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In this issue …

Membership Matters

Education & Outreach
Government Affairs
Calendar Closeups

Communicating the Value of Geoscience
Fun with Geoscience Trivia

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  Top Story



GSA Gets Social

GSA has established a presence in the world of social media. We have recently added a Facebook page, posted a couple of videos on YouTube, and are watching our Twitter following grow. These tools are a fun new way for GSA members, leadership, staff, and geoscientists in general to connect. We plan to keep exploring new ways to stay in touch and be a part of this online phenomenon.

Facebook  |  YouTube  |  Twitter  ]

  Membership Matters

Now through 12 April

GSA logo


Subaru VIP Family

2009 GSA Elections

All GSA Members are encouraged to vote in the 2009 GSA elections and thereby impact the future of your Society and of geoscience itself. You must be a GSA member to view biographies of the candidates as well as to vote.

[ learn more | Vote ]


GSA Membership 

Helps you keep current with advances in the geosciences;
Gives students and recent grads free access to GSA journals online;
Provides a network of more than 22,000 GSA members;
Connects you with geoscientists in more than 97 countries around the world; and
Informs you about the critical issues that affect our science.


GSA members also SAVE up to US$3,300 on a new Subaru through the
Subaru VIP Program


Now Available: The Premier Issue of GSA's Newest Journal

Earth without water



Read it for Free!  Lithosphere is open access online for a limited time.


[ see premier issue  |  read the editors' Welcome letter  |  learn moresubscribe ]

Hot off the Press: GSA Special Paper 450

Paleoenvironments of Bear Lake, Utah and Idaho, and Its Catchment

Joseph G. Rosenbaum and Darrell S. Kaufman (editors)

This volume's 14 chapters cover more than a decade of coordinated investigations aimed at a holistic understanding of the long-lived Bear Lake, which is located 100 km northeast of Salt Lake City in the semiarid western United States.


Note: Four more GSA Special Papers are due out this month. Check April's GSA Connection for more information.


Special Paper 450

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09 Sections Map

GSA Section Meetings

The GSA Section Meeting season is now under way. The Southeastern and South-Central Sections have already met. The Northeastern Section Meeting, which will convene in Portland, Maine, USA, on 22–24 March, is still open for registration, as is the North-Central Section Meeting, which convenes on 2–3 April in Rockford, Illinois, USA. Register before 6 April for the May Cordilleran and Rocky Mountain Section meetings and save $$ with discounted fees.

[ learn more ]


Owens Valley, California, picture by A. Knopf, 1913

Volcanic field, Owens Valley, California, USA.
Photo by A. Knopf,
2 July 1913,
courtesy USGS.

Field Forum

Structure and Neotectonic Evolution of Northern Owens Valley and the Volcanic Tableland, California

13–19 Sept. 2009 — Bishop, California, USA
Application deadline: 20 March.

[ learn more ]


Penrose Conferences

Low δ18O rhyolites and crustal melting: Growth and redistribution of the continental crust

9–13 September — Twin Falls, Idaho, and Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
Applications accepted through 20 April.

[ learn more ]


Tectonic Development of the Amerasia Basin

4–9 October — Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada
Applications accepted through 1 May.

[ learn more ]

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  Education & Outreach

2009 GSA GeoVentures

Do you want to go to the Galápagos Islands?

GSA Offers Two Chances for You to Make a Trip of a Lifetime!

Check out the teacher trip (open to all K-12 educators) on 26 June–6 July, or select the GeoVentures tour for everyone, 31 July–10 August. All trips cruise throughout the archipelago and include a scientific program, hiking, and opportunities for close-up observation the area's diverse wildlife.

[ for teachers  |  for everyone  |  more GeoVentures destinations ]

Intel 2008 winners

GSA rep. with the 2008
science fair awardees.

Help GSA Encourage & Reward Young Scientists

Volunteer your expertise at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Reno, Nevada, USA, 13–18 May 2009. The Intel ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, bringing together top young scientists from around the world to submit their work for judging by doctoral-level scientists.

You can be one of those judges!
Contact GSA at +1-303-357-1000, for more information or to volunteer.

[ learn more about the program | Read about last year's winners ]

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  Government Affairs
Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.

Second Call: Fourteenth Annual Science-Engineering-Technology
Congressional Visits Day

28–29 April 2009

Join more than 400 scientists for workshops, receptions, and meetings with House and Senate offices and raise visibility and support for science, engineering, and technology.
To participate, please contact GSA's Director for Geoscience Policy, Craig Schiffries.

