Short Course Program

The following short courses are open to all.

You can attend a short course regardless of whether you are registered for the annual meeting; however, payment of a nonregistrant fee of US$45 (if enrolled by 2 Sept.) or US$50 (late/onsite registration) will be required along with the course fee. The good news is that this nonregistrant fee can be applied toward the cost of meeting registration if you decide to attend. GSA K–12 teacher members: You are exempted from paying the nonregistrant fee.

F = Faculty
G = Grad Student
T = K-12 Teacher
P = Professional
Continuing Education Units (CEUs):

Most professional development courses and workshops offer CEUs. One CEU comprises 10 contact hours (one contact hour = 60-minutes classroom/field instruction) of participation in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction.

Contact Jennifer Nocerino, , for additional information.
Cancellation deadline: 21 Sept.

Course Descriptions
F G 501. INTERFACE WORKSHOP: Recent developments in the methods and applications of terrestrial laser scanning (ground-based LiDAR) in geologic research and education
Fri., 16 Oct., 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Oregon Convention Center, F150
US$160, includes lunch. Limited financial support is available for students; see the UNAVCO Short Course Series page at for details. Limit: 20. CEU: 0.8.
Instructors: John Oldow and Carlos Aiken, Univ. of Texas at Dallas; David Phillips, UNAVCO.
This workshop will provide faculty, students, and professionals with the basic principles of Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS), aka ground-based LiDAR, workflows and best practices for the acquisition and processing of TLS data, an overview of various TLS platforms, and examples of science and education applications. This one-day workshop will consist of lectures and hands-on application of TLS equipment and data processing. TLS provides very high-resolution images over relatively small areas, is relatively inexpensive to acquire, and has been used successfully to support a wide range of geoscience investigations from outcrop mapping to deformation monitoring.
P 502. InSAR for geoscience applications
Fri., 16 Oct., 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Oregon Convention Center, F149
P F G 503. Hazard zone delineation for debris flows, lahars, and rock avalanches using LAHARZ and GIS
Fri.–Sat., 16–17 Oct., 8 a.m.–5 p.m., USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, Conference Room
US$310. Limit: 20. CEU: 1.6.
Instructors: Richard Iverson, Steve Schilling, Julie Griswold, and Scott Graham, USGS–Cascades Volcano Observatory.
***Please meet your bus at the Oregon Convention Center, Holladay Entrance, at 7:15 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday.
Learn the fundamentals of statistically based hazard-zone delineation for lahars, debris flows, and rock avalanches in a geographic information system (GIS) environment. Course content includes the physical and statistical basis of the LAHARZ model, LAHARZ software instruction, and techniques for hazard map generation. Participants should have rudimentary GIS experience, including use of projections, grid functions, and basic ArcMap tools, and may bring laptops with ArcGIS version 9.3. Vans will transport participants between the Oregon Convention Center and a nearby USGS facility in Vancouver, Washington, USA. GIS users, geotechnical engineers, and applied geologists in government agencies, private consulting, or academia may benefit from this class.
G 504. Sequence stratigraphy for graduate students — FULL
Fri.–Sat., 16–17 Oct., 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Doubletree, Ross Island and Morrison Rooms
FREE to students, who must pre-register; includes continental breakfast and lunch. Limit: 55. CEU: 1.6. Cosponsors: British Petroleum, Chevron, ExxonMobil Exploration Company and GSA’s Sedimentary Geology Division.
Instructors: Art Donovan, BP Upstream Technology Directorate, Morgan Sullivan, Chevron, and Kathryn Lamb-Wozniak, ExxonMobil Exploration Company.
This FREE short course is designed to teach graduate students the principles, concepts, and methods of sequence stratigraphy. Sequence stratigraphy uses stratal surfaces to subdivide the stratigraphic record; this methodology allows the identification of coeval facies, documents the time-transgressive nature of classic lithostratigraphic units, and provides geoscientists with an additional way to analyze and subdivide the stratigraphic record. Using exercises that utilize outcrop, core, well-log, and seismic data, the course provides hands-on experience. Exercises include classic case studies from which many sequence stratigraphic concepts were originally developed.
