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GSA Connection

June 2009


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In this issue …

Education & Outreach
Government Affairs
Membership Matters

Communicating the Value of Geoscience
Fun with Geoscience Trivia
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What was that date? Find it fast with our upcoming GSA deadlines & events calendar.



Red Rocks

2010 GSA Section Meetings • Call for Proposals

The 2010 Section Meeting chairs invite your input!

Do you have an idea for a theme session, or would you like to run a field trip or short course? Please contact any of the chairs listed below to discuss how you can help shape these future Section Meetings.

Northeastern–Southeastern, Baltimore, Md., USA, 13–16 March
  Chairs: Noel Potter, , and Chuck Bailey,

North-Central–South-Central, Branson, Mo., USA, 11–13 April
  Chairs: Thomas G. Plymate, , and Marcia Schulmeister,

Rocky Mountain, Rapid City, S.Dak., USA, 21–23 April
  Chair: Michael Terry,

Cordilleran, Anaheim, Calif., USA, 27–29 May (with /Pacific Section, AAPG)
  Chair: Phil Armstrong,


Portland, Oregon, USA
Portland, Oregon, USA.

International Year of Planet Earth

2009 Annual Meeting & Exposition
From Volcanoes to Vineyards: Living with Dynamic Landscapes

18–21 October, Portland, Oregon, USA

Registration is now open

Receive a coupon for $10 off a purchase of $25 or more at GSA's onsite bookstore if you register before 31 July!

Pardee Keynote Symposia Highlights

New this year! In a move to enhance the range and significance of the Pardee Keynote Symposia, the Annual Program Committee has taken a more active role in the selection process, including giving conveners the flexibility to create a session format that works best for the topic at hand. Follow the links below to highlights of the first two sessions, and watch GSA Connection throughout the summer to learn more about all eight Pardee Keynote Symposia.
[ Crisis in the Cryosphere | Crustal Tectonic Deformation and Seismic Anisotropy ]

Technical Program Abstracts

11 August is this year's new, later, abstract submittal deadline. Please note: All speakers must register for the meeting.
[ submit an abstract | invite a colleague to submit an abstract ]


Make sure your favorite company is in the Exhibit Hall at this year's meeting.
[ see who's signed up so far | exhibit at the annual meeting ]

Space Requests

If you are planning an alumni party, reception, banquet, business meeting, or other social event to take place at the annual meeting, please reserve space for that event by 23 June.
[ reserve now ]


Education & Outreach

Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, USA.

GeoCorps™ America

GeoCorps America has filled 80 positions for this coming summer, including 14 in the guest scientist category. Public lands participating for the first time this year include Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tenn.), Grand Teton National Park (Wyo.), the National Park Service's Center for Urban Ecology (Washington, D.C.), the USDA Forest Service's Northern Region Office (Mont.), Hiawatha National Forest (Mich.), and the Bureau of Land Management's Fairbanks District Office (Alaska) and Old Spanish National Historic Trail (N.Mex.).
[ learn more ]


EarthTrek™: Global Citizen Science Program Set to Launch

GSA is leading a new worldwide initiative to connect the general public with scientists studying a variety of global, regional, and local topics by engaging communities in collecting much-needed field data. Along with reaping the benefits of the work of thousands of volunteers on the ground, EarthTrek aims to raise science literacy and provide encouragement for young people to pursue science careers by providing real science experience. Free registration is now open for the first three EarthTrek projects—the Gravestone Project, the Garlic Mustard Field Survey, and Operation RubyThroat—which begin 1 July.
[ learn more ]


Government Affairs

Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.

