The 53rd Western Inter-University Geosciences Conference (WIUGC) occurred January 11-14 in Edmonton this year. The WIUGC is an annual student-run conference that alternates between universities across Western Canada and gives an opportunity for students from across Canada to share their research, ideas, and more. Students from the University of Alberta's Earth and Atmospheric Science Department and the Physics Department hosted WIUGC 2017. The program included technical short courses developed and run by industry professionals, guest lectures technical talks, an industry fair, and student oral and poster research presentations. As well three field trips were offered that showcased Alberta’s Petroleum Industry, a coal mine, and the research technology and facilities at the University of Alberta Earth and Atmospheric Science and Physics Department.

Fig. 01
2017 WUIGGC Executive, L-R: Ryan Dean, Jesse Hilvo, Katie McLean, Skye Lybbert, Daniel Baker, Jordan Pearson, Karys Leonard-Fortune, Casey Buchanan, Nicole Atienza

The CSEG, not surprisingly, had a strong presence. The morning of Friday the 13th was the start of the efforts by CSEG members. The Geophysics Short Course, Life of a Seismic Project, was a 4 hour morning event which offered an introduction to acquisition, processing and interpretation of seismic data. It covered these topics in general terms and then in detail on a 3D in the Ante Creek area of Alberta. George Fairs of Divestco covered acquisition, Amanda Obodovsky of Divestco covered processing, and the interpretation segment was handled by John Duhault, owner and chief geoscience consultant of Starbird Enterprises (you will also know him as the incoming CSEG President).

Friday evening our 2017 CSEG Distinguished Lecturer Laurie Weston Bellman of Canadian Discovery presented to a crowd of over 100 engaged and attentive attendees. Laurie spoke for an hour on Quantitative Interpretation and integration of various types of geoscience data. She outlined the role geoscience data has in the lifecycle of a development prospect, giving students great insight into what their future careers may entail. Having a speaker of Laurie's caliber was a great benefit to the WIUGC 2017 and a great showcase for the CSEG Distinguished Lecture Series.

After Laurie had given her lecture, Alex Shrake and Elizabeth Ramsey held the CSEGF Challenge Bowl, an action-packed geoscience quiz game. The winners of the Challenge Bowl receive an all-expense paid trip to the CSEGF Challenge Bowl at the upcoming Geoconvention to compete against teams from all across Canada. The winner of the National Challenge Bowl at the Geoconvention receives an all-expense paid trip to the SEG Challenge Bowl at the SEG annual meeting in Houston. The teams that were competing that night were from Mount Royal University, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, Brandon University, University of British Columbia and University of Manitoba. The students were quite pumped for this event and had a great time with many cheering their team on. A dark horse came from behind – University of Manitoba – and snatched the victory from the others.

Fig. 02
(L) Laurie Weston Bellman, 2017 CSEG Distinguished Lecturer.
(R) Elizabeth Ramsey and Alex Shrake, with Ian Burron, and Parth Pokar, 2017 Challenge Bowl winners.

Alex and Elizabeth also manned the CSEG Foundation booth on Saturday during the Industry Fair and poster session where they registered nearly 60 new CSEG student members.

Saturday started with Dennis Ellison, who is an active CSEG volunteer, depth processor, and Masters Student at the U of C, speaking about integrating lithostatic load into the depth modeling process, specifically trying to accommodate for the non-linear change of P-wave velocity due to compaction. This was an interesting but possibly heavy 20 minutes for the 20 attendees at the first talk after a pub night.

Brian Schulte, CBU Geophysical advisor at Repsol Canada, also spoke to an audience of 20 people for 40 minutes about “Going beyond wiggles in today’s market” (or Laurie Weston Bellman’s talk, part 2). His talk covered horizontal pad wells, microseismic, AVO, seismic inversion, and how all of this is about understanding the probability of something occurring geologically.

Fig. 03
(L-R) Brian Schulte, Katie McLean, Amanda Obodovsky, George Fairs and John Duhault

Once again, through formal or informal outreach, the CSEG and its members are committed to advancing the science of geophysics. Thanks to all the CSEG members who presented and attended.

It would seem correct to give the final word to one of the organizing students, Katie (Kathleen) McLean, a third year Geophysics student at the University of Alberta, who acted as the Geophysics Representative for WIUGC 2017:

“On behalf of the WIUGC 2017 Committee we would like to thank CSEG for their extensive support in hosting the conference. The events they held enlightened and energized the 170 Undergraduate and Graduate students attending the conference. A special thank you to George Fairs, Amanda Obodovsky, John Duhault, Brian Schulte, Elizabeth Ramsey, Alexandria Shrake and Laurie Weston Bellman for their presentations, geoscience and career advice, and support in developing and presenting WIUGC. Our conference would not have been possible without CSEG support and encouragement, and we thank all those involved in creating the successful event.”


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