G 505. Fundamentals of seismic structural analysis and hydrocarbon entrapment analysis for graduate students — FULL
Fri.–Sat., 16–17 Oct., 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Doubletree, Sellwood Room
FREE to students, who must pre-register; includes continental breakfast and lunch. Limit: 30. CEU: 1.6. Cosponsors: ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Exploration Co., and GSA’s Structural Geology and Tectonics Division.
Instructors: Peter Vrolijk and J. Steve Davis, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Co., and Peter Hennings, ConocoPhillips.
The purpose of this FREE course is to introduce geoscience graduate students to the fundamentals of seismic interpretation of structural systems in exploration and production settings, as well as the application of structural interpretations to the problems of petroleum trapping and the interaction of multi-phase fluids with geologic structures and rocks in the subsurface. The intended audience includes M.S. and Ph.D. candidates. The course lasts two days; participants need to participate both days.
G 506. Structural and stratigraphic concepts applied to basin exploration — FULL
Fri.–Sat., 16–17 Oct., 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Oregon Convention Center, C122
FREE to students, who must pre-register; includes continental breakfast and lunch. Limit: 30. CEU: 1.6. Cosponsors: ExxonMobil Exploration Company and GSA’s Sedimentary Geology Division.
Instructors: Lori Summa and Bob Stewart, ExxonMobil Exploration Company.
This FREE course will explore concepts, methods, and tools of petroleum geoscience used on a day-to-day basis in the energy industry. The focus is on how we make decisions with limited information, evaluate risk versus uncertainty, and maximize value from integrated teams. Day one reviews fundamental stratigraphic and structural concepts; day two is an applied problem in basin exploration. Students will make play maps, bid on prospective acreage, and analyze individual prospects within that acreage. Throughout the course, we stress integration across disciplines and scales, focusing on interaction and expression of basin formation, fill, and evolution processes from regional to prospect scale.
F G T 507. Helping your students investigate plate tectonics just like scientists
Sat., 17 Oct., 8 a.m.–noon., Oregon Convention Center, F149
US$120, includes materials. Limit: 50. CEU: 0.4.
Instructors: William A. Prothero, Univ. of California at Santa Barbara (emeritus), and Sabina F. Thomas, Baldwin-Wallace College.
This workshop will focus on learners’ use of Earth data to investigate the geometry and motion of the major tectonic plates. The use of these data for science investigations and example activities will be presented. Content will include the theory of plate tectonics, how the major plate boundaries can be studied using Earth data, how a science paper can be used to reinforce concepts and science processes, and how lectures, quizzes, course readings, and other activities support student success. All materials and data access tools will be provided on the “LearningWithData” CDROM.
F G 508. Education Research I: Conducting qualitative geoscience education research
Sat., 17 Oct., 8 a.m.–noon., Doubletree, Weidler Room
US$140. Limit: 35. CEU: 0.4.
Instructor: Julie Sexton, Univ. of Northern Colorado.
Participants will learn qualitative education data collection and analysis methods used in science education research. Case studies, demonstrations, and hands-on activities will be used to teach participants how to develop qualitative research studies, collect qualitative data (e.g., interviews), and analyze qualitative data (e.g., coding). This short course is designed for students, university and K–12 educators, and researchers who are engaged in or who plan to be engaged in geoscience education research. This course can be taken alone or in conjunction with the short course “Education Research II: Conducting quantitative geoscience education research.”
F G 509. Education Research II: Conducting quantitative geoscience education research
Sat. 17 Oct., 1–5 p.m., Doubletree, Weidler Room
US$140. Limit: 35. CEU: 0.4.
Instructor: Julie Sexton, Univ. of Northern Colorado.