Geosciences See Highest Growth Rate in NSF Budget Request

President Obama’s first budget request for the National Science Foundation (NSF) would give the Geosciences Directorate the highest growth rate among NSF’s research directorates — $909 million, an increase of 12.6% above fiscal year 2009.
[ learn more | read GSA's Congressional testimony about NSF funding ]

Obama Proposes 5% Increase for USGS

The president's request for USGS funding would increase the agency's budget by $54 million to $1.098 billion for fiscal year 2010. The proposed increase would cover inflation in fixed costs as well as additional funding for climate change, energy, youth conservation corps, arctic ecosystem studies, and other programs. Marking a significant break from the past, Obama has proposed these increases without cutting other USGS programs known to be popular in Congress.
[ learn more | read GSA's Congressional testimony about USGS funding ]




Earth Science Literacy Initiative

The Earth Science Literacy Initiative has released its Earth Science Literacy Principles — Nine "Big Ideas" and supporting concepts outlining what every Earth citizen should know about earth science.
[ learn more ]

Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation Centennial Celebration

The Centennial Celebration of the discovery of the Burgess Shale begins 30 June.
[ learn more | download the booklet (PDF) ]


Membership Matters


Message from GSA President Judy Parrish

THANKS to all GSA members for your loyalty and participation in the activities and affairs of the Society. We couldn't be a strong, vibrant scientific community without you!

Call for Committee Service

The last day to volunteer or nominate another GSA member to serve on a GSA Committee is 15 July.
[ learn more ]

GSA Coal Geology Division Extends Deadline

Applications for the Antoinette Lierman Medlin Scholarship are now due by 30 June.
[ learn more ]

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GSA member benefits include savings in many areas — U.S.-based GSA members can SAVE up to $3,300 on the purchase of a new Subaru through the Subaru VIP Program.

Subaru is a double-diamond sponsor of the 2009 GSA Annual Meeting.
[ learn more ]

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NEW in the GSA Bookstore

Memoir 203
The Revolution in Geology from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment
edited by Gary D. Rosenberg
This volume explores how modern geology began to take shape during a momentous period of Western civilization when a revolution in understanding spatial relationships transformed the paradigm of nature and the affairs of humankind.

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Going to the Annual Meeting? Don't stop with just an abstract — Publish your work with GSA!
[ learn more ]

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Communicating the Value of Geoscience

Diorama from AMNH
Diorama depicting the flora and fauna of Ellesmere Island 50 million years ago, created for the exhibition, Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time, on display at the American Museum of Natural History until 3 Jan. 2010. ©AMNH/D.

[editor's note: image modified for use on the Web]


A study by J. Eberle et al. (Geology, June 2009) of fossil evidence for lush forests, alligators, giant tortoises, and a variety of mammals including primates, tapirs, and hippo-like Coryphodon on Canada's Ellesmere Island received coverage in the Boulder (Colo., USA) Daily Camera and U.S. News & World Report.
[ abstract | Daily Camera article ]

Xiwei Xu et al. (Geology, June 2009) continue the study of the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, describe extensive coseismic surface faulting as evidence for the largest continental thrust event ever documented. Their article was reported on ScienceDaily.
[ abstract | ScienceDaily article ]

The Sharktooth Hill bonebed in the southern Central Valley, California, USA, is revealed by N.D. Pyenson et al. (Geology, June 2009) to be a record of the normal cycle of life and death in the warm ocean between 17 and 14 million years ago. This article received coverage in, RedOrbit, Science Daily, YubaNet, and LiveScience, and was picked up by the Associated Press, with articles in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the San Francisco Chronicle.
[ abstract | article ]

Work outlining the geologic and taphonomic context of El Bosque Petrificado Piedra Chamana (the fossil forest of Cajamarca, Peru) by D. Woodcock et al. (GSA Bulletin, July–August 2009) was covered by ScienceNews.
[ abstract | ScienceNews article ]

A multidisciplinary study by Parra et al. (GSA Bulletin, May–June 2009) on the interplay between tectonic deformation, uplift, and erosive processes on the topography of mountain ranges (specifically, the Andes) was picked up by artdaily, Softpedia, and
[ abstract | artdaily article ]

Work by P. Kench et al. (Geology, May 2009) dating reef cores from the Maldives to determine the area's adaptation to changes in sea level was picked up by the Associated Press and reported on in the San Francisco Chronicle and several other news outlets.
[ abstract | San Francisco Chronicle article ]






Fun with Geoscience Trivia


  1. What name is given to the study of past topographies?
  2. What general term is used to describe the sequence of sediments that occur during the lowering or withdrawal of water from a lake or ocean?
  3. Schorl is a black form of what mineral?

check your answers