[ learn more ]


Science Budgets Receive Belated Increases through Omnibus Appropriations Act

On 11 March, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a $410 billion omnibus appropriations bill that funds most government agencies through end of fiscal year 2009. The bill provides belated budget increases for most science agencies. Funding for the NSF will increase by 5.9% to $6.5 billion, and funding for the DOE's Office of Science will increase by 18.8% to $4.8 billion. The USGS budget will increase by 3.7% to $1.0 billion, and Congress restored several budget cuts proposed by President Bush.


GSA Cosponsors Congressional Briefing — Building a Diverse Scientific Workforce: Collaboration for a Competitive and Healthy Nation

"Something is not working," said Raynard Kington, Acting Director of the National Institutes of Health, after describing programs designed to increase diversity in the scientific workforce. Kington spoke on 12 March 2009 to an overflowing audience at a congressional briefing on diversity cosponsored by GSA and more than 60 other scientific organizations. "I like unpleasant topics," said Kington in response to a question about the culture of training all Ph.D. students, not just underrepresented minorities. He objected to the "base of serf labor" that underlies parts of the scientific enterprise. Wanda Ward, NSF Acting Assistant Director, also spoke, describing the development of "innovation ecosystems" to promote creativity, inventiveness, and innovation.

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  Calendar Closeups
Geoscience Calendar

Highlighting upcoming meetings of GSA's Associated Societies

4–6 May, 2009 American Water Resources Association Spring Specialty Conference, "Managing Water Resources and Development in a Changing Climate," Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

23–27 May, The Meeting of the Americas — Joint Assembly 2009, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Participating societies include the Geological Association of Canada.

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American Geological Institute Geoscience Workforce Program Reports

 prompt Status of the Geoscience Workforce 2009 (note: these are large PDF files)

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  Communicating the Value of Geoscience
Columnar jointing, Mars

HiRISE image PSP_005917_2020 (cropped) shows columnar jointing exposed and tilted during formation of this unnamed crater in Marte Vallis, Mars.
See Milazzo et al.,
Geology, v. 37,
p. 171–174.

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Research by Moses Milazzo et al. (Geology, Feb 2009) using the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows unique fractured lavas or columnar joints similar to those on Earth that indicate the interaction of cooling lava and liquid water. This discovery was covered by Mars Daily, TODAY on, Softpedia, and RedOrbit.

[ abstract | TODAY on article ]


A paper by Patrick J. McGovern and Julia K. Morgan (Geology, Feb 2009) describing the structure of Mars' Olympus Mons volcano has generated extensive media coverage, particularly for their assertion that the volcano may constitute a favored environment for extant thermophilic ("heat-loving") organisms, as well as their work in computer modeling. Media sources include The Tech Herald,, Discover Magazine blogs, Daily Kos,,, RedOrbit, and R&D.

[ abstract | Tech Herald article | R&D article ]


Cliff Frohlich et al.'s (Geology, Feb 2009) study of "huge and hugely puzzling coral limestone boulders" 100–200 meters inland on the island of Tongatapu concludes that the boulders originated at the shoreline about 120,000 years ago and were displaced by a prehistoric tsunami. This article was picked up by Asian News International and appeared in Thaindian News.

[ abstract | Thaindian News ]


Motions of Earth's crust, not sea-level variations, caused the Mediterranean Sea to dry up and re-flood about six million years ago, according to modeling results by Rob Govers (Geology, Feb 2009). Govers' research was featured on

[ abstract | article ]


Research by Samuel C. Schon et al. (Geology, March 2009) using existing stratigraphic markers (secondary crater clusters) on Mars to show that a recently discovered gully system cuts through these crater clusters, thus indicating a top-down source of meltwater, was covered by multiple news agencies, including Scientific American, The Providence Journal, BBC News online, and

[ abstract | Scientific American article ]


Work by K.S. Krishna et al. (Geology, March 2009) showing that compressional deformation within the central Indian Ocean started between 15.4 and 13.9 million years ago, much earlier than the 6 to 8 million years previously thought, was reported on by, which noted that this new information not only impacts perceptions regarding the birth of the Himalayas but also the nature and history of Indian-Asian monsoons. This article was also covered by ScienceDaily.

[ abstract | article ]





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  Fun with Geoscience Trivia


  1. What name is given to substances, like carbon, that can be found in two or more forms (such as diamond or graphite)?

  2. In what period would you find the Coblentzian?

  3. A crystal that is in the shape of a dodecahedron has how many faces?

check your answers