Public Release: 

Scientists gather amid rich geologic history of the Gunnison Valley

2013 Geological Society of America Rocky Mountain Section Meeting

Geological Society of America

Boulder, Colorado, USA - Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado, USA, will host a meeting of geoscientists from the Rocky Mountain region and beyond on 15-17 May 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. Topics include hydrogeology, geoscience education, dust and soil, and rare-earth elements and other mineral deposits.

The Gunnison Valley is positioned in a rich geologic environment featuring a broad age of geologic materials, structures, and surface and geologic processes. Features that dominate the upper valley include structures and stratigraphy of the high Colorado Rockies that are exposed by fluvial and glacial processes, which have created a complex and spectacular landscape. The upper valley is also a key boundary between the stratigraphy and structures of the Colorado Plateau and West Elk Mountains to the west and the much more deformed rocks of Elk Range to the east. Regional exposures of the volcanoes of the San Juan Mountains, the Colorado Plateau, and features related to the northern Rio Grande Rift and the Colorado Mineral Belt are all within a few hours' drive of Gunnison.

Selected Highlights of the Scientific Program

The scientific program is composed of oral and poster presentations organized into 16 themed sessions plus an array of research in general discipline areas. Go to to learn more.


Christopher L. Shope of the U.S. Geological Survey, presiding, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. (session 1).
• Paper 1-1: Crystal Mine Remedial Investigation: Fractured Rock Groundwater Characterization. Lead author: Greg A. Warren of CH2M HILL: (8:30 a.m.).

21st-Century Geoscience Education for K-16 Students: Novel Approaches and Current Research
Amy L. Ellwein of The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and Matt Nyman of Oregon State University, presiding, 1 to 4 p.m. (session 6).
• Paper 6-1: EarthView: A Global Research STEM Initiative. Lead author: Robert Blair Jr. of Fort Lewis College:


Dust and Soil Geomorphological Research of the Intermountain West and Colorado Plateau: Applications and Approaches
Les McFadden of the University of New Mexico and Amy L. Ellwein of The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, presiding, 9:15 to 11:30 a.m. (session 12).
• Paper 12-5: Strongly Dust-Influenced Soils and Landscape Dynamics in Vegetated Arid Lands of the Southwestern U.S. Lead author: Les McFadden of the University of New Mexico:


REEs and Related Deposits in the Rocky Mountain-High Plains Region and Beyond
Kevin Mahan, Julien Allaz, Charles Stern, G. Lang Farmer and Rebecca Flowers, all from the University of Colorado in Boulder, presiding, 8:30 a.m. to noon (session 21).
• Paper 21-1: Hyperspectral Imaging for Rare Earth Element Exploration. Lead author: Brian S. Penn of NEON Inc.:

Search the program by keywords or view complete session schedule by day at

General meeting information:

Local contact information:


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 Beth Engle 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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