Inside Aera
People of Aera, Community Mar 13, 2020

CSU-Fresno geoscience majors see why Aera’s Coalinga oilfield rocks

On the university’s first visit to the field, students also heard about petroleum geology as a career

Dallon Stang (right) explains the history of geologic formations at Coalinga's oilfield to students. Stang, who joined Aera in 2013, is a California-licensed professional geologist.

Dallon Stang (right) explains the history of geologic formations at Coalinga’s oilfield to students. Stang, who joined Aera in 2013, is a California-licensed professional geologist.

Drawn by the terrain’s unique outcropping formations, 35 geoscience majors from California State University-Fresno made their first-ever visit to Aera’s Coalinga oilfield.

Students from the university’s upper-division Sedimentology and Stratigraphy class got a close look at the multiple outcrops at the west Fresno County location.

Dallon Stang, an Aera geologist, led the group on the March 10 tour.

Aera’s Coalinga field is unusual because the entire petroleum system of source rock, reservoir and seal is visible in outcropping formations.

“Most oilfields don’t have those elements exposed at the surface,” Stang said.

The field trip allowed the students, who were accompanied by two professors, to:

  • Measure and describe geologic sections across different depositional environments and geologic time;
  • Learn how the evolution of the San Andreas fault affected the area’s geology;
  • Collect fossils from 3-20 million years old.

Geology students and professors from Cal
State University-Fresno pose against the
unique outcropping formation at Coalinga’s
oilfield.

The university group also heard about the Coalinga area’s geologic and development history and about petroleum geology as a career.

“As a geology undergraduate student, no subjects affected me greater than sedimentology and stratigraphy,” said Stang, who holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in geology from UCLA.

“They shaped my interests, guided the course of my graduate education and ultimately led me here to Aera,” he added. “I am more than happy to share something I am still passionate about with current students, and explain how and why the topics they’re learning are important for the energy industry.”

In the past, Aera has hosted visits by petroleum geologists and engineers through Stanford University.

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