Public Release: 

Geoscientists present research on geological evolution of the North American Cordillera

Geological Society of America

MEDIA ADVISORY
Cordilleran Section, Geological Society of America
52nd Annual Meeting
April 27-29, 2000
Robson Square Conference Centre
Vancouver, British Columbia

INFORMATION FOR MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES

CONTENTS

I. Introduction
II. Meeting Highlights
III. Support for Journalists
IV. Media Registration Policy and Procedures

I. INTRODUCTION
The 96th annual meeting of the Cordilleran Section of the Geological Society of America (GSA) will be held April 27-29, 2000, at the Robson Square Conference Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Over 500 geoscientists from Canada, the United States, Russia, and Pacific Rim countries are expected to attend the meeting, hosted by the Department of Earth Sciences at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia.

Complimentary registration is available for media representatives who wish to attend and report on technical sessions (see "Media Registration Policy and Procedures" below). Meeting themes and sessions of interest are summarized below.

Dynamics of the Earth's crust (tectonics) and associated hazards such as tsunamis and earthquakes are covered in a number of sessions. Some contain geoscience news specific to Vancouver and other areas of western Canada, as well as Seattle and the Puget Lowland in the U. S. Others are broader in scope, with potential interest at national or international levels. Of particular interest in the Vancouver area are several environmental geoscience papers. They address ground water contamination in British Columbia, salt water intrusion in fresh water aquifers on Saturna Island, British Columbia, effects of underwater timber logging, and landslide hazards in the Prince George Forest Region. Other papers address gemstones found in British Columbia and their potential for economic development.

II. MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

PUBLIC LECTURE

THE GREAT EARTHQUAKE OF 1700 AND CASCADIA EARTHQUAKE HAZARD
Garry Rogers, Earthquake Seismology Section, Geological Survey of Canada, Pacific Division, rogers@pgc.nrcan.gc.ca, 250-363-6500. Friday, April 28, 8:00 p.m., Judge MacGill Theatre. Three hundred years ago on the night of January 26th, 1700, this part of the world was shaken by the largest earthquake in the region's modern geological record. It occurred on the Cascadia subduction zone, and was about magnitude 9. The tsunami caused death and destruction as it spread out along the west coast of North America and around the Pacific rim. A repeat of this earthquake is inevitable, but it is only part of the Cascadia earthquake hazard puzzle.

TECHNICAL PROGRAM

Media representatives are welcome to attend sessions and interview scientists onsite, or conduct telephone interviews in advance of or during the meeting. Advance interviews may be conducted on an embargoed basis, with release dates coinciding with presentation dates.

TECTONICS, CRUSTAL MOVEMENT

NEOTECTONICS OF WESTERN WASHINGTON AND THE PUGET LOWLAND RESULTING FROM NORTHWARD MIGRATION OF THE CASCADIA FOREARC
Ray E. Wells, U. S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA, rwells@usgs.gov, 650-329-4933; and S. Y. Johnson, U. S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO. Friday, April 28, Judge MacGill Theatre, 1:50 p.m.
The area known as the Puget Lowland is moving northward against the Canadian Coast Mountains at a rate of 4-7 millimeters per year, or 4 kilometers per million years. Recently active east-west faulting in northern Washington State and the BC lower mainland probably results from this motion. This paper examines possible earthquake implications. Large magnitude, deep-seated earthquakes impact a much larger area than do surface quakes of the same magnitude, and would have serious implications for densely populated areas of the Pacific northwest.

INTERACTIVE DEMONSTRATION OF DYNAMIC COMPUTER MODEL FOR THE PHANEROZOIC TECTONIC AND METALLOGENIC EVOLUTION OF THE CIRCUM-NORTH PACIFIC
Christopher R. Scotese, University of Texas, Arlington, TX, chris@scotese.com, 817-275-1697, et al. Thursday, April 27, Robson Ballroom (Poster Hall), 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Geoscientists from the U. S., Canada, and Russia have developed the first dynamic computer model of the evolution of the Pacific Rim, of which the Cascadia range is a part. Continuous-action, time-lapse motion pictures illustrate major events and interactions, culminating in the formation of the modern-day ring of volcanoes. The model will allow geologists to test ideas about dynamics of the Earth's crust in the region.

