Going to Calgary? It Should be Obvious

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

I recently read a list of questions supposedly asked of park rangers at U.S. national parks, which included these examples:

  • At the Grand Canyon they have been asked, is the canyon “man made?”
  • At Carlsbad Caverns a regular question is, “Is all of the cave underground?”
  • At Yellowstone National Park, “Does Old Faithful erupt at night?” is often asked of rangers.
  • The most common of all questions at the parks is, “When does the 5 p.m. bus leave?”

My favorite question comes from rangers at national parks in the eastern United States. Here tourists often ask, “Why are there so many Civil War battlefields in national parks?”


I have asked my share of dumb questions in my lifetime. Sometimes we just miss the obvious.

One thing I won’t miss is the upcoming AAPG ICE meeting in Calgary, Sept. 12-15. ICE is AAPG’s acronym for International Conference and Exhibition, and this will be the first time that ICE is held in Canada.

Calgary, site of this year’s AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, set Sept. 12-15.
Calgary, site of this year’s AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, set Sept. 12-15.

The conference theme is “Frontiers of Unconventional Thinking: Saddle Up for the Ride!” This is a great opportunity to experience a global technical program – including focus on unconventional reservoirs in Canada and worldwide.

The technical program will include 350 oral and posters on themes ranging from petroleum systems to environmental to reservoir management (refer to the official ICE announcement that was included with this month’s EXPLORER for more details).

I am especially interested in the session on “Exotic Reservoirs of the World – Chalks, Cherts, Phosphates, Granites and Hydrates.”

There will be a special focus on Tuesday on shale reservoirs.

Several special sessions and forums will be held. Notable is the forum on “E&P Challenges in Complex Environments: From Arctic to Deep Water.” Also on Monday is a special lecture on “Burgess Shale Tales” that should be interesting.

There also are great opportunities for continuing education. “Creative Petroleum Exploration” will be a highlight, plus courses from “Fault Seal Analysis” to “Geomechanics for Unconventional Reservoirs.”

In addition, the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists is conducting one of its well-known core conferences. Participants will review up to 30 integrated core and poster displays. Focus is on unconventional, frontier and international hydrocarbon systems.

AAPG’s Energy Minerals Division also is conducting a core workshop on the Alberta oil sands.

Of course, when you are talking about September in the Canadian Rockies you are talking about great weather for great field trips. There are currently nine pre-conference and seven post-conference field trips planned. Trips are scheduled from the Fraser River of British Columbia to the southern plains of Alberta.

This is a tremendous opportunity to get back to the rocks and spend quality time in the field.

Finally, this will be a great opportunity to network with geoscientists from all parts of the globe and view the newest technologies on the exhibit floor.

The entire meeting will be held in the TELUS Convention Centre in downtown Calgary, so it will be a very convenient venue.


The most common answer by rangers to the question, “Why are there so many Civil War battlefields in National Parks” is: “Well, they fought here to be close to the parking lots, toilets and restaurant facilities.”

Of course, that is obvious.

So ICE in the second week of September? This seems pretty obvious, too. We hope to see you there.

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Director's Corner

Director's Corner - Rick Fritz
Richard D. “Rick” Fritz, an AAPG member since 1984 and a member of the Division of Environmental Geosciences and the Division of Professional Affairs, served as AAPG Executive Director from 1999 to 2011.

The Director's Corner covers Association news and industry events from the worldview perspective of the AAPG Executive Director.

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