BSRG Annual General Meeting - Imperial College London 2011

The 50th British Sedimentological Research Group (BSRG) Annual General Meeting was held at Imperial College, London from 18th-21st December 2011 and convened by Gary Hampson and Chris Jackson. There were 228 delegates from over 40 universities, oil companies, consultancies and the British Geological Survey. Generous sponsorship was provided by Beta Analytical, BG Group, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Hess, Rocksource, Shell and Statoil.

On the first day of the meeting, Chris Jackson hosted a seismic interpretation workshop, ably assisted by Thilo Wrona and Matthew Lewis. There were 15 attendees, the majority of whom had never used seismic reflection data before. The morning session focused on the relationship between geology and geophysics. In particular, through a combination of (in)formal lectures and paper-based practical exercises, the attendees were shown how the seismic expression of rocks is related to their physical properties. Subjects such as seismic stratigraphy and seismic facies were covered, in addition to the use of synthetic seismograms to tie well data to seismic data. In the afternoon, the workshop moved onto PC-based practical exercises, which used a combination of 2D and 3D seismic reflection datasets from the Gulf Coast, USA and offshore western Ireland. After only a few hours of training, the attendees were able to map mass-transport deposits and fluvial channel systems.

There was also a core workshop examining Miocene deep-water fan deposits from the lacustrine Pannonian Basin of Hungary in the afternoon of the first day. The workshop was led by James Maynard and Laura Bennati, and core material was generously loaned by ExxonMobil. The 31 participants discussed the gravity-flow processes and depositional sub-environments of the fan, based on observations of the core. An icebreaker reception in the evening provided a good end the day.

The next two days comprised a series of talk and poster sessions covering a range of topics: fluvial and aeolian stratigraphic architecture, biological and chemical sediments, deep-water sedimentation, coastal stratigraphic architecture, sediment routing systems, and tectonic controls on sedimentation. In addition, oral and poster sessions specifically focused on the transport, deposition and economic significance of fine-grained sediments were held in association with the Clay Minerals Group. Seven keynote speakers from the UK and overseas provided comprehensive reviews or future perspectives on several key areas of sedimentology. The abstract book, which can be downloaded here, gives a full overview of the breadth and depth of the technical themes covered in the conference.

The AGM Business Meeting played host to the BSRG Awards ceremony. John Bridge (Binghamton University) received the Perce Allen Award to recognise his significant contribution to the fields of process-based sedimentology and analysis of fluvial systems. Chris Jackson (Imperial College) received the Roland Goldring Award to recognise a noteworthy body of research in the general field of sedimentology. The Harold Reading Medal was introduced, for the postgraduate or recent postgraduate who has been judged to have produced the best publication arising directly from a PhD project in the field of sedimentology and stratigraphy in the preceding year. The medal recognises the contribution to postgraduate training and research of Harold Reading, who awarded the inaugural medal himself to Amandine Prélat (Liverpool University, now at Imperial College). Her paper, which is entitled "Evolution, architecture and hierarchy of distributary deep-water deposits: a high-resolution outcrop investigation from the Permian Karoo Basin, South Africa", was published in Sedimentology. Manuel Gonzalez-Quijano (Imperial College) and Jane Grant (Bangor University) shared the inaugural Masters Sedimentology prize for the best sedimentological project undertaken by a student on a one-year taught Masters course at a UK or Irish University. Marion Grundy (University of Liverpool) received the inaugural prize for Undergraduate Sedimentology; there were honourable mentions for David Gold (University of Portsmouth) and India Weidle (Imperial College). The prize for the best student poster presented at the 2011 AGM was won by Luke Fairweather (University of Aberdeen), and there were commendations for Roman Soltan (University of Leeds) and Sarah Southern (University of Leeds).

The conference dinner was held on HMS President, formerly an Anchusa class corvette of the Royal Navy, that is permanently moored on the north bank of the River Thames. Built in 1918, HMS President is listed on the National Register of Historic Vessels.  Travel to and from the conference dinner was on a series of restored, 1950’s London routemaster buses. Bryan Lovell, the President of the Geological Society, gave an entertaining speech before the dinner outlining the contributions of BSRG over the last 50 years, and the opportunities that lie ahead. Over 150 delegates attended the dinner, and they danced the night away under a star-lit sky.

After the main technical conference, Martin Wells (BP) and Gary Hampson (Imperial College) led 25 delegates on a field trip to exposures of the Folkestone Sands Formation of the Lower Greensand Group in the Weald Basin (Surrey and Sussex). The fieldtrip (download field guide here) focussed on observing and interpreting evidence of tidal influence from localities in which “classic” tidal structures have been documented, and on interpreting the associated depositional environment(s). The fieldtrip visited two working quarries, and we thank Sita UK and Cemex for quarry access.

Gary Hampson and Chris Jackson