President’s Column – January 2011

TitleHow does one make a living looking at rocks? 

Author: Ira Pasternack

Publication: The Outcrop, January 2011, p. 8-9

Article Type: President’s Column

“A geologist? Really, a geologist?” I’ll never forget my father’s response and puzzled look on his face about 35 years ago when I told him I was changing my college major from engineering to geology. He had absolutely no idea that a geologist could make a living by looking at rocks! I have been very lucky to enjoy a rewarding career in geology, not to mention all of the great friends I have made over the years who also just happen to be geologists. (Okay, maybe there are a few reservoir engineer friends in there, too—but just a few).

I am very excited about several RMAG happenings anticipated for 2011. A new website has been under development and should be live or going live soon. I understand it will be the greatest internet sensation since Facebook with millions of hits a day—well maybe that’s a little optimistic. It should provide greater utility to members by providing easier access for securely paying dues, registering for events and even voting, among other benefits. Of note to members, the audit conducted during 2010 demonstrating the organization’s fiscal responsibility should be posted on the website for everyone’s review.

The annual Winter Short Course will be presented by CSM Professor Bruce Trudgill on January 28th and titled “Seismic Interpretation of Structural Systems, Global Examples Applied to Western USA.” Later in the year, a new publication being co-edited by outgoing 2010 BOD members President Jerry Cuzella and Treasurer Connie Knight titled “Structural Applications to Rocky Mountain Hydrocarbon Accumulations” should provide a valuable addition to everyone’s library.  It wasn’t too long ago that shale plays were focused on the Gulf Coast region and eastern U.S., but recently the sleeping giant Niobrara has been awoken right here in the Rockies. Similarly, the Bakken has seen tremendous growth over the last couple of years and promises to be an active play well into the future. RMAG is developing both a Niobrara (edited by Jane Estes-Jackson and Donna Anderson) and a Bakken publication (edited by John Robinson, Julie LeFever and Stephanie Gaswirth) with associated symposia to keep everyone up to speed on both plays. It is amazing what the application of advanced drilling and completion technologies along with a better understanding of the shale oil and gas reservoirs has accomplished. As Wallace Pratt once said (my comments added in parentheses) “oil (and gas) is found in the minds of men (and women).”

And now, I am fortunate to be embarking on a new year as President of one of the finest geological societies, the RMAG. I can’t thank Sandi and Josh enough for all they do to administrate the organization effectively, nor adequately acknowledge all the volunteers (members of the BOD past and present, Foundation Trustees, publication editors and authors, symposia organizers and speakers, field trip leaders, and fund raisers, to mention just a few) that are absolutely critical to RMAG’s continued smooth running. Of course, I must thank RMAG members for providing me this opportunity to serve on the BOD and contribute to what I hope is another successful year of events and publications. I consider it an honor and a privilege. Best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011.

If my father could only see me now…

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