Public Release: 

Media Advisory: The Geological Society of America 1999 Annual Meeting

Geological Society of America

The Geological Society of America 1999 Annual Meeting:
"Crossing Divides" - Multidisciplinary and Integrative Geoscience Information for Science, Environment, and Education Writers and Editors

Contents


1. Introduction

The 111th Annual Meeting of The Geological Society of America will be held October 24-28, 1999, at the Colorado Convention Center (CCC) in Denver, Colorado. Approximately 6000 geoscientists from around the world are expected to attend. Three thousand speakers will participate in over 200 technical sessions, covering recent advances in all fields of geoscience. Broad categories of potential interest to the public include geologic hazards, climate, planetary science, environment, science and public policy, and geoscience education.

A sample of meeting highlights is presented below. Visit GSA's web site, http://www.geosociety.org/meetings/99/index.htm, for the program calendar and descriptions of all symposia and sessions. Keep checking this link for the availability of GSA's "GeoTimer," with which you can view and search abstracts as well as build a personalized meeting schedule. (Note: Meeting room numbers are subject to change.)

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2. Meeting Highlights

GEOLOGIC HAZARDS

SPECIAL SESSION: THE 1999 IZMIT, TURKEY, EARTHQUAKE
CCC: Room A102-106, Tuesday, October 26, 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Mary Lou Zoback, GSA Vice President and Chief Scientist, Western Earthquake Hazards Team, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA, et al.

The last decade has seen a series of devastating earthquakes strike major population centers. The recent Izmit event on the Anatolian fault was by far the largest, most destructive, and costly in terms of human lives. Strong similarities between the Anatolian and San Andreas fault systems make this an event of particular interest. Details of the surface rupture and the relationship of damage to near-surface geology will be presented. Hear first-hand accounts of this tragic urban earthquake from scientists who arrived just days after the event to document its effects. (Note: There are no abstracts for this late-breaking session on the GSA web site.)

"GEOLOGIC HAZARD MAPPING: THE STATE OF THE ART" (T28)
CCC C101-103 Tuesday, October 26, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Natural geologic processes become "hazards" in the presence of humans. New methods for mapping areas susceptible to floods, earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, expansive soils, and liquefaction will be presented in this session.

CLIMATE

PARDEE KEYNOTE SYMPOSIUM: "GLOBALLY WARM CLIMATES OF THE EARLY CENOZOIC: EVIDENCE, CAUSES, AND BIOTIC CONSEQUENCES" (K006)
CCC Ballroom 4, Monday, October 25, 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Earth's most recent occurrence of greenhouse conditions was in the early Cenozoic. This record lends insight to the greenhouse period we're now entering. Specific topics include the search for causal mechanisms of climate change and impacts on organisms and ecosystems. (Note: The cycle of "icehouse/greenhouse" regimes is addressed in Session T40, "The Tropics Compared: Icehouse and Greenhouse States.")

PLANETARY SCIENCE

PARDEE KEYNOTE SYMPOSIUM: "IMPACT EVENTS: ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON THE ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF LIFE" (K001)
CCC Ballroom 2 and 3, Tuesday, October 26, 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
This multidisciplinary session brings together findings of geologists, paleontologists, atmospheric chemists, and physicists. Emphasis is on developing a more comprehensive understanding of impact events and their effect on global environment and biologic evolution.

"MORPHOLOGICAL AND MINERALOGICAL BIOMARKERS FOR MARS EXPLORATION" (T14)
CCC Ballroom 4:
Wednesday, October 27, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 27, 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 28, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Three full sessions explore the relationship of geoscience to the bioevolution of Earth and other planets. The geologic record of Earth can help identify what to look for in Martian samples that will be brought back in 2008 by the Mars Sample Return Project.

"MARS, THE NEXT GENERATION: THE EMERGENT, NEW GEOLOGY OF EARTH'S NEIGHBORING WORLD" (T13)
CCC C102-104-106, Monday, October 25, 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
New Mars Global Surveyor data (images and topography) will be presented, and images from the Mars Climate Orbiter's first month of operation (September 1999) will be released. These findings help create context and set the stage for the December 3, 1999, landing of the Mars Polar Lander.

"THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION: NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR EARTH SCIENCE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION" (T12)
CCC C207, Tuesday, October 26, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
NASA's International Space Station (ISS) will be a valuable platform for remote sensing of Earth. This session profiles some of the interdisciplinary Earth science accomplished to date using imagery from the U. S. space program, and sets the stage for the greater possibilities provided by ISS. Applications discussed will include: quantifying changes in some of the world's most dynamic river and coastline environments; mapping aerosols, such as dust and smoke palls; mapping faults and volcanoes with photographs and radar; integrating imagery over the world's coral reefs into a global database for better reef management; using historical and recent images for landcover mapping and validation; and designing nation-wide education programs around dedicated payloads (EarthKAM) and the public image database.

