Life On Mars

Is there life on Mars? We’ve been asking the question for centuries, but could clues in Western Australia’s Pilbara soon gives us answers? Join a panel of NASA scientists and astrophysicists as they discuss all things Mars.

How will people live on the red planet? Is there already simple life there? Will Mars be a base for humanity one day stepping out into the galaxy? Do we have galactic neighbours?

Graham Phillips [ABC’s catalyst] will lead this panel of leading Australian and International scientists to give you answers.



Dr Graham Phillips | ABC Catalyst


15 August 2019


Perth Convention & Exhibition Center,Riverside Theatre,WA


Dr Mitch Schulte | Program Scientist NASA Mars 2020
Prof. Paul Davis AM | Astrophysicists ASU
Prof. Martin Van Kranendonk | Astrobiologist UNSW
Dr Vanessa Lickfold | Head of Geoscience Western Australian Iron Ore Iron Ore, BHP
Renae Sayers | Research Ambassador, Curtin University

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Win tickets to the ‘Life On Mars’ event

Are you aged 18 or under and interested in winning tickets to this amazing event?


Create an infographic, poster or other form of media to share something about:

  • fossil stromatolites,
  • the origins of life on Earth,
  • the search for life on Mars and/or
  • how humans may live on Mars

For competition terms and conditions and to enter visit

All entries must be received by 6pm(WST)4 August 2019 and winners will be notified by 6pm(WST)6 August 2019

*Teachers looking to bring students to the ‘Life on Mars’ event at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre on August 15 we know about a special deal for you…For groups of 10+ students book two students and get the third free (up to five free students) and that’s on the special student price! More details and special booking forms can be found via the button link below.

Click here to enter

Inclusion and diversity central to AIG’s strategy

The AIG Council meets once a year, face to face, to consider issues that are central to AIG’s strategy. The 2019 meeting was held in late June in Adelaide.

It was great to meet members of the revitalised South Australia Branch committee. AIG has had an active branch in South Australia for some years, but a new committee has recently taken on the task of revitalising a program of regular branch meetings and seminars in the state. The Central West Exploration Discussion Group (CWEDG) has also recently merged with AIG’s New South Wales Branch to foster opportunities for geoscientists in the Orange region to meet and interact. State Branches play an essential role in the delivery of many of AIG’s benefits of membership and these developments will, without doubt, enhance our Institute’s ability to represent members in those areas.

The first face to face meeting of state branch committee representatives is to be held in Perth in early September, with the aim of improving managing AIG business, the work of our secretariat and, most importantly, improve communications between Council, AIG’s board, branches.

Several priorities emerged from the meeting:

  • AIG will remain a member-run, agile and responsive professional institute with low fees. AIG’s not for profit model is seen to be central to the Institute’s success.
  • Professionalism: we will continue to build a strong commitment to professionalism and ethics.
  • Building a community: we will strive to increase opportunities for members to meet and interact, face to face and on-line. Council is facilitating either audio or video recording of technical talks and other events for the benefit of members across Australia.
  • Retention and growth: we need to look closely at how to retain students as graduate members, and graduates as full members.
  • Education: AIG will remain committed to both secondary and tertiary geoscience education through support of ESWA and TESEP, and AIG’s own, very successful, undergraduate and postgraduate student bursary program.
  • Advocacy: we will look closely at how AIG manages this role, in its own right and in collaboration with kindred societies.
  • Inclusion and diversity: support for members with parental responsibilities and looking at AIG documents, to ensure they use gender-neutral language.

Many of these are issues that won’t be solved overnight, but on which substantial progress can be made in the next twelve months.

Aspects of the inclusion and diversity issue received immediate attention. We want to ensure that all members taking parental leave can retain contact with their peers and involvement in AIG activities. Members are able to request a membership subscription concession for up to three years while they undertake parental duties and are eligible for concessional registration for all AIG events. AIG’s Code of Ethics has also been reviewed to ensure that gender-neutral language is used throughout. The revised Code of Ethics will be put forward for member approval at the annual general meeting next year. This review is continuing. Council has also committed to reviewing recognition of overseas academic qualifications, to ensure that our assessment process is both equitable and robust.

AIG publications and establishment of specialist groups, where members can engage with others on topics of particular interest, are also on the agenda. Watch for further details and take the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas with your local branch or any Councillor – see AIG News for contact details.

Andrew Waltho

AIG News 136 is available now!

