SCIENTIFIC SESSIONS


  • Session 1: Geoscience

    Geoscience is the study of the Earth - its oceans, atmosphere, rivers and lakes, ice sheets and glaciers, soils, its complex surface, rocky interior, and metallic core. This includes many aspects of how living things, including humans, interact with the Earth. Geoscience has many tools and practices of its own but is intimately linked with the biological, chemical, and physical sciences. Geoscience includes the study and investigation of Earth’s minerals, soil, and water and energy resources: how Earth’s natural systems work today, how they operated in the recent and ancient past, and how we expect they may behave in the future. Geoscience is real-world science, relevant to us all, every day.


  • Session 2: Geochemistry & Geophysics

    The field of geochemistry involves study of the chemical composition of the Earth and other planets, the composition of rocks and soils, the cycles that involve the earth's chemical components, and the interaction of those cycles with land and water.

    Geophysics deals with a wide array of geologic phenomena, including the temperature distribution of the Earth’s interior; the source, configuration, and variations of the geomagnetic field; and the large-scale features of the terrestrial crust, such as rifts, continental sutures, and mid-oceanic ridges. Modern geophysical research extends to phenomena of the outer parts of the Earth’s atmosphere (e.g., the ionospheric dynamo, auroral electrojets, and magnetopause current system) and even to the physical properties of other planets and their satellites.


  • Session 3: Soil Science

    Soil science is more than simply the study of soil. This discipline focuses on the improvement of soil conditions for agricultural management and the conservation of natural resources. If you're interested in soil science, read on to learn about educational and career options in the field.

    Soil is a complex composite of minerals and organic matter that forms over the surface of land. Soil scientists research and monitor the properties of soils, including their physical attributes, biological composition and chemical makeup. Soil scientists use their findings to help solve a wide range of soil management issues. They might, for example, determine the best crops to grow in a specific soil at a given place and time. Soil scientists might also work to replenish endangered ecosystems by finding ways to increase soil fertility. Soil scientists often work for manufacturing companies, government agricultural departments and research laboratories. A large number of soil scientists are self-employed consultants.


  • Session 4: Groundwater and Hydrogeology

    Hydrogeology is the study of the movement and storage of water in the crust of Earth and other rocky planetary bodies. It maps and quantifies the water stored in underground aquifers and occasionally surface systems, identifies pathways of flow and recharge, and assesses the chemical composition and quality of the below-ground water.

    Groundwater represents an important parameter in the geotechnical engineering. The groundwater level has a major influence on material behavior (drained-undrained), and changes in groundwater level can result in settlements and damage to buildings and infrastructure. An artesian pore pressure, or excess pore pressure in the ground, will of course have a major impact on the material behavior and stability.

    Groundwater is an important resource, even though in most of the larger Norwegian water works use surface water as a raw water source. In transportation projects cuts and terrain changes may affect groundwater level in such a way that it causes changes in the vegetation and the quantity and quality of drinking water in private groundwater wells in adjacent areas.


  • Session 5: Fossils and Paleontology

    Paleontology is the study of the history of life on Earth as based on fossils. Fossils are the remains of plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and single-celled living things that have been replaced by rock material or impressions of organisms preserved in rock.

    Fossils can provide evidence of the evolutionary history of organisms. Paleontologists infer that whales evolved from land-dwelling animals, for instance. Fossils of extinct animals closely related to whales have front limbs like paddles, similar to front legs. They even have tiny back limbs. Although the front limbs of these fossil animals are in some ways similar to legs, in other ways they also show strong similarities to the fins of modern whales.

    Paleontologists use fossil remains to understand different aspects of extinct and living organisms. Individual fossils may contain information about an organism’s life and environment. Much like the rings of a tree, for example, each ring on the surface of an oyster shell denotes one year of its life. Studying oyster fossils can help paleontologists discover how long the oyster lived, and in what conditions. If the climate was favorable for the oyster, the oyster probably grew more quickly and the rings would be thicker. If the oyster struggled for survival, the rings would be thinner. Thinner rings would indicate an environment not favorable to organisms like the oyster—too warm or too cold, for example, or lacking nutrients necessary for them to grow.


  • Session 6: Volcanology and Tectonic Plates

    Volcanology is the study of the generation and movement of molten rock on Earth and other planetary bodies, primarily through volcanoes and volcanic eruptions. This encompasses the generation of magma, its geochemistry and movement through the Earth’s crust, the physics of volcanic eruptions and hazards including ash clouds and pyroclastic flows.  Volcanologists collect data about volcanic activity and then study these findings. Typically they will travel to a location where a dormant or active volcano resides to collect samples. They then examine this data in a laboratory, usually for one of three purposes: to understand why volcanoes behave, to understand how volcanoes work, and to predict future eruptions for the safety of local populations. Some will also study the geological history of a particular volcano. Depending on their place of employment, some Volcanologists may also teach private classes or the public about the importance of volcanoes.