This interactive, activity-based course serves as an introduction to quantitative education research methods. It is designed for geoscience faculty or students who are or will be conducting quantitative education studies. Topics include developing quantitative education research questions, designing a quantitative study (e.g., selecting appropriate designs and statistical tests), collecting quantitative data (e.g., surveys), analyzing education data using statistical tests (e.g., ANOVA), and investigating causality. This course can be taken alone or in conjunction with the short course “Education Research I: Conducting quantitative geoscience education research.”
F G 510. Three-dimensional geologic mapping
Sat., 17 Oct., 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Doubletree, Oregon Room
US$90, includes continental breakfast and lunch. Limit: 65. CEU: 0.8.
Cosponsor: GSA’s Geology & Public Policy Committee.
Instructors: Richard C. Berg, Illinois State Geological Survey; L. Harvey. Thorleifson, Minnesota Geological Survey; and Hazen A.J. Russell, Geological Survey of Canada.
There is an increasing need for high quality 3-D regional geological information as attention to environmental and land-use issues, as well as evaluation of regional groundwater systems and their long-term sustainability, continues to grow. Demands for this information are becoming increasingly compelling, but there is a continuing lack of high-quality data, maps, and models. This workshop focuses on experimenting with new ways to deal with large data sets, integrating data of variable quality with high-quality data, and developing methods to construct 3-D geologic models that can be used for hydrogeologic modeling and similar applications.
P F G 511. Laser Ablation ICP-MS: An overview of the technique and a look at new advances in quantitative microanalyses for geological, biological, and environmental applications
Sat., 17 Oct., 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Doubletree, Broadway Room
US$345, includes continental breakfast and lunch. Limit: 40. CEU: 0.8.
Cosponsor: GSA’s Sedimentary Geology Division.
Instructors: Alan E. Koenig and Todor Todorov, USGS.
This course will cover the basics of laser ablation inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) as applied to a wide range of geological, environmental, and biological samples. Both fundamentals of the technique and applications to minerals, fluid inclusions, teeth, bones, corals, tree rings, rock, and ore powders and others will be presented. The instructors will cover the topics by including practical information about how these applications are tackled and what future directions are possible. New directions for laser ablation (LA)-ICP-MS, such as isotopic analyses by multi-collector ICP-MS, analyses of tissue samples, and single fluid inclusions, will be presented.
F G 512. Establishing and sustaining an undergraduate research program: A professional development workshop for new and future faculty
Sat., 17 Oct., 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Doubletree, Idaho Room
US$50. Includes continental breakfast and lunch. Limit: 30. CEU: 0.8.
Cosponsor: Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).
Instructors: Lydia Fox, Univ. of the Pacific, and Laura Guertin, Penn State Brandywine.
This day-long workshop is targeted at early-career faculty and postdoctoral scientists/graduate students seeking an academic career. Topics in the morning include integrating research practices into the classroom and effective approaches to mentoring undergraduate researchers. Topics in the afternoon include identifying funding sources for undergraduate research and tips for preparing successful proposals. Based on the demographics of our participants, we may also include a section on how to get a job at an academic institution (primarily undergrad. institution or regional university). Participants may join for the full-day or either half of the workshop.
F G 513. Teaching climate change and Earth history using ocean drilling data in introductory geoscience courses
Sat., 17 Oct., 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Doubletree, Halsey Room
US$60, includes continental breakfast and lunch. Limit: 35. CEU: 0.8. Cosponsors: U.S. National Science Foundation, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, and GSA’s Sedimentary Geology Division.
Instructors: Kristen St. John, James Madison Univ.; Mark Leckie, Univ. of Massachusetts–Amherst; Megan Jones, North Hennepin Community College; and Kate Pound, St. Cloud State Univ.
This one-day short course is for faculty teaching undergraduate introductory geoscience courses in climate change, oceanography, historical geology, or Earth science in which data and content on climate change, geologic time, age determination, and earth history are important. Learning materials introduced in the short course will be anchored in fundamental practices and discoveries of scientific ocean drilling research programs (IODP, legacy DSDP and ODP, and ANDRILL), and will infuse essential scientific observational, analytical, and synthesis skills, and critical thinking into inquiry-based classroom exercises for group work in both small and large classes. If you have questions about class content, please e-mail .
