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ASEG news - Issue 23, 28th February 2020

Dear Members,

In today's news you'll find information on:

Australian Women's Leadership Symposia
Australian Science Communicators conference
Industry Mentoring Program - Western Australia
Australian of the Year- Local Hero Nomination
Prime Minister's Prizes for Science
How some ASEG members dealt with the recent fires
News from the states
Upcoming events (National and International)
The latest in Exploration Geophysics
What's new in Preview?
Member Spotlight: Dr David Annetts
Follow us on social media
Thanks to our corporate members

Don't forget to follow our social media accounts, for more regular updates on upcoming events and geoscience articles of interest.

Australian Women's Leadership Symposia

The Australian Women's Leadership Symposia are a national series of events focused on the experiences of women leaders in the contemporary workforce. Attendees will hear from an exceptional line up of inspirational guest speakers and collaborate on the issues of gender equality, leadership, career advancement and life fulfilment. Taking place in every state and territory capital between May and September, the Symposia are an unparalleled gathering of the best and brightest female talent. Keynote speakers include: Nova Peris, Ita Buttrose, Libby Trickett, Ann Sherry, Catherine Fox, Tammie Matson, Sallyanne Atkinson and many, many more. The events will feature a range of presentations, panel discussions and interactive sessions covering a highly captivating range of topics.

An attendance discount of 25% is currently available by entering code ANSY20 at the time of booking (available until each symposium sells out). For more information and to book:

The ASEG is proud to continue supporting women and female leadership in the workforce.

Australian Science Communicators conference

The Australian Science Communicators conference, sponsored by Monash Sustainable Development Institute, is being held for its 11th year in Melbourne, 16-19th of February. This will involve three jam-packed days full of conferences covering many important and pressing topics relevant today, such as the effects of climate change. Book here.

Industry Mentoring Program- Western Australia

Applications close Friday 6th March 2020! Complete the online Application Form here. Participation is free for members of any of the societies listed below.

In 2020, the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists will be teaming up with the Society for Underwater Technology, Engineers Australia, Petroleum Club of WA, Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia (PESA) , Society of Petroleum Engineers WA (SPE), Subsea Energy Australia (SEA) and Women in Subsea Engineering (WISE), to put on a co-hosted mentoring program and give everyone the opportunity to broaden their professional network.

Mentoring is one of the foundations of the development of individuals both professionally and personally. The process enriches both the mentee and the mentor and often forms rewarding long lasting bonds and relationships.

Contributions from mentors and mentees alike can have an enormous impact on the development of professionals and by extension create a legacy to our industry.

Australian of the Year- Local Hero Nomination

ASEG wishes to congratulate fellow geoscientist, Ms Suzy Urbaniak, a WA geoscience high school teacher, who was nominated for the 2020 Australian of the year - Local Hero award. She is well known for preferring a 'out of the classroom, hands on' style of teaching instead of the standard use of textbooks, which encourages students to think for themselves and become independent scientists. Ms Urbaniak is also the founder of the CoRE teaching program and receiver of the 2016 Prime Minister's prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools. The future of the science community is sitting in classrooms today with inspirational teachers such as Ms Suzy to guide them through their learning. From all at ASEG, congratulations and keep up the good work!

Prime Minister's Prizes for Science

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are the most prestigious science awards in Australia with prizes of up to $250 000. Nominations close March 12 with more information here.

How some ASEG members dealt with the recent fires

I am sure, if you were not directly affected by the recent fires then you know of family and/or relatives who were. But which members of our Society were affected? Actually, I am sure there will be many from across Australia with stories to tell. Of those I enquired about, I received replies that I have summarised in the following. These examples are all from south-eastern NSW.

The first is from Peter Gidley, a member since 1972 who lives close to one of his favourite ski-fields at Thredbo and is an RFS volunteer. This is what he wrote to me on January 4th.

"We have fire to the SW and NW. Smoke is thick and choking with ash and embers falling. I have been out on fires since before Christmas. Not a lot of fun and very tiring. We will not be able to stop these fires. All we can do is attempt to do asset protection and protect homes, etc.

Then on January 6th after some rain, he wrote,

"We get very poor aerial surveillance (low priority), so we needed to know the extent of Dead Horse Gap, Tin Mines and Tom Groggin fires. So, with two Cat 9’s, we took two crews down the Alpine Way to Victoria. Very dangerous on the roads with seriously big timber falling and trees blocking the road. Much chain sawing, falling trees/branches and risky driving.

So far we are all OK, but we know a number who aren’t, having lost so much".

Photos by Peter Gidley.

Another is John Stanley, a member since 1973, who lives in the Kiewa Valley in Victoria, at the base of Mt Bogong and Falls Creek. The nearest significant fires were south of the Ovens Valley and extended over Mt Buffalo, through the Buckland Valley and across to Dinner Plains and Omeo.

