Wednesday, November 9, 2011

6th Siberian Internatio​nal Early Career GeoScienti​sts Conference in Novosibirsk from the 9-23 June 2012

You are invited to take part in the 6th Siberian International Early Career GeoScientists Conference that will be held in Novosibirsk from the 9-23 June 2012 . The scientific programme of the Conference includes a number of short courses and workshops, a plenary, oral and poster sessions as well as post-conference excursions to Gorny Altai and North-Western Altai. For more information please visit the Conference website

Important Dates
Registration and abstract submission deadline 1-February 2012
Information about accepted abstracts 1 March 2012
3rd Circular April 2012
9-23 June 2012- The 6th International Siberian Early Career GeoScientists Conference

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Climate Change in South Africa

With recent social and economic advances in South Africa comes an immense added pressure on the National Energy Grid, consequentially resulting in rolling power outages during the times of peak demand. Moreover, this has a direct effect on our economy, such as the case with the construction of a large ferrochrome smelter being moved from Rustenburg to China because continuous electricity could not be guaranteed. In an effort to combat these energy shortages and provide uninterrupted electricity supply to the country and large industries, Eskom has planned construction of two new power plants in Limpopo and Mpumalanga, as well as the recommissioning of three older stations, which will compound the Energy Grid and double it's capacity to 80,000 MW by 2026.

While these newer power plants are highly efficient at their usage of natural resources, there remains the ever present concern regarding climate change and carbon emissions. In addition, within the last decade South Africa has become the leading carbon emissive nation in Africa producing more than 430,000 kt of carbon dioxide emissions from burning nonrenewable energy sources, which amounts for 90% of South Africa's total energy production. Having agreed with the Kyoto Protocol and playing an active role in climate change and the global shift towards renewable energy that lead to the hosting of the COP17 climate change summit in Durban, which promises to provide concrete regulations not firmly constrained during previous summits, the South African Government launched the White Paper on Renewable Energy, 2004 which together with a renewable energy mandate in a National Environmental Act launched in 1999, aims to reduce carbon emissions by up to 34% by 2020 and moreover produce up to 10,000 GWh of renewable energy by 2013. This aim is on track to being realised with promising results shown in a solar heating pilot installation projects and compounded with plans to further hydro and wind generated forms of electricity.

In an effort to join this fight against climate change I've began investigating the prospect of harnessing geothermal energy within South Africa. Being placed on the Archean Kaapvaal Craton compounded by a very thick and dense mantle keel reaching depths of up to 250 km, which serves as the ideal location for the formation of some of the worlds best diamonds, but unfortunately does not provide the best target areas for geothermal energy which is further reduced with the lack of active volcanism. Previous research does however illustrate heat-flow signatures and the presence of anonymous high-heat flow and heat-producing regions within the Kaapvaal Craton, which may prove to be the ideal future locations for the successful extraction of geothermal energy. This form of geothermal energy, known as Enhanced Geothermal Systems, employs the use of exploiting a high geothermal gradient by pumping a working fluid down the gradient into a deep-seated reservoir where the water is heated to critical levels and thereafter runs up a production line and produces energy.

The energy producing capabilities of a successful geothermal plant of this nature in South Africa would have immense benefits with one plant having the equivalent energy output as 25 wind turbines and furthermore having the ability of exponentially decreasing carbon emissions with simultaneous sequestration. Being a new field, a great deal of further research is required to fully understand these possibilities, however if successful this could provide an ideal solution to South Africa's energy problems while substantially decreasing our carbon footprint.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A YES outreach initiative

When one gives an earth science presentation, it is generally addressing an academic or an industrial environment whereby the speaker is trying to convey a specific geological related aspect across to a geological affiliated crowd. General causal earth science related conversation is also limited to colleagues and earth science professionals. However through casual coffee conversation with friends involved other realms of working world, such as lawyers, doctors etc, one realizes how little they understand what geological sciences are and how important they are for us as human civilization. To illustrate this, I am introduced as “This is Meagan, she studies Rocks!” by a very good friend of mine to her other friends just to see their reactions.

