It has been a while since my last entry (over three months to be exact) but that does not necessarily mean that I didn’t do any work! During march I was busy preparing for my first big conference talk at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly (EGU) in Vienna at the start of April. Just before the conference I demonstrated on a four-day field trip in northern Scotland and a week after the EGU I left for the US where I spent a month on fieldwork (and holidays!).
So, my first conference talk on a conference attended by scientists from all over the world…The EGU this year took place in Vienna, Austria, and was attended by over 11.000 scientists from more than 90 countries. I have to admit I was rather nervous and it took me longer than usual to prepare my presentation. After all I wanted it to be exactly as long as it could while still leaving enough time for questions. On scientific conferences talk slots are normally 15 minutes long and the ideal talk lasts for about 12 minutes which leaves 3 minutes for questions (and answers if you are able to reply to the sometimes tricky questions of your fellow researchers). Long story short, I had managed to give it in exactly the timeframe I planned for and was able to answer all the questions (at least that’s what I think) and was quite relieved afterwards.. so it was time for some reward in the austrian spring sun!
While I was happy with my presentation I was a bit disappointed with the feedback I got from other researchers on my talk. After a session the audience quickly scatters and seldom someone comes to one of the speakers in order to discuss the science that had been presented. However, I had some really good discussions with other scientists that presented their work on a poster. As a result of that I will try to present my work in a poster format at the next big conference (or both, a poster and a talk?) because I think it is a better way to get feedback that can improve the quality of my work!
As mentioned I was on a field trip before attending the EGU. It was in and around Helmsdale and focused on jurassic sedimentary rocks that were deposited along an active fault in a more or less marine setting. It is one of the few places where the petroleum system of the north sea (reservoir rocks and source rocks) is outcropping on land and thus an excellent area to show students. We were really lucky with the weather (and tides) and were able to show the whole succession in order in warm sunshine! I don’t want to go into detail but we saw some very nice sand dunes, how diagenesis can be influenced by the proximity of faults and how sedimentation can reflect active faulting. At one outcrop on a beach one of the students found this wonderful piece of rock that comes from the basement in the hinterland:
The colorful, layered and folded rock to the top-right is a metamorphic rock of the moine group while the yellow-orange rock at the left-bottom is a granite. What you can see here is just marvelous: The granite does not show any sign of deformation due to metamorphism and thus has intruded into the meta-sediment after it had been deformed and metamorphosed! It is quite rare to find such an excellent and beautiful handpiece and I just felt the urge to post it here 🙂 My fieldwork in the US will be discussed in the next entry!