THE APPARENT POLAR WANDER PATH FOR JURASSIC NORTH AMERICA: A FRESH LOOK
Elizabeth M. Kilanowsky, Geology Dept., Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, ruaski@prodigy.net, 360-650-3000 ext. 5718, et al. Thursday, April 27, Robson Ballroom (Poster Hall), 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. and:
JURASSIC APPARENT POLAR WANDER PATH FOR NORTH AMERICA
Phyllis Gregoire, Geology Dept., Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, geophyllis@hotmail.com, 650-3000 ext. 5709; et al. Thursday, April 27, Robson Ballroom (Poster Hall), 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

These two papers will attempt to quell controversy about the location of the North American tectonic plate 170 to 150 million years ago. Both measure the magnetic poles shown in rocks of this age in Wyoming and North Dakota. Debate rages within the scientific community about fragments of crust that tacked on to western North America. The fragments could have been displaced from their previous location by thousands of kilometers -- or not -- depending on whose measurements were used. Without resolving these questions, computer animations such as that of Scotese, et al., could have large errors for the Jurassic.

TSUNAMIS, EARTHQUAKES

DIATOM BIOSTRATIGRAPHY AS A TOOL TO DETECT TSUNAMIS IN KAKAWIS LAKE, VANCOUVER ISLAND, CANADA
Janet E. Boxwell, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, jboxwell@sfu.ca, 604-291-3321, et al. Friday, April 28, Robson Ballroom (Poster Hall), 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Tsunamis represent a significant hazard to coastal communities on the west coast of North America. In order to assess this hazard, geoscientists are studying the tsunami record at Kakawis Lake on Meares Island. This location offers one of the most complete tsunami records on the west coast of British Columbia, spanning the last 100,000 years.

A PALEOEARTHQUAKE RECORD IN VARVED HOLOCENE SEDIMENTS FROM ODP LEG 169S, SAANICH INLET, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Robert E. Karlin, Dept. of Geological Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno, NV, karlin@mines.unr.edu; 702-784-1770; et al. Saturday, April 29, Conference Rooms 2/3, 3:40 p.m.
Very large earthquakes (i.e., magnitude greater than 7.5) have affected major portions of the Pacific Northwest several times over the last 10,000 years. Events at Saanich Inlet are very similar in age to those in Lake Washington and buried soils at coastal sites in Washington and British Columbia. These events appear to have occurred more frequently in the last 3000 years, where very large earthquakes take place about every 230 years.

PALEOSEISMOLOGY ON THE SNOHOMISH RIVER DELTA, WASHINGTON: EFFECTS OF SEATTLE FAULT RUPTURE (C.A.D. 900) AND OTHER EARTHQUAKES
J. Bourgeois, Dept. of Geological Sciences, Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA, jbourgeo@u.washington.edu, 206-685-2443; and S. Y. Johnson, U. S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO. Friday, April 28, Judge MacGill Theatre, 4:00 p.m.
A record of past earthquakes is emerging from study of coastal deposits along the Snohomish River and elsewhere in the Puget Lowland. Exposed banks show evidence of regional effects of strong crustal earthquakes and possible tsunamis.

LATE QUATERNARY TECTONICS OF THE DEVILS MOUNTAIN FAULT AND RELATED STRUCTURES, NORTHERN PUGET LOWLAND
Samuel Y. Johnson, U. S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO, sjohnson@usgs.gov, 303-273-8608; et al. Friday, April 28, Judge MacGill Theatre, 4:40 p.m.
Evidence shows the Devils Mountain fault and the newly recognized Strawberry Point and Utsulady Point faults have been active over the last 2 million years. The latter, newly identified faults cut across northern Whidbey Island and have significant motion, with slip rates ranging from 0.15 to 1.45 millimeters per year. This new information should be taken into account as development of the island continues.

GEOLOGICAL MAPPING FOR EARTHQUAKE HAZARD STUDIES IN SOUTHWEST BRITISH COLUMBIA Patrick A. Monahan, Monahan Petroleum Consulting, Brentwood, Bay, BC, monahan@ampsc.com, 250-652-9254; and Vic M. Levson, British Columbia Geological Survey, Victoria, BC, Vic.Levson@gems9.gov.bc.ca, 250-952-0391. Saturday, April 29, Conference Rooms 2/3, 4:00 p.m.
Three-dimensional earthquake hazard maps show information needed to define the seismic response of materials in the Chilliwack and Victoria areas. The need to study sedimentary deposits overlying bedrock, and not just look at material exposed at the surface, is emphasized.

