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Leading geologists to convene in Kalamazoo

Sept. 23, 2010

KALAMAZOO--The possibility that Michigan may have large, untapped reservoirs of natural gas will be among several timely subjects discussed when the Eastern Section of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists convenes its annual meeting in Kalamazoo's Radisson Plaza Hotel Saturday through Wednesday, Sept. 25-29. The ES-AAPG's 2010 meeting is expected to draw some 400 geologists from 22 states and three Canadian provinces.

The event is being hosted by the Michigan Basin Society of Geologists as well as WMU's Department of Geosciences and its Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education. Dr. William B. Harrison III, WMU emeritus professor of geosciences, and Dr. Robb Gillispie, WMU assistant professor of geosciences, are co-chairing the meeting.

This year's theme, "Perseverance--the Pipeline to Prosperity," reflects the challenges petroleum geologists face exploring for, developing, and responsibly utilizing energy resources in the mature basins of the eastern United States and eastern Canada. It will come to the fore in numerous technical programs, workshops and poster presentations, some of which may cover topics that are of particular interest to members of the media.

One of those topics is subsurface shale formations that have the potential to produce large volumes of gas, a hot topic in Michigan these days following a major strike in the northern Lower Peninsula that led to unprecedented participation in the state's 2010 auction of oil and gas leases on state-owed lands. Exploration and production of new gas fields has the potential to create Michigan jobs, add millions to the Natural Resources Trust Fund and create revenues for private property owners.

The ES-AAPG meeting also will serve as a venue for spotlighting research being done at WMU related to CO2 sequestration, which has the potential to aid the environment. In addition, it will provide an opportunity to learn more about the University's efforts to combat the nation's impending shortage of trained earth scientists by inspiring K-12 students to pursue this profession.

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Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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