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Find Your Science at GSA
16 May 2011
GSA Release No. 11-31
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach

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GSA Conference Stimulates Earth-Science Exchange in Western U.S.

Boulder, CO, USA – More than 600 geoscientists will convene in Logan, Utah, USA, on 18-20 May to present their earth-science research at the 63rd/107th (respectively) joint annual meetings of the Rocky Mountain and Cordilleran Sections of The Geological Society of America. Members of the media are invited to attend and cover technical sessions with complimentary registration (details below). Geoscientists from around the nation will meet to discuss new research results in a wide range of geoscience fields, participate in technical sessions, and join field trips that range from southwestern Wyoming to northern Nevada.

Utah State University’s Department of Geology is hosting the meeting at the Riverwoods Conference Center in Logan. The meeting is co-organized by the Department of Geologic Sciences at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. Among the highlights of the meeting is a keynote address open to the public Thursday, May 19 on the USU campus.

Keynote: Giant Earthquakes of the Pacific Northwest

The CWU and USU host departments invite everyone to this keynote address by Dr. Tim Melbourne, Professor, Dept. of Geological Sciences and Director of the Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array (PANGA), Central Washington University.
When:   Thursday, 19 May, 8–9 p.m.
Where:  Eccles Science Learning Center 130 on the USU Campus
The address is open to the public and Dr. Melbourne will take questions from the audience.
About the talk:
The death toll for the recent earthquake in Japan, the best-prepared nation on earth, will soon surpass the combined American deaths in 9/11 and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It's a sobering exercise to contemplate how the Pacific Northwest might have fared had the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck along the Cascadia fault beneath Washington and Oregon instead of Japan. The Northwest's vulnerability to seismic destruction matches Japan's, but its readiness does not. The Japan quake has shown that in its current state of preparations, the Northwest risks unimaginable loss of life and destruction of military, transportation, communication and economic infrastructure. The Cascadia fault has for several decades been considered a sleeping giant, but new instrumentation and new discoveries have shown it to be nearly continuously active over week-to-week timescales. This activity is now being put to use to map out future fault slip that, in turn, enables communities to better prepare for the inevitable.GPS technology in particular has become a powerful tool in the arsenal of seismic hazards mitigation, both in the forecasting of future earthquake location and sizes as well as in the rapid characterization of earthquakes once they begin. This talk will cover scientists' current understanding of the mechanics and risk posed by the Cascadia subduction fault. It will also discuss how new technologies are unveiling new phenomena occurring within the fault itself and refining our ability to characterize what it holds in store for Northwest communities.


The scientific program is comprised of oral and poster presentations organized into 18 themed sessions plus an array of research in general discipline areas.  (

Technical sessions begin at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, 18 May, and end at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, 20 May. 

Selected topics of regional interest:

"Recent Paleoseismic Studies of the Wasatch Fault Zone, Utah," DuRoss and others.
8:25 AM, (Session 4, paper 4-2)

"Tree Rings within the Bear River Range to Reconstruct Drought Variability," Allen and others. Abstract:
Poster, booth #6, authors present 4-6 PM, (Session 6, paper 6-1)

Carbon Dioxide Sequestration Potential in Utah, Chidsey and Morgan
1:35 PM, (Session 11, paper 11-1)
also Barton and Evans,
2:15 PM, (Session 11, paper 11-3)

"Land Subsidence and Earth Fissures in Cedar Valley, Iron County, Utah," Knudsen and others.
8:25 AM, (Session 16, paper 16-2)

"Modeling of the Paleoindian Record in southeastern Idaho and northern Utah," Pitblado and others.
2:15 PM, (Session 21, paper 21-3)

"Changes in Groundwater Budgets and Development in Southwest Aquifers," Thiros.
1:25 PM, (Session 24, paper 24-1)

"Challenges and Opportunities in Western Alluvial Groundwater Basin Management," Harter.
1:55 PM, (Session 24, paper 24-2)

"Identification and Evaluation of Potential Aquifer Storage and Recovery Sites in Cache Valley, Utah,” Thomas and others.
3:10 PM, (Session 24, paper 24-5)

"Davis-Weber Canal Landslides--1898 through 2006," Giraud and others.
8:05 AM, (Session 25, paper 25-1)

"New Eocene Fossil Perissodactyls from Thousand Lake Mountain, Central Utah," DeBlieux and others.
11:15 AM, (Session 27, paper 27-9)

View the complete session schedule by day or search the program by keywords at Click on session titles for a list of presentations, and click on presentations for the individual abstracts.

View the session schedule by day or search the program by keywords at Click on session titles for a list of presentations, and click on presentations for the individual abstracts.

Field Trips

Pre- and post-meeting field trips span geologic topics from Neoproterozoic deposits, late Paleozoic–early Mesozoic terrane accretion, Eocene mammals and climate, Eocene to middle Miocene extension, late Miocene and younger basin and river system evolution, and Pleistocene glaciers and pluvial lakes. Find trip details at

The meeting field guide documents part of the long geologic record and stunning scenery that has attracted geologists to the Rocky Mountain and Cordilleran regions for two centuries. The combination of past and ongoing geologic research in this region has resulted in a wealth of significant observations and paradigm shifts in interpretations. Purchase GSA Field Guide 021.

Find complete meeting information at

Local Contacts:
Mary-Ann Muffoletto, , +1-435-797-3517
Jim Evans, , +1-435-797-1267
John Shervais, , +1-435-797-1274


Eligibility for media registration is as follows:

Present media credentials to Beth Engle onsite at the GSA registration desk to obtain a badge for media access. Complimentary meeting registration covers attendance at all technical sessions and access to the exhibit hall. Journalists and PIOs must pay regular fees for paid luncheons and any short courses or field trips in which they participate. Representatives of the business side of news media, publishing houses, and for-profit corporations must register at the main registration desk and pay the appropriate fees.

For additional information and assistance, contact Christa Stratton, GSA Director of Communications, at the address above.


The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with more than 23,000 members from academia, government, and industry in more than 95 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.