By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – Among the many exhibitors at Energy Day, the Colorado oil & gas companies will have a row of booths that show the progression of oil & gas drilling. Occidental Petroleum, or Oxy, will have its Sandbox display. It looks like an ordinary box full of play sand, but when the lights go off, it shows the geological mapping of the sand.

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“So, you can understand what the landscape looks like on your piece of paper,” said Jay Bridgeman, a geologist for Oxy.

When you move the sand around, the contour lines change to fit the new landscape.

“We’ll make a mountain here or a volcano,” Bridgeman said as he mounded the sand in one area.

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Mapping is one of the tools that Bridgeman uses to plan out oil and gas drilling for Oxy.

“The geology determines where our oil and gas reserves are,” he explained.

Understanding the natural world has always been a passion for Bridgeman, working in oil and gas became a perfect fit for him.

“I was always fascinated with the outdoors. I loved seeing these large-scale earth processes and how they move very slowly over a long period of time,” Bridgeman said.

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Madison Hollaway’s passion was engineering as she grew up.

“I loved math and science, and I just landed on petroleum engineering,” Hollaway told CBS4.

For Energy Day, Liberty Oilfield Services will be demonstrating how to make fracking fluid using common, household products.

“It’s very viscous,” Hollaway says of the fracking fluid.

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The thick mixture is used to extract oil out of rock. The science that figured that process out is exactly the science that Hollaway loves.

“It was a lot of, ‘Here’s this problem, now go solve it, using all the resources at your disposal,'” Hollaway said.

Energy Day is all about figuring out how to pursue your passion in the energy fields. It runs Saturday, Sept. 25 at East High School from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s free and the Kendrick Castillo Memorial Robotics Tournament will be going on at the same time, outside for the first time this year.

Libby Smith