AIG News 136The latest edition of AIG News, the Australian Institute of Geoscientists member newsletter is now available in full colour and digital format and best of all FREE for all readers!

Now all AIG Members and Non Members can enjoy our FREE AIG Newsletter in digital format, including all previous editions. Please click here to see our archive of AIG News.

Download the latest copy of AIG News 136 below:
PDF For web: AIG News 136: Download as Single Pages PDF
PDF For web: AIG News 136: Download as Double Page Spread PDF
For print: AIG News 136: Download as Single Pages PDF
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Inside this latest issue…

aig_news_136From Your President; Institute News; NSW, QLD, TAS Branch News; Education News; Membership Updates; President’s Letter to Members: 2019-2020; AEGC all set for a sell-out in Perth; Annual General Meeting 2019; Unemployment down but self-employed geoscientists continue to struggle; Application of magnetostratigraphy and sandstone petrography to characterise the Condamine Palaeo-valley Alluvium; Paleozoic to Mesozoic tectonics of Zealandia and tectonic implications for eastern Gondwana; A Response to Ian Wilson on Climate Change; Critical Minerals; Geoscientist Careers in Insurance; High-tech Metals Map; National Rock Garden News – Adelong Norite unveiled and a small piece of Antarctica on its way to the NRG; Events Calendar and more…

AIG News is optimised to be read with Adobe Reader. Versions are available for printing (with Adobe Reader version 4.1.3 or later) or either reading on-line or downloading for reading off-line with your laptop or tablet (with Adobe Reader version 6.1.5 or later). Both versions have been tested and are compatible with Apple Preview and iBooks for Mac and iPad users.

If you experience any difficulty accessing and reading AIG News using the Adobe Reader versions listed here technical support is available.

We hope that you enjoy the latest AIG News and welcome your feedback.

Geoscientist employment in Europe

The European Federation of Geologists announces 2018 employment survey results

EFG announced the results of the first employment survey of European geoscientists conducted last year. The objectives of the survey were to:

  • Analyse the labour market for geo- logists in Europe: In which industries do professional geologists work? Are their activities related to their training? Do they exploit job opportunities in other European countries? Which are the prospects for the future?
  • Provide geologists with a better over- view of labour opportunities in Eu- rope, helping them to construct their studies and careers,
  • Allow professional associations to of- fer better services to members, hel-ping them to find jobs,
  • Provide evidence for professional as- sociations to pursue the policy dia- logue with universities and education authorities improving the training of geologists.

The survey results are presented as a two page report, available here.

Geology and the energy transition

Policy makers and geoscientists gather in Delft to exchange ideas on the contribution of geoscientists to the energy transition.

The EU-funded CHPM2030 project has organised its final conference in the framework of the EuroWorkshop “Geology and the energy transition” on 23 May 2019 at the Science Centre of Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands). Co-organised with the Royal Geological and Mining Society of the Netherlands (KNGMG) and the European Federation of Geologists (EFG) The aim of this event, which gathered 100 participants from 24 countries, was to provide insights into the energy transition and how it affects geosciences.

The conference’s first session aimed at setting the context by providing an overview of the policies adopted to encourage the energy transition. KNGMG President Lucia van Geuns opened the EuroWorkshop with an overview about nowadays global energy context stressing that no ‘one size fits it all’ approach to the energy transition exists. Mrs. van Geuns particularly highlighted the opportunities arising from system integration technologies where geoscientists play a major role, ranging from the production and storage of green hydrogen in existing platforms and its transport through existing pipelines, to the CO2 transport and storage in existing fields.

In his keynote speech, EFG President Vitor Correia highlighted two factors that may accelerate the energy transition: on the one hand, research and industry are exploring intensively how to produce cheaper and more efficient power storage technologies. Putting forward the example of Greta Thunberg and the global climate strike movement she initiated in 2018, he outlined, on the other hand, the power of changes in consumer behaviour, referring thus particularly to the 12th Sustainable Development Goal on responsible production and consumption. Finally, Vitor Correia also underlined EFG’s availability, as a supplier of reliable and trustworthy information, to support policy makers with the geological expertise needed to bring forward the energy transition.

