The 54th Annual Meeting of The Clay Minerals Society (CMS) was held 2–8 June 2017 at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) in conjunction with the Oil Sands Clay Conference. The meeting was organized by the Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability (part of NAIT) and The Clay Minerals Society. The meeting was a success, with more than 130 attendees, 66 abstracts submitted – 51 oral presentations and 15 posters. Session topics included, “Clays in Oil and Gas”; “Clay/Organic Interaction and Clay-Polymer Interaction”; “Clays in Mining”; Structure and Properties of Clays”; “Clay and Environmental Quality”; “Clay in Geotechnical Engineering”; Clays and Soil Formation”; and “Clays in Water/Solid Separation Processes”.

Passing of the Gavel

During the meeting, Dr. Jan Środoń (Institute of Geological Sciences, Poland), CMS President, passed the presidential gavel to Dr. Douglas K. McCarty, a recently retired senior staff geologist at Chevron ETC (Houston, Texas, USA). Dr. McCarty has been very active in The Clay Minerals Society. He is a former associate editor of Clays & Clay Minerals and the 2011 recipient of The Clay Minerals Society Marion L. and Chrystie M. Jackson Mid-Career Clay Scientist Award. Dr. McCarty worked for 20 years researching mineral analysis techniques, wireline log petrophysics, and clay mineral structure–composition relationships and physical properties. More recently, he has worked on the characterization of nanometer-scale pore systems in unconventional tight-rock reservoirs. Dr. McCarty holds visiting appointments at the Polish Academy of Science and Purdue University (Indiana, USA).

CMS Awards

During the meeting, several awards were conferred by the CMS. They included the George W. Brindley Clay Science Lecture Award, the Pioneer Award, as well as student research and travel awards.

The George W. Brindley Clay Science Lecture Award recognizes a clay scientist who will infuse the CMS with new ideas, someone who is both a dynamic speaker and who is involved in innovative research. The 2017 award was conferred on Dr. Sridhar Komarneni, a Distinguished Professor of Clay Mineralogy in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management and Materials Research Institute at the Pennsylvania State University (USA). He presented a lecture entitled, “Structure– Property Relationship of Synthetic and Modified Clays and Clay– Organic Nanocomposites for Environmental Protection”.

The Pioneer Award was bestowed on Dr. Fred Longstaffe, Disting uished Universit y Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Stable Isotope Science and the Director of Laboratory for Stable Isotope Science, Department of Earth Sciences, Western University (Ontario, Canada). The Pioneer Award was established to recognize research contributions that have led to important new directions in clay minerals science and technology.

Five students each received a CMS Student Research Award: Jeffrey Hannon (Reynolds Award Winner for highest-ranking application), Timothy Henderson, Sarick Matzen, Jimoh Monsurat Omolola and Boyoung Song. In addition, seven students each received a Student Travel Award (pictured above left to right): Bhabananda Biswas, Fashina Bidemi, Timothy Henderson, Seungyeol Lee, Paulina Maziarz, Ruhaida Rusmin and Katherine Rothwell (Blair Jones/Jane Flynn recipient for highest ranking application).

Best Student Presentation Winners

Winners of the Best Oral Presentation Award were Aleksandra Govedarica (1st place), Timothy Henderson (2nd place), and Ruhaida Rusmin (3rd place). Best poster presentation winners were Anna Koteja (1st place), Pauline Maziarz (2nd place), and Xiuoli Lee (3rd place). Winners received a certificate and free CMS membership for 2018.

10th Canadian Powder Diffraction Workshop

The 54th Annual Meeting of The Clay Minerals Society started with the 10th Canadian Powder Diffraction Workshop, which was held 2−4 June, was sponsored by Canadian National Committee for Crystallography, and was hosted at NAIT. The workshop was organized by Patrick H. J. Mercier, who is a senior research officer at the National Research Council Canada (Ottawa, Ontario) and Chair of the Canadian National Committee for Crystallography. The following lecturers and instructors are thanked for their time and expertise: James F. Britten, Michael A. Gharghouri, Jacques Huot, Anita Lam, Xinsong Lin, Patrick H. J. Mercier, Bussaraporn Patarachao, Kristian Ufer, Robert B. Von Dreele, and Pamela S. Whitfield. The workshop reviewed the basics of powder diffraction and informed participants on current trends.

Oil Sands Workshop

On 4 June, the Oil Sands Workshop was held on NAIT's main campus. The workshop brought together professionals and students of oil sands, bringing them up to speed on current issues, technologies, and approaches. The workshop discussed the following topics: clays in oil sands geology; methods for measuring the clays that are used in the oil sands industry; the impact of clays on bitumen extraction; the impact of clays on flocculation and transport of fines-dominated slurries; tailings dewatering mechanisms and the influence of clays; tailings dewatering technologies in oil sands; and a review of research needs and outstanding questions.


The next annual CMS meeting (the 55th) will be held 11–14 June 2018 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA). The title and the theme of this meeting will be “New Visions in Clay Science”.

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