On 4 January he wrote, "I am reasonably well prepared with a petrol engined sprinkler system cooling my geophysical instrument museum! For fire to reach us it must travel downhill and most likely against the wind updraft. So, as long as I can quell cinders I feel confident".

And on 20 January, "Yes, we were lucky in the Kiewa Valley. We had a few lightning strikes but the local boys got on top of these very efficiently. My concern has been for my museum with four cars that are the sole survivors of their model. I feel reasonably secure because of our positioning relative to forests and prevailing winds, but these fires proved to be unpredictable. I fitted sprinklers on the top of the shed and I have two petrol engine water pumps beside the swimming pool. The house is much more vulnerable than the shed – but it is replaceable! The museum is not!"

Mike Smith, a member since 1970, replied to my concern on 11 January with, "Yesterday afternoon, Berenice and I returned to Sydney from our property in the southern Monaro after 14 days of preparations for the possible arrivals of bushfires from the north and from the east. The Badga Road Countegany Fire started in the hills near our property and roared through the forests east of our property to eventually wreak havoc in the coastal towns. The Good Good Fire (which is actually several merged fires) started by lightning just north of Numeralla, and this looked very threatening if it travelled due south towards our place – we attended a public RFS meeting to get specific info about that system. Fortunately, the winds pushed that fire east-southeast, though it is not under control yet. Several of our farmer neighbours are very concerned about the potential for the massive bushfires in the Kosciuszko National Park to escape into the dry grasslands of the Cooma plains, and ultimately cross into the Numeralla valley".

Bob White, member since 1971, is, like Peter, very involved in the RFS and trains new recruits. He lives north of Sydney. This is his reply.

"I got directly involved when the Mt Gosper fire started in the Wollemi National Park north of Sydney. If this fire crossed the Hawkesbury River it would impact northern Sydney. This involved many 16-hour days burning around houses and letting the fire run back into the hills as we could not stop the fire, only save property. We created a fire break 6-8 Km wide only to have it jump this and start new fires in parks to the east.

This was followed by a fire south of Sydney, so I eventually ended up in Bombala on 5-day trips, fighting fires coming north from Victoria and decimating the forestry areas along the border.

As I was constantly told, people over 70 should find a more sedate pastime. Although we lost a lot of houses, we managed to save far more and hopefully made a difference.

Roger Henderson

Branch upcoming events

Details about ASEG events can be found on the ASEG website.

Branch Date Presenter Title Venue
WA 12-03-2020 Loupe
CGG MultiPhysics
Loupe -- Case Studies from Loupe – New Technology in Portable TEM for Near-Surface Measurements

CGG MultiPhysics -- Helitem2: New Technology in Airborne TEM for Deep and Covered Targets with Western Australia Examples
Celtic Club
WA 01-04-2020
Sergey Fomel TBA
SA/NT 24-03-2020
5:30pm for 6:00pm
Ian Moffat & AGM Searching for the Beaumont Children and Other Adventures in Unmarked Grave Detection Coopers Alehouse, 316 Pulteney St, Adelaide
ACT 11-03-2020 Greg Street, Loupe Geophysics Loupe TEM system (TBC) GA
NSW 18-03-2020 Club York
99 York Street
NSW 15-04-2020 Don Emerson
Club York
99 York Street
NSW 20-05-2020 Simon Williams
Club York
99 York Street
NSW 17-06-2020 Claire Mallard
Club York
99 York Street
NSW 15-07-2020 - Dinner TBA
NSW 9-12-2020 Trivia Night Club York
99 York Street, Sydney

For a more complete calendar of events see Preview

Date Event
Postponed 36th International Geological Congress, New Delhi, India
15-19 March 2020 Seismix 2020 Symposium, Fremantle, Western Australia
6-9 April 2020 Saint Petersburg 2020 - Geosciences: Converting Knowledge into Resources, St Petersburg, Russia
3-8 May 2020 European Geosciences Union 2020, Vienna, Austria
8-11 June 2020 82nd EAGE Annual Conference and Exhibition, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
14-16 July 2020 6th International Archean Symposium Perth, Western Australia
17 July 2020 Target 2020 Perth, Western Australia

Hi Exploration Geophysics readers,

Issue 1 for 2020 is now online and is a must-read in the AEM world. It is the special edition from the 7th International Workshop in Airborne Electromagnetics (AEM 2018) held in Denmark, Australia.

To access Exploration Geophysics articles free of charge, please log into the ASEG website and click on the link on the publications page.

Enjoy your reading.



