The Society for Organic Petrology Annual Meeting:

Hydrocarbons in the Tropics – On the Edge Field Trip

 The 2015 TSOP Post-Conference field trip is scheduled to take place from Thursday, 24th September to Sunday  27th September.

 SEE LINK: for more about the society, the 2015 Annual Meeting in Yogyakarta and the field trip to Kalimantan

We encourage people to join the field trip; this will be a unique opportunity to examine current hydrocarbon producing sediments and then see their exact modern equivalents being deposited today. Plus, Indonesia peat mires are often invoked by around the world as a modern analogue for coal forming environments, but few people have actually visited them in person.

Mahakam Delta, Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia

Mahakam Delta, Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia (photo © Tim A. Moore)

This is your chance. See what all the fuss is about.

Your field trip leaders will be:

Professor Chairul Nas (Trisakti University, Jakarta) – Day 1 & 4 (coal)

Dr Andang Bachtiar (National Energy Council, Jakarta) – Day 2 (Modern Environments)

Dr Tim A. Moore (Cipher Consulting Ltd., Brisbane) – Days 1, 3 & 4 (coal & peat)


Delegates are encouraged to register for the field trip early. There is a limited number of spaces (strictly 30 persons), on a first come first serve basis.

Note that participants should be reasonably fit and be able to walk unaided on uneven and rough ground.

Partners of delegates are welcomed.

Cost: see fee schedule listed elsewhere

The fees cover:

  • Round trip ticket from Yogyakarta to Balikpapan
  • Transport while in the field
  • Accommodation for the 3 nights in the field
  • Breakfast and lunch (dinners are the responsibility of the delegates, but several suggestions will made of where to go)
  • Water and refreshments while in the field
  • Field trip materials


Day 0, 23rd September (in Yogyakarta)

Evening: A 1-hr meeting with all the field trip participants to cover:

  • Health and safety issues
    • Review of proper gear for the field trip (see below for a list of equipment, clothing and gear that each participant should bring)
    • Discussion of any special needs
    • First Aid review
  • Contact details of where we’ll be staying and going into the field
  • General geology and plan of the field trip
  • Questions and Answers

 Day 1, 24th September

Early Morning: Fly from Yogyakarta (Java) to Balikpapan (Borneo). The flight takes about 2 hrs

Morning into Late Afternoon: After arrival at the Balikpapan airport, we will take a rented bus north to Samarinda. Stops will be made along the way at road outcrops and/or coal mines. All geological sections will concentrate on Miocene age coal-bearing sediments. These sediments are the source of all coal, as well as most liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons currently being exploited in East Kalimantan. We will be stopping along the way at a local café for lunch.

Miocene age coal from the Balikpapan Formation, Kalimantan, Indonesia

Miocene age coal from the Balikpapan Formation, Kalimantan, Indonesia (Photo © Chairul Nas)

Evening: Check into hotel in Samarinda

Day 2, 25th September

Morning: After safety check, board boat to examine some of the modern hydrocarbon producing environments along the Mahakam River and upper delta area.

Lunch: On Boat

Afternoon: Visit other modern depositional systems along the river and environs. Return to hotel.


Day 3, 26th September

Morning: Leave early to drive up river (westward) along the Mahakam River. Goal is to visit a modern peat forming system. The target peat system is between two tributaries of the Mahakam River which in the 1980s, burned, was flooded and since has peat forming on top of the burn/flooded surface.

Lunch: On site/in mire or local area.

Afternoon: Peat coring to examine depth and content of peat. We’ll try for at least two sites, but this will be dependent on level of difficulty in accessing the bog.

Edge of peat swamp, Indonesia

Edge of peat swamp, Indonesia (photo © Tim A. Moore)


Day 4, 27th September

Morning: Check out of Samarinda hotel and drive south towards Balikpapan. At least one stop at coal mine will be scheduled.

Lunch: A nice local stop for packed lunches.

Afternoon: Check into Balikpapan hotel, cultural experience.

