Technical Program

Technical Program

Information for Presenters

Each speaker is allotted 20 minutes which includes ~17 minutes for the presentation and 3 minutes for questions.  Authors of posters are asked to have their posters in place by 8 a.m. on the day of their poster session.   The posters will be exhibited all day, but authors should be present at their posters during the poster session, from 1:30-3:00 p.m.  The posters must be removed by 5:30 p.m.  Poster presenters will have one 4' by 8' horizontal (landscape) display board. Electrical hookups will not be available for poster boards.

Theme Sessions

T1. Gondwanan Crust and Lithosphere along the Gulf of Mexico Margin: The Record of Pangea Accretion and Dispersal.
Cosponsored by GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.
David A. Foster; Paul A. Mueller; Craig B. Grimes
Extensive fragments of Gondwanan lithosphere were added to southern Laurentia during the accretion of Pangea. Many Gondwanan blocks, e.g., Suwannee, Sabine, Coahuila, were permanently transferred to Laurentia in Mesozoic time during Gulf of Mexico rifting and separation of North and South America. This session will focus on new geological, geochemical, and geophysical data, and syntheses of emplacement mechanisms of crust and lithospheric mantle with Gondwanan affinities along the current and former Gulf of Mexico margin.
T2. Assessing Coastal Vulnerability: Technical and Management Considerations.
Cosponsored by GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.

Chester Jackson; Clark Alexander
Over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in assessments of coastal region vulnerability to sea level rise, shoreline erosion, and other coastal hazards. Emerging technologies, higher resolution data and new modeling techniques are affording researchers the capability to assess local and regional areas with greater detail in less time. As sea levels continue to rise, there will be greater demand still and the desire to apply assessment results to public safety, municipal infrastructure and hazard mitigation planning. However, debate continues between researchers and coastal managers over the scale and validity of some assessment methods and results, and how they should be applied toward developing policy. Given the diversity of the geological, biological, and cultural landscape along the world’s coastline, a number of assessment methodologies exist that are tailored toward specific coastal types. As a result, difficulties arise for researchers and managers trying to agree on which assessments are most applicable for their coast. Through the presentation of methods, models and case studies, this session will explore local and regional-scale coastal vulnerability assessments, and promote discussion among participants as to the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches.
T3. Multidisciplinary Approaches to Caribbean Stratigraphy and Paleontology.
Cosponsored by Eastern Section, SEPM; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.
Jorge Vélez-Juarbe; Alvin J. Bonilla-Rodríguez
The Caribbean region has a complex volcano-tectonic history spanning the last 200 million years. Significant deformation resulting from this complex history complicates correlation and recognition of analogous deposits across the Greater and Lesser Antilles. The identification of depositional periods and correlation of fossiliferous marine sequences across the region has been mostly credited to age-diagnostic fossils such as ammonites, rudistid bivalves and foraminifera. The integration of geology, low temperature geochemistry, and paleontology has opened a new door for stratigraphic, and paleontological studies. Applying this type of multidisciplinary approach to the study of sedimentary sequences across the Caribbean will provide valuable information about paleoenvironmental and paleoecological patterns throughout the region. This session will explore the use of the Caribbean sedimentary and fossil record for biostratigraphic correlations, paleoenvironmental and paleoecological patterns, and integration of geochemical proxies.
T4. Science Dissemination through Informal Geoscience Education: Current Approaches and Future Directions.
Cosponsored by GSA Geoscience Education Division; National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT); Council on Undergraduate Education.
Pablo A. Llerandi-Román
People of all ages and backgrounds around the world are faced with geoscience phenomena that influence their life in many ways. Human activities such as coping with daily weather conditions, getting access to drinking water, decreasing soil erosion in agricultural lands, enjoying visits to natural areas and parks, and mitigating the effects of geohazards require at least a basic understanding of geoscience concepts. Traditionally, geoscience educators have used formal educational settings such as K-12 schools and undergraduate and graduate institutions to teach these geoscience concepts. However, informal, non-school education settings such as museums, environmental centers, natural areas, parks, and science media (e.g. radio, television, and the Internet) may provide access to pertinent and effective geoscience learning opportunities for the larger public. This context serves as an ideal opportunity for geoscience educators to explore the best practices in disseminating science concepts through informal geoscience education. Based on these assertions I propose a session to explore the current approaches, lessons learned, and future research on informal geoscience education. Specifically, session participants will share their experiences in developing science dissemination activities and tools, and will discuss current and future research projects related to teaching and learning geoscience in informal, non-school settings. The objectives and content of the session will benefit the general public and geoscience and physical science colleagues interested in education, science education, and science dissemination.