ENVIRONMENT

PARDEE KEYNOTE SYMPOSIUM: "MAINTAINING A LIVABLE EARTH: CONVERSATIONS AMONG CONCERNED GEOLOGISTS" (K003)
CCC Ballroom 4, Monday, October 25, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
This symposium confronts head-on societal lack of awareness of earth sciences and its ramifications. Geoscience is at the fulcrum of environmental issues. Panels of geoscientists who have written essays for a forthcoming book on geology's role in securing a livable future on Earth will share instances in which geological knowledge might have helped avert environmental problems. In some instances, that knowledge provided for astute land, water, and air management decisions. Illustrative topics include natural resources, nuclear waste, coastal management, and ozone depletion. Attendees will be able to engage in the discussion following each panel.

"FROM ATRAZINE TO ANTIBIOTICS: THE OCCURENCE AND FATE OF AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS IN THE HYDROLOGIC SYSTEM" (T83)
CCC C201, Thursday, October 28, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Water quality problems associated with agricultural chemicals will be discussed from several perspectives: effects of herbicide and fertilizer use on groundwater quality; contamination of surface water by antibiotics and pathogens in animal waste from feed lots and other confined areas; and hypoxia, or low oxygen, zones in the Gulf of Mexico caused by chemicals in the Mississippi River.

"EVOLUTION AND REMEDIATION OF ACID-SULFATE GROUNDWATER SYSTEMS AT RECLAIMED MINE SITES" (T97)
CCC C109 Wednesday, October 27, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Acid-sulfate groundwater, frequently referred to as acid mine drainage (AMD), is a nationwide environmental problem. Remediation attempts have focused on predictive studies (to avoid the problem relative to new mines), active chemical treatment in active and recently abandoned mines, and passive treatment methods for older abandoned mines. The latter involves a range of innovative approaches, such as engineered wetlands, limestone drains, biocide, mine flooding, recharge control, and in-situ neutralization. This session will focus on three questions: How well do we understand the processes that occur at abandoned mine sites? Do passive treatment methods work and if so, within what limits? Is there a quick fix for AMD control or are costly long-term methods the only recourse? This controversial last question will be the focus of a panel discussion, open to audience participation.

"ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: GEOECOLOGICAL, SOCIAL, AND PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVES" (T35)
CCC A111 Monday, October 25, 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Environmental justice issues discussed in this session include: resource development, consumption and distribution; property rights conflicts; disproportionate environmental impacts on minorities and the poor; and the need for collaboration between scientists and communities of faith.

GEOSCIENCE AND PUBLIC POLICY

"COASTAL GEOLOGIC RISK: MAPPING THE HAZARDS AND INFLUENCING PUBLIC POLICY" (T30)
CCC C205, Wednesday, October 27, 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Natural coastal geologic processes and their impacts will be the starting point for this session; effects of El Nino, hurricanes, and other storms are among the topics. New ideas on mapping hazards such as beach erosion and landslides will be covered, as well as risk assessment and mitigation practices and policies.

"GEOLOGIC INPUT TO PUBLIC DECISION-MAKING: THE NEED FOR GREATER PREDICTIVE CAPABILITY" (T27)
CCC A108, Thursday, October 28, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Advances in prediction techniques will be examined in this session, along with the communications issues that surround their use. The changing role of geoscience in policymaking will also be discussed.

"THE SUSTAINABILITY CHALLENGE: WATER AND HUMAN SUSTAINABILITY" (T100)
CCC A102-104-106, Sunday, October 24, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Discussions of increased global population and resource availability often overlook water as attention is directed to food and energy. Yet water is the most fundamental resource, and an adequate supply is absolutely essential to sustain life. This session explores how geoscience can contribute to understanding this global problem and support effective decision making.

"CREATIONISM VS. EVOLUTION IN THE CLASSROOM: SHOULD GEOSCIENTISTS MAKE A STAND?"
(GSA Institute for Earth Science and the Environment Forum)
CCC (Room TBD), Wednesday, October 27, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Geoscientists discuss the history of the problem and get a current view from a teacher who has recently experienced difficulty in the public schools. The role of geoscientists in this controversial issue is explored.

GEOSCIENCE EDUCATION

"SUCCESSES IN CREATING MULTIMEDIA-ASSISTED LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS"
CCC A201, Wednesday, October 27, 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Success stories include: a Web-based "Virtual Paleontology" course for undergraduates; "REO GEO," an asynchronous multimedia distance learning course in college-level physical geology for high school juniors and seniors; and interactive CD-ROM technology for teaching geoscience in grades 6-14.