T 514. Pacific Northwest earthquakes and tsunamis for middle school teachers
Sat., 17 Oct., 8 a.m.–5 p.m., University of Portland, Franz Hall, Room 34
US$10, includes refreshments. Limit: 30. CEU: 0.8.
Cosponsor: The National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT).
Instructors: Robert Butler, Univ. of Portland; Frank Granshaw, Portland Community College; Roger Groom, Mount Tabor Middle School; Chris Hedeen, Oregon City High School; Jenda Johnson, USArray E&O; Bonnie Magura, Jackson Middle School; Beth Pratt-Sitaula, Central Washington Univ.; and Jill Whitman, Pacific Lutheran Univ.
By exploring inquiry-based lesson plans featuring Cascadian earthquakes and tsunami geology, participating teachers will gain understanding of (1) Pacific Northwest plate tectonics and earthquakes; (2) earthquake seismology and tsunami science; and (3) how EarthScope science is advancing knowledge of active continental margin geology. Activities will combine science content sessions with pedagogical sessions led by middle school and high school teachers of earth science. Participants will receive teaching resources, including computer animations of plate tectonic, earthquake, and volcanic processes, and virtual field experiences featuring Cascadia tsunami geology and Pacific Northwest geologic hazards. This class will be held at the Univ. of Portland; please contact Robert Butler, , for more information.
Enter Franz Hall through doors facing the Mall on east side of building.
**** Click here for directions and map.
[328KB PDF]
P F G 515. Introduction to the acquisition, visualization, and interpretation of airborne LiDAR-derived digital elevation models
Sat., 17 Oct., 9 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sun., 18 Oct., 9 a.m.–12 p.m., Portland State University, Cramer Hall, Room 1
US$190. Limit: 48. CEU: 1.2. Cosponsors: Cosponsors: GSA’s Structural Geology and Tectonics Division, the Portland State University Geology Dept., and the Oregon Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries.
Instructors: Ian Madin, Oregon Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries; Ralph Haugerud, USGS; Michael Oskin, Univ. of California at Davis; Chris Crosby, Univ. of California at San Diego; Ramon Arrowsmith, Arizona State Univ.
***There are direct MAX trains (Green Line) connecting the convention center and Portland State University, and both sites are within the Fareless Square, so there is no cost. The Green Line opens in September of this year.
LiDAR-derived elevation datasets are becoming widely available and offer digital elevation models (DEMs) of unprecedented resolution and accuracy. This course will teach geoscientists to acquire, visualize, and analyze LiDAR-based DEMs. Guided tutorials on individual workstations will use ESRI ArcGIS software, GEON software products, and LiDAR viewing freeware. The field portion of the class will compare recent high-resolution LiDAR images with the real environment of the surrounding area. The instructors are geologists who have worked with LiDAR data for many years at UC-Davis, Arizona State Univ., the GEON program, and the Puget Sound and Oregon LiDAR Consortia.
This course will be held in the Portland State University Geology Department GIS training laboratory. 
Walk 0.13 mile north from Oregon Convention Center (777 NE Martin Luther King Blvd) to Convention Center MAX Station (Stop ID 8376)
Board MAX Green Line to City Center/PSU
Get off at PSU/SW 5th & Mill St MAX Station
Walk 2 blocks west on Mill St. to Broadway, Cramer Hall is on the SW corner of Broadway and Mill.
Travel time: 25 minutes (including 8 minutes walking)
Fares: This trip is within Fareless Square, so no fare is required.
Click here to plan your return trip
F G 516. Introduction to geographic information systems (GIS) using ArcGIS for geological and environmental science applications — FULL
Sat.–Sun., 17–18 Oct., 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Doubletree, Alaska Room
US$148, includes lunch. Limit: 20. CEU: 1.6.
Cosponsor: ESRI.
Instructors: Ann Johnson and Willy Lynch, ESRI.