Dr Mark Lackie

Exploration Geophysics Editor

The February issue of Preview is now available online

Preview is marking the ASEG's golden anniversary by asking the current ASEG President, and current and past Editors of Exploration Geophysics, to nominate their "best of" papers published in the ASEG Bulletin or its successor, Exploration Geophysics, in the last 50 years. Ted Tyne's choice appears in this issue - you will have to flick through to the feature pages to find out what it was!

David Denham (Canberra observed) considers government management of Australia's bushfire crisis. He also reviews the performance of the resources sector in 2019, which is more comfortable reading. Michael Asten (Education matters) introduces the first SEG Honorary Lecturer for 2020. Mike Hatch (Environmental geophysics) takes a look at fake science. Terry Harvey (Minerals geophysics) muses on whether force or finesse is more important in a resistivity survey. Mick Micenko (Seismic window) marks his own anniversary - and reviews flat reflections. Tim Keeping (Data trends) identifies compliance issues with the ASEG GDF2, and Ian James (Webwaves) brings us up-to-date with the use of the ASEG website.

Proposed contributions for future issues can be submitted by email to the editor at

Lisa Worrall

Preview Editor

This month we get to know Dr David Annetts.


  1. What is your current role?
  2. Currently, I'm a senior research scientist with CSIRO's Mineral Resources Business Unit. I'm a forward electromagnetic modeller by inclination.

  3. What is your current role in the ASEG' Federal Executive?
  4. I'm currently President Elect. It's humbling and daunting to step into the Presidency in the ASEG's 50th year, especially after previous incumbents. Before that I was Webmaster.

  5. For how long have you been a geophysicist?
  6. About 30 years, in and out of school.

  7. What do you like most about being a geophysicist?
  8. The number of niches is remarkable. One can go broad or deep, or flit between the field and lab or between petroleum, minerals, geotechnical, solid earth or enviromental applications.

  9. If you weren't a geophysicist what would you be?
  10. An economist.

  11. What is your best interview tip?
  12. Prepare by researching the role and the organisation. Anticipate questions, but don't give stock answers. Be honest. An interview is an opportunity for both parties to figure out if they can work together towards a common goal. Also, that some interviews are not necessarily formal.

  13. Where was your best sunrise/sunset location?
  14. Sunsets around the Four Corners region of the USA are generally pretty good. And looking down the Swan as the sun disappears behind the hills in front of Fremantle. But I prefer sunrises. Anywhere.

  15. What are you reading at the moment?
  16. The last book I read was "Agency", a science fiction novel by William Gibson. Currently, I'm reading a biography of John von Neumann who made fundamental contributions to pure and applied mathematics, theoretical physics, economics and computer science over much too short a life.

  17. What made you decide to be a geophysicist?
  18. As a colleague once put it, a marriage of convenience became a labour of love.

  19. What's one thing you wish someone had told you when you were at university?
  20. It's possible that they did tell me. I only wish I had remembered what I asked and what they said.

  21. What's your most treasured textbook?
  22. I refer to Nabighian's volumes about once a month.

  23. Your funniest or worst field memory?
  24. My field these days being a lab, I can confirm that "rm -r *" works as advertised.

  25. Your most respected geophysicist?
  26. There are too many to count and to list. Some have been awarded ASEG Gold medals but others have earned respect by lots of hard thorough work.

  27. What do you do in your spare time?
  28. I run, lift weights, climb, listen to whole albums & read.

  29. What is a challenge you have overcome and how did you do so?
  30. Most challenges I tend to approach like eating an elephant: One small piece at a time.

  31. What is a challenge that you see in geoscience today, and how do you see the community overcoming it?
  32. I see a few challenges on the horizon. One is the acquiring the social license to operate sustainably. The next is to effectively explore in more challenging environments.

  33. What is the best way that the ASEG could let the public know about geophysics and its benefit to the everyday life?
  34. I think this is a challenge that the ASEG has faced over all its 50 years and will continue to face over the next 50.

  35. Where do you think exploration geophysics will head in the next 10-15 years?
  36. Trends towards AI through data mining seem overwhelming.

  37. Given a choice, would you prefer extra mentoring on the science, your career or the how to handle/explain exploration geophysics and its benefits to the community?
  38. I am increasingly realising that effective marketing is a vital component of most of what we do.

  39. What aspect of geophysics do you enjoy most?
  40. I still get a kick out of EM responses and how they reflect the underlying model.

  41. Do you think AI will take over your job or will the human element remain vital to exploration successes?
  42. Until we have to sort of AI that is described by Ian Banks' Culture Series of novels, I think the human element will remain vital. We have enough ambiguity in conventional least squares inversions, and to expect AI to resolve that is probably unrealistic. If AI returns reasonable answers, then perhaps we're not asking the right questions.

  43. There are a lot of geophysicists coming up for retirement - what skills do you think will be lost with them?
  44. Skills are learned, and "what one fool can learn, so can another" to quote Feynman. Wisdom is what will be lost.

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