T5. Caribbean Earthquakes and Tsunamis.
Cosponsored by GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division; GSA Geophysics Division.
Alberto López, University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez
Brian Atwater; Christa G. von Hillebrandt
Society depends on Earth science to identify earthquake and tsunami hazards and to help reduce the losses they cause. The 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2011 tsunami in Japan showed how important such research and outreach can be. This session will focus on Caribbean earthquakes and tsunamis and on efforts to reduce the associated risks.
T6. The Present is the Key to the Future: Experiences and Initiatives in Undergraduate Research.
Cosponsored by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT); Council on Undergraduate Education.
Michael Martínez-Colón
Students at the undergraduate level can make substantial contributions to the field of geology. In this session, we invite undergraduate students who are engaged in research through national and international internships or REU’s, senior thesis projects, and/or in research assistant positions to present their latest geologic discoveries. The session is open to research topics in any field of geology (i.e., environmental, structural, hydrology, etc.). Integrative presentations involving a combination of both field and laboratory research are particularly welcomed. This session will provide a forum for undergraduate students to exchange research ideas with an audience of their peers, graduate students, faculty members and mentors. The goal is to increase their enthusiasm towards research and future opportunities in the geosciences.
T7. From Provenance to Sequestration: A Heavy Metal Journey.
Michael Martínez-Colón; Warner Ithier-Guzmán
Transport and fate of Potentially Toxic Elements (heavy metals) in any ecosystem is of concern to resource managers, scientists, communities, and other stakeholders alike. Anthropogenic impacts via mining operations, deforestation, damming, dredging, etc. coupled with natural sources (volcanism) have enhanced the remobilization of these toxic elements. Presence of these contaminants represents a degrading alteration to the natural composition of soils, watersheds, and costal environments. Therefore understanding the dynamics of the bio-geochemical processes (e.g., sequestration, nutrient cycling, bio-magnification) involved in the fate of heavy metals in an ecosystem is vital to increase conservation awareness and provide the best use of the limited resources available. The session is open to research topics in any field of geology and environmental science related to transport, sequestration, deposition, and mitigation of heavy metals as sources of pollution. Experimental research is particularly welcomed including new approaches and methodologies to evaluate contamination (e.g., bio-indicators, culture work, field-based proxy experiments).
T8. Using Interactive Video and Other Visualizations to Support Teaching and Enhance Learning in Geoscience Courses.
Cosponsored by GSA Geoscience Education Division; National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT); Council on Undergraduate Education.
David McConnell; Katherine Ryker
Online educational resources such as those of TedEd or the Khan Academy are testaments to the popularity of concise, instructional videos that media-savvy students can explore at their own pace. The technology needed to create, edit, produce and distribute video media is declining in cost and becoming more user-friendly, making it possible for faculty to generate their own course-specific content. We propose an oral session to discuss how geoscience faculty are currently using video resources and other types of self-created visualizations to support teaching and learning in their courses. We seek to use this session to learn about how, when, and where geoscience instructors are incorporating interactive video and other visualizations into their courses. Participants might describe how they develop, implement and/or assess learning from online instructional videos and the implications for the future of college geoscience education. We are particularly interested in hearing from instructors who are creating their own video resources and the impact these materials have on student learning.
T9. Karst Processes, Development, and Paleoclimate Studies in the Neotropics, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico.
Cosponsored by Eastern Section, SEPM; GSA Hydrogeology Division; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.
Thomas Miller
Karst terranes are widespread throughout the Caribbean and flanking areas. They are important for water resources and some mineral deposits such as bauxite. Recently, mineral precipitates (speleothems in caves) have been identified as important proxies of paleoclimate. A long-standing and unresolved discussion concerns the extent to which climate has dominated in the development of “tropical karsts” such as cockpit and mogote and cone karst. These geomorphic terranes are not represented in the United States, but are well-known and well-developed in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico also contains many areas of karst landscapes that are more familiar to U.S. geologists, and is therefore well-situated for a stimulating and hands-on discussion of karst processes in conjunction with a pre-meeting field trip. Submissions coupling karst geomorphology and evolution, bedrock geology, weathering and erosion, climate change, and effect on water resources are welcome.
T10. Characterization and Utilization of Carbonate Reservoirs.
Cosponsored by Eastern Section, SEPM; GSA Hydrogeology Division; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.
