and solicited donations – to make it possible for delegates from other African countries to join in. While over 20 countries were represented in total, it was sad to see that the national geological surveys from African countries no more than a stone’s throw away in African terms were unrepresented. It was, of course, special for me to meet again with South African colleagues I had worked with 40 years ago during my professional time doing geophysical mapping in the Kalahari. Scientific curiosity in the hidden geology of Africa, kindled then, has accompanied me through a whole career and I continue to do my best to share the insights that still occur to me through talks at such meetings as these and through my website.

In an earlier piece for Earth Explorer I signaled the next meeting of the Geological Society of Africa to be in Brazil in September 2014. There has subsequently been a change of plan and the meeting will now, instead, be held in Tanzania in August at the 25th Colloquium of African Geology (CAG25). Another good diary entry for African geology in 2014 is the next ‘Gondwana’ meeting – number 15 in a four-yearly cycle – that will take place in Madrid in July. Efforts to update the popular (and long out-of-print) 1988 AAPG Geological Map of Gondwana and make its contents web-accessible have been formalized in Unesco-IGCP Project 628. The protagonists of this worthy project should certainly be in evidence in Madrid and looking for your input!