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Geology Graduate Students Win Regional Geophysics Competition

BYU geology students Scott Meek and Trevor Tuttle demonstrated their geology prowess with their first place victory at the 2016 Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) Rocky Mountain Challenge Bowl in Denver, Colorado.

Meek and Tuttle participated alongside their classmates Ethan Cook, Katelynn Smith, and Kim Sowards.

Nine teams from Montana Tech, University of Colorado, Colorado School of Mines, and BYU competed in the three-round trivia competition. Participants answered questions about geology, geophysics, and the history of the SEG. The three teams with the fewest points were eliminated from the competition at the end of each round.

“It ranges from these really technical questions, some of which we just stared at . . . to really silly questions like, ‘What mineral did Cleopatra use as eye shadow?’” Meek said. “We didn’t do a whole lot of specific preparation because we didn’t really know exactly what we were going into.”

In fact, Meek and Tuttle acquired most of their knowledge about SEG history five minutes before the competition as they hurriedly looked it up on Wikipedia on the van ride over from the airport. Despite their off-the-cuff approach, Meek and Tuttle were able to secure their victory in the final round.

“It was us against two teams of PhD students,” Meek said. “So it was nice to beat them.”

Meek and Tuttle headed into the final round in second place, but pulled ahead in the end as the other two teams were unable to correctly answer their questions.

“I felt like Scott’s really good at sedimentology, but I’ve taken a lot of geophysics classes, so I think we rounded each other out really well,” Tuttle said.

As the regional champions, Meek and Tuttle will be flown to Dallas in October to compete in the international SEG Challenge Bowl Finals for a $1,000 grand prize. They are even thinking about doing a little more preparation beforehand.

“We might spend ten minutes on Wikipedia on the way over there instead of five,” Meek joked.

While Wikipedia may have been helpful, Meek and Tuttle are well aware that they owe most of their success to their BYU mentors and professors.

“It really was the education we received that helped us win more than anything,” Tuttle said. “We are happy to represent the department and let everyone know BYU has a dang good geology program.”

By James Collard Posted on