Tina Roberts-Ashby; Jessica Pierson Moore
Carbonate reservoirs are important geologic resources, and are currently being utilized by the energy, industrial, and municipal sectors for a variety of purposes. Such purposes range from large municipal water supply to petroleum production to storage reservoirs for gas or waste disposal. This session focuses on research that involves the characterization of carbonate-reservoir rocks for their various purposes and uses, including: consumptive groundwater supply (i.e., for municipal, industrial, and agricultural uses); non-consumptive groundwater supply (i.e., baseflow to streams, rivers, and springs); aquifer storage and recovery; waste disposal; petroleum production; carbon dioxide sequestration; artificial groundwater recharge; and geothermal energy. Reservoir characterization techniques can include: hydrogeological, stratigraphical, or lithological modeling and interpolations; storage capacity assessments; mineralogical and lithological studies; interpretations of depositional environments; studies on diagenetic alterations; and porosity and permeability assessments. This session would be significant to workers within the academic, government, and private-sector communities interested in the reservoir-quality of carbonate rocks throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, who are actively engaged in the characterization and utilization of these resources. Fields of study for such research can include hydrogeology, hydrology, ecohydrology, petroleum geology, carbonate geology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, environmental geology, geochemistry, mineralogy, and petrology.
T11. Critical Zone Processes and the Geology of Puerto Rico.
Cosponsored by GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.
F.N. Scatena
The Critical Zone (CZ) is the porous near-surface layer of the Earth that extends from the top of the vegetative canopy down to the deepest groundwater. The CZ is a constantly evolving zone where rock, soil, water, air, and living organisms interact and regulate the supply of life-sustaining resources, including food production and water quality. Understanding the complex web of physical, chemical, and biological processes of the CZ requires an integration of a broad array of natural sciences, including geology, soil science, hydrology, geochemistry, geomorphology, and ecology. An immediate challenge of CZ research is to develop a predictive understanding of how the structure and function of the CZ evolves and responds to changes in climate and land-use. Although several groups have been conducting CZ research, this session will provide the first formal exchange between CZ researchers working in Puerto Rico, including researchers involved with the NSF-supported Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory, the San Juan Ultra project, and the USGS WEBB project. Papers that stress linkages between bedrock geology and weathering and erosion, landscape evolution and geomorphology, and land use and climate change are especially welcome
T12. Quaternary Caribbean Reef Systems.
Cosponsored by Eastern Section, SEPM; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.
Clark Sherman; Wilson Ramírez; David Cuevas
Geologic studies of Caribbean reef systems have been critical to our overall understanding of reef systems worldwide. Seminal Caribbean studies in the 1960’s and 1970’s by researchers such as Walter Adey, Robert Ginsburg, Thomas Goreau, Noel James, Lynton Land, Ian Macintyre and others laid the foundations for reef studies for decades to come. This theme session seeks to gather current researchers of Quaternary Caribbean reef systems to share results and provoke thoughtful discussion of the state of Caribbean reefs and Caribbean reef science. The session will consider a broad range of topics covering both modern and fossil Caribbean reef systems including sedimentology, ecology/paleoecology, diagenesis, geochemistry, hydrogeology and the use of corals and coral reefs as records of oceanographic and climatic change. Of special interest are studies that demonstrate the linkages between modern reefs and the fossil record and how study of one aids our understanding of the other.
T13. Lesser Antilles: Volcanology, Petrology, and Monitoring.
Cosponsored by the Asociación Latinoamericana de Volcanología (ALVO); GSA Mineralogy, Geochemistry, Petrology, and Volcanology Division; GSA Geophysics Division.
Alan L. Smith; Lizzette A. Rodríguez
The Lesser Antilles is a volcanic arc with 19 potentially active volcanoes; one center is currently in eruption – Soufriere Hills, Montserrat; one center has just experienced a year-long volcano-seismic crisis – Morne aux Diables, Dominica. There was also at the beginning of this year an IODP cruise to study submarine volcanic deposits off Montserrat, Dominica and Martinique; and a renewed study of the plutonic blocks associated with many centers by Dick Arculus, Jon Davidson and Jon Blundy. Although most work on the Antilles in the past has been done by non-US scientists, exposure of the area and its potential for significant contributions to the understanding of island arcs to US scientists may spark an interest that has been lacking over the last few years. I am hoping that papers submitted will illustrate not only what has been done but also give an idea of what still needs to be done. Potential areas for presentations within the session could include volcanological/pyroclastic studies on the Montserrat eruption plus studies of older deposits ranging from the historic eruptions on St. Vincent to large volume ignimbrite deposits on Dominica; petrologic and dating studies of the islands; water chemistry of the numerous hot springs; volcanic-related seismology; GPS studies; marine geology and geophysics.
