Watch GSA Connection throughout the summer for highlights of all eight Pardee Keynote Symposia. Highlights will also appear below as they become available.

Pardee Keynote Symposia — EXTRA

Pardee Keynote Symposia are a long-standing tradition at GSA Meetings. Supported by grant monies from the Joseph T. Pardee Memorial Fund since the mid-1990s, these interdisciplinary, invited-speaker sessions were conceived to represent issues on the leading edge of a scientific discipline or area of public policy, and address broad, fundamental issues of interest to the geoscience community. Historically, selection has been on a competitive basis, with proposals evaluated and ranked by a select few members from the Joint Annual Program Committee. Final acceptance was given by the Annual Program Committee (APC).

This year, in order to enhance their range and significance, the APC has taken a more active role in selecting the 2009 Pardee Keynote Symposia sessions and is working closer with the conveners of these sessions. APC has welcomed the opportunity for conveners to have more flexibility in creating a session format that works best for the topic at hand.

All sessions will take place at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE MLK, Jr. Blvd., Portland.

P1. Crisis in the Cryosphere: Impacts of Planetary Meltdown
Polar Ice Sheet

George Stone, Andrew Buddington, and Michael Mann

Wed., 21 Oct, 1:30–5:30 p.m.

Anthropogenic warming is rapidly destabilizing the global climate system. All components of the cryosphere — our planetary thermometer — are in decline: ice sheets and outlet glaciers, ice caps and mountain glaciers, ice shelves and sea ice, and permanently frozen ground (permafrost). This worldwide meltdown forewarns humanity of dramatic changes in all Earth systems, including potentially catastrophic impacts on water supplies, sea level and coastlines. Because of the vital importance of cryosphere monitoring, this symposium convenes leading researchers to document current behavior and provide impact projections for geoscientists, educators and policy makers.

Ice bridge connecting Charcot Island and Latady Island

Left: A narrow ice bridge connecting Charcot Island and Latady Island — the last remnant of the northern part of Antarctica’s Wilkins Ice Shelf — broke apart in early April 2009. Click on images to enlarge.

Photo courtesy of National Snow and Ice Data Center.

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P2. Crustal Tectonic Deformation as Revealed by Seismic Anisotropy

Anisotropic slates of the Taiwan Central RangesCo-conveners:
David Okaya, Kevin Mahan, Mark T. Brandon, Nikolas I. Christensen

Mon., 19 Oct, 1:30–5:30 p.m.

Crustal seismic anisotropy data are becoming more widely collected but their meaningful interpretations rely on multidisciplinary ties between tectonics, microtextural analysis, seismic wave theory and non-traditional field experiments. This symposium focuses on material anisotropy associated with tectonic processes, their resulting rock fabrics, and what characteristics might produce a seismically anisotropic signature. Factors include intensity and continuity of textures, structural geometry and internal configurations, and lateral and vertical scales of features relative to seismic wave resolvability. Presentations will examine tectonic processes that form anisotropic fabrics, potential differences that could be used as discriminants if detected by seismic waves, and some key terranes where such studies have been or might be applied.

Photo: Anisotropic slates of the Taiwan Central Ranges under a rare snowfall. Click on image to enlarge.

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P3. Earth et al. — Our Planets from the Hadean to Today

polygonal fracture patternsCo-conveners:
Nora Noffke & Kurt Konhauser

Tues., 20 Oct, 8 a.m.–noon

This session is designed to introduce the scientific disciplines geobiology and geomicrobiology to the broad audience of geo- and bioscientists. In 12 presentations given by top scientists in the field, the latest research highlights on the evolution of life and Earth’s environments will be explored. Topics include the origin of life, the rise and diversification of organisms from the first unstructured organic ‘slime’ to skeleton-forming macroorganisms, and the search for life on other planets — one of the greatest challenges we face.

In order to understand the evolution of life, geobiology compares modern with ancient environments. In a modern tidal flat, microbial mats composed of benthic cyanobacteria display a polygonal fracture pattern (left photo). The same polygonal fracture pattern is visible on the surface of a tidal sandstone bed in the 2.9 Ga old Pongola Supergroup, South Africa, and gives rise to the question, if cyanobacteria have been highly evolved already that time (right photo). Click on image to enlarge.

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P4. First Global View of the Geology of Mercury: Dynamic Landscapes on the Innermost Planet

Louise Prockter & Sean C. Solomon
Tues., 20 Oct, 1:30–5:30 p.m.

