As part of the competition, Rhian had to give a 15-minute talk to local society members. Rhian discussed the findings in her master’s degree thesis, which was on 'Preserving water content in rock samples' and investigated which method of ‘wrapping’ samples was most effective in preserving their water content.
Her inspiration came from a Structural Soils ground investigation project for which the client had requested that core samples for unconfined compressive strength testing in the laboratory be wrapped in cling film, then foil and then hessian sack and finally coated in wax. The wrapping methods Rhian tested included cling film and foil, plastic sample bags sealed with tape and the waxing method. She concluded that the simple plastic bag method was the most effective.
The topics covered by other presenters included using video games to educate people about the risks of volcanoes; the use of froth floatation for mineral extraction; and how geoscientists could communicate the risk of earthquakes to residents in Istanbul.
The panel of judges declared Rhian the winner of the regional heat. She won a Geological Society Special Publication and the chance to go to London for the national final in April.