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News Release March 24, 2003
GSA Release No. 03-07
Contact: Christa Stratton

Geological Society of America North-Central Section Meets This Week in Kansas City

Boulder, Colo. - Geoscientists from around the country will gather this week in Kansas City at a meeting of the North-Central Section of the Geological Society of America. Hosted by the Department of Geosciences at the University of Missouri - Kansas City, the meeting takes places March 24-25 at the Kansas City Airport Hilton, 8801 NW 112th Street, Kansas City, Missouri. Approximately 400 scientists, students, and K-12 educators are expected to attend.

The Geological Society of America invites journalists to attend sessions of interest, interview scientists, and visit the exhibit area. Topics of potential interest to the general public include area water quality, earthquakes, climate, and history associated with Lewis and Clark's "Journey of Discovery." Information on complimentary media registration and procedures for arranging interviews during the meeting follow the program highlights below.



Water Quality Problematic in Kansas City's Brush Creek Watershed
Scientists analyzing the contents of storm runoff water in the Brush Creek watershed have found high levels of certain pollutants in this long-established urban area. The study, conducted in 2002, was the first to assess storm runoff water quality from a variety of urban sources in the greater Kansas City area since 1983. Jing Tao, Department of Geosciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, will discuss the findings, which include relatively high concentrations of heavy metals, pesticides, and other chemicals including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs, which cause tumors in laboratory animals, can be found naturally in the environment but are also produced by incomplete burning processes; they can originate in vehicle exhaust and cigarette smoke, as well as in the burning of coal, oil, and garbage. High levels of fecal coli. and E. coli. indicate that pets are also a potential major source of contamination. Tao will also discuss ways in which area communities can help improve the situation.
Monday, March 24, 11:05 a.m., Kansas City Airport Hilton, Kansa A
Jing Tao  [ View abstract ]
Department of Geosciences
University of Missouri - Kansas City
Lewis and Clark: Geological Observations Across the Great Plains
The United States is approaching the 200th anniversary of Lewis and Clark's "Journey to Discovery" up the Missouri River. Directed by President Thomas Jefferson to record the positions of rivers and mountains, areas with farming potential, and possible sources of mineral and water resources, the explorers did a remarkable job. Even though they were not trained in the emerging science of geology, most of Lewis and Clark's geological observations hold true today. Robert F. Diffendal of the Conservation and Survey Division, University of Nebraska, will discuss the explorers' initial encounter with the Great Plains in 1804. In northwest Missouri they described loess bluffs of "yellow clay" and "bald pated prairies." Moving northward into southeast Nebraska they wrote about the sandstone bluffs near the mouth of the Nemaha River and the beginning of a vast expanse of treeless plains. Diffendal and his wife are preparing a guide for following the explorers' routes and verifying many of their observations.
Monday, March 24, 11:15 a.m., Kansas City Airport Hilton, Kansa B
Robert F. Diffendal  [ View abstract ]
Conservation and Survey Division
University of Nebraska


Small Earthquakes in Northeastern Kansas
Geophysicists at Kansas State University have been conducting seismic experiments to determine the number and likely cause of small earthquakes in northeastern Kansas. This area has experienced a number of significant quakes dating back to the mid-19th century. After analyzing data collected over the past two years, Stephen Gao will discuss what he and his colleagues think may be going on under the Earth's crust in the area between Atchison and Manhattan. Analysis is still in process, but the scientists now think that the dozens of small quakes identified may be related to movements of the Moho, the boundary area that separates Earth's crust from the underlying rocky mantle.
Tuesday, March 25, 9:05 a.m., Kansas City Airport Hilton, Kansa B
Stephen Gao  [ View abstract ]
Department of Geology
Kansas State University
Impact of Irrigation on Summertime Climate in the High Plains
Over the last 50 years, total irrigated land area in the High Plains increased from fewer than 3 million acres to more than 20 million. Jimmy Adegoke, Department of Geosciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, will discuss some of the possible impacts of this human alteration of land cover. Performing simulations with the Colorado State University Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS), Adegoke determined that changes in heat transfer processes in the lower atmosphere brought about by widespread irrigation may affect weather and rainfall prediction in the High Plains.
Tuesday, March 25, 10:40 a.m., Kansas City Airport Hilton, Kansa A
Jimmy Adegoke  [ View abstract ]
Department of Geosciences
University of Missouri - Kansas City

** View the entire scientific program at **


Eligibility for complimentary media registration is as follows:

  • Working press representing bona fide 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, or evidence of work pertaining to science published in 2001 or 2002.
  • Public Information Officers of scientific societies, educational institutions, and government agencies.

Media representatives may register at the main meeting registration desk located in the Kansas City Airport Hilton lobby at the west end by the Boardroom.

Registration Hours
Sunday March 23 4-8 p.m.
Monday March 24 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Tuesday March 25 7:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
All media registrants will receive a name badge and the program/abstract book.

Media registrants may arrange on-site interviews after attending the session in which the talk is given or by leaving a note at the GSA Registration Desk requesting an interview before or after the talk. Interested media unable to attend may telephone the Registration Desk at 816-801-5260 and leave a message requesting a callback from the speaker.

For additional information before March 24, contact Ann Cairns, GSA Director of Communications, at 303-357-1056. During the meeting, March 24-25, contact the GSA Registration Desk at 816-801-5260.


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