The session will include one speaker, Bob Strom, who was a member of the original Mariner 10 science team. Bob is one of the founders of modern planetary geology and is an expert in surface morphology, particularly the effects of impact cratering. This session will also include brand new results from MESSENGER's third flyby of Mercury, on September 28th, 2009.

Mercury flyby Mercury flyby. Photo courtesy JHU/APL and the MESSENGER Web site.

Click on photo for larger image.

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P5. Geodynamics from the Cascadia Margin to the High Lava Plains

P Velocity PerturbationsPost 17 Ma Volcanism in the Western US


Anita L. Grunder, G. Randy Keller, Rick W. Carlson, Michael Brudzinski,  Bernie Housen, Basil Tikoff
Wed., 21 Oct., 8 a.m.–noon

This session is dedicated to understanding the geodynamic evolution of the Cascadia margin and High Lava Plains, from the Miocene (18 Ma) until the present. The session will synthesize geological, geophysical, and geochemical research that addresses modification of the lithosphere through tectonism and magmatism.

Click on images to enlarge.




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P6. Google Earth to Geoblogs: Digital Innovations in the Geosciences

NASA's "Blue Marble" Co-conveners:
P. Kyle House, John Bailey, Ronald C. Schott, Mano Marks, Glenn A. Richard, Peter A. Selkin

Sun., 18 Oct., 1:30–5 p.m.

Digital technologies such as Web 2.0 services, virtual globes, and new applications of digital photography can enhance understanding of geology at all levels and across disciplines. Presenters in this symposium will showcase practical applications of new digital tools: the OneGeology project, geoblogging, Google Earth for education, and site surveys with panoramic high-resolution photography. A focal presentation will involve creation of a virtual field trip using the tools discussed here. The session will also feature interactive small group demonstrations designed to give attendees the opportunity to discuss projects with keynote speakers and other presenters. Topical session T160 will address similar themes.

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P7. Hazards and Health: Preventing Disaster and Building Resilience on the Ring of Fire
Symposium Co-Sponsors
GSA logo
  • Engineering Geology Division
  • Geoinformatics Division
  • Geology & Health Division
  • Limnogeology Division
  • Quaternary Geology & Geomorphology Division
  • Geology & Public Policy Committee
  • International Section
Geological Society of New Zealand
Geological Society of New Zealand
International Association of Emergency Managers
International Association of Emergency Managers
International Medical Geology Association
International Medical Geology Association
International Union of Geological Sciences
International Union of Geological Sciences
International Union for Quaternary Research
International Union for Quaternary Research
U.S. Geological Survey
U.S. Geological Survey

Monica E. Gowan, David Applegate, Scott Burns, John Clague, David Johnston

Mount St. Helens eruption

Mon., 19 Oct., 8 a.m.–noon

This symposium will highlight new interdisciplinary directions for managing risk at the crossroads of hazards, health and emergency management, and emphasize how uniting the efforts of natural and social scientists is vital to the well-being of disaster-prone communities. International experts will address how professionals from diverse fields of research and practice can effectively collaborate to prevent disaster from following earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides; share leading-edge examples for identifying at-risk populations and building community resilience; and discuss emerging priorities and opportunities for interdisciplinary research, disaster management and risk communication around the Pacific Rim.

Confirmed Participants

Invited Keynote Speakers (listed alphabetically)

Invited Keynote Panelists (listed alphabetically)

Organizing Committee


Ad hoc Scientific Advisory Committee

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P8. The Evolution of Basaltic Landscapes: Time and the River and Lava Flowing
marine iguana



Photos by G. Grant,
click for larger image.

Grand Canyon

Gordon E. Grant (USDA Forest Service), Kathy V. Cashman (University of Oregon), and Oliver A. Chadwick (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Sun., 18 Oct, 8 a.m.–noon

When John Wesley Powell first encountered lava flows spilling over the rim of the Grand Canyon into the Colorado River he wrote “What a conflict of water and fire there must have been here! Just imagine a river of molten rock running down over a river of melted snow.” This Pardee session imagines just that, combining scientific perspectives on the interaction between two great geophysical fluids — lava and water. Themes and landscapes discussed include the development of the Hawaiian and Galapagos Islands, ten million year drama between the Columbia River and voluminous flood basalts, and evolution of life on lava flows. The final talk will consider another great geophysical fluid — the exceptional wine produced from basalt terroir.

Speakers and topics:

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