The Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) annual conference was held in Santiago, Chile, October 7-11, 2019, and is the premiere international symposium that brings together geologists from the mining industry and those who work in research or at universities. This annual event is held to showcase the newest applications of successful mineral exploration, company ideas, and research that can help us understand and discover mineral deposits around the world. Being held in Santiago, this year’s theme was “Sierra to craton” and focused on the copper, gold, and other metallic deposits throughout South America. There were over 900 attendees from all over the world, including many students. Each day of the conference there were two sessions of talks under themes like Gold, Polymetallic, and Copper that were split up into morning and afternoon. Experts in these deposit types gave 15-20 minute talks about their most recent work, making SEG is a great place to learn about different mineral deposits and how they are discovered. During breaks and lunch there was time to browse posters, look at core from exploration companies, and network, and after the afternoon talks finished up the poster session officially began.
I presented a poster on my first project from the experiments I did this past summer in Germany with some results from analyses I’ve done in the past couple months. It was really great to talk with people about my methods and my preliminary interpretations from the data so far. I also attended a short course on Polymetallic Mineral Deposits in Peru, where I learned about a new deposit type and how they concentrate metals like zinc, copper, lead, and silver in the upper crust.
Arguably the best part of the conference was being able to return to Santiago after living there three years ago and seeing so many of my friends again. I lived in Santiago for nearly a year in 2016 after I won a Fulbright scholarship to do geology research at the Universidad de Chile under Dr. Martin Reich, and returning for the SEG conference was my first time back. I stayed with my best friend Andrea Paola Herazo and got to see new places in Santiago as well as re-visit places I spent time at three years ago. We visited an extensive area of old warehouses converted to flea markets where people sell literally everything under the Sun called Franklin. We ate amazing Peruvian food, patacones, and Chilean-style grilled meats, all of which I had missed a lot since moving back to the US. We visited the small village of Pomaire outside of Santiago and walked around the artisan stalls where people make beautiful ceramic cookware and pottery along with custom furniture, jewelry, and trinkets. Andrea and her husband Fernando were the most amazing hosts and I thoroughly enjoyed my couple of extra days after the conference spending time with them.
My first SEG conference was really fun and filled with new ideas and knowledge along with past friends and places. It was a great opportunity to see the up and coming research/projects in a place where I used to live, a nice juxtaposition of old and new!