Earth Science Comes to Indianapolis

Geological Society of America's Annual Meeting Touches Indiana Residents Where They Live

Boulder, CO, USA: The Indianapolis community is invited to learn more about our amazing Earth in conjunction with The Geological Society of America's (GSA's) Annual Meeting & Exhibition, being held at the Indiana Convention Center, 100 S. Capitol Avenue, Indianapolis, on 4–7 November 2018.

More than 6,000 geoscientists will share research results with colleagues on a range of topics of local, national, and international interest—ranging from soil erosion, water quality, and earthquake hazards of the New Madrid seismic zone, to applications in geoscience for 3D printing, the use of ground-penetrating radar in forensic geology, what we are learning from the fossil record, and much more. General Meeting Chair Todd Thompson, Director of the Indiana Geological & Water Survey and Indiana State Geologist, noted, "Indiana was one of the birthplaces of American geology—and was the home of many of the first geological investigations throughout the Midwest."

Educators and members of the public are invited to participate in the meeting in a variety of ways.

Local K–12 teachers who would like to bring their science classes to experience a scientific conference may apply to GSA’s K–12 Experience online, or contact Dean Moosavi for more information. This activity is free but requires pre-registration by 31 October.

GeoTeachers: Friday evening through Sunday, K–12 teachers are invited to participate in a geoscience workshop with a Saturday field trip to Turkey Run State Park. Pre-registration required.

Three expert lectures on local geology will be free and open to the public, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis (capacity of 200 attendees). Each presentation will be followed by a short question and answer session.

Sunday, 4 November, 1–4 p.m., in the Indiana Convention Center, Room 238-239.

1:00 p.m.
Title: Indiana's GeoEcosystem
Speaker: Paul Doss, Southern Indiana University, Evansville, Indiana
Description: Every square inch of what we see on the surface of our planet has a foundation of geological materials. The materials that make up the subsurface play one of, if not the, most important role in controlling the biological communities and landscapes that develop on the surface. There's a pretty simple reason why Hoosier National Forest is in Crawford County, Indiana, and not Marion County. And, you don't drive to Kokomo if you want to visit caves and caverns. If you're a farmer, there's a reason that you may need to irrigate in northern Indiana more than you would in central and southern Indiana. In this presentation, we'll gain an understanding of the geological factors that determine where and why our Indiana rivers, forests, croplands, and different natural landscapes are found.

2:00 p.m.
Title: Paleontology of Indiana: 500 Million Years of Hoosier History
Speaker: P. David Polly, University of Indiana, Bloomington, Indiana
Description: Indiana's rocks contain almost 500 million years of Earth's history. We will discuss what a fossil is and what parts of Earth's history are represented in Indiana. Then we'll step back in time to look closer at a few key intervals. Crawfordsville is known worldwide for its elegant crinoid fossils. We'll learn what they are and how they lived in a massive delta formed by rivers running off the ancient Appalachian Mountains. Indiana limestone was formed on top of that delta when the southern part of the state was inundated by tropical seas much like the Bahamas. And we'll learn about the mammoths and saber-tooth cats that lived in Indiana only a geological eye-blink ago. Finally we'll discuss what Indiana's past tells us about the present and future.

3:00 p.m.
Title: The Geologic Framework of Indiana
Speaker: Todd Thompson, Director of the Indiana Geological & Water Survey and Indiana State Geologist, Indiana University
Description: We work and play across the surface of Indiana with little thought to what is below our feet. But the lay of the land is important to what we can do throughout the state. In this talk, we will focus on major geological features and the rock types that comprise Indiana’s bedrock. We will leave the glacial, fluvial, and coastal deposits for another time. We will see how the bedrock changes associated with faults, folds, and even a meteor impact crater. Indiana is not geologically complex, but she holds many surprises. Lastly, we will focus on how we know what we know about the bedrock of the state.

Educators and EarthCache enthusiasts (a GSA outreach partnership with will find particular interest in the lecture program, but everyone is welcome. Explore and enjoy Indiana EarthCache sites anytime.

After the talks, attendees are invited to tour the Exhibit Hall associated with the meeting, which includes more than 200 organizations representing various aspects of the earth sciences, including rock, gem & mineral vendors, jewelry and gifts, educational products and supplies (books, maps), tools and instrumentation, university programs, and more.

Exhibit Hall (Hall I) hours on Sunday, 4 November, are 2–7 p.m.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is sharing their T-rex, "Bucky," which will be on display in the Exhibit Hall during the meeting.

Speaking for the entire staff of the Survey, Thompson said, "We are extremely excited that the GSA conference begins in a couple of weeks. We welcome our geological colleagues from across the country and world and their collective knowledge back home to Indiana."

"It has been 35 years since the last annual meeting was held in Indianapolis, and the city has changed dramatically with much to offer to all who visit."

Learn more on the GSA Annual Meeting website.

# # #
The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with members from academia, government, and industry in more than 100 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.

For Immediate Release
25 Oct. 2018
GSA Release No. 18-34


Christa Stratton

GSA 2018 logo