Organic material is ubiquious throughout the Earth, both in space and time – and the study of this material will determine how human society moves into the future. This sounds like a big claim, but it is true; take a moment and think about your own life and how much you are surrounded by organics and how much organics you use without thinking. But lets look backwards in time, just for a little bit.

Although organics typically account for less than a few percentage points in any sedimentary package, even ones that are hundreds of millions of years old, they provide a wealth of insight into the past. The study of organics in the geological cycle lets us understand paleoclimates, tectonics, evolution and a host of other studies. Organics truly are the key to understanding the past. And this past will help determine how we, as a world community, move into the future.  
Sampling peat bogs in New Zealand to determine past climates (photo by T.A. Moore).

Photomicrograph (400x) of fossil charcoal (white reflecting material) in organic-rich sediment from the Late Jurassic of Xinjiang, China (photo by T.A. Moore).
Lets not forget that organics, in the form of hydrocarbons, are used by humans in controversial ways; ways that are hotly debated today and will change the direction and uses of energy in the future of not just us, but, in some ways more importantly, our childrens’ future. Geoscientists are very much an intergral part in shaping the direction of how we use organics and what we understand of the Earth’s past and at TSOP, we are fully engaged.

We seek all geoscientists, from those who study plants and paleoecology, to those that look at how our recent ancestors lived and formed social groups to how critical elements, absolutely essential in our digital world, will be found and how they are associated with organics.  

Students study a 40 million year old peat mire, West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand (photo by T.A. Moore).

This is an exciting time to be living on planet Earth, and organics are one of the few things that unite not just us chemically to beings a billion years ago, but also will determine how our future world will be. Thus, we invite the geochemists, the coal and petroleum geologists, the palynologists, the climatologists, basin tectonic experts, paleobotanists, carbon credit negotiators and all others who deal with the past and future of organic material on Earth!