Evening: Summing up of field trip and discussion. Cultural dinner and entertainment





It will be hot and there will be sweat. The humidity is usually above 70% and often approaching 100%. The average rainfall for September is 100 mm; but expect some rain everyday – mostly likely thunderstorms.

See this link for more climate information:



As noted in the previous section on climate, it will be hot, humid and most likely at some point each day water will fall from the sky in abundance. When the sun is out it will be stifling. Thus, bring light weight, fast drying clothes. Bring a hat with a brim that goes all the way around. Below is a list of suggested clothes; its not meant to be prescriptive, and you as an individual are responsible for knowing how your body deals with heat stress.

  • Hat, with a brim that goes all the way around. The wider the brim, the better.
  • Long sleeve shirt, one that is light, has UV protection and dries fast. You probably want to bring two of these.
  • Long pants, again they should be light, have UV protection and dry fast.
  • Sturdy shoes; these can be light weight, but should be of a material that dries quickly (i.e. leather boots are not necessary) and the best shoes will support your ankles (which may be of benefit if we are walking through a peat mire full of wet, slippery, slimy roots).
  • Sun block – a full bottle as there is never too much.
  • Insect repellant
  • Water bottle (although fresh, bottled water will always be provided).
  • Large handkerchief or small towel to help with the sweat
  • Light rain coat
  • Small packable umbrella (optional – in a thunderstorm, if caught out, these are not recommended for obvious reasons; much better to enjoy the coolness of the rain and change later)
  • First aid kit. Everyone should bring their own, with antiseptic, nausea pills, plasters (‘band aids’), rehydrating electrolytes, antihistamines and/or other anti allergy medicine particular to you.

Participants may wish to bring shorts and for the most part they may be fine; though they do not provide protection from the sun, insects and plants.

If you have specific questions or requirements, do not hesitate to ask.


There are a number of tropical diseases that can be found in Indonesia and specifically Kalimantan. But the risk of getting them is minimal. We will be staying in 4 star hotels and in a well-populated area. All participants are encouraged to seek out their own information. A good starting point is this link:

Health risks during the field trip are mainly from:

  1. Heat stroke. This far outweighs any of the other health hazards. This can best be mitigated through regular intake of fluids, proper head gear [i.e. hat] and clothing and not to overexert oneself in accordance with the heat.
  2. Automobile accident. Again this far outweighs the remaining health risks (3 through 6) and is generally the bane of any developing country. We are mitigating this hazard through proper journey management and being selective in what buses we use and their safety procedures and features.
  3. Dengue fever. Transmission is through mosquito that are infected. These mosquito are predominantly active during the day and most infections occur in large populated areas. The best form of prevention is insect repellant and long sleeve shirt and long pants.
  4. Malaria. The risk of contracting malaria while on the field trip is low. The mosquitos that carry the parasite are only out at night and the best protection are long sleeve shirts and pants and insect repellant. As we’ll be staying in good hotels there is little opportunity to be bitten. Consult with your doctor however and do what you feel is best in the way of
    Miocene age sandstones and siltstones, Balikpapan Formation, Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia [all photos ©Tim Moore]

    Miocene age sandstones and siltstones, Balikpapan Formation, Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia [all photos ©Tim Moore]

    antimalarial drugs. All of the leaders (including Tim Moore) have travelled in these areas repeatedly over the last 20 years and not contracted malaria.
  5. Typhoid. This disease is carried in infected water and food and is mainly an issue in small villages and towns. The way to avoid typhoid is relatively easy; – drink only bottled or boiled water and eat well cooked food. There will be little chance of contracting this while on the field trip, unless participants eat and drink street food. Again, consult with your travel doctor before deciding if you should be vaccinated.
  6. Hepatitis A & B. Everyone, regardless of where they live or travel should be vaccinated for hepatitis A&B. Hepatitis A can be contracted through food or water whilst hepatitis B is mainly through exposure of blood and/or other bodily fluids. Safe eating and drinking practices as already described should be followed as well as safe behavior in general.

Again, more information can be found on the link provided on these health hazards. All participants are encouraged to seek out your own doctor’s advice as you will be ultimately responsible for knowing what you are susceptible to.



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