Past Messages


Richard Fillon, Spring 2003

fillonThis year marks a full half-century of service by GCSSEPM to the Gulf South and World geoscience communities. As the new president of the section I am honored to follow in the footsteps of 49 distinguished past presidents who have incrementally built an organization and a foundation that together are capable of annually hosting a major research conference, co-hosting the GCAGS/GCSSEPM annual convention, awarding scholarships and research grants to deserving students and publishing important state-of-the-art technical reference volumes. I especially want to thank my immediate predecessor GCSSEPM president Tony D'Agostino and GCSSEPM foundation executive director Norm Rosen for pointers on facilitating the long list of informational meeting and publishing objectives that must be completed successfully before the end of the year. I want to acknowledge also the rest of the 2002 team, past president Ron Waszczak, vice-president Jory Pacht, treasurer Terri Dunn and secretary Lana Czerniakowski all of whom did wonderful jobs for the section last year. In addition to Tony D'Agostino who will now serve as past-president, and returning secretary Lana Czerniakowski, the newly elected 2003 team of officers is heartily welcomed, including new president-elect Jory Pacht, vice-president Rome Lytton and treasurer Patricia Santogrossi.

All of the 2002 and 2003 section officers thank you, the members of GCSSEPM, for supporting the section through your annual dues, through voting, and most importantly through your vigorous support of the goals of the section manifest in your attendance in force at GCSSEPM sponsored functions and for your continuing interest in GCSSEPM publications and workshops. In the coming year the rapid progress being made in the stratigraphic earth sciences will provide much to pique your interest and keep you enthusiastically involved with GCSSEPM sponsored events.

Two very successful meetings, the GCAGS/GCSSEPM annual convention held in Austin, Texas, Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2002 and the 22nd Annual GCSSEPM Foundation Bob F. Perkins Research Conference held in Houston, Dec. 8-11, 2002 rounded out the year 2002. The Austin convention had a great turnout, over 1300 people attracted to the 17 sessions that focused on topics ranging from the ultra-deep Gulf of Mexico and practical stratigraphy to coastal processes and remote sensing. It is at the annual convention that GCSSEPM awards and recognizes outstanding service to the earth science profession. Tony D'Agostino presented honorary GCSSEPM membership awards to two esteemed geoscience researchers and teachers William E. Galloway of the University of Texas at Austin and Peter R. Vail of Rice University. Michael J. Nault, one of GCSSEPM's most dedicated supporters and workers received his second GCSSEPM Distinguished Service Award at the same welcoming session. It was also announced that three students were being granted financial support as part of the new GCSSEPM Foundation Ed Picou Fellowship Grant for Graduate Studies in Earth Science. The work of Doug Ratcliff (Vice Chairman), Mark Edwards (Program Chairman), Shirley Dutton (Editor), and Mike Nault (Judging and Awards Chairman) in organizing the conference is gratefully acknowledged.

The December 2002 research conference, "Sequence Stratigraphic Models for Exploration and Production: Evolving Methodology, Emerging Models and Application Case Histories," was also well attended with over 280 registered participants, over 50 of whom presented topical papers. The program advisory committee co-chairmen for the conference, John Armentrout, Jory Pacht, Marty Perlmutter and Grant Wach and the team of GCSSEPM volunteers are deserving of our thanks and congratulations for bringing together a truly memorable collection of authors and papers. The conference proceedings volume, published on CD-ROM, will serve as a key stratigraphic reference guide for years to come.

This year will start off with a bang in April as the GCSSEPM Foundation and the South Texas Geological Society co-sponsor a one-day seminar on Friday the 11th, in beautiful San Antonio, Texas. This event, entitled "Structure and Stratigraphy of South Texas and Northeast Mexico: Applications to Exploration," will focus on the structure and stratigraphy of Mesozoic to Paleogene section in South Texas and Northeast Mexico and examine applications to petroleum exploration in the region. A special emphasis will be on the exciting prospect of new trans-border petroleum trends. Seminar topics will attract geoscientists working on both sides of the Rio Grande and the planned papers, which will be published on CD-ROM in time for the meeting, are sure to be widely read by many unable to attend the meeting. The GCSSEPM-STGS event was advertised in the last issue of the GCSSEPM News but for more current information updates check the GCSSEPM website.

In 2003 the GCAGS/GCSSEPM annual convention will be held October 22-24 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Its theme is "Gulf Coast Geoscience for the 21st Century." Because 2003 marks the 50th anniversary of both the GCSSEPM and LSU's Coastal Studies Institute, a special anniversary session is planned at the convention to bring together speakers who will review the great impact both organizations have had on the evolution of stratigraphic science in the Gulf region and worldwide. Technical sessions will target deep-water petroleum systems, modern depositional systems, reservoir characterization and other topics of interest. A special session devoted to student research is also planned. The 2003 convention should be strongly supported by section members in both industry and academia. This year there is no conflict with either the GSA Convention, to be held November 2-5 in Seattle, or Halloween. So those of you on the academic ladder or with small children can plan on attending. Students are more than welcome and are advised that this convention will be a great place to network for any career path in the earth sciences.

The 2003 annual GCSSEPM Foundation Bob F. Perkins Research Conference, "Shelf Margin Deltas and Linked Down Slope Depositional Systems: Global Significance and Future Exploration Potential," will be held from the 7th to the 10th of December, It will bring specialists from industry and academic institutions together in Houston to share information and insights on the predictability and variability of shelf-edge to slope depositional systems which contain the world's most prolific petroleum systems. Session topics will include: Quaternary models of shelf-to-slope systems; subsurface case histories; sedimentary processes of the shelf-to-slope transition zone; interrelationships of shelf margin tectonics and sedimentation; development and characteristics of slope petroleum systems; and, new tools for exploration and development on slopes and paleoslopes.

It is now time to plan on attending this year's research conference. If it is your first, you will be impressed. GCSSEPM research conferences are unique in that there are no concurrent sessions to cause scheduling difficulties, and as all oral and poster presentations are held in the same spacious venue, and plenty of good food and coffee is provided, there are abundant opportunities for informal discussions with authors and colleagues. And of course, included in the registration fee, all attendees receive the CD-ROM proceedings volume containing papers and figures presented at the research conference. The 2003 volume is sure to contain a wealth of new information on an important geological subdivision of continental margins.

The GCSSEPM has an enthusiastic group of dedicated folks involved in organizing meetings throughout the year, and as you can see we are looking forward to a busy and varied agenda for 2003. I encourage members to take part in all of the opportunities offered by the section and the foundation: volunteer to help out at one of the meetings, contact any of the officers in advance or just pitch in on site; round out your personal, corporate or university library by purchasing GCSSEPM publications; bring your industry work group to a research conference to acquire state-of-the-art insight on a topic before it reaches the textbook and industry course circuit; prepare and give a paper at a GCSSEPM meeting and then get together with colleagues from other companies or universities in an intellectually stimulating yet relaxed and comfortable setting; or, if you are retired and think you are burnt out on earth science, come to the GCSSEPM research conference to enjoy earth science at an unhurried pace, speak with students, and rediscover why you majored in earth science.

Before signing off I want to ask each of you reading this newsletter to think about what new offerings you would like to see from the GCSSEPM in 2003 and beyond, and to contact me directly with those ideas at so that they can be brought up for discussion and possible implementation. Let's work together for a better GCSSEPM.