Public Release: 

Planetary geoscience, paleontology, and more at GSA Annual Meeting in Denver next month

Geological Society of America

Boulder, CO - Approximately 6300 geoscientists from around the world will gather at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Colorado Convention Center, Denver, 27-31 October 2007. Journalists are cordially invited to attend. Eligible media representatives will receive complimentary registration (see below) and are invited to use GSA's Newsroom facilities while at the meeting.


I. Scientific Program Highlights
II. Field Trips
III. Onsite Newsroom
IV. Media Registration

I. Scientific Program Highlights

The scientific program encompasses a wide variety of geoscience and integrative science topics of international, national, and regional interest. A few highlights are noted below. View and search the complete technical program at

  • New Eyes and Ears on Mars: Recent Advances in Understanding the Red Planet
    Monday, 29 October, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., CCC 605-607

A growing armada of spacecraft has steadily increased our ability to explore Mars in increasingly detailed ways. This Pardee Keynote Symposium will highlight recent discoveries using these new sensors. Included will be current MARSIS and SHARAD radar sounder results regarding ice-rich polar layered deposits, first results from CRISM's high-resolution observations of water-related deposits emplaced throughout Mars' history, and new high-resolution images of Mars geology from MRO/HIRISE.

  • Oxygen, Evolution, and Extinction
    Sunday, 28 October, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., CCC 605-607

A major discovery of the 21st century is that oxygen levels in the past fluctuated more than previously realized and that major geological and evolutionary events were a consequence. This interdisciplinary Pardee Keynote Symposium presents a comprehensive synthesis of relationships among oxygen levels, evolution, and extinctions from a variety of perspectives. Topics include: analysis of major and minor mass extinctions in light of results from the newest generation of models computing past oxygen and carbon dioxide levels; and recent evidence linking rapid global warming and associated anoxia in the past to paleontological and molecular fossil evidence. A new model for mass extinctions that differs greatly from the understanding of an impact-associated mass extinction will be discussed.

  • Identifying America's Most Vulnerable Oceanfront Communities: A Geological Perspective
    Sunday, 28 October, 1:30-5:30 p.m., CCC 708-710-712

This Pardee Keynote Symposium focuses on 12 beaches at extreme risk of destruction, several of which have already been destroyed at least once. In a context of rising sea level and increased storm activity, top coastal experts address common geologic and historic risk factors and weigh future options for these communities. Long-term ramifications of continued coastal development and engineering during a time of global change will be discussed.

  • New Data, Models, and Concepts of the San Andreas Fault System
    Tuesday, 30 October, 1:30-5:30 p.m., CCC 605-607

New results from the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD) and other ongoing studies will be presented in this Pardee Keynote Symposium focused on the San Andreas Fault system in central California. The first-ever core samples recovered from an active, plate-bounding fault at seismogenic depth will be discussed. A new view of the fault system based on mineral coating will also be presented.


Denver Then and Now: From Paleontology to Public Policy on the Front Range Urban Corridor
Sunday, 28 October, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., CCC 506

In this session talks explore the geologically active period 69 to 64 million years ago. During this period of geologic history Denver and the Front Range underwent climate change, made the transition from a predominantly marine environment to a terrestrial one, and experienced the mass extinction that marked the end of the dinosaurs. An ancient rainforest located near present-day Castle Rock is also examined.

The latter part of the session addresses public awareness and translation of science into public policy in Colorado. Heidi Vangenderen, Office of the Governor, will discuss Governor Bill Ritter's commitment to statewide address of global warming and the challenges faced in a talk titled "How Can Sound Science Inform Good Global Warming Policy"" Geologist and Mayor of Denver John Hickenlooper will give a talk titled "The Geologic Past and Sustainable Future of the City of Denver." Other speakers include Colorado State Geologist Vince Matthews and Chief Curator of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science Kirk Johnson.

Groundwater Mining and Population Growth
Sunday, 27 October, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., CCC 702

Topics include impacts of area population growth, CO2 release from groundwater, land subsidence associated with groundwater withdrawal, and implications for the Denver Basin.

II. Field Trips

Journalists are invited to participate in the extensive slate of pre-meeting, concurrent, and post-meeting field trips. Topics include paleoindian sites, a walk through a late Jurassic ecosystem, energy resources in the mountain West, exposure of the K-T boundary in the Denver Basin, and important bedrock aquifers and their exploitation in the Denver Basin. A 16-mile bicycle field trip examines the Boulder Creek watershed, its hydrology and flood hazards.

Journalists must register for field trips and pay associated fees. For a complete description of this year's trips see

III. Onsite Newsroom

GSA will operate a full-service Newsroom in CCC 604. Computers with internet and printer access, outgoing telephone lines, and space for interviews will be available. Continental breakfast and lunch are complimentary for journalists attending the meeting.

Beginning Saturday, 27 October, the Newsroom telephone number for incoming calls will be +1-303-228-8486.

Newsroom hours of operation (Mountain Daylight Time) will be:

  • Saturday, 27 October, 3-5 p.m.
  • Sunday through Tuesday, 28-24 October, 7:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, 25 October, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

IV. Media Registration

Eligibility for media registration is as follows:

  • Working press representing bona fide, recognized 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, ISWA, CSWA, ACS, ABSW, EUSJA, or evidence of work pertaining to science published in 2006 or 2007.
  • PIOs of scientific societies, educational institutions, and government agencies.

Journalists and PIOs must pay for any short courses or field trips in which they wish to 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 meeting information and to access media registration, visit Pre-registration deadline for media is Tuesday, 16 October 2007. After that date, journalists are welcome to register onsite in the GSA Newsroom.


Contact Ann Cairns, GSA Director of Communications/Marketing/Sales for additional information and assistance (

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