Public Release: 

GSA Meeting: Hydraulic fracturing, digital technologies, and the impact of Hurricane Sandy

2013 GSA Northeastern Section Meeting

Geological Society of America

Boulder, Colorado, USA - Geoscientists from across the northeastern U.S. and beyond will convene in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, on 18-20 March to celebrate GSA's 125th Anniversary and discuss new science, expand on existing science, and explore the unique geologic and historic features of the region. Field trip topics include the Mount Washington Observatory and glacial geology and archeology in the Northern White Mountains. Symposia cover climate change, the Northern Appalachians, and the history of geology in the Northeast.

This meeting is creating unprecedented interest -- already, it has set an all-time, GSA single-Section record for submitted abstracts (618; previous record: 501) and is expected to attract more than 1,000 attendees during its three-day run.

Topics of interest presented on Monday include groundwater contaminants; unconventional natural gas, potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing, and Project SWIFT (Shale-Water Interaction Forensic Tools); and natural and induced seismic hazards, including discussion of the M5.8 August 2011 Mineral, Virginia, earthquake.

A special Plenary Session on Monday evening (5:30 to 6:30 p.m.) will address "21st-Century Sea Level Rise: An Overview of Current Status & Alternative Modeling Approaches," with speaker W. Tad Pfeffer of the Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Pfeffer is a member/lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I.

Sessions of interest on Tuesday include innovations in education and research using digital technologies such as Google Earth; applications of digital terrain data in research, mapping, and design; and LiDAR surveys of the entire ocean coast of New Jersey immediately before and just after the landfall of Hurricane Sandy.

Wednesday's sessions include continued study of the impact of Hurricane Sandy, especially the damage, clean-up, and mitigation. A poster session from 8 a.m. to noon continues Monday's discussion of "Unconventional Natural Gas Plays in the Eastern U.S. and Canada with Emphasis on the Marcellus Shale and Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing."

Selected Highlights of the Scientific Program

The scientific program is composed of oral and poster presentations organized into 32 themed sessions plus an array of research in general discipline areas. Go to to learn more.


Naturally Occurring Contaminants in Groundwater Used for Water Supply in the Northeastern United States

Joseph D. Ayotte of the U.S. Geological Survey and Yan Zheng of Queens College, CUNY, and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, presiding, 8 a.m. to noon (session 3).


Natural and Induced Seismic Hazards in Intraplate Regions

John E. Ebel of Weston Observatory at Boston College and Margaret Boettcher of the University of New Hampshire, presiding, 8 a.m. to 10:10 a.m. (session 5).


Unconventional Natural Gas Plays in the Eastern U.S. and Canada with Emphasis on the Marcellus Shale and Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing

Brett T. McLaurin of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and Cynthia Venn of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, presiding, 10:40 a.m. to noon (session 4).



Innovations in Geoscience Education and Research Using Google Earth and Related Digital Technologies

Stephen J. Whitmeyer of James Madison University and Declan G. De Paor of Old Dominion University, presiding, 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. (session 52).


The Emerging LiDAR Landscape: Applications of Digital Terrain Data in Research, Mapping, and Design

Rick Chormann of the New Hampshire Geological Survey and Fay Rubin of the University of New Hampshire, presiding, 1:30 to 3:55 p.m. (session 53).



The Geomorphic Impact of Hurricane Sandy: Predictions Made, Damage Done, Clean-Up & Mitigation

David Robert Wunsch of the Delaware Geological Survey, Rick Chormann of the New Hampshire Geological Survey, and Stephen G. Pollock of the University of Southern Maine, presiding, 8 a.m. to noon (session 73).


Poster Session: Unconventional Natural Gas Plays in the Eastern U.S. and Canada with Emphasis on the Marcellus Shale and Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing


Authors will be present from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.


View the complete session schedule by day or search the program by keywords at Click on session titles for a list of presentations, and click on presentations for the individual abstracts.

Find complete meeting information at

Find local contact information at


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 2012 or 2013.
  • PIOs of scientific societies, educational institutions, and government agencies.

Present media credentials to William Cox onsite at the GSA registration desk to obtain a badge for media access. Complimentary meeting registration covers attendance at all technical sessions and access to the exhibit hall. Journalists and PIOs must pay regular fees for paid luncheons and any short courses or field trips in which they 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 information and assistance, contact Christa Stratton, GSA Director of Communications, at the address above.

The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with more than 25,000 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.

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