DPA Has Big Plans for Long Beach

The DPA Executive Committee and councilors will convene at our annual business meeting at the Long Beach Hyatt Regency on Saturday, April 21. As well as conducting the annual business of the DPA, we will receive reports on the status of our key operating initiatives for the 2011-12 term that I have reviewed in previous EXPLORER columns:

  • International presence and DPA councilor engagement.
  • Membership.
  • Gathering and learning.

Following the DPA annual meeting, we will hold our annual awards dinner at Sir Winston’s on the Queen Mary in Long Beach Harbor. This year’s dinner will recognize seven DPA members for their significant contributions to the Division.

♦ This year’s recipient of the DPA Life Membership award is Rick Ericksen from Jackson, Miss. Life Membership is the highest and most prestigious award given by the DPA.

Rick joins the elite company of 21 fellow recipients of DPA Life Membership and is well deserving of our highest honor for his continuous service and leadership to the DPA.

♦ The DPA’s Heritage Award has been awarded five times in the past and this year’s recipient is Dan Tearpock of Houston.

The Heritage Award is awarded to an individual who is generally well known for their substantial contributions to the industry. These contributions can be significant discoveries, business accomplishments and/or their work in academia and publishing. Ideally, the awardee will be an individual who has built a reputation for success within the industry, and has taken a proactive role in passing their knowledge and experiences to the next generation.

When thinking about the criteria for this award, I can’t think of a more deserving candidate than Dan through his business and leadership with the DPA.

♦ We have two recipients of our Distinguished Service Award: Paul Britt of Houston and Craig Reynolds of Wichita Falls, Texas.

♦ Certificates of Merit will be awarded to John Brooks of Brookwood, United Kingdom; Dave Entzminger of Midland, Texas; and Deborah Sacrey of Houston.

Also in Long Beach, the DPA will be sponsoring the Discovery Thinking Forum on the afternoon of Monday April 23. These talks enable AAPG members to see and hear about discoveries from those who know them well.

In addition to learning about personal and professional challenges surmounted by the discoverers on the path to success, the format has evolved to include technical data about trends and discoveries.

This session will focus on “Exciting New Discoveries in Old Areas.” This will be the fifth presentation of the AAPG 100th Anniversary Committee’s program recognizing “100 who made a difference.” Talks from Pacific, Rocky Mountain and West Texas will be of particular interest for a meeting on the West Coast.

Our annual luncheon will be held Tuesday, April 24, in conjunction with PROWESS, and will feature two informative presentations by two respected members of the academic community – Sally Benson (Stanford University, California) and Sharon Mosher (University of Texas, Austin).

Benson, director of the Global Climate Energy Project at Stanford University, will speak on “Following your Convictions: Even When the Going Gets Tough.”

Mosher, dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin, will speak on “Building a Diverse and Sustainable Geoscience Work Force.”

Benson is a groundwater hydrologist and reservoir engineer who has conducted research to address a range of issues related to energy and the environment. She currently serves on the board of directors of the National Renewal Energy Laboratory and Climate Central.

Mosher is the founder and past chair of GeoScience World, an international journal aggregation for geoscientists. She is currently president-elect of the American Geological Institute.

Elections for open DPA Executive Committee positions are under way. Nominees are:

President Elect

  • Mike Canich – Eastern Section.
  • Valary Schulz – Southwest Section.

Vice President

  • Chandler Wilhelm – Gulf Coast Section.
  • Paul Pausé – Southwest Section.


  • Debra Osborne – Southwest Section.
  • Bill Haskett – Canada Section.

DPA Councilor elections have been completed and new councilors elected for the 2012-2015 term are:

  • Eastern Section – Patrick M. Imbrogno; Jay G. Henthorne and Hannes E. Leetaru, alternates.
  • Rocky Mountain Section – Donna S. Anderson and Robert F. Garvin; Clifford C. Clark, Peggy Williams, David A. Wavrek and Jeff Brame, alternates.
  • Pacific Section – John T. Williams; Kurt E. Neher, alternate.
  • Asia-Pacific Region – Robert C. Shoup; Abul “Shams” Shamsuddin, alternate
  • p Canada Region – William J. Haskett; Sanjeev S. Thakur, alternate.
  • Europe Region – John R.V. Brooks; Iain P. Wright, alternate.
  • Latin America Region – Flavio J. Feijo; Hector San Martin, alternate.

