Tag Archives: coal

Cipher is Ten

It was like jumping off the end of a pier into unknown depths with unknown dangers – but a quick calculation (in actuality lots of deep reflection) indicated that it was safe…-ish; nevertheless it was exhilarating. Thus, Cipher was born. In early September 2010 Cipher started trading and by late September we had our first […]

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How Many Holes Does It Take to Fill the Albert Hall?

It would not be untrue, though perhaps unwise, to say to a burly coal miner ‘your coal is full of holes’. Indeed, a fundamental property which makes coal such a special and unique material – and has implications for coal properties ranging from not just methane holding capacity but also activated carbon and liquefaction – […]

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Coming into Coal: Part 1

Sometimes I am asked how I became a coal geologist. My son has asked me several times; sometimes because he has forgotten, sometimes because he just wants to hear a good story from his Dad. More than seldom I get asked by random people; some curious how a scientist starts out (and stays) being a […]

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NEW PAPER: Recognition of peat depositional environments: A review

It is already the most downloaded paper for the International Journal of Coal Geology*. No wonder – a fundamental attribute of any rock is knowing how it gets there. Sure, coal comes from peat, but it is those small changes in peat type that result in large differences in coal type and those differences result […]

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Come to Colombia: Annual Meeting of The Society of Organic Petrology in Bogotá in 2022

The 39th Annual Meeting of The Society for Organic Petrology will be held in Bogotá, Colombia in September 2022. Colombia is known for many things of course – its divine coffee, the incredible hospitality of its people, the range of climates and the beautiful Andes. But what most people don’t know is that under that lovely exterior […]

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(Not) Freezing in Inner Mongolia

Thirty seconds seems like an incredibly short amount of time. But a lot of things can happen in thirty seconds. I had removed one of my gloves to turn the page in my field notebook to jot down some measurements on the coal we were sampling. It was a bad idea. In that short amount […]

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QUT and CUMT Field Trip in Queensland

In early August of this year (2018), Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia conducted a field trip for undergraduate geologists from China University of Mining and Technology (CUMT), Xuzhou, China. Over the last year in my dual roles as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, QUT and […]

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Still an interesting read – COAL: A Human History

A while ago I reviewed a book on coal. Recently I saw it on my book shelf and thought it might be interesting to put that review up on the Cipher blog. Below is a slightly abridged version of the original review. Enjoy. I knew something was up when upon entering the shop the friend […]

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Blue Skies Beijing

Yes, I know. Normally the words ‘blue skies’ and ‘Beijing’ aren’t in such close proximity. Yet, when I was there just a couple of weeks ago, it was indeed blue skies. Warm, yes; smoggy, not really. Though I was inside much of the time … I was in the captivating capital of China for the […]

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A Fish Story

I have an old fish on the wall, and I get to ponder it’s life every time I walk into my loo at home. I’ve been pondering this fish for the last 24 years. Considering its age, it is not a stinky, yucky fish. In fact it is over 48 million years old, so any […]

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