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Independent companies, both large and small, are widely acknowledged for spearheading the shale play phenomenon. “Nimble” usually is the operative word here.


Imagine it’s early in the morning and you’re collecting water from the kitchen faucet to start a cup of joe. Suddenly, the water ignites. Scary, huh? Such far-out stories and more continue to circulate as foes of the myriad shale plays ratchet up their attempts to curtail drilling and, perhaps above all, hydraulic fracturing.


I would like to suggest that far too much of the technical work purporting to guide exploration for petroleum is trivial, redundant and has little of use to offer toward finding new oil and gas accumulations. All geology is interesting; some geologic work is novel; damn little of the work we see is useful in finding new oil and gas fields!


Despite its “fits and starts” drilling history, the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale has begun to garner some respect– specifically, it appears to be on the brink of becoming a bona fide commercially productive play.

Emphasis: Geoscience Education

“Geoscience Communication” is appealing to an emerging generation of scientists who are realizing that, in many cases, the value of their technical knowledge is only as great as their ability to communicate it – whether to their peers or to the public.
Call it a mid-life crisis. Call it geology on fire. Whatever it was, something compelled Iain Stewart to leave his job as a college professor in London 12 years ago and essentially stay unemployed with a wife and two children while he figured out the next step in his career.
Big changes in the world have brought big challenges for university educators in the geosciences. Four professors – all of them AAPG members, and all winners of AAPG awards for teaching – described the realities of geoscience education today.
Jeannette Wolak, an AAPG member and assistant earth sciences professor at Tennessee Tech University, decided that some experience with seismic was essential for students considering a career in oil and gas.
For the first time in a generation, oil and gas doctoral programs in the United Kingdom have received a surge of financial support from the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), the main governmental funding body for academic research and training in geosciences in the United Kingdom.
“These days, shows like The Big Bang Theory seem to pass for science content.” That’s Scott Sampson, one of this year’s AAPG Geosciences in the Media Award winners.
It made sense. You bring together members of the industry, academia, students and, of course, AAPG, in hopes of ensuring a brighter, more secure future for the profession. That was the plan and the philosophy behind the AAPG-SEG Student Expo. And it worked.

AAPG’s Education and Professional Development offers a wide array of short courses, schools, field seminars, Hedberg research conferences and education conferences.

Thanks to a $48,000 grant from the AAPG Foundation, 17 teachers from across the country recently completed an online pilot course on “Teaching Earth Science at the High School Level,” which is expected to expand to help meet a growing national need in geoscience education.

Standing Columns

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