ENVIRONMENTAL GEOSCIENCE

AN ASSESSMENT OF SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL VARIATIONS OF ARSENIC IN GROUND WATER IN THE SUNSHINE COAST AND POWELL RIVER REGIONS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
Gevan S. Mattu, Institute for Resources and Environment, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, gsmattu@interchange.ubc.ca, 604-228-2537; et al. Thursday, April 27, Conference Rooms 2/3, 8:50 a.m.
In 1994, a study of 500 drinking water wells found arsenic levels 50 times higher than recommended safe levels. This paper will present results of a 1999 follow-up study. The source of the arsenic is thought to be hydrothermal solutions found in the bedrock. Movement of water through cracks in the bedrock may be dissolving and transporting the arsenic into the drinking water wells.

GEOCHEMICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL INVESTIGATIONS OF AQUIFERS ON SATURNA ISLAND, BRITISH COLUMBIA: EVIDENCE OF SALT WATER INTRUSION
Diana M. Allen, Dept. of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, dallen@sfu.ca, 604-291-3967; et al. Thursday, April 27, Conference Rooms 2/3, 10:40 a.m.
Saturna Island suffers from long-term fresh water shortages. Results of a study investigating the occurrence of salt water in fresh water aquifers on the island will be presented. The saline waters appear to be caused by mixing between sodium-rich ground water and sea water, and well as by mixing of fresh ground water with sea water.

WATER QUALITY IN KNEWSTUB LAKE AND EUCHU REACH, AND WATER QUALITY, TOPOGRAPHY, TERRAIN STABILITY AND FOREST COVER IN OOTSA LAKE
Carol Ann McDevitt, BC Research, Inc., Vancouver, BC, cmcdevitt@bcresearch.com, 604-224-4331; et al. Thursday, April 27, Judge MacGill Theatre, 4:20 p.m.
Results of a feasibility study for logging underwater timber in the Nechako Reservoir will be presented. Studies test issues such as slope stability during and after tree plucking, siltation, impacts on aquatic life, and potential changes to the chemical regime.

TERRAIN STABILITY MAPPING AND PRELIMINARY TERRAIN ATTRIBUTE STUDIES IN THE PRINCE GEORGE FOREST REGION, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Brent Ward, Dept. of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, bcward@sfu.ca; 604-291-4229, et al. Thursday, April 27, Judge White Theatre, 4:00 p.m.
Recent mapping of landslide hazards in the Prince George Forest Region uses both airphoto interpretation and ground checking to estimate which areas are most likely to fail after logging and road construction. Differences between landslide hazard mapping in coastal areas versus interior areas are discussed, along with differences in failure for different types of slopes.

GEMSTONES OF THE PACIFIC RIM

GEMSTONES AND ORNAMENTAL STONES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
Ronald G. Zeilstra, British Columbia Ministry of Employment and Investment, Victoria, BC; ron.zeilstra@gems3.gov.bc.ca, 250-356-2819, et al. Thursday, April 27, Conference Rooms 2/3, 1:10 p.m.
The geological complexity of British Columbia lends itself to the formation of minerals that produce gemstones. British Columbia is the world's largest producer of nephrite jade, and exploration for corundum (sapphire and ruby), beryl (emerald and aquamarine), precious opal and rhodonite continues to grow. The B. C. Geological Survey's Minfile database, documenting over 200 gemstone and ornamental stone occurrences, will be discussed.

B. C. PRECIOUS OPAL: A GEMSTONE FOR THE NEW MILLENIUM
Robert W. Yorke-Hardy, Okanagan Opal Inc., Vernon, BC, and Brian Callaghan. Thursday, April 27, Conference Rooms 2/3, 2:10 p.m.
The Klinker precious opal deposit, discovered in 1991, is located in the Okanagan Region of south central BC. It is similar to deposits found in Honduras, Nevada, and Mexico. Geological indicators suggest that it may be much larger than presently defined. Since additional deposits have been recently discovered, it is possible that British Columbia could in time become a major, world class opal producer. Environmental impacts of mining would be relatively low, making it an attractive new resource development opportunity for BC.

III. SUPPORT FOR JOURNALISTS

Ann Cairns, GSA Director of Communications and Marketing will be onsite during the meeting to assist journalists. She can be reached Thursday through Saturday, April 27-29, by calling her cell phone at 303-725-6334.

IV. MEDIA REGISTRATION POLICY AND PROCEDURES

Media will register at the main meeting registration desk where they will receive badges and program/abstract books. Registration locations and hours are:

Wednesday, April 26, 4-7 p.m.
Thursday April 27, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Friday, April 28, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 29, 7:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Registration entitles journalists and public information officers (PIOs) from geoscience and other related organizations to access to all scientific sessions and the exhibition area.

Eligibility for complimentary 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 pay the appropriate fees.

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