The Future of AIG News

The Future of AIG News

The future direction of AIG News is currently being examined by a Council committee which will examine a number of issues including:

  • how AIG News is published (print, on-line or both)
  • content
  • frequency of publication
  • the look and style of the publication and,
  • editorial policy

The current plan is to introduce changes to AIG News from mid-year (August).  A survey to collect members’ views on a number of topics is available for members to complete here.  The survey will remain open until 21st March 2014.

Members are also welcome to contribute ideas and suggestions by contacting AIG’s Executive Officer, Lynn Vigar by email.

There is also a discussion thread on this issue on AIG’s Linkedin Group.  Members are welcome to join the discussion.

New Book: Geological Interpretation of Aeromagnetic Data

Geological Interpretation of Aeromagnetic Data

The Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists (ASEG) has released a new e-book “Geological Interpretation of Aeromagnetic Data” by Dave Isles and Leigh Rankin.


This book aims to help geologists to extract maximum value from aeromagnetic survey data. It shows how to integrate these data with geological data to build an interpretation that matches the objectives of your project. The book is written by two consulting geoscientists who deal with complex geophysical and geological interpretation problems in their day-to-day work.

The authors have prepared the book in response to the frequently cursory analysis of high-quality aeromagnetic data, usually caused by the absence of geologists’ active participation in the integration and interpretation process. They have seen the value of many datasets seriously eroded by under-use. Surveys costing $500 000 or more sometimes attract only a handful of days of interpreter time for assessment. Aeromagnetic data contain a wealth of geological information that may be overlooked if the analysis is con-strained to the ‘geophysical’ aspects and confined to geoscientists with predominantly geophysical training and a focus on the physics and mathematics of the data. The examples in this book show the level of geological detail and consequent exploration value that can be gained from adequate, well-focused time spent analysing aeromagnetic data.

Dave Isles is a geophysicist by training who has spent most of his 40-year career using aeromagnetic data (and many other geophysical tools) to facilitate mineral explora- tion programs. His grasp of geology has grown through the need to fully understand the geological environ- ment of each new exploration project. Leigh Rankin is a geological mapper with specialist structural skills. He began using aeromagnetic data in South Australia during the 1980s when he discovered that just beneath the vast expanses of sand dunes, swamps and alluvial plains, there were rocks with readily measurable mag- netisation. Beneath the paddocks of wheat and sheep, these rocks could be mapped both individually and collectively by using aeromagnetic data, thus aiding the assembly of geological interpretations at all scales.

The authors emphasise that the main ingredients in a high-quality interpretation are astute use of the geoscientist’s brain and adequate time, not only to digest diverse clusters of data, but to integrate these into a working map that drives our project forward. The rewards for this (usually modest) effort and time can be substantial – a resource discovery, a quantum leap in understanding of local geological evolution or a new direction and momentum in exploration, to name a few.

The book has evolved from a short course created to address the demand from exploration geologists who, faced with an explosion of high-resolution aeromagnetic data in the Australian gold and base-metal prov- inces in the early 1990s, recognised the need to take ownership of the interpretation function on their project areas. Simply put, there were too few suitably experienced geoscientists then, to assist with the exciting task of integrating this wealth of new data into exploration programs. Hence the book has its roots mainly in gold exploration in Australia (as reflected in much of the imagery used in the examples), but the authors have since expanded the methodology to embrace the interpretation of aeromagnetic surveys in a wide range of ‘hard- rock’ and ‘soft-rock’ applications. The methodology described in the book is considered to be appropriate for mineral and hydrocarbon explorers, as well as groundwater explorers, and in fact all those involved in producing and using integrated geoscientific maps.

