by Dr. George N. Sideris

Athens, September 23, 1996

The first congress of the Balkan Geophysical Society was held at the Zappeion Conference Center, from 23 to 27 September 1996, in Athens, Greece. It was organized by the Balkan Geophysical Society and it was hosted by the Hellenic Geophysical Union. This was the first meeting of the geophysicists and the geoscientific members of the Geophysical Societies of the Balkan Peninsula Countries.

The Balkan Geophysical Society was formed in May 1993, in Florina city, Western Macedonia, Greece. The idea to create the Society was for the first time introduced to me as President of the Hellenic Geophysical Union during the meeting. Of the 36 th international Geophysical Congress in Kiev, Ukraina,, in September 1991. It was Dr. Dimtcho Josifov, President, at the time of the Bulgarian Geophysical Society that not only suggested but insisted on that great idea.

We do have to be very grateful to those of us for having the courage, the motivation and the energy to start this Geophysical Society in this sensitive and the same time very interesting part of the world.

Fortunately, the new political environment in the Balkan Peninsula Countries, the Black Sea and Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Communist Regime has became much more transparent but, unfortunately, we still have to spent time, energy and money in order to get visas for scientific collaboration and project execution.

We, as geophysicists know very well that the political boundaries are not necessary geophysical boundaries and in order to locate, explore and extract the mineral, energy and the oil resources for the development and growth of our countries, we must collaborate, exchange ideas, interpret geophysical data and evaluate geological phenomena that, in many cases, are being influenced by sources in shallow or/ and great depths into the Earth’s interior.

We do know that the infrastructure of the countries of this part of the world needs serious improvements in areas like geotechnical projects, reliable telecommunications, information avenues and clean environmental issues. To achieve these goals we must collaborate towards the formulation of common project proposals where each one of us has an important role. We should use geophysical methods and techniques in order to serve and be more useful not only to our native countries but to the neighboring ones as well. The improvement of the electronic and computer technologies will help us a lot in order to achieve the above mentioned goals.

The Balkan Geophysical Society realizes the importance and wants to promote international cooperation as well as the preservation of local or regional coherence. Like the seismic or the acoustic wavelength which needs content of a wide spectrum in order to be useful, we want to promote a wide spectrum of cooperation.

We have been successful to include, so far, in our Society five members and we are looking forward to accept the other two remaining countries, i.e. Croatia and the Former Yugoslavic Republic of Macedonia, of the Balkan Peninsula Countries.

The 1st Balkan Geophysical Congress and the Technical Exhibition was a very good forum for cooperation and communication. The fact that this 1st Congress of our Society has such a positive acceptance, during these difficult times, that we live in, shows the necessity for further collaboration and communication between our shelves.

In response to changes to the mining industry and the increased importance of environmental problems, recently, more emphasis is given to geotechnical problems including engineering, ground-water, and environmental investigations. Today our charter is also to promote the application of geophysics to more shallow target exploration and site analysis problems.

The Balkan Geophysical Society in close collaboration with the presidents and the members of the faculties of the Balkan Geophysical Societies is well aware that the Balkan Peninsula Countries do not use the geophysical methods and technology to the extend they should for the benefit of their economic growth. For these reasons we should all of us, work together in order to convince the native governments of the Balkan Peninsula Countries to use geophysical techniques and methodologies, plus improving each country’ s infrastructure and economic growth.

Many geophysicists of the Balkan Peninsula Countries, of the Black and Mediterranean Seas Countries, the Countries of the Former Soviet Union, the European Union Countries as well as the geophysicists of the North America Countries had gathered here in Athens in September 1996 to exchange information and discuss scientific problems in Geophysics and Seismology of the South-Eastern European Region. From the Geophysical point of view this region is currently considered as the most, geodinamically, complicated part of the European Region and the most seismically active one.

Our invitation had a remarkable by our colleagues and thus 282 scientific contributions which were accepted, have been presented in our technical programs. In addition to that the participants who have been officially registered were 381 (including the exhibitors), from 33 countries. The Congress took place simultaneously in 2 halls of the Zappenion Conference Center and had comprised totally 20 scientific sessions, 2 round tables (Earthquake Prediction and Environmental Protection), 1 managerial session (New Frontiers of Hydrocarbon Exploration and Exhibition in South-Eastern Countries), 1 workshop (Seismic Imaging and Reservoir Characterization) and a very important technical exhibition that featured state-of-the art equipment and services for geoscientific and oil industry applications.

Expressing the wishes of the presidents of the participating geophysical societies, my collaborators of the Organizing Committee and all the geophysicists who have carried out the reviewing process of the contributions, for their valuable assistance, I ask all the colleagues of the Balkan Peninsula Countries as well as any other colleague coming outside, but interested in this part of the world, to continue collaborating with our partners towards the next Balkan Geophysical Society Congresses.

In conclusion, I will take this opportunity to thank my colleagues and members of the Balkan Geophysical Society for the excellent job that they have all achieved. I wish, on behalf of the Balkan Geophysical Society, every success to the works of the second as well as the following Geophysical Congresses and the related Technical Exhibitions that will take place in the future. Finally I would like to wish a very successful Presidency to the Turkish Delegation who has the responsibility of the Presidency of the Balkan Geophysical Society for the years 1997-1999.

The First Congress of the Balkan Geophysical Society had passed in the World of the International Geophysical Society Congresses as a very successful one. It is in our hands to continue this success throughout the next Century and not only. Let us do our best, all of us, to materials and fulfill this difficult but also wonderful target.