Public Release: 

Geoscientists to meet in Chattanooga, Tenn., USA

Topics include the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone, teaching evolution, energy geology, and geology and infrastructure

Geological Society of America

Boulder, Colorado, USA - Geoscientists from the southeastern United States and beyond will convene in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, on 19-20 March to discuss new and hot-topic science, expand on current studies, and explore the region's unique geologic features. Topics include the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone, teaching evolution in the southeastern U.S., energy geology, and geology's role in protecting infrastructure. Meeting conveners are anticipating a relatively large meeting, with 389 oral and poster presentations and nine field trips.

Widely known as "The Scenic City," Chattanooga owes this distinction to its geologic setting. The city lies along the Tennessee River, among the valleys and ridges of the southern Appalachian fold-and-thrust belt, and within view of the Cumberland Plateau and Blue Ridge. Its name derives from "cató," the Muskogean word for "rock," giving due emphasis to the geology of the area and the ideal setting it provides for this meeting.

Considering that Chattanooga is prone to rockslides, sinkholes, and flooding, the keynote address for this meeting should be of particular interest: "Rockslides, Sinkholes and Flooding, Oh My! The Geologist's Role in Protecting Infrastructure" will be delivered by Vanessa Bateman, Chief, Geology Section, Nashville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

A dedicated field guide has been written for this meeting: Diverse Excursions in the Southeast: Paleozoic to Present, edited by Ann E. Holmes of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. This volume's nine field trips explore geological history and visit four regional geologic provinces--Blue Ridge, Valley and Ridge, Cumberland Plateau, and the Nashville dome.

Selected Highlights of the Scientific Program

The scientific program is composed of oral and poster presentations organized into three symposia and 14 themed sessions plus an array of research in general discipline areas. Go to to learn more.


Session: Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone and Paleoseismology in the Southeastern United States
Presentation of interest: The Mw 4.2 Perry County earthquake of 10 November 2012: Evidence of the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone in southeastern Kentucky: Lead author: Seth N. Carpenter, Kentucky Geological Survey,


Sessions: Teaching Evolution in the Southeast I and II
Abstracts: and
Presentation of interest: Lessons of the Scopes trial in the fight for science education: Lead author: William D. Witherspoon,,

Session: Gas Shale and Oil Sands Resources of the Southeastern United States
Presentation of interest: The oil sands of Alabama: An untapped resource: Lead author: Christopher H. Hooks, Geological Survey of Alabama,

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.

Complete meeting information at

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 2014 or 2015.
  • 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 26,000 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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