"TEACHING GEOSCIENCE TO THE DISABLED" (T72)
Poster Session: CCC Poster Hall, Tuesday, October 26, 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
This poster session focuses on making geoscience accessible to students with special needs. Topics include: adaptation of geology laboratory exercises; use of virtual field trips; tactile materials for sight-impaired students; and teaching students with developmental disabilities.

"CROSSING THE GREATEST DIVIDE: THE EARTH SCIENCES, THE HUMANITIES, AND THE NEEDS OF SOCIETY"
CCC A111, Wednesday, October 27, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
This wide-ranging session includes discussion of geoscience curricula for Native Americans in southern California and First Nations' students from the north coast of British Columbia.

"THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION: NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR EARTH SCIENCE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION" (T12)
CCC C207, Tuesday, October 26, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
This session, described previously in detail, includes discussion of NASA's EarthKAM and middle school students' use of Earth images taken from space.

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3. Media Briefings and Other Events

A series of scheduled media briefings, to be held Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Oct. 25-27, is under development. (Note: The possibility of Sunday briefings still exists.) Details will be distributed in an updated media advisory in October.

Media representatives are warmly invited to attend the Annual Meeting Welcoming Reception on Sunday evening, October 24, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. During that time, two book signings will take place in the GSA Headquarters area. Cornelia Dean, science editor of the New York Times, will sign her book, Against the Tide: The Battle for America's Beaches, at the Science and Outreach booth. Sara Andrews will sign her latest forensic geology mystery novel, Bone Hunter, and other books in the series, outside the GSA Bookstore.

On Wednesday evening, October 27, Room A201, 5:45 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., media representatives are invited to attend a special "Town Meeting" on the EarthScope initiative. This the first geoscience proposal considered by NSF's Major Research Equipment Program. EarthScope is a distributed, multi-purpose geophysical instrument array. It includes a plate-boundary observatory that will continuously monitor strain at a large number of sites in the western U. S.

It also includes a San Andreas fault zone observatory-at-depth for monitoring seismicity, strain, and pore pressure within the fault. A third component, USArray, is a dense array of high-capability seismographs that will be deployed throughout the United States. Principals representing each of these major experiments, as well as representatives from NSF, will be present to provide information and answer questions.

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4. News Room

GSA's News Room will be room A210 in the Colorado Convention Center. Sunday, October 24, through Wednesday, October 27, News Room hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. On Thursday, October 28, the News Room will be fully operational from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. After 1:00, the room will remain open but equipment and supplies will be removed during the course of the afternoon.

News Room facilities, available for use by registered media representatives and public information officers, will include:

    Computer with Internet access and printer
    Telephones
    Fax
    Copier
    Message boards
    Tables for distribution of press releases related to the meeting

The News Room telephone number for incoming calls is 303-228-8511. The fax number is 303-228-3513. Please provide these numbers to those who may need to contact you in the News Room. There is no charge for outgoing business calls and faxes.

Scheduled media briefings will be held next door in room A208. This room will be equipped with a raised platform for speakers and AV equipment including slide projector, overhead projector, and screen. A mult box for audio recordings will be available, but no special lighting for video is provided.

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5. Media Registration Policies and Procedures

Registration entitles journalists and public information officers (PIOs) from geoscience and other related organizations to access to all scientific sessions and the exhibition area, as well as to the Press Room, Briefing Room, and events specifically for media representatives.

Eligibility for media registration is as follows, all of whom have equal access:

  • 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 1998 or 1999.
  • PIOs of scientific societies, educational institutions and government agencies.

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.

Eligible persons are encouraged to pre-register online via GSA's web site, http://www.geosociety.org/meetings/99/media.htm. The deadline for media pre-registration is October 14. Onsite registration will take place at the News Room.

Pre-registrants will receive the full book of abstracts via first class mail, while supplies last. Those who register onsite will receive the abstract book at that time. All media registrants will receive their badges and the meeting program book upon arrival at the GSA News Room.

Information on hotel accommodations is available on the GSA web site at http://www.geosociety.org/meetings/99/housing.htm. Hotel reservations may be made through GSA's contracted housing bureau until September 17. All media are encouraged to make their arrangements as soon as possible.

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6. Additional Information for Public Information Officers If you have press materials relevant to any of the sessions or media briefings at the meeting and are unable to attend, you may send them by mail or express delivery service. Materials may be shipped to the following address FOR RECEIPT BY OCTOBER 15:

Ann Cairns
The Geological Society of America
3300 Penrose Place - Box 9140
Boulder, CO 80301-9140

Information for shipping materials FOR RECEIPT AFTER OCTOBER 15 will be provided in the October media advisory update.

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