  • Session 7: Geomechanics, Geotechnics and Geohazards

    Geomechanics is the theoretical and applied science of the mechanical behavior of geological material. It is used to reduce risks and optimize rewards related to the mechanical failure of the reservoir, over, side and under burden formations due to oil and gas exploration and production activities. These include but not limited to, drilling of oil and gas wells, hydraulic fracturing, water/gas flooding, depletion. A geological formation will fail when the stresses it is subjected to, exceed its strength.

    Geotechnical engineering is the study of the properties of rocks and soils with a view to build engineering structures. Geotechnical engineering, together with soil mechanics, is used by those involved in construction to select the type and characteristics of foundations in order for structures to be safe. The role of foundations is to spread out the weight of a structure and transmit it to the soil. In some cases it also performs an anchorage role to reduce the risks of the structure lifting or slipping.

    ‘Geohazards’ means the risk of damage caused by a geological process. Sometimes hazards are not obvious until pointed out. For example we wash our hands to avoid biohazards such as viruses and bacteria even though they are too small to see. We are told that some foods are poisonous (a biohazard) so we don’t eat them. All geological hazards (geohazards) could be considered dormant until they are triggered. When the hazard occurs it may then be called an event, accident, emergency, incident, or disaster. The study and monitoring of geohazards helps us to better prepare ourselves and respond to these geological events when they do occur. Geohazards can be small features that have an impact only on their local area such as a small landslide that partially blocks a road or track through to large earthquakes that affect entire cities. 


  • Session 8: Carbon farming & Carbon Cycle

    Carbon farming is the process of changing agricultural practices or land use to increase the amount of carbon stored in the soil and vegetation (sequestration) and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, soil or vegetation (avoidance).

     

    Carbon farming potentially offers landholders financial incentives to reduce carbon pollution, but should always aim to achieve multiple economic and environmental co-benefits. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development can provide scientific assessments of the technical feasibility and risks, but anyone contemplating participating in carbon farming should seek appropriate legal and technical advice.


  • Session 9: Mineral Exploration

    The exploration usually starts by looking for interesting exploration zones and by the sampling in geological areas that seem to have an interesting mineral potential. The searches are conducted in order to discover base metals and precious metals. The areas of interest are staked by the exploration company whether by an interactive map or by agreements with prospectors in the area. Before starting work on the ground, it is essential to make an application for a permit to the government agencies in order to comply with regulations.  Moreover, according to the location of the studied area on public or private land, permits and agreements are required to ensure compliance with surrounding communities.


  • Session 10: Marine Geosciences and Oceanography

    Marine geoscience is an integration of the disciplines of geology, geophysics and geochemistry. The aim of this course is to provide a broad understanding of the ocean basins and their structure with particular emphasis on the evolution of the oceans through time. The unit has field, laboratory and computer based components to enable students to gain a broad based knowledge of the techniques used to unravel ocean history through time.

    Oceanography, scientific discipline concerned with all aspects of the world’s oceans and seas, including their physical and chemical properties, their origin and geologic framework, and the life forms that inhabit the marine environment. Oceanography has been divided into four separate but related branches: physical oceanography, chemical oceanography, marine geology, and marine ecology. Physical oceanography deals with the properties of seawater (temperature, density, pressure, and so on), its movement (waves, currents, and tides), and the interactions between the ocean waters and the atmosphere. Chemical oceanography has to do with the composition of seawater and the biogeochemical cycles that affect it. Marine geology focuses on the structure, features, and evolution of the ocean basins. Marine ecology, also called biological oceanography, involves the study of the plants and animals of the sea, including life cycles and food production.


  • Session 11: Seismology

    Seismology is the study of seismic waves, energy waves caused by rock suddenly breaking apart within the earth or the slipping of tectonic plates. We know these as events as earthquakes. They can also be caused by explosions from volcanic eruptions and testing of nuclear bombs. Seismology also studies seismic waves deliberately induced by controlled explosions, large trucks, and construction equipment, usually to search for underground sources of petroleum and natural gas.

    Seismologists study earthquakes and their results, like tsunamis, and landslides. They may also monitor active volcanoes for tremors and signs of an impending eruption. They use seismographs and computer equipment to collect and analyze data on seismic events.


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