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Petroleum Experts donate MOVE software worth nearly $1 million to Idaho State University geosciences department

November 8, 2018

Dave Pearson posing in the mountains.
ISU Assistant Professor Dave Pearson.

POCATELLO – Petroleum Experts Limited has donated the equivalent of $980,000 in oil and gas software for use by the Idaho State University Department of Geosciences. The software will be used by ISU researchers working on a National Science Foundation Grant and for teaching of advanced graduate-level geosciences courses.

“We are grateful that Petroleum Experts Limited has donated these software licenses to ISU Geosciences,” said Dave Pearson, ISU associate professor of geosciences. “This is state-of-the-art software used for modeling subsurface geology in the petroleum industry. It will contribute to cutting edge research and training of ISU students.”

Oil companies often use the software to predict where hydrocarbons can be found within a few kilometers of the Earth’s surface, or about 2 miles deep. Pearson, for the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant project he is working on, will use this powerful software to develop models of the faulting and folding of the Earth’s crust down to 20 kilometers deep, about 12 miles deep. 

“Students and I will use it to develop two- and three-dimensional models of the Earth’s crust to better understand how the mountains in Idaho and Montana were formed about 60-140 million years ago,” Pearson said.

The donation consists of 10 licenses of MOVE 2D and 3D Kinematic Modeling software. 

Pearson is working on a $570,000 NSF grant titled “Collaborative Research: Evaluating controls on orogenic structural style by constraining the spatio-temporal evolution of a retroarc thrust belt” with researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Iowa. ISU’s portion of the grant is about $172,000. The study has a lot of applications including helping scientists better understand earthquake hazards in actively growing mountains.

The software has additional exceptional value for ISU students.

“The donation of the sophisticated MOVE software by Petroleum Experts Limited is an important contribution to research and teaching, and to the potential future employment opportunities for students in the Geosciences Department,” said Michael McCurry, ISU geosciences chair and professor. 

Since this is the exact type of software used in the oil and gas industries, students learning to use it “are going to be experienced using this state-of-the-art software and are more marketable and prepared for their careers,” added Pearson.



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