Christmas comes but twice a year... if you visit Ethiopia. By Gemma Nash

Carl Watson and I arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday 7 January, their Christmas day and our second in a month. There was a festive tree up in the hotel reception and Christmas dinner was on the menu; the diet's on hold for another week.

We had a relaxing first day, after a sleepless night flight, watching some people getting married in the gardens of our hotel. The bride and groom danced down the aisle to the music of a saxophone, singing and clapping.

Later, we sampled some authentic Ethiopian food including Injera, which is like a cross between pancake and sour bread. I'm not too sure I like it, but it seems to be served with everything!

After a long night's sleep, Tuesday was more productive. Carl and I brushed up on our 'About BGS' knowledge ready for the registration and ice-breaker at the Colloquium of African Geosciences conference (see

On arrival at the conference we set up our 'BGS booth'; primarily to promote Carl's new knowledge exchange project ''. This new initiative is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council to create a community for open, ready-to-use database designs that are free for all.
We have instant interest in our new project, despite only completing the website a few days ago! Carl handed out flyers and a survey to gauge the delegates’ requirements for new data models. After the first hour 20 surveys were returned; the delegates were quite encouraged by the prize draw!

Wednesday was the first full day of the conference and enthusiasm was high. We almost ran out of surveys by lunchtime and were inspired by the interest shown from people from many African countries. We also met up with our BGS colleagues and connected with many new potential collaborators.

There is a very full programme of talks and workshops, including several sessions by BGS staff at this major biennial meeting, of over 450 delegates, organized under the auspices of the Geological Society of Africa (GSAf).
  • Plenary Talk by Prof. John Ludden, Director, British Geological Survey: The Neoproterozoic: planet in flux and a frontier for research and for resources
  • Tim Duffy: OneGeology Web Services in Africa: progress and enhancements
  • Carl Watson: Sharing the most valuable database designs in African geology
  • Robert Thomas: Geochronology and structure of the eastern margin of the Tanzania Craton east of Dodoma and Salt domes of the United Arab Emirates: evidence for late Neoproterozoic sedimentation and rift volcanism in the northern Arabian-Nubian Shield
  • Charlotte Vye-Brown: Temporal evolution of rifting and volcanism in the Manda Hararo rift segment, Afar, Ethiopia
  • Gemma Nash: manning the BGS booth, promoting BGS research, Earth Data Models and OneGeology.
More to follow later in the week.

(Read John Ludden's Blog on CAG24 here)


Unknown said…
great time carl and his team, may I have the privilege to see your most valauble database designsin Africa geology. just for reference
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