Participants will be introduced to the use of GIS in geosciences and environmental-related applications through brief lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on computer exercises. Participants do not need experience with ArcGIS, but familiarity with the Windows OS would be most helpful. A brief introduction to spatial concepts and GIS using ArcGIS ArcMap and Spatial and 3D Analyst extensions will follow with the creation of a project covering many analysis techniques (geoprocessing using Toolbox tools and ModelBuilder). Use of Geodatabase Model schema and resources for accessing data will be explored.
F G 517. Reducing student misconceptions about plate tectonics using interactive methods
Sun., 18 Oct., 8 a.m.–12 p.m., Doubletree, Morrison Room
US$50. Limit: 30. CEU: 0.4.
Cosponsor: GSA’s Geoscience Education Division.
Instructors: Karen M. Kortz, Community College of Rhode Island and Univ. of Rhode Island; Jessica J. Smay, San José City College.
Participants will learn about classroom techniques (such as Lecture Tutorials, Conceptests, and Think-Pair-Shares) designed to make lectures more interactive. Techniques will be presented in the context of introductory-level plate tectonics, and student misconceptions about plate tectonics will be discussed. Each teaching technique will be demonstrated, providing participants practice with classroom-ready examples, practical advice, and guidance as they create their own examples. In addition to the examples presented, participants will receive references for additional information. This workshop is geared toward instructors who teach plate tectonics in an introductory course.
T 518. Watch faults grow before your very eyes! Using a deformational sandbox in high school and middle school earth science classrooms — FULL
Sun., 18 Oct., 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Doubletree, Oregon Room
FREE; limit: 20. CEU: 0.8. Cosponsors: GSA’s Structure and Tectonic Division and the National Science Foundation.
Instructors: Michele Cooke, Univ. of Massachusetts–Amherst; Mary Ellsworth, Gallaudet Univ.
Teachers will learn how to use a deformational sandbox to enhance student understanding of Earth’s deformation using visual and hands-on activities. The sandbox can be used to directly and experimentally investigate concepts related to plate tectonics, fault systems, earthquakes, scientific modeling, and the nature of experimental science. Teachers will learn how to conduct specific experiments using the sandbox, to encourage student exploration of the sandbox as a model of real earth processes, and to support student learning, writing, and reporting activities with the sandbox. Instructions for building a classroom sandbox will be provided.
P F G 519. When worlds collide: Communication between scientists and emergency managers during crises
Sun., 18 Oct., 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Doubletree, Idaho Room
US$103. Limit: 25. CEU: 0.8.
Instructors: Jeff Rubin, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue; Cynthia Gardner, USGS–Cascades Volcano Observatory; Jay Wilson, Clackamas County Emergency Management.
Low-probability, high-consequence natural events such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes require effective interaction between scientists who study and forecast them and emergency managers who plan for and respond to them. This includes understanding roles and responsibilities, inherent uncertainties in forecasting natural phenomena, critical decision timelines, and effective communication with the public and policy makers. This course provides an introduction to the Incident Command System used by emergency managers and responders at all levels of government during crises, along with tips for effective public communication. Participants will engage in practical applications—realistic in-class exercises offering collaboration with practitioners from multiple disciplines.
F G T 520. Using and developing historical image archives to investigate landscape change
Sun., 18 Oct., noon–3 p.m., Doubletree, Weidler and Halsey Rooms
US$40; includes lunch. Limit: 40. CEU: 0.4.
Cosponsors: U.S. National Science Foundation and GSA’s Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology, Sedimentary Geology, and Geoscience Education Divisions.
Instructors: Paul Bierman, Christine Massey, and Jamie Russell, Univ. of Vermont.
Images, including photographs and drawings, provide a powerful means of documenting Earth’s changing surface over time scales ranging from seconds to centuries. This course will show how images can be used to document a wide variety of Earth and environmental processes, including human impacts on varied landscapes, the effect of warming climate on glaciers, and the response of hill slopes and stream channels to deforestation. You will learn the pitfalls and promises of building your own image collections as well as how to interest students of all ages in earth science by using historic images to study change over time.
