Field Trips Enhance Energy Conference

Europe's Energy Meeting

The AAPG European Region will conduct five field trips for the upcoming European Region Energy Conference and Exhibition, which will be held Nov. 18-21 in Athens, Greece.

Three pre-conference trips and two post-conference trips are planned in geologically and historically rich areas – and in keeping with the conference theme and unique to Greece, the field trips will “Challenge Our Myths” by leading participants to sites where geology, history and ancient Greek culture coincide.

Participants can choose to explore:

  • The structural geology of Western Greece.
  • The Corinth rift and its giant Gilbert deltas.
  • The carbonate reservoirs and evaporites of Zante Island and the Ionian Sea.
  • The geology and ancient culture along the Corinth Canal.
  • Ancient silver mines

According to Vlasta Dvorakova, the meeting’s technical program chair as well as the European Region secretary/treasurer, key to the success of the field trips is the collaboration between European Region volunteers, local business sponsorship and support from AAPG Convention Department staff.

By taking responsibility to identify field trip opportunities, along with handling the field trip pricing and the bulk of the marketing, the Region will generate revenue for future activities.

Image Caption

The beautiful temple at the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Cape Sounio offers a chance to experience exceptionally slender Doric columns – and a panoramic view of the Greek coast that ranks among the best in the world. Photo courtesy of Vlasta Dvorakova.

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The AAPG European Region will conduct five field trips for the upcoming European Region Energy Conference and Exhibition, which will be held Nov. 18-21 in Athens, Greece.

Three pre-conference trips and two post-conference trips are planned in geologically and historically rich areas – and in keeping with the conference theme and unique to Greece, the field trips will “Challenge Our Myths” by leading participants to sites where geology, history and ancient Greek culture coincide.

Participants can choose to explore:

  • The structural geology of Western Greece.
  • The Corinth rift and its giant Gilbert deltas.
  • The carbonate reservoirs and evaporites of Zante Island and the Ionian Sea.
  • The geology and ancient culture along the Corinth Canal.
  • Ancient silver mines

According to Vlasta Dvorakova, the meeting’s technical program chair as well as the European Region secretary/treasurer, key to the success of the field trips is the collaboration between European Region volunteers, local business sponsorship and support from AAPG Convention Department staff.

By taking responsibility to identify field trip opportunities, along with handling the field trip pricing and the bulk of the marketing, the Region will generate revenue for future activities.

Responsible for planning and promoting the field trips, the Region will benefit and retain any potential revenue from the field trips (and bear responsibility for any financial loss).


All AAPG Regions are encouraged to explore this concept of locally organized field trips and to propose field trip ideas and opportunities to the organizing committee of any AAPG conference or event.

Region leaders will benefit by staying in close communication with the conference organizing committee, as the final approval of proposed field trips falls within the purview of this committee.


The Athens organizing committee relied on strong support and sponsorship from a local Greek business, Hellenic Petroleum SA.

Adding to the local flavor and input, Hellenic petroleum geologist Nikolas Roussos, along with Mary Ford, University of Nancy, France, serve as field trip co-chairs. Both Ph.D. geologists have extensive experience in Greece – Nikolas in petroleum geology and Mary in structural geology.

Together they selected the field trips to highlight aspects of well-known geology as well as cultural Greek heritage – and they have prepared the field trip guide books and will lead the tours.

Transportation to each site is by bus, followed by short walks to the field outcrops.

Those trips are:

  1. The Silver Mines of Ancient Athens –The silver mines of the ancient city-state of Athens are located in the southeast part of the Attic peninsula, in the hilly Lavrion district 50 kilometers southeast of Athens. Classical literature and well-preserved remnants of ancient mining and processing plants, testify to the scale of the industry and its importance for the rise of Athens to imperial power.
  2. The field trip includes stops at mines in the Lavrion Technological Cultural Park and the Poseidon Temple at Cape Sounion.

  1. Geology and Ancient Culture of Corinth, Along the Corinth Canal– This one-day field trip in the area of Corinth, 70 kilometers from Athens, will visit the Corinth Canal, the fortress of Akrocorinthos and the Epidavros ancient theatre.
  2. The field itinerary includes crossing the canal by boat to view the longest geological section at a global scale in a geologically recent and tectonically active environment. The canal excavation revealed faulted Pliocene and Quaternary marine and terrestrial sediments that testify several cycles of marine regression and transgression.

    The Isthmus area cut by the canal is a typical horst formed by extensional faulting that has been active since the Pleistocene.

  1. The Corinth Rift and its Giant Gilbert Deltas– The Gulf of Corinth is one of the fastest opening rifts in the world. The rift’s tilted fault blocks are exceptionally well exposed on the Gulf’s south side due to rapid uplift and deep incision by rivers. The clastic rift succession includes a series of spectacular giant Gilbert-type fan deltas that are used as analogs for reservoirs in the North Sea and elsewhere.
  2. Carbonate Reservoir Types and Evaporite Exposures on Zante Island, Ionian Sea– A three-day field trip to Zante Island, Ionian Sea, where Herodotus first described the existing oil seeps in the 4th century B.C., will tour a carbonate platform with several discrete units that form potential reservoir rocks in Western Greece.
  3. The chalky cliffs are reminiscent of the Dover or Yorkshire Wolds Chalk in England.

  1. Structural Geology of Western Greece’s Fold and Thrust Belt– This field trip provides an overview of the geology of the External Hellenides thrust-fold belt. Field trip participants will examine outcrops of the Poseidonian marls as well as the upper Cretaceous to Eocene fractured limestone, which constitutes the main reservoir rock of the Ionian zone. Oil seepages will be observed in different stratigraphic levels.
  2. Furthermore, a structural model for the evolution of this area, where deep subsurface structures are present, will be discussed in comparison with regional seismic sections.

    Visits to several archaeological sites also are planned, including the Oracle of Delphi, the site revered throughout the Greek world as the site of the “omphalos” stone, thought to be the center of the earth and the universe.