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Canadian Society for Coal Science and Organic Petrology

A society to promote, encourage and support coal and organic petrology and related science especially in Canada

Brief History of CSCOP

Provided by: Hamed Sanei

The Canadian Society for Coal Science and Organic Petrology (CSCOP), formerly known as The Canadian Coal Petrographers Group (CCPG), began with a group of petrographers working independently in research groups within the Geological Survey of Canada, the Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology (CANMET) and various steel companies, who had common interests in the growing role of coal petrography and coal carbonization.

During the early 1970s, most of the petrographic research in Canada was being carried out in laboratories of the Geological Survey of Canada (Institute of Sedimentary and Petroleum Geology, Calgary, Alberta) or the Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology (CANMET, Bells Corners, Ottawa). At that time, the applications of coal petrography were already extending far beyond the realms of the bituminous coals and carbonization and into use of reflectance to identify regional coalification and metamorphic trends and environments of coal deposition.

With the growing popularity and increased diversity of applications of coal petrography that developed during the 1980s, a new generation of "imported" and "home-grown" petrographers was spawned with interests in the petrography of coals of all ranks including peats, lignites, subbituminous coals and anthracites, sparking a major evaluation of Canada's coal resources.

In 1975, a coal petrology laboratory was established by Peter Hacquebard at the Atlantic Geoscience Centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and during the late 1970s and early

1980s, a number of coal petrology laboratories sprang up within the provincial geological surveys in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and Nova Scotia and at the universities of Regina, British Columbia and Western Ontario. Petrographers from Britain, Australia, Germany, Iran, India and the U.S.A. came to Canada and joined the ranks of the Canadian Coal Petrographers Group, contributing to the development of world-class coal and organic petrology research facilities.

Membership in the CCPG swelled during this time, as did the variety of applications of coal petrography, which included studies in coal gasification, hydrogenation, pyrolysis, coal-oil and bitumen coprocessing, dispersed organic matter in sedimentary rocks, maturation trends in oil and gas prospecting, mineral matter and environmental aspects of coal petrography and geochemistry.

In 1990, the membership had reached a peak of about 65, and included associates from the USA, Australia and New Zealand. At this time, the name was changed to "The Canadian Society for Coal Science and Organic Petrology" (CSCOP) to reflect the growing membership and diversity of interests, especially in the area of dispersed organic matter and the role of petrography in hydrocarbon source-rock evaluation, organic facies, hydrocarbon exploration and thermal maturity of sedimentary basins. More recently, coal petrography has played a significant role in the evaluation of coal as coalbed methane source and reservoir rock and in the quality of gas shales.

The Society is a member of the Geoscience Council of Canada and many of our members have distinguished themselves internationally for their work on coal and the many other facets of coal and organic petrography.