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AESC2021 ARGA Symposium highlights

ARGA has debuted as a fully fledged specialist group of the Geological Society of Australia, with the Association changing to an Alliance after a vote at the Wallaroo ARGA Conference in 2018.  To celebrate this event, a one day symposium was proposed by the committee members and Chair Carmen Krapf. With the switch to a virtual conference, the ARGA Symposium matched world class innovation, mineral exploration breakthroughs and space-bound regolith science with two keynote speakers and fast-paced 5 minute talks across three main session.  The three sessions cover main research focus in Southern Hemisphere – Regolith and Landscape Evolution, Planetary regolith and regolith in mineral exploration, and Mineral exploration in and through the critical zone.

The first keynote speaker was Prof. Paulo Vasconcelos, speaking on “Australia and Brazil: Contrasting Weathering and Erosion Histories but Similar Cratonal Landscapes”.  Prof. Paulo is a geologist specialised in the development and application of novel geochronological tools for investigating earth and planetary processes and his keen research revelations drew much discussion from the audience.

The second session keynote took ARGA off planet, with  Dr Graziella Caprarelli “Martian regolith: from cryolithosphere to atmosphere”.  Dr Graziella Caprarelli FAIG is Adjunct Research Fellow with the Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Southern Queensland, Adjunct Research Professor at the International Research School of Planetary Sciences (Italy), and member of MARSIS science team. She explores the martian subsurface geology looking for water.

Dr Walid Salama was invited to present the third and final ARGA keynote , and led the audience on a search for mineral wealth under cover in his talk, “Application of indicator minerals in mineral exploration.  Dr Walid Salama is a senior research scientist working for CSIRO Mineral Resources. He joined the regolith geoscience group as a postdoc fellow in 2012. His research focused on geochemical exploration of Au, base metals, Ni and Fe in the weathered and covered terrains in Western Australia, Queensland and Botswana.

To capture the excitement and innovation across the spheres of regolith found within ARGA, instead of traditional 10-15 minute talks all 8 invited presenters were asked to prepare 5 minute short talks, or ‘fast facts’, for the three sessions.  This new format showed just how varied and topical ARGA research projects are in the current climate of exploration under cover, environmental applications, investment in groundwater programs and delving into legacy datasets. 

Rounding off the day with the ARGA Annual General Meeting, a new committee was voted in and great thanks given to past committee members in particular, the enthusiastic Carmen Krapf for all her hard work and dedication to bring the symposium to life, and for her leadership these past three years.  With the announcement of the AESC 2023 in Western Australia, it is hoped to again develop an associated ARGA Symposium and generate even more discussion and great connection via regolith geosciences in the Southern Hemisphere. The multi-faceted projects presented at ARGA conferences continue to highlight the benefits of cross-discipline collaboration and the common love of cover, everywhere.

Dr Anna Petts

CC:BY Australian Regolith Geoscientists Alliance 2019 | Contact Us | Webmaster | 11-Mar-2021 20:38