Public Release: 

Springtime in the Rockies: The Geological Society of America's Rocky Mountain Section Meeting

Geological Society of America

Boulder, Colorado, USA - Geoscientists from the across the Rocky Mountain region and beyond will convene in Moscow, Idaho, on 18-19 May to discuss hot-topic science, expand on current findings, and explore the region's unique geologic features. The meeting's hosts are the University of Idaho's Department of Geological Sciences and the Idaho Geological Survey.

Organizers have developed a broad technical program covering geologic time from the Precambrian to the Quaternary, and on topics including geologic hazards, stratigraphy, structural geology, paleontology, igneous and volcanic processes, soil science, megafloods, and planetary geology.

Meeting co-chairs Leslie Baker and Brian Yanites describe Moscow as "an ideal base for exploring the lavas of the Columbia River Basalts, granites of the Idaho Batholith, tremendous flood features of the Channeled Scablands, metamorphic Precambrian Belt rocks, agriculturally rich tephra-influenced loess soils, and the region's breathtaking landscape features."

Field trips will range north to the Coeur d'Alene silver district and the Priest River Complex, south to the mountains and canyons of central Idaho and volcanic features of the Yellowstone hotspot track, west to the Channeled Scablands and the Wallowa Mountains, and east to the Miocene Lagerstätten of Clarkia, Idaho.

GSA Field Guide 41, Exploring the Geology of the Inland Northwest, (edited by Reed S. Lewis and Keegan L. Schmidt) prepared in conjunction with the meeting, includes nine chapters on features of this tectonically active region.

The Center for Advance Energy Studies' Advanced Visualization Laboratory, featuring a four-walled 3D computer assisted virtual environment -- or CAVE -- that allows scientists and engineers to literally walk into their data and examine it, will be open for demonstrations on Wednesday, 18 May, 4 p.m.-6 p.m., and Thursday, 19 May, 2 p.m.-5 p.m.

Selected Highlights of the Scientific Program

The scientific program is composed of oral and poster presentations organized into 18 themed sessions Go to to view the list with session conveners.


Session No. 15
Energy Resources and New Plays in Western North America
1-3:05 p.m.

  • Sample presentation: Mine Overburden and Mine Waste as a Renewable Energy Storage Play

Paper 15-2 at 1:25 p.m.

Lead author Ray Donelick (BiMBy Power Company) and colleagues propose a scheme that integrates Big Mass with other infrastructure to yield a device for storing intermittent renewable energy, such as wind and solar, and releasing it on-demand to produce electricity. The concept could potentially turn mine waste -- an eyesore of little economic value -- into a positive societal asset, namely on-demand, renewable energy-based power plants.



Session No. 19
Volcanic Hazards: Products, Processes, and Perspectives
8-10 a.m.

  • Sample presentation: Do Earthquakes Induce a Yellowstone Eruption?

Paper 19-1 at 8:00 a.m.

Lead author Daisuke Kobayashi (University of Idaho) examines effects of four large historical earthquakes in the Northern Rockies to ascertain if static stress transfer from an earthquake to a magma reservoir could promote volcanic eruption.


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.

Local contact information:

Meeting website:


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 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 Education, Communications & Outreach, 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 approximately 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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