DPA will be sponsoring the Discovery Thinking Forum, a luncheon and awards presentation at this year’s ACE.

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Division Column-DPA

Division Column-DPA Charles A. Sternbach

Charles A. Sternbach, DPA President.

Division Column-DPA

Division Column-DPA Marty Hewitt

Marty Hewitt, DPA President, is an employee of Nexen Petroleum USA Inc.

Division Column-DPA

The Division of Professional Affairs (DPA), a division of AAPG, seeks to promote professionalism and ethical standards, provide a means for professional certification of petroleum geologists, coal geologists, and petroleum geophysicists, assist in career planning, and improve the professional well-being of AAPG members. For more information about the DPA and its activities, visit the DPA website.

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The Tarim Basin is one of the most important hydrocabon-bearing evaporite basins in China. Four salt-bearing sequences, the Middle and Lower Cambrian, the Mississippian, the Paleogene, and the Neogene, have various thickness and areal distribution. They are important detachment layers and intensely affect the structural deformation in the basin. The Kuqa depression is a subordinate structural unit with abundant salt structures in the Tarim Basin. Salt overthrusts, salt pillows, salt anticlines, salt diapirs, and salt-withdrawal basins are predominant in the depression. Contraction that resulted from orogeny played a key function on the formation of salt structures. Growth strata reveal that intense salt structural deformation in the Kuqa depression occurred during the Himalayan movement from Oligocene to Holocene, with early structural deformation in the north and late deformation in the south. Growth sequences also record at least two phases of salt tectonism. In the Yingmaili, Tahe, and Tazhong areas, low-amplitude salt pillows are the most common salt structures, and these structures are commonly accompanied by thrust faults. The faulting and uplifting of basement blocks controlled the location of salt structures. The differences in the geometries of salt structures in different regions show that the thickness of the salt sequences has an important influence on the development of salt-cored detachment folds and related thrust faults in the Tarim Basin.

Salt sequences and salt structures in the Tarim Basin are closely linked to hydrocarbon accumulations. Oil and gas fields have been discovered in the subsalt, intrasalt, and suprasalt strata. Salt deformation has created numerous potential traps, and salt sequences have provided a good seal for the preservation of hydrocarbon accumulations. Large- and small-scale faults related with salt structures have also given favorable migration pathways for oil and gas. When interpreting seismic profiles, special attention needs to be paid to the clastic and carbonate interbeds within the salt sequences because they may lead to incorrect structural interpretation. In the Tarim Basin, the subsalt anticlinal traps are good targets for hydrocarbon exploration.

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We use three-dimensional seismic reflection data and new map-based structural restoration methods to define the displacement history and characteristics of a series of tear faults in the deep-water Niger Delta. Deformation in the deep-water Niger Delta is focused mostly within two fold-and-thrust belts that accommodate downdip shortening produced by updip extension on the continental shelf. This shortening is accommodated by a series of thrust sheets that are locally cut by strike-slip faults. Through seismic mapping and interpretation, we resolve these strike-slip faults to be tear faults that share a common detachment level with the thrust faults. Acting in conjunction, these structures have accommodated a north –south gradient in westward-directed shortening. We apply a map-based restoration technique implemented in Gocad to restore an upper stratigraphic horizon of the late Oligocene and use this analysis to calculate slip profiles along the strike-slip faults. The slip magnitudes and directions change abruptly along the lengths of the tear faults as they interact with numerous thrust sheets. The discontinuous nature of these slip profiles reflects the manner in which they have accommodated differential movement between the footwall and hanging-wall blocks of the thrust sheets. In cases for which the relationship between a strike-slip fault and multiple thrust faults is unclear, the recognition of this type of slip profile may distinguish thin-skinned tear faults from more conventional deep-seated, throughgoing strike-slip faults.
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Gas hydrates, ice-like substances composed of water and gas molecules (methane, ethane, propane, etc.), occur in permafrost areas and in deep water marine environments.

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