The book stresses the value of data integration; not only of geological and aeromagnetic data, but also radiometric, satellite imagery, aerial photo, gravity, electromagnetic and of course seismic reflection data where these are accessible for the project. Because of the diverse and consistent range of geological information it provides, our prime focus in this book is on ‘aeromagnetics’.1 We stress, however, that all available data should be considered when compiling a working interpretation. The cornerstones of the integration process are formed by the wonderful GIS, imaging and modelling tools at our disposal for enhancing and cross-referencing datasets, but the diligent and experienced human brain is the tool that shapes the end result and determines its quality. The tasks of observation, integration and interpretation that we describe in this book involve mostly simple and qualitative steps, using much more geological reasoning than heavy-duty physical or numerical analysis.

Click here to view the book’s Contents pages.  An order form for the book is available here.

7 Feb 2013

U.S. Geoscience Enrollments & Degrees Remain Robust in 2013

U.S. Geoscience Enrollments & Degrees Remain Robust in 2013

Enrollments in U.S. geoscience programs remained robust during the 2012-2013 academic year. Though total enrollments retreated from their 2011-2012 highs, the drop in enrollments was less than 3%. The current enrollment trend likely reflects the strong employment outlook for geosciences relative to the continued weak U.S. job market.


U.S. Geoscience Enrolments, 1955-2013

Reports from many geoscience programs around the U.S. indicate that they are at or near capacity, and thus additional enrollment growth above the current levels is unlikely without either a major expansion at existing programs or the introduction of online geoscience degree programs.

Total enrollments in 2013 were 27,591 undergraduates and 10,935 graduate students.Degree production at U.S. geoscience programs also remained strong. Undergradute degrees awarded continued to increase, reflecting the recent run-up in undergraduate enrollments. The sudden increase in Master’s degrees awarded in 2012 does not appear to be an anomaly. Even though awarded Master’s degrees have dropped, they remain above the levels seen since 1987.

This increase in Master’s degrees is likely in response to the strong job market, with an increasing number of students pursing geoscience graduate degrees to improve their employability. In addition, the large number of Master’s degrees awarded could also be attributed to Ph.D.-tracked students opting to graduate with Master’s degrees – excited for job opportunities outside of academia, given the extremely competitive job market in pure research and academic fields.

The total degrees awarded in 2013: 3691 Bachelors, 1313 Masters, and 663 Doctorates.

American Geosciences Institute

5 Feb 2014

CPD Opportunities from Snowden

Snowden are offerring AIG members a 10% discount on training courses.

The extensive range of courses offerred by Snowden are presented in a number of locations globally, including Perth, Brisbane, Johannesburg, Vancouver, Toronto, Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Belo Horizonte and Ulaanbaatar.


The course schedule for January to July 2014 is available here.

Quote your AIG membership number when registering to receive the discount.


APEGBC Releases Position Paper on Climate Change

Canada’s Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC) has published a position paper on climate change as it relates to the professional practice of engineering and geoscience. The position paper, developed by APEGBC’s Climate Change Advisory Group (CCAG) outlines the association’s position on the changing climate in BC, as well as the implications for practicing professionals. APEGBC members play a key role in providing guidance and advice to decision makers on how to respond to climate change, given their technical expertise and commitment to public safety.

APEGBC’s position statement on climate change is as follows:

A. APEGBC recognizes that the climate is changing and it commits to raising awareness about the potential impacts as they relate to professional practice and to providing information and assistance to members in managing implications for their own professional practice.

B. APEGBC members (professional engineers, professional geoscientists, provisional members, licensees, limited licensees, engineers-in-training and geoscientists-in-training) are expected to keep themselves informed about the changing climate, and consider potential impacts on their professional activities.

Several resources are provided in Canada to assist professional geoscientists in understanding and addressing the potential impacts of a changing climate on their professional practice, including: Professional Practice Guidelines, and the National Survey of Canada’s Infrastructure Engineers about Climate Change.

The Position Paper on Climate Change was approved by APEGBC Council and developed by APEGBC’s Climate Change Advisory Group (CCAG), following consultation with a number of APEGBC committees. The CCAG is responsible for advising APEGBC Council on matters related to climate change based upon the duties and objects set out in British Columbia’s Engineers and Geoscientists Act.

The Position Paper on Climate Change is available on APEGBC’s website:

2 Feb 2014