Associated Society Short Courses
P F G Conservation Paleobiology: Using the Past to Manage for the Future
Sat., 17 Oct., 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Oregon Convention Center, Portland Ballroom 252
FREE. An inexpensive course book will be available for purchase. No preregistration required.
Cosponsor: The Paleontological Society
Instructors: Gregory P. Dietl, Paleontological Research Institution; Karl W. Flessa, University of Arizona
Speakers: Greg Dietl, Karl Flessa, Warren Allmon, Stephen Jackson, Elizabeth Hadly, Paul Koch, John Smol, Peter Roopnarine, Michal Kowalewski, S. Kathleen Lyons, Geerat Vermiej, Susan Kidwell, Thomas Lovejoy, Jeremy Jackson, Richard Aaronson
As the International Year of Planet Earth draws to a close, this short course will focus on one of its major goals: to link research of paleontologists and biologists to understand the dynamics of the global ecosystem. Ancient biotas and states of the environment, like and unlike those of today, provide evidence needed to discern general principles on which future change in the biosphere can be predicted and sound policy decisions bearing on its management may be reached. Techniques used to infer the function, stability and long-term dynamics of paleo-ecosystems will be assessed. These include comparison of living and post-mortem assemblages, dating methods that can be applied to determine rates of change, sclerochronology and dendrochronology, stable isotopes and trace elements, analysis of the structure of species assemblages (e.g. species composition, richness, relative abundance, geographic range, body size, and trophic structure), all of which can be employed to construct geohistorical records that are keys to understanding biodiversity dynamics and prediction of future biosphere vitality.
P F G Environmental Geochemistry Applied to Metal Mines and Their Remediation
Sat., 17 Oct., 8:30 a.m. –5:00 p.m.
P F G Geology and Geochemistry of Uranium Deposits of the Southwestern Colorado Plateau Region
21-26 Oct., 2009, Course begins and ends in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Early Registration (on or before Sept. 15, 2009): Members ($675), Nonmembers ($775), Students ($300).
Late Registration: Members ($775), Nonmembers ($875), Students ($400). Course registration through SEG only. Please contact the SEG via email: or phone: +1-720-981-7882.
Cosponsor: Society of Economic Geologists
This field course emphasizes the geologic and geochemical settings of sandstone-type uranium deposits of the Colorado Plateau. Visits to outcrops showing the Paleozoic through Mesozoic stratigraphic section of uranium-bearing sedimentary rocks are complemented by field discussions of the geochemistry of metals transport and deposition. The significance of sedimentary structures, geochemical traps, organic matter, and redox boundaries will be discussed in the context of regional and local controls on the development of uranium ore bodies and associated metals mobility. Practical applications of geochemistry, including the use of Eh-pH diagrams, are an important part of this field-based course.
     Because this course emphasizes the applied economic geology dealing with the geology and geochemistry of sandstone-type uranium deposits, professional geologists involved in uranium exploration and property development, and undergraduate and graduate students whose interests are in field geology or geochemistry, will find this course both interesting and useful.
     Given the deeply-discounted course registration fee for students, students are encouraged to register early for the limited number of student places available.
Other Short Courses
F G 523. Using Google Earth in Undergraduate Geoscience Education
Sat., 17 Oct., 8 a.m.– 5 p.m., Oregon Convention Center, Room F150
US$25; Limit: 25. CEU: 0.8
Cosponsors: National Science Foundation – Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement Program.
Instructors: Declan De Paor, Old Dominion University and Steven Whitmeyer, James Madison University.
You will learn new ways to use Google Earth for teaching undergraduate geology with our interactive 3D Collada models and will create your own instructional materials without requiring any programming skills. The workshop manual includes lesson plans and outcomes assessment instruments. Participants will be invited to joint a cohort of colleagues who are currently testing these teaching resources in their undergraduate classes. Cost includes workshop manual. Bring your own laptop computer and flash memory stick for transferring files. Buy your own lunch. For questions, or to register, go to


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