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Major Geological Conference Comes Down Under

Major Geological Conference Comes Down Under

Earth scientists in New Zealand and Australia are today celebrating a successful bid to host one of the world's major geological conferences in the region in 2012.

The 34th International Geological Congress (IGC), to be held in Brisbane in August 2012, is expected to attract at least 5000 delegates from about 100 countries. Organisers will invite delegates to visit New Zealand for workshops and field trips during and after the 10-day event.

IGC is held every four years and has been staged in Australasia only once before in its 124-year history ? in Sydney in 1976.

The successful bid was confirmed today at a meeting of the International Union of Geological Sciences in Florence, Italy.

The Australia-New Zealand bid was led by Geoscience Australia with support from New Zealand's Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd (GNS). It was also supported by the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Australia, and by the Queensland state government.

It headed off strong bids from Ireland, India, and Morocco. Playing a major role in the success was Oceania's unique geology, from active volcanoes and coral reefs to numerous active faults and geothermal areas in New Zealand. Another factor was the high international standing of geoscience research in New Zealand and Australia.

Chief Executive of GNS, Alex Malahoff, said it was like winning the right to stage the Olympics.

" The event will be a great boost to earth sciences in New Zealand we can expect a significant increase in international partnerships and collaborations as a result," Dr Malahoff said.

" These alliances will last for many years beyond the conference. As well as boosting geoscience research, the conference will focus the attention of investors on New Zealand's geological resources such as geothermal power, oil and gas accumulations, and extremophile organisms that live in volcanic and geothermal areas."

The main objectives of IGC are to contribute to the advancement of geological sciences, to provide an international forum for the free exchange of geological information and ideas, and to provide field trips to examine topical issues in the host region. The next IGC is to be held in Oslo in 2008.

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