Ruud Cino, who is responsible for oil, gas and other mining sectors at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate Change, focused in his speech on the role of the subsurface in the energy transition and the social challenges arising from this. He outlined three key measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and emphasize the role of geosciences: (1) energy savings and efficiency which can be achieved by managing heat and cold demand through subsurface storage; (2) CO2 capture and storage which allow, in the short term, to use offshore gas fields with an ample storage capacity; and (3) CO2-free energy sources and technologies such as wind, solar, biomass or geothermal which require the exploration and exploitation of mineral raw materials for their deployment. Mr. Cino also underlined the critical importance of raw materials supply for the large-scale development of energy storage technologies, which will increase the overall flexibility in the supply of energy services. He finally highlighted the need of policy makers to receive support from geoscientists, to inform the public about both the opportunities and risks arising from the changing environment.

The morning session was concluded by Eilard Hoogerdujn Strating who outlined Shell’s position on the energy transition and the changing role for geoscientists, and Adele Manzella, who presented the strategic vision of the European Technology and Innovation Platform on Deep Geothermal (ETIP-DG) which aims at accelerating the deployment of innovative low-carbon geothermal technologies.

During the high-level panel discussion which followed these talks, the constant dialogue of geoscientists, policy makers and society was highlighted as a key aspect for a smooth energy transition, with a focus on explaining the opportunities arising from the transition and the importance of the subsoil at all its stages. 

In the afternoon, two parallel sessions were held to present concrete examples of projects where geosciences play a key role in the implementation of the energy transition. The first session was dedicated to the CHPM2030 project. As stated in previous presentations, the European economy is heavily dependent upon energy and mineral supply for industry and society. Lowering the costs and the environmental impact of energy production and decreasing the dependence on imported strategic raw materials are therefore key challenges. CHPM2030 is an ambitious research project funded by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 programme for Research and Innovation that has been set up to help address these challenges. CHPM2030 is indeed developing a novel technology that will combine geothermal energy production with metals extraction from the geothermal fluid in a single interlinked process, the Combined Heat Power and Metals (CHPM) technology. During this dedicated session, the project team introduced preliminary outcomes of the project which will end in June 2019 and aims at creating a proof of concept for the CHPM technology at a laboratory scale. Following a general introduction by the coordinating team from the University of Miskolc (Éva Hartai and Tamás Madarász), the work package leaders provided a more technical overview about the work carried out since the project started in 2016. This ranged from tests regarding metal content mobilisation from deep ore bodies (Chris Rochelle, British Geological Survey), to metal recovery from geothermal fluids (Xochitl Dominguez, VITO), salt gradient power generation by reverse electrodialysis (Joost Helsen, VITO), and aspects of system integration and the conceptual framework for the CHPM plant (Árni Ragnarsson, Iceland GeoSurvey). In addition, the project team also analysed the technology’s economic feasibility as well as environmental aspects (Wojtech Wertich, MinPol). To conclude the session, Tamás Miklovicz from La Palma Research Centre (LPRC) presented the preliminary roadmap for the further development of CHPM. Roadmapping involved tools like Horizon Scanning, Delphi surveys, and study area reports which led to the preparation for pilots’ stage during which four potential test sites in the UK, Portugal, Romania and Sweden were identified. This has been completed by the compilation of a European database of potential sites identified by the European Federation of Geologists’ national associations which collaborate as Linked Third Parties in the project. The roadmap foresees the development of at least one full pilot by 2030 and full-scale development of the technology by 2050. To stick to this schedule, it is now crucial to get industrial partners and investors on board.

The second afternoon session presented a wide array of examples illustrating that technology is improving rapidly, turning for instance formerly non-promising technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage into short-term options. The innovative technologies presented included the combination of CO2 storage with geothermal power generation and subsurface energy storage (Martin Saar, ETH Zürich), the GEOCOND project which works on advanced materials and processes to improve performance and cost-efficiency of shallow geothermal systems and UTES (Jose Manuel Cuevas Castell, Technical University of Valencia), and subsurface energy storage and buffering via ATES and shallow geothermal plants (David Klemetz, WSP Sweden). Furthermore, the importance of geotechnical expertise for the deployment of new infrastructure such as offshore foundations (Kenneth Gavin, TU Delft) or solar installations (Ramón Perez, Tecsolgeo) was highlighted. Finally, the key role of mineral raw materials in the energy transition and the importance of data harmonisation were reminded on basis of the EU-funded ORAMA project (Perttu Mikkola, Geological Survey of Finland). From the wrap-up of the afternoon sessions, it became clear that geoscientists play a key role in all these fields and their knowledge and expertise is central for the energy transition.

Full information about the event:

European Federation of Geologists

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