T14. Oceanic Trench Research in the 21st Century.
Cosponsored by GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division; GSA Geophysics Division.
Wilford Schmidt; Alberto López; Manuel Jiménez; Hirohishi Kitazato
The study of oceanic trenches is entering a new era. Recent developments in AUV/ROV and free vehicle technology have made in situ work a reality and hold great promise for improved remote sensing techniques as well. In addition, newer materials and techniques have been developed that allow instrumentation to be deployed deeper and longer. This session will focus on current and developing methods, practices, and findings in oceanic trench research.
T15. Sustainable Water Resources and Water Treatment in Haiti.
Cosponsored by GSA Hydrogeology Division.
Peter J. Wampler; Richard R. Rediske; Azizur R. Molla
Biological contamination of drinking water is a major public health problem in Haiti. Millions of dollars and thousands of hours are spent every year in Haiti on water projects in an effort to provide safe and sustainable water to rural and urban Haitians. It is clear from recent field research that both surface water and ground water are contaminated with enteric bacteria and other pathogens. The reasons for this contamination are geologic, ecologic, sociologic, and economic in nature. These four factors are interrelated in complex ways that make solutions complex, and by their nature interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary. This session focuses on the availability, quality, and efforts at treatment of water resources in Haiti. We hope to attract researchers and policy makers from a range of disciplines who are working in Haiti on water, water resources, and water-related issues in Haiti. Disciplines that may contribute include anthropology; environmental geology; hydrology; economics; chemistry, biochemistry; ecology; ecohydrology; geochemistry; forestry; sociology; economics.
T16. Extreme Interglacial Events: The Late Neogene–Quaternary Record of Climate Instability from North American and Caribbean Coasts.
Cosponsored by GSA Quaternary Geology & Geomorphology Division; Eastern Section, SEPM; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.

Blair R. Tormey; Paul J. Hearty
The passive margins of the western Atlantic preserve a high-resolution stratigraphic record of late Neogene and Quaternary interglacials, many of which are marked by extreme, short-term climate and sea-level fluctuations. Understanding the dramatic events of past interglacials will be critical to understanding the likely impacts that rapidly changing climate and rising sea-level will have on coastal systems in the future. This session will focus on the sedimentary record of these climatic shifts and sea-level fluctuations, as well as the evidence for rapid coastal response such as changes due to intense storms, rapid redistribution of sediments, and impacts on reefs and other coastal ecosystems.
T17. Collaborative Seismology in the Caribbean and Central America.
Cosponsored by GSA Geophysics Division; GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division.
Jay Pulliam, Baylor University
Víctor Huérfano Moreno; Olga Cabello
High-value studies that contribute to fundamental understanding of structure and processes, and also mitigate the effects of earthquake and tsunami hazards, can best be carried out as “community projects”: collaborations between individuals, networks, and institutions in which data are exchanged, analyses are performed jointly, and everyone shares in the discovery. Further, collaborative projects leverage regional resources and greatly contribute to regional scientific and monitoring capacity. We invite contributions reporting results of regional collaborative studies as well as discussions of prospective projects that require, or would benefit from, extensive collaboration between individuals and institutions in the Caribbean and Central America region. Examples include the significant advances that have emerged recently from new data acquisition in Haiti, and onshore/offshore observations in Venezuela and Costa Rica, among others. Reviews of the design, performance and results from these and other studies will set the context for future projects.
T18. Dolomitization in the Caribbean.
Cosponsored by Eastern Section, SEPM; GSA Mineralogy, Geochemistry, Petrology, and Volcanology Division; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.
Luis González; Wilson Ramírez
Early dolomitization is ubiquitous in Caribbean Cenozoic sequences and dolomitized units have been subject of numerous studies. Their petrography, stratigraphic relationships, and chemistry have been used to support particular dolomitization mechanisms or fluid sources, e.g. mixing zone and seawater convection (thermal or density driven). More recent mechanisms include circulation of magmatic-hydrothermal solutions, tectonic expulsion of fluids from accretionary prism, and microbial driven processes. This session seeks contributions documenting new dolomite occurrences in the Caribbean, provide insights into dolomitization mechanisms, and document the chemistry of dolomitizing fluids.
T19. New Insights into Old Arcs: Petrology, Geochemistry, and Tectonics of Caribbean Island Arcs.
Cosponsored by GSA Mineralogy, Geochemistry, Petrology, and Volcanology Division; GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division; GSA Geophysics Division.
