It’s great to be back out in the world as COVID-19 restrictions ease and travel is again allowed. Having been stuck at home in Trinidad for the past two years IMAGE 2021 in Denver provided me the perfect opportunity to travel and keep up to date with the industry via presentations. While virtual conferences were good nothing beats meeting old friends and meeting new ones in person.
The onsite registration was a breeze as I had my barcode, COVID protocols were very much evident in the area, but one disappointment was the absence of a conference bag due to I assume cost cutting.
I had registered for a field trip to Dinosaur Ridge and Triceratops Trail led by L. Wray and L. Fens and luckily this was the only trip not to be cancelled. After a 25-minute drive we arrived at Dinosaur Ridge, after a short safety meeting, we went to the outcrops.
Starting at the base of the section in the sandstones of the Jurassic Morrison Formation we looked at a variety of dark-coloured objects in the rock that turned out to be fossilized bones of various sizes and shapes. Discussions around the species of dinosaur recovered, Apatosaurus, Triceratops, Allosaurus, to name a few and the difficulty and time-consuming nature of recovering bones from the hard sandstones. Walking a short distance up structure we arrived at another sandstone outcrop with what appeared to be soft sediment deformation, it was revealed that they were in fact the impressions of the hind legs of an Apatosaurus, differences in sizes suggest adults and juveniles walking together.
Crossing a major unconformity, we arrived at the upper Cretaceous Dakota Group and outcrop of the Muddy ‘J’ sandstone with ash beds that allowed precise dating of this section. Symmetrical ripples dominate the sandstones indicating a shallow marine setting, occasionally thinner heavily bioturbated silty deposits were exposed beneath the sands and this is where the dinosaur footprints were found. Tracks of at least 77 dinosaurs, Iguanodon being the most common, have been identified. Interestingly scratch marks made by crocodiles and dinosaurs are seen. The footprints are all moulds and have been ‘painted’ with charcoal to highlight them, these quickly fade and are occasionally refreshed.
Triceratops Park is located within the compound of the Colorado School of Mines and within a golf course. The tracks are casts at the base of Upper Cretaceous sandstones, they were first uncovered as a result of clay mining during the late 1800’s, Triceratops footprints dominate although abundant palm frond impressions are also present.
The opening of the exhibition on Sunday was eagerly anticipated but crowds were much smaller than usual. On Monday I attended the opening Plenary Keynote Session and the featured Panel Discussion on The Future of Oil and Gas, the panel discussion highlighted companies’ approaches of the aging of current staff, changing business models etc. These sessions were well attended, but most noticeable was that attendees were primarily older with their jacket and tie. Few young persons were visible, probably there were attending virtually. AAPG indicated that masks were optional as such more than 90% of attendees were mask-less within an indoor setting. However, I made sure and wore mine to try and stay safe.
The highlight of the conference to me was the Discovery Thinking Forum: Giant Global Discoveries. ExxonMobil’s presentation on Guyana was the most interesting and discussed the long and difficult process from lease acquisition to finally selecting the first well to drill. It was also amazing how the speaker was able to not answer questions and reveal any new information. Other presentations emphasized how good and innovative technical work created new insights to unlocking the plays.
See you in Houston for IMAGE 2022 [*Save the Date (imageevent.org)*]
Curtis Archie [[email protected]]
Contact Leon [[email protected]]