Public Release: 

Discover Washington State geology with the experts

Geological Society of America opens annual meeting event to the public and the geocaching community

Geological Society of America

Boulder, CO, USA: The Seattle community is invited to spend an afternoon learning about local geology, courtesy of the Geological Society of America's (GSA) Annual Meeting & Exhibition, being held at Seattle's Washington State Convention Center, 22-25 October.

Three lectures on Sun., 22 Oct., 1:00-4:00 p.m., in Washington State Convention Center Room 203, will be open to the public without a meeting registration fee. Attendance at these talks is available on a first-come, first-served basis, with a capacity of 100 attendees. Educators and EarthCache enthusiasts (a GSA outreach partnership with will find particular interest in the program, but everyone is welcome.

After the talks, attendees are invited to tour the Exhibit Hall associated with the meeting, which includes more than 200 organizations representing various aspects of the earth sciences, including tools and instrumentation, rock, gem & mineral vendors, jewelry and gifts, educational products and supplies (books, maps), university programs, government science agencies (federal, state, local, and international), professional societies and associations, and more. Exhibit Hall (Halls 4AB) hours on Sunday, 22 Oct., are 2:00-7:00 p.m.

The three presentations by professional geologists and educators will each be followed by a short question and answer session. (Presentation times are subject to change; any updates will be posted on the meeting website.)

Sun., 22 Oct., 1:00 p.m.
Washington's Greatest Hits... Geologically!

Speaker: Nick Zentner, Central Washington University, Dept. of Geological Sciences, Ellensburg, Washington

This presentation is a stimulating overview of the best that Washington geology has to offer. Video clips will survey exciting geologic tales from our past and daunting geologic hazards in our future. We will visit field evidence for Cascade Volcanism, great earthquakes at Washington's coast, shallow quakes beneath Puget Sound, Ice Age Floods in eastern Washington, petrified wood, gold mines, blue agates -- everything but the kitchen sink! Nick Zentner has taught geology at Central Washington University since 1992. He is heavily engaged in public outreach, which includes a popular lecture series "Downtown Geology Lectures," ( a PBS TV series "Nick On The Rocks," ( and he leads the Ellensburg Chapter of the Ice Age Flood Institute. In 2015, Zentner received the prestigious James Shea Award, a National Association of Geoscience Teachers award recognizing exceptional delivery of earth-science content to the general public. Past Shea Award recipients include John McPhee, Jack Horner, Robert Ballard, and Stephen Jay Gould. For videos and more, check out his website:

Sun., 22 Oct., 2:00 p.m.
Ice Age Megafloods of the Pacific Northwest

Speaker: Bruce Bjornstad, Licensed Geologist/Hydrologist and Author

Ice Age megafloods, from at least three different sources, left a dramatic mark on the Pacific Northwest that is clearly visible today. The evidence for dozens of floods from glacial Lakes Missoula and Columbia, as well as Lake Bonneville, will be examined via maps, drone videos, and other imagery. Bruce Bjornstad is a licensed geologist/hydrogeologist and author who specializes in the Ice Age Floods. He recently retired as a senior research scientist at Battelle's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. During his 35-year career he has written numerous documents and reports on the geology of eastern Washington, as well as two geologic guidebooks on Ice Age megafloods that transformed the Pacific Northwest as recently as 13,000 years ago. Bjornstad is involved in geocaching, and has multiple EarthCaches and geocaches that relate to Washington's geology. His research, books, and aerial videos may be viewed at his website,

Sun., 22 Oct., 3:00 p.m.
Assembling the Northwest: A roadside view of Oregon and Washington geology

Speaker: Marli Miller, University of Oregon, Dept. of Earth Sciences, Eugene, Oregon

Much of Washington and Oregon's incredible geology is visible right from our highways. This presentation outlines the region's geology using familiar and accessible localities. The slideshow begins with terrane accretion and assembly of Washington and Oregon's underlying "basement" and finishes with some of the events that shaped the area since. Marli Miller is a senior instructor and researcher in the Dept. of Geological Sciences at the University of Oregon, where she's been since 1997. Most recently, Miller completed rewrites of Roadside Geology of Oregon and Roadside Geology of Washington, with co-author Darrel Cowan (both published by Mountain Press in Missoula, Montana). Her primary interests lie in in the fields of regional and structural geology. As a photographer, she concentrates on geological images and contributes regularly to textbooks, museum exhibits, journals, and teaching collections of other instructors. Miller's website ( offers free downloads of more than 2,000 images for non-commercial use.


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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