U of S geologist wins Canada-wide thesis award

Patricio Desjardins, a former PhD student in the Department of Geological Sciences, recently received the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologist’s (CSPG) Best PhD Thesis Award for 2011.

The prize includes a cash award, one-year free membership in the society and an invitation to present a lecture in the CSPG's luncheon series in Calgary, a coveted opportunity in front of an audience of about 600 professionals

Desjardins, who grew up in Argentina, completed his PhD at the U of S under the supervision of professors Brian Pratt, Luis Buatois and Gabriela Mángano. He studied the shallow-marine sedimentary environments recorded in the sandstones of the Gog Group—510 million-year-old rocks that form the towering cliffs around Lake Louise and Lake O'Hara in the Rocky Mountains near Banff. They were deposited on the broad continental shelf that extended right around North America at that time.

Desjardins collected his field observations over three summers, which were also valuable experiences for his undergraduate field assistants. He has published his results in four renowned international journals, and has presented his findings at numerous conferences around the world.

"For years I had been looking for the right student to study these rocks," said Pratt. "Fortunately my colleagues had mentored just such a person while they were still living in Argentina. Patricio was delighted to come back to Canada, having done a year of high school in New Brunswick. His work will be cited for years to come, and I doubt that it will ever be surpassed."

This is the second time a U of S PhD thesis from the Department of Geological Sciences has won the award from CSPG. In 2004, it was won by Arndt Peterhaensel, who was also supervised by Pratt.

Desjardins currently works for Shell Oil Company in Houston, Texas. In 2007 he was the recipient of the U of S Appel Global Citizenship Award for his science outreach activities here in Saskatchewan and in his hometown of Tucumán, Argentina.

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