Monday, October 4, 2010

Landscapes into Rock - Part 4

This post ends my summary of the Landscapes into Rock conference that took place in London, September 21-23, 2010.  Click here for previous posts.

Theme three – Landscapes into Rock – was obviously the central theme of the Conference. It was chaired by Sebastien Castelltort (ETH – Zurich) and Emma Finch (University of Manchester), it had eleven oral presentations and featured a very insightful “keynote of the keynotes” by Mike Leeder (University of East Anglia). Of interest for me was the research by Alex Whittaker et al using regional grain-size trends to derive information on the dynamics of the sediment routing system.

The high-point of the session was the keynote address by Mike Leeder. Mike put forth many interesting and provocative ideas:

  • the need to fully utilize the sedimentary record to test the landscape evolution models; 
  • the recent advances in speleothem and calcisol research that may provide the ability to isolate climate/vegetation forcing of the eroding landscape; 
  • the understanding of the link between the rate of tectonic evolution and how they induce major changes in the landscape; 
  • teleconection – the link between the eroding landscape and the downslope deposcape.

The fourth (and last) theme – Integrative studies of sediment routing systems and the petroleum systems - was organized by Ian Lunt (Statoil) and Mike Blum (ExxonMobil), and featured two presentation and two keynote speakers – Ole Martinsen (Statoil) and Peter Burgess (Shell and Royal Holloway University of London). For me, the highlight of this session was Peter’s overview of stratigraphic forward modeling in hydrocarbon exploration. Peter noted that stratigraphic forward models (SFM) are more mature but still have a limited predictive power. SFM prove most useful in their ability to quickly create multiple scenarios, to test hypotheses and ideas, to devise numerical experiments that illustrate how depositional systems work and through that to develop new plays and concepts.

On a less-formal side, the conference ended each day with a social hour, which involved a lot of discussion of the ideas presented during the day, accompanied by wine, of course.  The discussions were less formal, but certainly not less technical.  They were less flashy than the gathering that took place at Dolce & Gabbana one evening, just down the street from the Burlington House (picture below), but the social hour at the Landscapes into Rock conference were certainly more intellectually stimulating -- for me :)


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  2. Mihaela, great summary.

    The 'teleconnections' aspect is very interesting. I was looking into that a few years ago and came across some abstracts and similar documentation from the MARGINS S2S group. I think I remember John Swenson (Duluth) doing a bit of work on the topic in 2006ish. I think it's a better way to think about forcings ... I gave a talk in New Orleans in April trying to say (probably not very effectively) that the whole allo-auto dichotomy may not be very useful because you end up with relative problems. That is, is an updip autogenic process 'felt' as an external forcing downsystem?

    So, what is calcisol? A limey soil I presume?

  3. Brian, I wish I heard your New Orleans talk. Teleconnections is an intriguing concept; what I really want to know is how much more detectable the signal across the entire S2S system is in small systems versus large ones. Does it make a difference? I would think so. You bring a great point with the auto-allo dichotomy, I never thought about this aspect.
    Calcisol is a limey soil, formed in arid or semi-arid regions, with low vegetation. Hence a good key to use when trying to figure out climate/vegetation forcing.

  4. Mihaela,

    "...what I really want to know is how much more detectable the signal across the entire S2S system is in small systems versus large ones. Does it make a difference?"

    I think so. We argue that very point in this paper:

    If you want PDF of that or any of my papers, you can get here:

    Regarding the calcisol, it would be fun to do some work in nonmarine strata, nearly all my experience is in marine.


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