South Africa is a very rich country in terms of mineral wealth, with a long mining history, but this mineral wealth is generally concentrated towards the north of the country. Places such as the Eastern Cape and Western Cape are very poor in comparison and so general knowledge on earth science is significantly lower.

In keeping with the YES network’s “Earth Science for Society”, I decided to give a presentation on Monday, 19 September 2011, to about 30 Grade 11 and 12 learners at Hexagon High School in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape. Hexagon High School is a FET (Further Education and Training) school and the learners are largely from the rural areas of the former Transkei.

The presentation purpose was to expose students on high school levels to the importance of Geology and the career possibilities associated with it. To keep it relevant to the students, I used the example of the town’s local landmark mountain to illustrate this point. The presentation was roughly 35minutes long followed by a question series

The student response was that of interest and a lot of questions were posed with regards to the direction of study one takes to get as far as I am currently today.

Overall the response was good and should this be done in the future, maybe a more interactive approach should be included, maybe a little trip into the field to expose them to the science on “ground level”

It was a good experience and I enjoyed sharing knowledge with people who were interested in the subject. I also challenge anyone to go out there and share a little about our work, the importance of what we do, the uniqueness of our planet earth and the problems we as society currently face.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

GSA 2011 Short Course 515: Setting up a GeoSciML data service to publish your geological map data

The YES Network is co-organizing the following short course at the GSA 2011 Annual Meeting with the Arizona Geological Survey and the American Geological Institute. Please consider registering for this course.

Short Course 515: Setting up a GeoSciML data service to publish your geological map data

Saturday, 8 October 2011, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Cost: $50; includes continental breakfast and lunch.
Organizers: Arizona Geological Survey, AGI, and YES Network

This course is aimed at graduate students and early-career faculty who are doing geological mapping projects and are interested in online data publication. GeoSciML is a standards-based data format that provides a framework for application-neutral encoding of geoscience thematic data and related spatial data. Using GeoSciML, you will learn how to set up a GeoSciML data service so that you can publish your geological mapping data in a vendor-neutral format that will allow for data exchange and interoperability. Participants are required to bring their own laptops that are equipped with a wireless connection.

Early registration deadline: 6 September
Registration after 6 September costs an additional $30
Cancellation deadline: 12 September

To register, please visit:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Retaining Students Through the Student-to-Professional Continuum

The YES Network has co-partnered with the American Geological Institute on exploring the question of how to retain students through student to professional continuum. As as result they have created a set of questions through an online survey. The results of this survey will be used in the future YES Network national and international meetings as well as online roundtable discussions.

In order to participate on this online survey please follow this link\

Thursday, May 5, 2011

World Environment Day: 5th June 2011

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is having a blog competition. The winner for this competition will win a trip to India to cover the World Environment day on the 5th June 2011. For more information about how to enter this competition please visit

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The African Geopark Network (AGN)

The  African Association of Women in Geosciences and the African Geoparks Network (AGN) are creating a common task group in order to promote the african geology. So, these organisations are calling all geoscientists  who are working on the African continent to send nice photos of geological sites of scientific and/or educative interest or just with a scenic beauty with a short description that will be published on the AGN  website as well as on its related facebook page. This action will help to create a data base related to the geological heritage of the African continent and will allow to promote the geology of the continent. Please don't forget to mentionne your full name, your address and email.

So, please send  your photos on the following email address: 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

YES Network Activities at the EGU General Assembly 2011

The YES Network and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) will be hosting a townhall meeting at the 2011 European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna, Austria from 19:00-20:00 on April 5. If your not attending EGU 2011 in Vienna, you could still join the town hall via FREE webcast. Follow this link to register

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The YES Africa Symposium 2011

The YES Africa Symposium, which will take place in the University of Johannesburg, South Africa starts next week (11-12 January)! You can still participate in this event by registering as as a web-based participant. Registration and participation as a web-based participant is free. You will be able to listen to the Opening Ceremony, Oral Presentation Sessions, Roundtable Presentations, and also take part in the virtual working group discussions at the roundtable session. For further details follow the link below and register as a web-based participant now: