Hello everyone. I have just deplaned in Denver. 770 miles down, only 5763 to go…

The first thing I notice is that it looked like every other airport I have ever visited in the US. The second thing I notice is that it is freezing here; it’s 19 degree F, which is -7 C to us Brits. Bearing in mind that it has been 15+ degrees in Austin, this is quite a shock. The third thing I noticed was this rather cool statue of Jack Swigert, one of the Apollo 13 astronauts. I think he was played by Kevin Bacon in the movie. I’ll try and upload a picture later, if I can get my phone to starting tangoing with my laptop.

I am now hanging around in a cafe, waiting for my 1010 Super Shuttle to take me to Colarado School of Mines in Golden. I am a little concerned; my talk time on one bit of my travel sheet is listed as 1200. On another bit it says 1600. I might need to ring someone…although the lady behind the desk, who seemed unmoved by whether I was dead or alive, suggested the journey would only take an hour. Fingers’ crossed. I have to say, I am a little nervous about going to CSM; it’s one of those names and institutions that has a pile of history and some annoying clever people. I have been practising my talk on the plane and I think I am good-to-go. I just need to get my source-to-sink (S2S) patter correct. I might Skype Tor Somme during the talk if things get hairy. If I get no questions, I might ask the audience why it’s called the ‘School of Mines’. I hope they don’t ask me a similar question about the Royal School of Mines…

So, what will I be talking about?

Having been asked to do this lecture tour, my first problem was what to talk about. Friends, who have done this tour before, encouraged me to propose at least two talks; apparently giving one talk up to 8 times in 2 weeks can drive you crazy. So, the question was, “do I give a couple of old talks on old research, or pull together something new based on recently completing and/or ongoing work?”. The former option is relatively straightforward because you can simply take a well-practised talk off the shelf and, with any luck, give it with your eyes closed; however, this option is a little dull. The latter, although hopefully more stimulating for you and the audience, runs the risk of being a death knell for your research career as you flop around in half-baked ideas. The decision becomes even more difficult when you consider that I have rather ‘broad’ (i.e. unfocused) research interests, and that the talks needed to be tailored for an AAPG (i.e. oily/gassy) crowd. In the end I came up with two talks that contained both old and new material. The first is on tectonically-controlled deep-marine reservoirs and is based on work I did with Tor Sømme (ex-Bergen, now Statoil). The second is on igneous intrusions and their impacts on petroleum systems; shout-outs to Craig Magee (IC), Nick Schofield (Birmingham) and Simon Holford (Adelaide) for their input on this one. For abstract, a terrible photo and a thrilling account of my geological ‘birth’, check out the official AAPG webpage

need a new continent? these people found one that might be just what you’re looking for…

Whenever I see stories about this type of thing, I always feel depressed that my research is not more exciting: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21551149. These folk pretty much found a lost continent…

Land on Earth was once gathered together in a supercontinent known as Rodinia, shown here as it was during its break-up 750 million years ago. Now scientists believe they have found a fragment of it buried under the Indian Ocean
Land on Earth was once gathered together in a supercontinent known as Rodinia, shown here as it was during its break-up 750 million years ago. Now scientists believe they have found a fragment of it buried under the Indian Ocean

The first top five

Top 5 words of encouragement received so far via email:

  1. “Distinguished lecturer tour? Whose bags are you carrying?”
  2. “Holy shit. A blog?”
  3. “Enjoy the good ol’ boys in Billings. They might make you salute The Flag”
  4. “Stay warm, practice your small talk, and be happy when it’s over”
  5. “ You should have a tour bus with your name on it”

Names have been omitted to protect the innocent…