Public Release: 

Celebrating 50 years of geoscience in the mid-continent

The Geological Society of America North-Central Section Meeting

Geological Society of America

Boulder, Colorado, USA: The 50th Annual Meeting of GSA's North-Central Section will take place on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on 18-19 April. Also hosting are the Illinois State Geological Survey and the Prairie Research Institute.

Speakers and poster presenters will discuss hot-topic science as well as progress in current geoscience research. In celebration of the 50th year of North-Central Section meetings, presentations will also highlight advancements in the geosciences since 1967 and honor people whose research resulted in significant advances. Several field trips planned in conjunction with the meeting will explore the region's unique geologic features.

Selected Highlights of the Scientific Program

The scientific program is composed of oral and poster presentations organized into 25 themed sessions and an array of research in general discipline areas. Go to to learn more.


Session: Quaternary Chronology Conundrums: Approximating and Assessing Event Ages
* Sample presentation: Dating the undateable: Assessing the age of extinction in Midwestern Proboscideans: Lead author: Chris Widga (, Illinois State Museum Research and Collections Center. At what time did mammoths and mastodons become extinct in North America? This timing is key to establishing the likelihood of different -- often highly debated -- extinction scenarios. Widga and colleagues use a new dataset of more than 100 direct-dated large land mammals from the midcontinent to critically evaluate a series of extinction hypotheses.


Session: Women and Geology: Who Are We, Where Have We Come From, and Where Are We Going?
* Sample presentation: Public perceptions of women in geology in 2016: The influence of mass media: Author: Beth A. Johnson (, University of Wisconsin, Fox Valley. Johnson examines the gap between who geologists are and what they do with what the public thinks they are and thinks they do. This gap is particularly profound for women in geology. But, what are the public perceptions of a woman in geology in 2016? This project examines how geologists are portrayed in the popular culture and, in particular, how the media depicts women geoscientists.

Session: Anthropogenic Impacts on Soil, Water, and Air
* Sample presentation: Green technologies for remediating acid mine drainage (AMD) and impacted soil: Lead author: Louis Akainya Ackah (, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Acid mine drainage (AMD), produced when exposed pyrite reacts with air and water to form sulfuric acid and dissolved metals, contaminate surface water and soil if not treated. Existing remediation technologies are mostly expensive and environmentally unsustainable. This study aims to develop lower cost, green alternatives for passive treatment of AMD water and affected soils at an abandoned mine site.

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:

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 2015 or 2016.
  • PIOs of scientific societies, educational institutions, and government agencies.

Present media credentials to Lindsey Henslee 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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