Aaron J. Cavosie
Island arcs represent centers of crustal growth in the Phanerozoic, and thus play a significant role in the growth and evolution of the crust and continents through extraction of juvenile material from the mantle. This session welcomes contributions involving studies of island arc formation and evolution, including petrology, geochemistry, geochronology, thermochronology, structure, mineralogy, volcanology, and tectonics focusing on island arcs in the Caribbean and elsewhere.
T20. The Shoreline of Puerto Rico: Session in Honor of Jack Morelock.
Cosponsored by Eastern Section, SEPM; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.
David M. Bush; Maritza Barreto; Wilson Ramírez
Jack Morelock began studying marine sediments in the mid-1960s, and by the mid-1970s became the foremost coastal researcher in Puerto Rico. His seminal work, Shoreline of Puerto Rico (1978, Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources) was one of the first reports to focus on human impact on the beach system. The report laid out a foundation on which to study, understand, and manage the coast. Jack went on to train the next generation of coastal researchers in Puerto Rico. This oral session will present summaries of some of Jack’s work plus work done by those influenced by him, including his former students.
T21. Volcanic Hazards and Risk in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Cosponsored by the Asociación Latinoamericana de Volcanología (ALVO); GSA Mineralogy, Geochemistry, Petrology, and Volcanology Division.
Lizzette A. Rodríguez; Carlos J. Ramírez Umaña; Raúl Mora Amador; Gino S. González Ilama
With a large number of geologically active volcanoes, many countries in Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico are continually affected by volcanic hazards, and eruptions have caused economic and societal disruptions throughout the years. Volcanic risk is part of everyday life. A number of volcanic crises have occurred in recent years (e.g., Pacaya, Fuego, Turrialba, Popocatepetl, Soufrière Hills, Santa Ana, Rincon de la Vieja, Nevado del Ruiz, Tungurahua, Puyehue), all of which have taught us many lessons on their management. The objective of this session is to bring together scientists to discuss their experiences and their work on volcanic hazards and risk in Latin America and the Caribbean. Some of the topics for presentations in this session could include: the perception of risk, challenges for alert systems, the role of volcanologists in volcanic crises, the strategies used in the reduction of volcanic risk, the efforts to communicate hazard assessments to the general public, the decision makers and the stakeholders, experiences of community-based planning, and integrating volcano monitoring with hazard/risk assessments. We also expect contributions related to the interdisciplinary interaction of social science and volcanology, which is an important requirement of effective risk management. We plan to have a panel discussion on volcanic risk at the end of the session. The discussion aims to cover topics related to the roles of the different groups involved in volcanic hazards/risk assessment and what they need to do in order to reduce volcanic risk.
T22. Mapping Puerto Rico and Beyond in the Digital Age and in the Past: From the Mountains to the Sea, Exploring Historical and New Geospatial and Visualization Techniques for Crafting Modern Maps (Posters).
Cosponsored by GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division; Council on Undergraduate Education.
Chester W. Jackson, Jr.
Maps are the basic form of data representation for geoscientists. Modern versions sometime consist of static and interactive 2D/3D digital displays in addition to traditional printed copies. Puerto Rico offers an opportunity to study the history of development of mapping and map making from the very simplest representations of boundaries by the Spanish over 500 years ago, through field mapping by the U.S. Geological Survey in the 1960s and 1970s, to modern satellite imagery and airborne and terrestrial LiDAR. The same is true for places elsewhere in the Caribbean and United States. This poster session is designed to be a general mapping applications poster session focusing on techniques, history, and the state of the art. Its intent is to draw interest from those who do geologic mapping, landslide hazard mapping, tsunami inundation mapping, water resource mapping, coastal hazards, shoreline change, seafloor mapping, etc. Poster authors may concentrate on methods of data collection, geospatial analysis, and/or cartographic techniques. The poster format allows for discussion between not only attendees but also poster authors to discuss methodology. The poster session is open to authorship from students, researchers in academia and industry, and all levels of government.
T23.Applications of Tracers in Geology, Hydrology, and Environmental Sciences.
Cosponsored by GSA Hydrogeology Division.
Sam Mutiti
This session focuses on the use of natural and synthetic tracers (isotopes, geochemical, biological, fluorescents, dyes, heat etc.) in understanding earth systems and processes, predicting the fate and transport of contaminants or reconstruction of earth’s history. The session aims is to highlight the current knowledge in the science of tracer-application, especially natural tracers, and discuss limitations, advantages, advances and future direction of this science. This is a broad area of study, therefore, we expect contributions from different fields in earth and environmental sciences.


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