Some of the world's most spectacular and geologically fascinating sights will be showcased in nine field trips planned in conjunction with September's AAPG-SEG International Conference and Exhibition (ACE) in Melbourne, Australia, Sept. 13-16.
Some excursions include popular tourist locales and others visit rarely seen sites - including some off-limits to the general public.
The trips will be led by local experts who put in an "immense amount of hard work" organizing them, according to the ICE field trip subcommittee co-chair and AAPG member Gresley Wakelin-King.
"The field trips this year have a remarkable breadth of not only topics but also the types of experience. Participants have the choice of trips taking place in urban, country, drylands, coastal or coral reef settings," Wakelin-King said.
"Some of the (shorter) trips are within cooee of the city's bright lights, and some (longer trips) are so remote that even most Australians or New Zealanders never get there," she added.
(And if you don't know what "cooee" means, you'll probably find out if you go to ICE.)
Geology, And Then Some
While all the trips spotlight geology, some have additional tourist appeal.
"If you can only come to Australia once, the Blue Mountains and Central Australian trips are designed to feature tourism must-see spots, while the Gippsland trip includes a discussion of geology and wine territory with a tasting at one of Australia's most notable vineyards. All of the trips include opportunities to experience Australian or New Zealand culture, wildlife and spectacular scenery," Wakelin-King said.
And for the professionals ...
"There are some great exposures of the sedimentary record," she said, "the stratigraphy and huge variety of depositional environments of the Amadeus Basin in the central Australian trip, a shelf-to-basin floor depositional system in New Zealand, tidal deposits in Sydney, fluvial rocks and bioclastic limestone along the Otway coast, turbidites in the Gippsland coast.
"Post-depositional geological processes are examined in the Gippsland coast's superb fold and thrust structures, the Flinders Ranges' exposures of the stratigraphy of salt deformation, and the Jenolan Caves (Blue Mountains)," she said. "Modern carbonate depositional environments are displayed in the Shark Bay trip (stromatolites and hyper saline and shallow-marine and nearshore systems) and the Great Barrier Reef trip (Heron Island's coral reef)."
Technical foci of the trips include:
- Modern analogues of carbonate reservoirs (Shark Bay, Great Barrier Reef).
- CO2 sequestration (Otway).
- The interplay between tectonics and sea-level change in reservoir architecture and sequence stratigraphy (New Zealand).
- Fracture patterns and the effects of mechanical stratigraphy (Gippsland).
- Evidence for tidal vs. braided-fluvial environment of deposition in a well-exposed sandstone (Sydney).
All trips will be led by geologists with expertise in those areas.
Three trips - Shark Bay, the Blue Mountains and the Uluru section of the central Australian trip - are in listed World Heritage sites.
The Great Ocean Road in the Otway trip and the Ediacaran Global Boundary Stratotype Section in the Flinders Ranges trip are in or associated with listed Australian National Heritage precincts.
And the Western MacDonnell Ranges section of the central Australian trip is a proposed National Heritage listing.
"The Flinders Ranges, Shark Bay, New Zealand, Gippsland, Otway and Central Australian trips take participants into places that they will never have the opportunity to go to themselves," Wakelin-King said. "Some are extremely remote, some are outcrops only known to the researchers and some are places that the general public is usually forbidden to visit."
Wakelin-King is a consultant with Wakelin Associates, a geological, geoscience and environmental services company based in Melbourne.
Her subcommittee co-chair is AAPG member Kathryn Amos, senior lecturer at Adelaide University's Australian School of Petroleum.