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Work in South Africa Recognized

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

L Frank Brown Jr., emeritus professor of the University of Texas at Austin and researcher at the Bureau of Economic Geology there, was honored at the ICE opening session in Cape Town with a Special Award for his groundbreaking work in South Africa.

The award, given by the Geological Society of South Africa, was presented by citationist Eric Jungslager and GSSA president Matt Mullins.

"This is in recognition of his contribution to the earth sciences in South Africa, and especially his contribution to the application of seismic and sequence stratigraphic techniques to the study of the offshore sedimentary basins of South Africa," Jungslager said. "It is also in recognition of his mentorship of South African geoscientist – and his guidance, which prompted many studies and publications together with South African petroleum geoscientists."

It was in Cape Town in 1987 that Brown first taught South African geoscientists how to apply the latest concepts and principles of the seismic sequence stratigraphic approach of Peter Vail in the search for petroleum.

"Ever since the publication of AAPG Memoir 26 in 1977, seismic profiles of the earth"s crust had become the outcrops as it were of petroleum geoscientists – and seismic stratigraphy the preferred tool to unravel the geology they depicted," Jungslager said. "Frank contributed to this seminal publication with William L. Fisher (past AAPG president), also of the Bureau of Economic Geology, and their concept of the ‘linked depositional systems tract" became an integral part of the rapidly evolving new field of time-based sequence stratigraphy."

As a result of his involvement in Memoir 26, Brown taught in the AAPG Seismic Stratigraphy School from 1977 to 1987. Cape Town was the next stop.

"Petroleum exploration in South Africa in the mid-1980s had reached the point where new and riskier targets in the form of turbidites in basin floor settings were becoming the new focus of oil exploration," Jungslager said. "The management of Soekor (precursor of present-day PetroSA) fully supported Frank and their team of geoscientists for strategic guidance in applying the new stratigraphic approach to petroleum exploration.

"In 1988 and 1989, several teams of South African geoscientists worked under Frank's supervision at the Bureau of Economic Geology in Texas," he added. "This work significantly improved the interpretation and understanding of the offshore Mesozoic basins of South Africa.

"Thank you, Frank, for all that you have done for the study of geology in South Africa," Jungslager concluded, "and what you have meant to the careers of many local geoscientists who remain your faithful friends."

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