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News Release March 31, 2003
GSA Release No. 03-09
Contact: Christa Stratton
+1-303-357-1093
FOR
IMMEDIATE
RELEASE

Geological Society of America Cordilleran Section Meets This Week in Puerto Vallarta

Program Highlights

Registration & Procedures

Boulder, Colo. - Geoscientists from around the globe are gathering this week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for the 99th annual meeting of the Geological Society of America Cordilleran Section. The meeting takes places April 1-3 at the Hotel NH Krystal. Approximately 500 are expected to attend. Topics of interest include new data on when South American mammals crossed the Panamanian land bridge into central America, and what Earth's oceans were like after the Permian-Triassic mass extinction.

Hosting the meeting are geoscientists from the Institute of Geology, Center of Geosciences, and Institute of Geophysics at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM). Participating organizations and institutions include the Department of Geology CICESE, the National Disaster Prevention Center (CENAPRED), the Cordilleran Section of the Paleontological Society, the Geological Society of Mexico, the Geophysical Union of Mexico, and the Institute of Geochemistry.

The Geological Society of America invites journalists to attend sessions of interest, interview scientists, and visit the exhibit area. Information on complimentary media registration and procedures for arranging face-to-face and telephone interviews during the meeting follow the program highlights below.

top PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

The Great American Biotic Interchange: Earlier Than We Thought?
Scientists generally hold that the first South American animals crossed the Panamanian land bridge into Central America anywhere from 2.5-3.1 million years ago. This view is now being called into question based on recent discoveries in central Mexico. Oscar Carranza-Castaneda of the Center for Geosciences at UNAM and his colleagues Wade Miller and Bart Kowallis at Brigham Young University have identified several South American immigrants who may have arrived more than a million years earlier. Carranza-Castaneda will describe mammals whose remains were found in several different areas of central Mexico. They include ground sloths (Megalonyx and Glossotherium), giant armadillo-like animals (Glyptodont and Pampathere), and very large rodents (two species of Capybaras). He will also discuss the radiometric dating processes used to estimate their time of arrival. These discoveries may be considered evidence that the Isthmus of Panama was formed earlier than previously thought.
Oscar Carranza-Castaneda  [ view abstract ]
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
carranza@geosciencias.unam.mx
45 234 112 ext. 110
Thursday, April 3, Hotel NH Krystal, Mismaloya, 9:55 a.m.
Oceans Hostile to Life: Biotic Recovery from the Permian-Triassic Mass Extinction
The Permian-Triassic mass extinction, one of five major mass extinctions in Earth's history, took place approximately 250 million years ago. At that time, the supercontinent Pangea was surrounded by a mega-ocean known as the Panthalassic. Deep waters had lost much of their life-supporting oxygen and it would be 7-10 million years before life would begin to flourish again. Adam Woods of Santa Ana College will present research that suggests low levels of oxygen weren't the only reason waters were detrimental to life. Woods examined rocks and the environmental conditions under which they formed in east-central California, Nevada, and portions of Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and western Alberta. Rocks from California's Union Wash Formation reveal evidence of elevated levels of carbon dioxide. Ocean chemistry may thus have been a throwback to that of the Paleozoic 2.5 billion years ago. A combination of too little oxygen and too much carbon dioxide may have played a role in delaying biotic recovery.
Adam D. Woods  [ view abstract ]
Santa Ana College
Santa Ana, CA
714-564-6600
woods_adam@rsccd.org
Thursday, April 3, Hotel NH Krystal, Mismaloya, 8:55 a.m.

** View the entire scientific program at gsa.confex.com/gsa/2003CD/finalprogram/ **

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top MEDIA REGISTRATION AND PROCEDURES

Eligibility for complimentary media registration is as follows:

  • Working press representing bona fide news media with a press card, letter, or business card from the publication.
  • Freelance science writers, presenting a current membership card from NASW, ISWA, regional affiliates of NASW, or evidence of work pertaining to science published in 2001 or 2002.
  • Public Information Officers of scientific societies, educational institutions, and government agencies.

Media representatives may register at the main meeting registration desk located in the main lobby of the Hotel NH Krystal beginning Monday, March 31, at 4:30 p.m. All media registrants will receive a name badge and the program/abstract book.

Media registrants may arrange on-site interviews after attending the session in which the talk is given or by leaving a note at the GSA Registration Desk requesting an interview before or after the talk. Interested media unable to attend may telephone the Registration Desk at +52 (322) 224 02 02 ext. 2020 and leave a message requesting a callback from the speaker.

For additional information before April 1, contact Ann Cairns, GSA Director of Communications, at 303-357-1056. During the meeting, April 1-3, contact the GSA Registration Desk at +52 (322) 224 02 02 ext. 2020.

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