When the earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra in 2004 triggering a devastating tsunami, Craig Beasley, Schlumberger Fellow and chief geophysicist, pondered how geophysics could be used to mitigate such natural disasters.
Beasley had an idea—and an opportunity to implement it. While Beasley was serving as president of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) for the 2004-2005 term, he proposed a program called Geoscientists Without Borders† (GWB) with the goal to provide geophysical resources and expertise to communities in need.
With a $1 million founding grant from Schlumberger, the SEG Foundation launched the program in early 2008. Since then, individuals and corporations around the world have contributed to continue the program's growth. GWB supports projects worldwide to help geoscientists apply their specialized knowledge and technical skills towards the mitigation of natural disasters in some of the world's neediest communities.
Each project involves geoscience students working alongside experienced geoscientists. This allows students to learn how geoscience and its technologies can be used for humanitarian efforts while also providing a real world experience for the future geophysical workforce.
Humanitarian efforts in response to disasters are not new in the geosciences,” notes Beasley, “but this program offers the opportunity for the energy sector to play a significant role in this worthwhile effort. The technology and expertise that we have developed in the energy industry, as well as the funding, will be put to good use to help improve the safety and welfare of disadvantaged or distressed people all over the world.
To date the GWB program has awarded more than 20 projects in 17 different countries. Grants are awarded to projects such earthquake, landslide, tsunami and volcano preparedness.
In recognition of the achievements of the SEG Geoscientists Without Borders program, the initiative was honored as the World Oil Awards Best Outreach Program
† Geoscientists Without Borders is a mark of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.